Finally, it’s the month that saw all the action, and some more is probably on its way. Industry bigwigs like Samsung and Apple have already set the ball rolling with its high-end devices for the holiday season, while the latter has also “tried” to re-define the budget segment. Let’s take a quick look at the hottest launches of the month.
Apple iPhone 5s
Finally, Apple’s next generation iPhone was unveiled amidst much fanfare. The iPhone 5s is expected to go up on sale today. In the US, it is priced at $199 for the 16GB model, $299 for the 32GB model and $399 for the 64GB model. That’s the on-contract price, while the unlocked price is $649 for the 16GB version. In terms of design, there haven’t been too many changes in the 5s compared to its predecessor. Most of the rumoured specs were spot on. It gets the fingerprint scanner and the gold colour option. The iPhone 5s features the all-new A7 chip, making it the world’s first smartphone with 64-bit desktop-class architecture for improved performance. It runs on Apple’s latest iOS 7 OS, and gets new notable Touch ID and camera features.
The iPhone 5S comes with a new and improved iSight camera
Apple iPhone 5c
The month has been of many firsts for Apple. It is for the first time that the company launched two iPhones simultaneously, one of which happens to be a “budget” device dubbed iPhone 5c. Well, not budget really. The iPhone 5c has been launched for Android-dominant emerging market, and specifically to help Apple bounce back in China. Unlike the 5s, the iPhone 5c was put up for pre-order a week ago. While the pre-orders are said to be disappointing, Apple is expected to start shipping the devces starting today. It is priced at $99 (Rs 6,500 approx) for the 16GB model and $199 (Rs 13,500 approx) for the 32GB model on a two-year contract. The unlocked price is a steep $549 (Rs 34,000 approx). As expected, the iPhone 5c gets a plastic body with a metal interior frame, and has been splashed in an array of colour options just like its colourful iPod range. Some of its features are the older A6 chip, a 4-inch Retina display and an 8-megapixel iSight camera. The iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c are likely to be hit Indian grey markets soon, while officially they are speculated to be available later in November or December.
Sony Xperia Z1
Sony’s camera-centric Xperia Z1 was launched in the Indian market earlier this week priced at Rs 44,990. The highlight of the smartphone is its 20.7 megapixel primary camera packed with the company's G Lens. The camera comes with a 27mm wide angle, f2.0 aperture, 1/2.3-type CMOS image sensor Exmor RS for mobile as well as BIONZ mobile image processing engine. The Timeshift burst feature allows Xperia Z1 users to take 61 images with just one click of the shutter. Just like the other recent Sony smartphones, the Z1 is waterproof and dustproof. It sports a large 5-inch full HD Triluminos LCD with a 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution and runs on quad-core Snapdragon 800 SoC, with the CPU clocked at 2.2GHz with 2GB of RAM. It is available online for around Rs 43,000. Check out our specifications review and hands on with the Xperia Z1.
The camera-centric Xperia Z1
Samsung Galaxy Note 3
A day before the Z1 launch, Samsung launched the Note 3 in the Indian market along with its first ever smartwatch accessory called the Galaxy Gear. The Note 3 is now available for Rs 49,900 and Gear for Rs 22,990. With a better set of specs including camera, display and battery life, the Note 3 comes across as a worthy successor to the Note 2. The Note 3 comes with a refreshed design, sporting a leather-esque material for the back panel with stitched accents. Samsung has improved the S Pen functionality, as it gets a variety of new features like Air Command, Action Memo, Scrapbook, Screen Write and S Finder among others. The Note 3 sports a large 5.7-inch 1080p display, 13MP rear camera, 32GB internal memory, microSD card support up to 64GB. Check out our specifications review and hands on with the Galaxy Note 3.
The LG G2 is likely to reach Indian markets next week or early October. LG's India Facebook page has already started teasing the G2. The UK pricing for the G2 is said to be around £350 to £400 (approximately Rs 37,000 to Rs 41,000). Based on the UK pricing, current LG smartphone prices and including some additional taxes, the G2 could launch somewhere between Rs 40,000 and Rs 45,000. The G2 sports a large 5.2-inch full HD display and runs on Android Jelly Bean 4.2.2.. Under the hood, one will find a 2.26GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 SoC featuring four Krait CPUs along with 2GB of RAM. The smartphone has also grabbed eyeballs for its design that doesn’t feature any buttons on the edges as the volume and power buttons are placed at the back.
With these big announcements and few more like the upcoming Nokia Lumia 1520 or the Lumia 1020, lets see how the rest of the year unfolds for the smartphone or rather phablet space.