According to a recent study from Millward Brown, the smartphone officially surpassed the TV as our screen of choice—Americans spend 151 minutes per day on smartphones compared to 147 in front of TVs. They drew us in with their portability, Internet access, and endless supply of apps and games, and now we can’t live without them. The latest smartphones to hit the market will at least draw our eyes away from our current pocket partners as they try to entice us with their new alluring features.
Samsung: The Healthy Choice
Samsung unveiled its S Health options with its previous Galaxy S device, but the Galaxy S5 ($200 w/ two-year contract) takes it up a notch—it is the first smartphone with a built-in heart rate sensor. The S Health feature will also allow you to set goals and help you achieve them while tracking your condition, walking distance, calories, speed, duration and more. The smartphone also has Download Booster technology that uses LTE and Wi-Fi simultaneously for faster downloads and an Ultra Power Saving Mode to expand your battery life.
Archos: The Big Screen
Archos is releasing its first phablet—a device that straddles the line between smartphone and tablet. The Archos 64 Xenon (price not available at press time) offers 6.4 inches of screen real estate with a 1280 x 720 resolution. And size really is this phone’s calling card with its Quad core 1.3 GHZ processor, 8-megapixel camera and 3G connectivity all pretty standard. The device does boast Dual-Sim card support so you can manage two provider networks simultaneously in case you want to have two mobile subscriptions—work and personal—on the same phone.
Sony: The Movie Maker
Shutterbugs appreciate Sony’s Xperia Z series of smartphones for its high-quality cameras and the Xperia Z2 (price not available at press time) continues in that tradition. However, those shutterbugs may quickly convert to film makers thanks to the phone’s 4K Ultra High Definition camcorder capable of video playback of 3840 x 2160 resolution on a 4K TV. The video display on the phone’s 5.2-inch screen is nothing to scoff at either with Live Color LED—new technology integrated into Sony Mobile displays for increased color depth and gradation.
Oppo: The Super Zoom
The Chinese technology company Oppo is offering the first phone capable of producing 50-megapixel photos, despite the fact it only has a 13-megapixel camera. The Find 7 ($599) has a “Super Zoom” multi-shot feature that takes 10 photos at the backend of your initial shot and then automatically combines them into a 50-megapixel photo. The phone also has a 5.5-inch Quad HD screen with a 2560 x 1440 resolution and a charging speed that is four times faster than conventional chargers. Market availability of the phone was not known at press time, but it is expected to go on sale online in May or June.
HTC: The Duo Camera
HTC’s flagship line of smartphones may be called One, but with the latest iteration, the key number is definitely two. The HTC One (M8) ($200 w/ two-year contract) has a Duo Camera, meaning the rear-facing camera actually has two lenses. The benefits of the extra lens: UltraPixels (which are twice the size of regular pixels and offer over 300% more light), UFocus (you can change the focus of objects in your pictures after you take them) and Dimension Plus (you can add 3D style to your images).