It is time for another post in our "H1 2014 in review" series where we take a look back at notable products and solutions launched over the past 6 months. Today's topic – underrated products, features, and anything that we'd describe as awesome even though most people don't seem to take notice.
As one can tell by the thumbnail for this article, we've chosen to include the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 on the list. It may be one of the tablet market's underdogs, but there are some really cool things about it that shouldn't go unnoticed. The Galaxy S5 is also present and because of its design, at that. We know that might come as surprise to some of you, but there are things about the S5's design that are worthy of admiration. The list also includes brand names like LG, HTC, and Huawei, who managed to impress us with their great, albeit underrated, products and technologies.
But enough chit chat. In the slideshow below we've put together 6 underrated products and features from the past six months. Flick through the slides and see which ones they are.
6 underrated products and features of H1 2014
6 underrated products and features of H1 2014
1. The design and finish of the Galaxy S5's back cover
With its "Glam look", the Samsung Galaxy S5 may not be the best-looking smartphone out there. To the touch, however, the handset feels outstanding thanks to its soft, gently textured surface. Even though the phone's shell is made of plastic, it lacks the distinct plasticky feel that we all seem to despise. Our fingers can easily tell that, indeed, they're touching a premium handset. On top of that, the Galaxy S5's unique finish provides more grip than you'd get from a number of its rivals.
2. The 8MP front-facing camera on the Huawei Ascend P7
People today take more selfies than ever (yay?). Smartphone makers are well aware of that and try to put decent front-facing cameras on their products. Huawei, however, took things a step further by equipping its Ascend P7 smartphone with an 8MP, wide-angle front-facing shooter. Overkill? Well, not really. The P7 takes great selfies and would surely beat some of its high-end rivals in that respect. Plus, the camera app can produce group selfie shots by stitching several images together.
3. Internet Explorer 11 in Windows Phone 8.1
Internet Explorer in Windows Phone 8.1 finally feels like a complete, feature-packed web browser. It lets us have unlimited tabs, it has incognito mode, and it uses Data Sense to reduce data usage automatically when that's possible. Plus, we get the awesome Reading Mode which strips all images off a web page, displaying only text in a large, easy to read font. Naturally, as pretty much everything else in Windows Phone, Internet Explorer 11 is fluid and responsive.
4. The design of the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 tablet
Microsoft's Surface tablets account for about two percent of the entire tablet market. People just don't seem to be very interested in them. Yet the newest soldier in Microsoft's camp, the Microsoft Surface Pro 3, definitely deserves more attention than it is getting. Despite not being easy to repair
, the slate is built tougher than most other tablets out there, sporting a solid magnesium shell. And seriously, wouldn't you agree that its kickstand rocks? At the same time, the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 is lighter than its predecessor despite being considerably larger. But what's no less impressive, it is the slimmest device with a Core i7 processor to date.
5. The QuickCircle case for the LG G3
The concept of a smartphone flip case with a cutout isn't entirely new. LG, however, took it to the next level with its awesome QuickCircle case. First of all, the accessory actually looks good. Also, it lets us interact with the phone without having to lift the flip, which is really cool no matter how you look at it. We can take a photo, play some music, check our texts, even dial a number from our call log. When it comes to functionality, the QuickCircle case is one of the most exciting case offerings out there.
6. Manual camera controls on the HTC One M8
That the HTC One (M8)'s camera is loaded with modes, scenes, filters, and other features is great and all, but what's really going to draw the attention of an experienced photographer is the camera's set of full manual controls. You can fine-tune variables like ISO, color temperature, exposure, and shutter speed to achieve exactly the look that you're seeking. Tinkering with these is restricted, if not impossible on all other popular flagships running Android.