Best in class - the flagship Android smartphones of 2015's first half
By Luis D.
Apr 30, 2015, 9:42 AM
It's as if it was yesterday when we wished you a merry Christmas and a happy new year. Yet, we look around and it's the last day of April already. Four months went by unnoticed, and in this short time, we ended up in a pile of flagship Android smartphones! No amount of industry analysts spelling gloom and doom with their "high-end market saturation" talks could keep the likes of Samsung, LG, HTC, Huawei, Sony, Xiaomi from merrily unveiling their proudest handset creations to date - weeks, days, even mere hours after each other.
So, let's do a quick tour of 2015's flagship Android smartphones so far! The devices in question? Here they are:
Faced with the Galaxy S5's lackluster market performance, Samsung had to give it their best to gain back its market stronghold. The result? Samsung threw a double punch at the competition, the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge. With a renewed focus on premium looks and cutting-edge specs, the Galaxy S6 sports a Quad HD display, an improved 16MP camera, and super-fast UFS 2.0 based internal storage starting at 32 GB up to 128 GB. The Galaxy S6 runs on Android 5.0 Lollipop with the company's proprietary TouchWiz skin on top, and it makes the first 64-bit Samsung flagship coming with a home-made Exynos 7420 chipset.
Powered by the same 14nm silicon, the Galaxy S6 edge delivers the same goods in an even more attractive form, thanks to its curved OLED screen. Curved at the sides, it gives out a flowing, futuristic appearance that's hard to miss - or copy.
The LG G4's leather back cover goes through 3 months worth of manual labor, from stitching to the leather coating to smearing and treatment to improve resistance to heat and moisture. The genuine leather back makes the LG G4 feel more expensive than it actually is, as it is otherwise an iterative improvement over its plastic predecessor in the design department. On the inside, though, the LG G4 is every bit better than the one before it. it packs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 hexa-core CPU together with the Adreno 418 GPU and 3GB of RAM. Carrying a 5.5-inch Quad-HD display and up to 32GB of expandable storage, LG's flagship is also equipped with a 16MP camera with wide f/1.8 aperture, along with an 8-megapixel front cam.
With a premium all-metal unibody design, the beautiful One M9 doesn't stray away from HTC's gorgeous design tradition for its flagship line. In fact, one of the major complaints about it is that it's difficult to visually discern it from last year's HTC One M8. We actually think that's a compliment, but we have to say, with Samsung getting so much attention for its radical product design improvements this year, it's a particularly bad time for the competition to be resting on their laurels! Anyway, HTC's finest features a 20 MP cam in place of the UltraPixel camera, which has been moved at the front. The phone is powered by a scorching (in more ways than one) Snapdragon 810 processor, 3 GB of DDR4 RAM, and 32 GB of non-expandable storage out of the box. The new BoomSound speakers with Dolby surround sound at the front are a treat as well, and the icing on the cake is HTC's sublime Sense interface - a fast, modern interpretation of Android.
The Huawei P8 features a 5.2-inch screen with a resolution of 1080 x 1920. It uses its own octa-core Kirin 930 chip and 3GB of RAM for very good performance. The base model P8 comes with 16GB of native storage. On the side of photography, there's a 13 megapixel camera with OIS on the back, as well as an 8 megapixel front shooter for serious selfies. Huawei's metal and glass flagship is powered by a 2680 mAh battery and runs Android Lollipop out of the box.
Representing 2015's quietest smartphone launch, the Sony Xperia Z4 is a nice, but predictable Sony flagship. It has a 5.2-inch screen with a 1080p resolution and it's powered by a 64-bit octa-core Snapdragon 810. There are 3GB of RAM inside, along with 32GB of native storage. Unlike Samsung, Sony left open the option to add up to 128GB of additional microSD storage. In the camera department, you'll find a 20.7MP camera on the back and a wide-angle 5.1MP snapper on the front. The Z4 is powered by a 2930mAh battery and comes with Android 5.0 out of the box. The color selection brings White, Black, Copper and Aqua Green to your attention. And, as per tradition, the handset features water and dust protection. The downside to all of this? The Z4 is only sold in Japan. The rest of the world is waiting for another device which may, or may not be named the Xperia Z3+, or the Xperia P2. Sony likes to keep a mystery!
The Chinese heavyweight by the name of Xiaomi Mi Note Pro has a dreamy spec list and a design that could give Apple fans second thought. It features a 5.7-inch 1440x2560 resolution display with an excellent 515ppi pixel density. The Xiaomi flagship has been blessed with a whopping 4 GB of LPDDR4 RAM, and the processor in charge is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810. The all-important camera department is serviced by a 13 MP rear Sony camera and a 4 MP UltraPixel front cam. The big phablet has enough space to fit a 3090 mAh battery unit, so battery life shouldn't pose a problem.
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