De­vices and de­sires

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - TECHNOLOGY - By Lee Kah Leng bytz@thes­tar.com.my

If you are plan­ning to get a smart­phone or tablet for your­self or as a gift for your loved one for the up­com­ing hol­i­day sea­son then you are in for a treat as there are a wide va­ri­ety of mod­els to choose from.

In fact, we had to leave out quite a num­ber of re­ally good de­vices in or­der to keep this ar­ti­cle within a rea­son­able length.

So, with­out fur­ther ado, if you are in the mar­ket for smart­phones then there are three ma­jor plat­forms to choose from — Google’s An­droid, Ap­ple’s ioS and Mi­crosoft’s Win­dows Phone.

Right at the top is Sam­sung’s Galaxy S4 32GB LTE (RM2,499), a pow­er­ful An­droid smart­phone with a 13-megapixel cam­era and beau­ti­ful su­per-AMoLED full-HD dis­play. As it’s the com­pany’s flag­ship model, it will be the first to get new oS up­dates as well ex­clu­sive apps from the com­pany. An­other plus is its bat­tery life which is eas­ily longer than most other An­droid smart­phones.

An­other high-end smart­phone that would make a great gift is the HTC one (RM2,199) which has a pre­mium alu­minium body that’s sleek and sexy. But don’t be fooled by its good looks as this is one beast of a phone with a pow­er­ful pro­ces­sor and plenty of mem­ory.

The only thing that will sur­prise you is the cam­era which is only 4-megapixel but HTC claims that the pix­els it uses are larger which makes it even bet­ter than an 8-megapixel cam­era.

for ioS, your choice is pretty much lim­ited but that’s not a bad thing. Ap­ple’s iPhone 5s has re­ceived only mi­nor up­dates but the new ad­di­tions make all the dif­fer­ence. The fin­ger­print sen­sor works like magic, the cam­era is ca­pa­ble of record­ing slow-mo­tion 720p video at 120fps (frames per sec­ond), and its 64-bit A7 pro­ces­sor makes the phone feel zippy and re­spon­sive. The price for a 16GB ver­sion starts from RM2,399 and it comes in three colours.

But if you look­ing for a smart­phone with the best cam­era then our vote goes to the Nokia Lu­mia 1020 which has a cam­era with a whop­ping 41megapixel sen­sor. How­ever, it runs on Win­dows Phone which is very dif­fer­ent from An­droid or ioS, and doesn’t have as many apps. The Lu­mia 1020 re­tails for RM2,499.

Tough choices

In the mid-range seg­ment there are even more choices. The Sony Xpe­ria ZR is a solid phone that’s both dust- and wa­ter-re­sis­tant, which should make it a last­ing gift.

This rea­son­ably pow­er­ful phone has a 4.55in HD dis­play and a 13.1-megapixel cam­era, and goes for RM1,499.

or you could look at the Len­ovo K900 which comes with a rather large 5.5in screen and uses In­tel’s Atom pro­ces­sor. The power ef­fi­cient Atom is what makes this phone great as you can work on the phone for a full day with­out wor­ry­ing about bat­tery life.

The K900, which comes with a 13-megapixel cam­era and 32GB of stor­age space, goes for RM1,499.

If you don’t want to burst your bud­get there is also the Sam­sung Galaxy Ace 3 (RM799). What’s spe­cial about this en­try-level phone is that it sup­ports LTE which makes it great for surf­ing the Net while on the move.

An­other cool en­try-level phone with LTE is the Nokia Lu­mia 625. It runs on Win­dows Phone and has a large 4.7in dis­play. Priced at RM939, the Lu­mia 625 comes in many colours.

Top tablets

The tablet mar­ket is grow­ing at such a rapid pace that it is has eaten into the lap­top space. That alone should tell you that a tablet will a great pre­sent just about for any­one.

If you are look­ing for a full­sized tablet on the An­droid front then the Sam­sung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 edi­tion) is worth check­ing out. It is a pow­er­ful tablet that comes with en­ter­prise-level se­cu­rity fea­tures which makes it great for both work and play. Plus, the elec­tron­ics gi­ant has in­cluded a num­ber of nifty fea­tures like be­ing able to run mul­ti­ple apps si­mul­ta­ne­ously. This LTE tablet goes for RM2,299.

for Ap­ple fans the choice is a very clear one — the iPad Air. The com­pany has done an amaz­ing job of keep­ing it re­ally light (less than 500g) but with­out sac­ri­fic­ing fire­power. As of press time, it is still not avail­able but the ma­jor tel­cos are in the process of bring­ing it in some­time this month. If the per­son you are get­ting the tablet for prefers some­thing smaller then you can’t go wrong with the iPad Mini with Retina dis­play. It is ar­guably one of the best tiny tablets in the mar­ket and is al­most as pow­er­ful as the regular iPads. This muchawaited tablet has yet to ar­rive here but it should make an ap­pear­ance soon.

Back to the An­droid camp, the Google Nexus 7 by Asus is a great choice be­cause it will be one of the first to get the lat­est An­droid up­dates. It also has one of the best dis­plays in this range with a full-HD (1,200 x 1,920-pix­els) screen with wide view­ing an­gles. It goes with­out say­ing that there are tons of apps for An­droid, so you will never get bored of it. The Wifi ver­sion is priced at RM999 and the LTE model goes for RM1,299.

If you want to get the best of both worlds for your loved one then a ph­ablet will make a bet­ter gift as it mar­ries the func­tions of a smart­phone and tablet.

In this arena, the Sam­sung Galaxy Note 3 is one of the killer mod­els. you will love the gor­geous su­per-AMoLED dis­play, fancy S-Pen sty­lus and the much-im­proved Touch­wiz user in­ter­face. Plus, its 3,200mAh bat­tery will let you use all the func­tions of the phone with­out hav­ing to worry about run­ning out of power.

An­other in­ter­est­ing choice is the Nokia Lu­mia 1520. It’s the largest Win­dows Phone to date and uses its size to its ad­van­tage — it al­lows you to have even more Live Tiles on the main screen.

This smart­phone has a 20-megapixel cam­era and goes for RM2,159.

Last not least is a tablet for kids. Sam­sung has just launched the Galaxy Tab 3 Kids. It has a kid-friendly user in­ter­face that’s in­tu­itive and fun, and par­ents can con­trol the apps they want their kids to ac­cess, and how much time they can spend on the de­vice.

The other high­light is the newly in­tro­duced Kid’s Store which has over 600 ex­clu­sive apps de­signed for chil­dren.

It re­tails for RM799.

Giv­ing a cam­era as a Christ­mas gift is not some­thing one should do with­out first con­sid­er­ing a num­ber of fac­tors — aside from the cost, your chief con­sid­er­a­tion is whether the per­son you’re buy­ing the cam­era for is al­ready al­lied to a par­tic­u­lar cam­era brand or not.

Like dog or cat own­ers, pho­tog­ra­phers tend to be rel­a­tively loyal to their brands, and if you’re mar­ried to one, it’s prob­a­bly best to sit down and talk about the pho­tog­ra­phy-re­lated gift and not keep it a sur­prise.

How­ever, if you’re giv­ing a cam­era to a per­son who has never owned one be­fore, we’ve got a few ideas here.

note also that we’ve elim­i­nated the high-end mod­els be­cause most semi-pro­fes­sional and pro­fes­sional cam­eras be­cause the cost would put it be­yond the reach of many.

Lu­mia 1520

iPhone 5S

Galaxy S4

HTc one

Loads of fun: chil­dren can ac­cess over 600 apps that has been spe­cially de­signed for them on their Galaxy Tab 3 Kids.

Get the iPad air (left) if you want a big­ger screen or the iPad Mini if porta­bil­ity mat­ters most.

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