"A roundup of the top smartphones and tablets launched in November 2014"
As we approach the end of the year, the number of flagship smartphone launches have been dwindling. There’s been plenty of action in the lucrative mid-range and budget categories though, headlined by offerings from Gionee, Lenovo, HTC and more. Windows Phone fans will also be spoilt for choice, with significant new products from Microsoft and Celkon making it to the market. Here’s our roundup of the top smartphones that went on sale in November.
The Gionee Elife S5.1, which until recently held the title of the world’s slimmest smartphone with its 5.1mm frame, was launched in India last month. The device features a 4.8-inch AMOLED display with HD resolution, and runs Android 4.4 KitKat with Gionee’s Amigo 2.0 UI on top. Powering the show is a 1.7GHz octa-core MediaTek MT6592 processor, coupled with 1GB of RAM and 16GB of fixed storage. The smartphone sports an 8MP primary shooter and 5MP secondary camera, and draws power from a 2,100mAh battery.
The Gionee Marathon M3 is a mid-range dual-SIM smartphone that went on sale last month. The distinguishing feature of the device is its hefty 5,000mAh battery, which is rated to offer 32.46 hours of talk time, and can be used to power other gadgets via USB. The smartphone features a 5-inch 720p IPS display, and runs Android 4.4 KitKat with Amigo UI. At its core ticks a quad-core processor clocked at 1.3GHz, mated to a gig of RAM. There’s 8GB of internal memory, expandable up to 128GB via microSD. Photography is handled by an 8MP rear camera and 2MP front shooter.
Related read: Gionee Marathon M3 first impressions
The Panasonic Eluga S, which was launched in India last month, is part of the new breed of selfie smartphones. The handset features a 5-megapixel front camera with a Blink Play feature, which starts a countdown timer when you blink. There’s also an 8MP rear camera with LED flash. The other features of the device include a 5-inch HD display, 1.4GHz octa-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of internal expandable memory and a 2,100mAh battery. The dual-SIM phone runs Android 4.4 KitKat layered with Panasonic’s Fit Home UI.
Huawei’s flagship smartphone, the Ascend P7, flaunts a unibody design, with a glass back panel and 6.5mm frame. It sports a 5-inch 1080p display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection, and is powered by Huawei’s own quad-core HiSilicon Kirin 910T SoC clocked at 1.7GHz. Memory features include 2GB of RAM and 16GB of expandable storage. The device is equipped with a 13MP primary camera and 8MP front snapper. The software on board is Android 4.4 KitKat with Huawei’s Emotion 2.3 UI. The Ascend P7 is backed by a 2,500mAh battery which features an Ultra Power Saving Mode.
The PadFone Mini is the compact variant of ASUS’ smartphone-tablet hybrid. The device is made up of two parts – a 4-inch smartphone and a 7-inch tablet. The phone can function independently, but when docked into the tablet, takes advantage of the bigger display. Coming to the specs, the smartphone features a 800 x 400 pixel display, a 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Atom Z2560 processor, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of internal expandable storage, 8MP/2MP cameras, dual-SIM slots, and a 1,170mAh battery. It runs Android 4.3 Jelly Bean with ASUS’ ZenUI on top. The tablet component features a screen resolution of 1,280 x 800 pixels and has its own 2,100mAh battery.
Related read: ASUS PadFone Mini first impressions
The ASUS ZenFone 5 Lite, a dressed-down variant of the ZenFone 5, was released in the Philippines last month and made its way to India a few weeks later. The device features a 5-inch qHD display and is powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core Intel Atom Z2520 processor, paired with 1GB of RAM. There’s 8GB of internal storage, which can be extended up to 64GB via microSD. Camera specs include an 8MP rear snapper and VGA front shooter. The phone runs Android 4.4.2 KitKat overlaid with ZenUI. The dual-SIM device is equipped with a 2,500mAh battery.
The iPad Air 2, along with the iPad Mini 3, went on pre-order a few weeks ago, and the slates were finally available for purchase last month. These are the first iPads to be equipped with Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint sensors. The iPad Air 2 features a 9.7-inch 1,536 x 2,048 pixel Retina display and is powered by an A8X chip, coupled with an M8 motion coprocessor. It sports an 8MP iSight camera and a 1.2MP FaceTime snapper. The iPad Mini 3 is pretty much identical to its predecessor, the Mini 2. It features a 7.9-inch display, A7 chip, M7 coprocessor and 5MP iSight camera. Both devices come in 16GB/64GB/128GB storage variants, in a choice of Wi-Fi and LTE options.
Lenovo’s unique layered smartphone, the Vibe X2, was released in India in early November. The device features a 5-inch full HD display and runs Android 4.4. KitKat with Lenovo’s Vibe UI 2.0. It's equipped with a MediaTek MT6595m processor, consisting of two quad-core clusters clocked at 2GHz and 1.6GHz respectively. Memory is taken care of by 2GB of RAM and 32GB of non-expandable storage. The Vibe X2 features a 13-megapixel primary snapper and a 5MP front shooter. The dual-SIM device is fuelled by a 2,300mAh battery.
Related reads: Lenovo Vibe X2 first impressions | Lenovo Vibe X2 FAQs
The Microsoft Lumia 535 is a very significant product, because it is the first Lumia device with Microsoft branding. The smartphone features a 5-inch display with a resolution of 960 x 540 pixels, protected by Gorilla Glass. Powering the show is a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 200 processor, mated to 1GB of RAM. There’s 8GB of internal storage, expandable up to 128GB via a microSD card. The cameras are the main highlight, consisting of 5-megapixel snappers at both the back and front. While the rear camera is autofocus and supplemented by an LED flash, the front camera has a wide-angle lens. The dual-SIM device features a 1,950mAh battery and runs Windows Phone 8.1 with the Lumia Denim firmware update.
Related read: Microsoft Lumia 535 first impressions
The HTC Desire 820 was announced back in September, but only went on sale in India last month. The device features a large 5.5-inch display with HD resolution, and runs Android 4.4.2 KitKat with HTC’s Sense 6.0 UI on top. The dual-SIM smartphone was the first to utilise Qualcomm’s 64-bit octa-core Snapdragon 615 SoC. The processor is paired with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal expandable storage. The Desire 820 sports a 13MP primary camera and 8MP front shooter, and is fuelled by a 2,600mAh battery.
The HTC Desire 820q, which was unveiled at the same event, also went on sale recently. It features nearly identical specs, except that it is powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 410 processor with 1GB of RAM.
Related read: HTC Desire 820 first impressions
The Celkon Win 400, the first Windows Phone smartphone from the Indian brand, also gets the distinction of being the most affordable WP device currently available. The phone is based on Qualcomm’s reference design, so it features similar specs to other WP phones in its price range. It sports a 4-inch display with a resolution of 800 x 400 pixels, and is powered by a dual-core Snapdragon 200 chipset clocked at 1.3GHz, mated to 512MB of RAM. Internal storage is limited to 4GB, with a microSD card slot providing expansion up to 32GB. 5MP rear and 1.3MP front cameras take care of photography, while a 1,500mAh battery juices up the device. The Celkon Win 400 is a dual-SIM phone, and runs Windows Phone 8.1.
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