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Sony D6503The D6503 “Sirius” may shape to be a real winner and the phone may prove to be a decent upgrade over the already powerful Xperia Z1 and Z1s. The MSM8974AB variant of Snapdragon 800 is slightly faster than the MSM8974AA variant, which is about 100MHz faster. The Sirius is also equipped with 5.2-inch Full HD IPS display, which offers better black levels and improved viewing angles. The amount of RAM is also bumped up from 2GB on the current Xperia Z1/Z1s to 3GB.

The phone is supposed to ship in the market with the Android 4.4.2 KitKat and new UI skin. The phone still uses the same 20.7Mp rear-facing camera, which includes improved software and new modes. The Full HD 1080p video recording can go all the way up to 60fps, compared to 30fps on the current Z1/Z1s.

The higher framerate will ensure that 1080p videos are incredibly smooth to watch and fast actions can be captured without blurring. It’s also worth noting that the 20.7Mp camera also includes the new 4K video recording and 15.5Mp mode with 16:9 aspect ratio. The former feature should ensure that the Sirius is future-proofed against new trends in 2014.

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Xiaomi Mi4The Xiaomi Mi4 recently made an unannounced trip through the AnTuTu tool and the phone appears to be equipped with high-end hardware configuration. It also has the same processor used by flagship models released by HTC, Samsung and others. Steve Wozniak has also put his stamp of approval on Xiaomi’s smartphone models. He says that Xiaomi produces decent enough devices to challenge high-end devices in the market. At the moment, Wozniak already uses the Xiaomi Mi3.

The Mi4 finally passes through the AnTuTu benchmarking tool and the associated data shows that it features Full HD screen resolution, The display size currently unknown, but underneath, the phone is powered by the most powerful variant of Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core chipset, the MSM8974A, running at 2.46GHz.

This is also the same chip that may grace the HTC One 2 and Samsung Galaxy S5. The graphics processing will be handled by Adreno 330 GPU.  16GB of internal storage and 3GB of RAM are on board. The 8Mp snapper up front is accompanied by the 13Mp rear-facing camera. The Xiaomi Mi4 should have support for 4G LTE data connectivity and it appears that Android 4.3 Jelly drove the prototype.

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LG G3The Samsung Unpacked event will take place on February 24, during the MWC 2014 event. It is becoming quite clear that Samsung is getting ready to release the long rumored Galaxy S5 device. Word is on the street that the phone will be equipped with a 2560 x 1440 Quad HD screen resolution.

But apparently, Samsung should be prepared to face a rather stiff competition from LG and other manufacturers. The LG G3 is the successor of G2 and it will be a true competitor of the Galaxy S5. The company has also said that it will announce another phone this month, the LG G Pro 2.

The company unveiled a 5.5-inch QHD IPS display last year and obviously, the company has enough time to utilize such a screen on the LG G3. The company may also include a homegrown processor model; although there is still a possibility that we will get another Qualcomm-based platform. Nothing is confirmed about the G3 and Galaxy S5; so both LG and Samsung could pleasantly surprise us with advanced design and features of their new high-end devices. Other than the iPhone 6, the LG G3 and Samsung Galaxy S5 are two phones to keep an eye on.

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Samsung Galaxy S5 ZoomIt appears that sequels to the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active and Galaxy S4 Zoom are already on the way. The India-based Zauba has listed the Galaxy S5 Zoom in its export-import database. It is described as a mobile camera from Samsung for R&D purposes. The import cost of the device is pegged at $523 and this is approximately in the ballpark of S4 Zoom’s original price. There’s no word yet on its actual hardware specifications; but we could see a decent improvement over the current S4 Zoom.

The South Korean company will also offer a toughened version of its upcoming flagship. The Galaxy S5 Active is a more durable model and it will be protected against significant water exposure. Samsung said that there will be another separate Unpacked event during the MWC 2014 vent and these new Galaxy S5 variants may debut there. So, all these models will be unveiled in only three weeks time.

It appears that Samsung will continue to adopt the “gadget spam” strategy by flooding the market with many different smartphone models, including their variants. Samsung predicts that between 20 and 30 percent of global S5 sales will be the S5 Active.

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Lenovo SmartphoneLenovo has just announced its plan to purchase Motorola from Google and the next Nexus smartphone could be released by the China-based company.

This information recently came from Eldar Murtazin, a well-connected blogger from Russia. Earlier, he predicted that Google will soon kill its reasonably popular Nexus brand after releasing one last run of new devices this year. He foresaw that Google Play edition devices will replace the Nexus series.  Way back in the middle of 2013, we also heard about a Nexus smartphone that would be released by Motorola. Unfortunately, the company never released such a device.

Murtazin says that one of the final Nexus devices will be released by Lenovo and it will be aimed primarily for US consumers. This sounds probable because Motorola has been focusing much of its effort on the US market. He also added that TouchWiz UI will become a standard component of upcoming Android versions, leading us to believe that Samsung Galaxy models will be considered more or less stock Android models.

Obviously, we need to take this rumor with a pinch of salt, because Murtazin is known for a rather mixed track record.

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Samsung SM-S780LNot too long ago, manufacturers were proud of their 720p smartphones, but models with this screen resolution are now mid-tier handsets. Even so, they are not so bad, because users could still obtain decent experience navigating the interface and running slick 3D games. This might be what Samsung currently has in mind with the rumored SM-S780L. The phone simply provides decent specs are a reasonable price.

The company hasn’t officially confirmed the phone yet, but Samsung’s official website already publishes the User Agent profile of the phone. The Android smartphone has 720p display of an unknown size, but probably smaller than 5-inch. The SM-S780L has been certified for WiFi connection recently and it seems to be equipped with WiFi a/b/g/n dual-band.

The phone may arrive initially to the 3rd largest mobile carrier in South Korea, LG U+, which currently operates CDMA and LTE networks. There’s a slim probability that the S780L will reach global market as well.

Based on Samsung’s other 720p devices, we could imagine the phone to have 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage; but this is still speculative. We could expect to hear more about the phone at MWC 2014 event and because the Galaxy S5 may appear officially ahead of the event; they could arrive at the same time.

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Tizen SmartphoneThe SC-03F is expected to be Samsung’s commercially available Tizen smartphone and it would be available exclusively for NTT DoCoMo, the largest mobile carrier in Japan. The Japanese authority approved the phone recently, so we could see it released in the local market soon. However, some sources in Japan also said that NTT DoCoMo may postpone the phone’s official unveiling.

The phone was initially planned for release in mid January 2014 and it seems that NTT DoCoMo pushed the actual release date without revealing the reason. Rumor has it that Samsung’s new Tizen smartphone is not yet ready to make an official appearance. It has also been suspected that NTT DoCoMo and Samsung haven’t gotten along too well, because the carrier recently decided to add Apple iPhone 5S into its lineup.

Other than its operating system, little is known about the SC-03F and it isn’t really clear whether the phone is similar to a Tizen smartphone that the company is allegedly planning to unveil at a separate event before the MWC 2014. We heard reports previously that Samsung has no plan to unveil the phone in the United States, since the new software is still in its infancy.

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Alcatel Idol X+The CES 2014 event is bringing all the good things and one of them is the all new Alcatel OneTouch Idol X+ with MediaTek’s true octa-core processor. The phone may not be the most impressive in the market, but with great features and Alcatel’s reasonable pricing it is still a star in the mid-tier category.

The phone will be available initially in China with a price tag in the $330 or £199.99 ballpark. Measuring 7.9mm thick, the phone has the now common 5-inch 1080p display, yielding 441 ppi of pixel density. There is also a 13.1Mp rear-facing camera with f/2.0 aperture, which could be same module used on the original Idol X. The boosted model of MediaTek MT6592 octa-core processor runs at 2GHz and it is expected to perform at the same level with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 quad-core processor, if not faster. This would put the Idol X+ at the same hardware category with the original Samsung Galaxy S4, but at approximately half the price.

It’s also worth noting that other smartphone models with the same MT6592 SoC are clocked at only 1.7GHz. The ARM 700MHz Mali 450 quad-core GPU does the actual graphical muscle-work, which makes the phone usable for intense 3D gaming. With 2GB of RAM module and 2500mAh battery thrown into the mix, the Alcatel is clearly a well-balanced package.

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Xiaomi Hongmi 2Huawei recently unveiled its biggest bet yet in the low-cost segment, the Honor 3C, which is priced at 100 Euro. Apparently, Xiaomi has been very quick to response to the latest offering of its rival. The company will soon release the Hongmi (Red Rice) 2; which delivers decent hardware specs for its price, at only 120 Euro or $165. Physically

As far as the hardware specs are concerned; previous leaks told us that the Hongmi 2 will be equipped with a reasonably large 5.5-inch Full HD display. This should be a respectable improvement over the 4.7-inch 720p display on the original Xiaomi Hongmi. Another important component is the processor and in this case, Xiaomi includes the increasingly popular 1.7GHz MediaTek MT6592 true octa-core processor inside the chassis. The chip is manufactured using the 28nm process and paired by the reasonably powerful Mali 450 GPU.

Thus far, Xiaomi hasn’t told us when the phone will be available and it is quite likely that the phone will arrive initially in China. The MediaTek’s new hardware platform is also roughly similar to Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 quad-core chip in terms of performance level. This would mean that users could get a phone with some similarities with the Samsung Galaxy S4, but at much lower pricing.

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Lenovo Vibe Z SmartphoneSometimes a company manages to get ahead of the curve. For a couple of years in a row, Lenovo was the first manufacturer with Intel’s Mobile processor. But unfortunately, it has been trailing somewhat after the widespread adoption of 4G technology.

Finally, the company has released its first 4G smartphone models; the Vibe Z. Specs-wise, the phone looks like typical high-end device released in last year. With Full HD resolution, the 5.5-inch IPS display yields 400ppi of pixel density. All of this is packaged inside a 7.9mm thick chassis.

Inside, the phone is driven by Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor, so not an Intel processor this time. There are also 16GB of onboard storage, 2GB of RAM and support for WiFi 802.11ac. Imaging wise, there are a 5Mp snapper up front and more powerful 13Mp f/1.3 rear-facing camera.

To improve usability, Lenovo also throws in additional custom camera software that allows users to add special effects. Like Lenovo’s previous device, the Vibe Z also has a rear cover made from textured plastic that seemed to stand up quite well to fingerprints and scratches. Lenovo skins the Android OS quite heavily and in this case the Android 4.3.

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