The last few weeks has seen this writer inundated with top
mobile phones for review, across different countries and
With a wide range of prices, the selection gave plenty of
All phones had outstanding battery life, but the HTC was the
stand-out after all the devices were given hard workouts and
left on until they died.
Nearly 17 hours of work and standby made the HTC the winner.
The first one landing on the desk from Nicole Bain at Gen-i
Dunedin was the Nokia 625 which I took to Hong Kong on a
birthday-inspired trip to the races.
The bright orange back was eye-catching to say the least and
I found to my surprise the phones were just being rolled out
in Hong Kong in the main electronic district of the city.
Also, in Hong Kong you could get a bright yellow back and a
distinctive lime green one proved tempting.
Having used Nokia phones before, with the Windows operating
system installed, the phone took no time to organise.
Some other reviewers have complained about text size and the
photos being a bit blurry when zooming in.
There was nothing like that for me.
I used the phone for email, social media, texting family and
friends and sending photos through email and loading to
As I found before, the Nokia is a breeze to use when taking
and loading photos.
Standing three storeys above the Happy Valley race track,
taking photos and loading them for my family to see was
The phone was slightly larger than I would prefer for a
holiday trip and, to be fair, I did not use all of the
options for the Office application.
But weather, maps, news feeds from Hong Kong and the Bing
search function all worked exceedingly well.
Windows has been criticised for playing catch-up with Samsung
and now Microsoft owns Nokia - the 625 was the last phone
Nokia made before the takeover - there is still some work to
The main sticking point for this reviewer is the photos of
contacts rolling over on the front of the screen and the size
of the tiles which meant the home screen stretched down well
beyond the screen edge.
Every time you needed something, you had to scroll rather
than having a screen like Samsung with small icons.
Oh and ''suitable'' games were hard to find.
On returning home, a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 arrived to review.
Having used Samsung phones for many years, the Android system
is a favourite.
At first, the device seemed flimsy, not helped by the faux
leather effect on the thin plastic back.
The Note 3 is slimmer than its predecessor with a larger
screen. The S Pen is a drawcard for the Note. Samsung has
made a larger pen with better functionality.
The 13-megapixel rear camera is a bonus for anyone wanting a
device for both work and play.
Surprisingly, the Note seemed no larger than the Nokia device
when placed in an inside jacket pocket, although it was.
Hovering the pen above icons opened the programs quickly.
Samsung also promotes its new software and better
multi-tasking, with one of the Note's major selling points
given its large form factor.
A launcher called Air Command is designed to make the S Pen
more useful, bringing up a menu of tools that let users
organise and act on handwritten notes.
The one function I really appreciated was writing down a
number with the S Pen before using new software to save it in
the address book or call directly.
Eventually, I learnt how to write down a contact's new
details, name, address, email and number and converting that
into an address book.
One thing which bugged me was working out how to manoeuvre
Being used to an Android, I thought it would be easy but I
could not always get them to go where I thought they should.
The programs for such things as text and spreadsheets are
easy to use and a definite improvement on earlier devices.
The good things include the S Pen being juiced up.
The device is ideal for someone wanting to work on something
slightly bigger than a phone and smaller than a tablet.
It is not for everyone.
However, Nicole saved the best for last, arriving one day
with an HTC One.
If there ever was a time I wanted to text and say I had lost
a phone, or would not give it back, it is the HTC.
What a device.
Metal back and sides, large screen, curved to fit your hand,
the list continues.
Samsung and Apple should be aware the HTC One combines a
stunning design and some of the most powerful software around
to provide what C-Net described as the best phone on the
And who am I to disagree?
Not content with inventing a new machining process to allow
the body to be all aluminium, the Taiwanese firm has extended
the screen to the edges of the chassis further than before.
It is thinner than its predecessor and slides into a pocket
While not light, the metallic finish makes it a premium
C-Net wrote in its review Samsung should hope buyers of the
S4 did not put that phone beside the HTC.
This is my phone of the year.
• Nokia Lumia 625 (RRP $399)
• Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (RRP $1199)
• HTC One (RRP $999)
HTC, best battery life, best design, best screen.