AP reviews new smartphones: new iPhones and more

Published on NewsOK Modified: September 20, 2013 at 11:41 am •  Published: September 20, 2013
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Apple started selling the iPhone 5S and 5C on Friday in the U.S. and several other markets. As is typical with other Apple product launches, eager customers lined up outside Apple stores and other retail stores to become one of the first to own one. The iPhones follow a slew of Android smartphones from the company's competitors, including Samsung, Motorola and HTC.

Having trouble deciding which to buy? Here's a summary of recent phone reviews by The Associated Press.

— IOS DEVICES:

IPHONE 5S, APPLE INC.

It's the first time Apple is releasing two different iPhone models at once. The pricier one, at $199 with a two-year contract, sports a fingerprint sensor, a better camera and a faster processor. The fingerprint sensor alone is worth the $100 more you'll pay over an iPhone 5C. It encourages you to keep phones secure. Instead of typing in a four-digit passcode, you can just tap your finger on the home button most of the time. If there's a match with the finger you scanned in earlier, the phone will unlock. The improved camera, meanwhile, offers better shots in low light, thanks to larger individual pixels and a wider shutter, even though the resolution remains at 8 megapixels.

— Anick Jesdanun, AP Technology Writer

IPHONE 5C, APPLE INC.

The 5C model is largely last year's iPhone 5 with a few extras. The most noticeable is the choice of five colors — green, blue, yellow, pink or white. The housing is made of plastic instead of aluminum and glass. The plastic doesn't feel cheap and offers the slippery feel of a shiny ceramic tile. The 5C has a better front-facing camera than the 5, but it has the same A6 processor and the same rear camera lacking the 5S's improvements in low light. The 5C does come with a newer operating system, iOS 7, but older phones including the iPhone 5 can get the upgrade for free. The 5C costs $99. Unless you really want the colors, paying another $100 for the 5S is worth the investment.

— Anick Jesdanun, AP Technology Writer

— ANDROID DEVICES:

GALAXY S4, SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS CO.

The S4 is an excellent device from a hardware standpoint. Its 5-inch screen is larger than its predecessor, yet it's a tad lighter and smaller. The display is sharp, at 441 pixels per inch. Samsung packed the Android device with a slew of custom features, including new camera tools and the ability to perform tasks by waving a finger over a sensor. Many of the features, however, make the phone more complicated to use. In some cases, custom features work only some of the time. In other cases, you're confronted with too many ways to do similar things. The S4 might be for you if you don't mind spending time customizing it. Otherwise, you must bypass all the gimmicks to get to what otherwise is a good phone.

— Anick Jesdanun, AP Technology Writer

HTC ONE, HTC CORP.

The One is a phone that can match Apple's standards of feel and finish. Plastic and metal are joined together so well that you can't tell by feel where one ends and the other starts. The 4.7-inch screen is also quite a sight, its 468 pixels per inch among the best. Two front-facing speakers give you real stereo sound when turned sideways to watch a movie. HTC's camera has a lower resolution than most. Promises of better low-light shots from its larger sensors only partly delivered. Like other Android phone makers, HTC adds confusion by customizing the interface. There are four different "home" screens from which to launch apps, for instance. The One is worth checking out as an alternative to the Galaxy S4 from Samsung, which also adds complication with its custom features.



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