Feature Articles

IT Show 2013 - Telco, Tablets, GPS & Mobile Accessories Buying Guide

Smartphones

Smartphone Buying Guide

A smartphone has become an integral part of our daily lifestyle. With so many options from the different mobile platforms, it must be very confusing for consumers to decide on their next phone purchase. The attractive deals at tech shows often complicate things further, with reduced prices and more freebies.

 

SMARTPHONES TODAY

The mobile industry is dominated by the likes of Apple iOS and phones powered by Google Android. There are also other players such as Windows Phone 8 and BlackBerry 10. So which mobile platform suits you better?

Apple iOS is well-known for its simplicity and user-friendly interface. The consistency in user experience across the board helps you adapt to it pretty quickly.

Backed by a vast and superior collection of apps, you will be spoilt for choices when it comes to choosing apps from photography, games, social networking, instant messaging, productivity and entertainment. Its great cross device synergy, anchored by iTunes and iCloud, provides a unified experience that is unrivalled.

If you want a simple, easy-to-use and stable phone to use, you can't go wrong with an iOS device.

More Information: WWDC 2012: iOS 6 Highlights, iOS 6 Hands-on

BlackBerry recently unveiled its next generation operating system, BlackBerry 10 (BB 10), which will serve as a single platform for phones and tablets.

BB 10 provides a whole new user experience where you use swipe gestures to navigate the interface instead of relying on a home, menu or back navigation button.

One of its key features is the BlackBerry Hub, a notification center where your social and email accounts integrate. It is deliberately designed to be accessed from any app or lock screen, hence making it very convenient for you to check new notifications without quitting the app or task that you are doing.

BlackBerry has one of the best, if not the best virtual keyboards in the market. The BB 10 keyboard is able to adapt to your typing style, learns from your message history and tries to predict the next word you are typing. Used over a substantial period of time, the BB 10 keyboard is able to deliver a faster and more accurate typing experience.

BB 10 is well-suited for loyal BlackBerry users who have been waiting for a modernized user interface. If you tend to text a lot and do not mind the absence of many popular apps, we highly recommend the BB 10 keyboard.

More Information: BlackBerry Z10 Review

As an open-source OS, it is no wonder that Google Android has grown to become the world's most popular mobile platform. 

As Google Android offers the freedom of choice and customization, vendors are able to manufacture a range of mobile devices with different screen sizes, form factors, price points, and user interfaces to suit the needs of different consumers. Its tight integration with Google's services such as Gmail, Maps and Drive is an asset that other mobile platforms lack.

If you like the flexibility of customizing your home screens and taking more control over how your phone works, Google Android is clearly for you. 

More Information: Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, Google I/O 2012: Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, For Butter or For Worse.

Windows Phone 8 (WP8) does not offer a drastically different user experience from its predecessor, Windows Phone 7.

Its core still revolves around Live Tiles, which act as tiny windows that are constantly updated with the latest information. As such, you do not need to switch or jump between different apps to get the information you want. Windows Phone gives you all the necessary information with a single glance on the Start Screen.

What's different in WP8 is the new Smart Screen, where you can resize the tiles according to your preferences. This allows you to enlarge certain functions of higher importance such as Calendar to be more visible on the home screen.

Other updates include the option to enable app notifications on the lock screen, backup and restore data via Microsoft's SkyDrive, private group conversations in Rooms, NFC payment service in Wallet, and a selection of photo apps known as Lenses.

If you want a break from the typical app and widget-filled home screens, WP8 can offer you a different and refreshing experience.

More information: HWZ Tech Guide to Windows Phone 8

 

WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR

Getting a Phone with Contract or Without Contract? If you are renewing your contract to purchase a phone, a gentle reminder that all three telcos have rolled out new tiered smartphones in September 2012. In a nutshell, you will no longer enjoy data bundles of at least 12GB or unlimited data usage once you switch over to the new smartphone plans. Check out our illustrated overview of tiered smartphone plans for a clearer picture.

3G or 4G? So far, M1 is the only telco in Singapore to launch a nationwide 4G LTE network. SingTel is in the midst of completing the islandwide rollout of its 4G LTE network while StarHub is scheduled to complete its nationwide 4G coverage by this year.

More and more 4G-enabled mobile devices are entering the market and the telcos are actively promoting the adoption of 4G. If you want to enjoy faster mobile data connectivity, it is advisable to get a 4G phone but you have to take note that 4G phones generally have lower battery life. In addition, you are likely to switch to the new tiered plans and be limited by the lower data bundles. If you want to find out more about 4G LTE, do check out our 4G LTE Tech Guide. Do not know which devices are 4G-enabled? Fret not as we have compiled a list of devices with 4G LTE support.

Check out the latest mobile phones at our HardwareZone Mobile Phones Product Guide.

 

Smartphone Deals at the Show

Here are some highlighted smartphone deals at the IT Show this year.

Sony Xperia Z

The Sony Xperia Z is the latest flagship smartphone from the company. 

IT Show 2013 Offer

  • IT Show Price: $218 with SingTel Flexi Value at $59.90/month (2-year contract)
  • IT Show Promotion: Free Sony NFC speaker SRS-BTV5 (worth $160)
  • Brochure
  • More Information: HWZ Review

Location

LEVEL 1, HALL A, BOOTH 1338

Nokia Lumia 920

The second phone to come under the PureView branding, the Nokia Lumia 920 takes excellent images especially in low light conditions. It runs on Windows Phone 8, and is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 dual-core 1.5GHz processor.

IT Show 2013 Offer

  • IT Show Price: $348 with SingTel Flexi Value at $59.90/month (2-year contract)
  • IT Show Promotion: Free Nokia Purity Stereo Headset worth $248
  • Brochure
  • More Information: HWZ Review

 

Location

BASEMENT 2, HALL E, BOOTH B818

BlackBerry Z10

The first BlackBerry device to be powered by BlackBerry 10, the Z10 sports a highly intelligent keyboard that learns and adapts to your typing style. The user interface is navigated via a series of swipe gestures, making physical navigation keys like a home button useless.

IT Show 2013 Offer

  • IT Show Price: $148 with M1 ExtremeSurf+at $98/month (2-year contract)
  • IT Show Promotion: Free flip shell casing worth $44.
  • Brochure
  • More Information: HWZ Review

Location

BASEMENT 2, HALL D, BOOTH B828

Nokia Lumia 820

The Nokia Lumia 820 may be a more affordable companion to the Lumia 920, but it has better handling, a removable battery and a microSD card slot.

IT Show 2013 Offer

  • IT Show Price: $48 with M1 LiteSurf+ at $59/month (2-year contract)
  • IT Show Promotion: Free Nokia wireless charging plate worth $88, Nokia Lumia 820 wireless charging cover worth $38
  • Brochure
  • More Information: HWZ Review

Location

BASEMENT 2, HALL D, BOOTH B828

 

ASUS PadFone 2

Exclusive to StarHub, the ASUS PadFone 2 comes with a superb 4.7-inch display and offers good overall performance. Bundled alongside the phone is the new PadStation Dock which is sleeker and acts as a secondary battery pack.

 

IT Show 2013 Offer

 

  • IT Show Price: $298 with StarHub SmartSurf Value at $58/month (2-year contract)
  • IT Show Promotion: Free flip cover, station sleeve and USB cable host total worth $160
  • Brochure
  • More Information: HWZ Review

Location

BASEMENT 2, HALL E, BOOTH B818

 

LG Optimus G

Can't get your hands on the Google Nexus 4? No worries as  the LG Optimus G is a (almost) exact clone of the Nexus 4. In addition, you find LG's exclusive software features such as QSlide and QuickMemo.

IT Show 2013 Offer

  • IT Show Price: $148 with StarHub SmartSurf Value at $58/month (2-year contract)
  • IT Show Promotion: Free flip casing, screen protector, bumper case, 5200mAh 3-in-1 mobile charger total worth $180. DBS/POSB special: Additional $30 off.
  • Brochure
  • More Information: HWZ Review

Location

BASEMENT 2, HALL E, BOOTH B818

 

IT Show 2013 Smartphones Portal