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Hands-on with smartphones from Sony, ZTE and Huawei at CES 2013

By dpreview staff on Jan 11, 2013 at 01:25 GMT

CES provided a chance for us to get our hands on two of the latest smartphones. Interestingly, Sony's Xperia Z, ZTE's Grand S and the Huawei Ascend D2 are all built around 5", 1920 x 1080 pixel screens and feature 13MP cameras. All run Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) and yet, despite the spec similarities, there are still differences - in the user experience as well as the processors used. We had the opportunity to use all these phones, to see how they behave - find out what we thought.

Sony identifies its camera sensor as one of its own Exmor RS chips - one of the 'Stacked CMOS' designs that it announced in January 2012 (between then and now Sony announced it was dropping the RGBW design).

Click here to read the Sony Xperia Z hands-on report
Click here to read more about the ZTE Grand S
Click here to read our Huawei Ascend D2 hands-on article
Click here to read about the Lenovo K900


Total comments: 29
By brianj (Jan 13, 2013)

I wonder if this ZTE will have firmware that locks up all the time like the old ZTE T6 and then there is zero support or updates from ZTE. Never again.

Comment edited 31 seconds after posting
Juraj Lacko
By Juraj Lacko (Jan 12, 2013)

So what is the big deal that everybody is complaining about seeing mobiles on dpreview? All modern phones have build in cameras. BTW those cameras are killers of compact cameras and who knows, maybe in the future they will kill dslr as well... Just dont read article if yu are not interested in phones. Is that so hard?

Pete Mc
By Pete Mc (Jan 12, 2013)

I guess we thought when dpreview made a separate site for camera phones, (Connect, in case you havn't seen it yet) the real camera news wouldn't be diluted by endless smart phone releases.

1 upvote
By ivan1973 (Jan 14, 2013)

"maybe in the future they will kill dslr as well"? Yes, maybe when photo journalist use only mobile phones to do their job.

By chadley_chad (Jan 11, 2013)

Think in future ill have to read mobile phone magazines to learn more about DSLR's. Cheers DP!

Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Jan 11, 2013)

Or you could filter-out Connect stories using the 'Filter News' option on the front page if you don't want to read news from our sister site.

This is in addition to camera news, not instead of.

By Timmbits (Jan 12, 2013)

Or better yet, RButler, how about, instead of making us learn a bunch of bells and whistles about how to get rid of non pertinent noise, you just put in a little more efforts on improving the site. I can think of a few things where you can better put some efforts other than dumb phones... like better coverage on the brands that you don't like personally or who din't buy you off, knowing when to shut off OIS in a Samsung on a tripod so you don't get blurred images that you will NEVER redo, giving the manufacturer a bad reputation (heck, I'm surprised they haven't caught on and sued you yet), and keep expanding on the things you do best: the PHOTOGRAPHY-related content!!!
And btw, I just took a look at those filters... nowhere does it give the option of turning off news on dumb phones.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
By Revenant (Jan 12, 2013)

"And btw, I just took a look at those filters... nowhere does it give the option of turning off news on dumb phones."

Actually, it does. Just untick the Connect box if you don't want to see any news from the sister site.

1 upvote
By Nerval (Jan 12, 2013)

Hi, visiting DPreview since 2008, registered recently only to get acces to the forum, and I don't post often... But...

I find this post and some others quite condescending and conceited, Timmbits...

You gladly set yourself apart from others when you write about things you find undesirable, which most of time are judgemental and no based upon logic or reason...

While you use the "WE", like on Connect, to express YOUR opinion.

There are other type of users, who think differently, have different needs and are happy to have access to more content.

Even in the great wonderful world where everything is dictated by reason, the outcome of a logical reasoning is still based upon the original data input...

Which data is relevant, on many topics comes down to needs, expectations and other subjective perspectives...

Voicing complaints is all right, but you're not the only user here...

Besides the site has never developed as much as in the four previous years... methinks.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
By peevee1 (Jan 11, 2013)

Things for "Bigger is better" crowd.

1 upvote
By SergioMO (Jan 11, 2013)

Don´t waste your time waiting for a better camera from Sony. Look at this :

Wait for the Samsung Galaxy SIV or others. I prefer a dust and water proof mobile with a GOOD low light camera recording 60fps. Meanwhile I use my Sony-TX66 in the pocket. Save my money ! PS.: I have a Samsung Galaxy S3 and I´m VERY happy with this one.

By Kuturgan (Jan 12, 2013)

I think Nokia Lumia 920 is much better device for still and video shootings than any other smartpones on the market except only Lumia 808 which is no doubt the best.

By SergioMO (Apr 17, 2013)

S4 is the best ! Look blind test in

By gl2k (Jan 11, 2013)

Cite : "Click here to read the Sony Experia Z hands-on report"
Cite : "We haven't had a chance yet to play with the Xperia Z"

@dpreview : Are you pulling my leg?

Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Jan 11, 2013)

Not intentionally - I linked to the wrong story. Try again. (Sorry about that).

By BrunoH (Jan 11, 2013)

So still no love for the best cameraphone in the World... Nokia Lumia 920.
Some time ago DPR gave me the impression you werer working on it, but apparently reviewing the best cameraphone is not in your interest?

By Deeso (Jan 11, 2013)

Wasn't the commercial name of the stacked CMOS desing "EXMOR RS"?

Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Jan 11, 2013)

Yes, and it is Exmor RS - thanks for pointing it out.

By plasnu (Jan 11, 2013)

Another lawsuit?

1 upvote
By dboses (Jan 11, 2013)

+1 with Maverick_ !

1 upvote
By Maverick_ (Jan 11, 2013)

I have the Samsung Galaxy Note II with a 5.5" screen and I love this phone. No problem with the phone fitting in either pants or jacket pockets. My previous phone was a 4.7" which now looks diminutive in comparison.

The 5.5" is a perfect size and with quad-core and super amoled screen running on 4G-LTE it's insanely fast and responsive. Also the battery capacity is simply amazing. iPhone users lower their heads in shame when they see my phone and promise to repent from their blind obedience to Apple's marketing sham and dated 6-year old iOS.

Don't knock these phones until you have lived with them. Word's can't do justice to their awesomeness.

By Ennsp (Jan 11, 2013)

As a Samsung Note 2 Owner myself I completely agree with your comments....Yes they all must bow to the incredible Note 2......

Brian Mosley
By Brian Mosley (Jan 11, 2013)

Yes, the Note 2 is as good as it gets right now.

I'd like to see one with edge to edge folding retina class screen for a future generation.

Same exterior dimensions, 5.5" normal screen size and double that when folded out. Keep improving the pen... It's a killer feature!

By Geekapoo (Jan 11, 2013)

The Note? Fantastic phone but too big for me day-to-day. Myself? I'm loving the Galaxy S3....and keep an iPad mini with me when I want a bigger screen, using the S3 as a hotspot.

By ZorSy (Jan 11, 2013)

It's all good and great, but 5 inch screens are rather to be counted as small tablets than mobile phones - one hand operation is close to impossible (at least I know it is not on 6 in tablet and on 4 in Xperia Arc feels just about right for my not so small hands). "Pocketability" is as well out of window and the jacket pockets will have to grow in size (attention, fashion people). Lastly, 13MP for a camera phone is stupid overkill.

1 upvote
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Jan 11, 2013)

Doesn't it make sense to see how the stacked CMOS sensors behave before drawing conclusions about the pixel count?

By Combatmedic870 (Jan 11, 2013)

I agree mr butler!

By ZorSy (Jan 11, 2013)

Richard, the stacked CMOS and its performance is yet to be seen (in some review here, I guess). My comment about pixel count is purely related what majority of mobile phone photography today is for, which is social media utilising very low MP count to start with. So "more is better" (even if it is in this case) is pushing consumers around with numbers, even if they need just those 2MP. I have not noticed significant increase in data allowance (at least where I am) even on premium plans, so majority of phone camera users are still pretty sparse when selecting what image size (and quality) are the photos they upload via G3/G4 connection. Until that changes significantly, the sheer MP count still matters. So let's wait for the reviews and leave reading sales brochures aside. cheers

By mrdancer (Jan 11, 2013)

13mp would be good if they allow you to toss out bad pixels, like Nokia does, so you end up with a 2mp image that looks great.

I wish the P&S cameras would do this.

Total comments: 29