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IFA 2014: we name the best smartphones from this year’s show

IFA 2014: we name the best smartphones from this year’s show

IFA 2014 isn’t just about smartphones. But the gadget that everyone seems to love more than any other made more than one starring appearance at the Berlin tech trade show.

Samsung and Sony delivered two new winning products each, while Microsoft finally outed its first ‘By Nokia’ device since taking over the former-Finnish mobile-maker.

Read on to see our pick of the best new smartphones unveiled at IFA 2014.

1 Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 official

The Galaxy Note 4 betters its Note 3 predecessor in every way.

From its eyeball-stroking QHD Super AMOLED screen to its metal frame, this device is a luxury cut above Samsung’s previous phablets and their plasticky builds.

That’s not all. The Galaxy Note 4 has an improved 16-megapixel camera and a beefed-up front-facing snapper with wide angle selfie mode.

And it takes advantage of some cool new note-taking features with its bundled S Pen and comes with a tweaked user interface that looks far better than any Google Android layover we’ve seen.

2 Samsung Galaxy Note Edge

samsung galaxy edge official

Sammy’s surprise addition to its Galaxy line-up, the Note Edge, stands out for one reason only: Its inarguably cool bent screen.

The phone’s display drops down on the right hand side, allowing for some truly innovative uses.

The extra real estate can be used as a toolbar for accessing key features, works as a control while watching video and is a home for notifications when used in landscape mode.

Samsung is even talking of games to take advantage of the Edge’s unique screen, which is intriguing at the very least.

Specs are otherwise the same as the Galaxy Note 4.

3 Sony Xperia Z3

sony xperia z3 camera modes

The Z3 is really an iterative jump from early-2014’s excellent Xperia Z2.

But that doesn’t make this new Sony blower any less impressive.

It has the same excellent 20.7-megapixel camera as its predecessor and the same ace, squared- off design.

The 5.2–inch screen offers full HD viewing, while the processor is slightly snappier (2.5GHz compared to 2.3 on the Z2).

The big change is new audio upscaling tech, ideal for AV fanatics who want top sound quality wherever they are.

4 Sony Xperia Z3 Compact

sony xperia z3 range

Sony’s Z1 Compact was a huge success when it launched back at CES. So it’s no surprise it’s readying a stripped down version of its new Z3 flagship.

We say stripped down, when in fact it’s merely a case of shovelling in the same excellent features into a device with a smaller 4.6–inch screen that packs 720p rather than 1080p HD.

Still, you get a 20.7 megapixel camera and snap Qualcomm processor in a phone that can be used one handed at a push. And that's enough WIN for us to recommend it.

5 HTC Desire 820

htc desire 820

This mid–ranger from HTC carries as much promise as some of the fancier efforts on show in the German capital.

Why? Well it has support for a 64-bit processor, meaning that it will be able to handle resource-sapping apps and games without sending the battery into a tailspin.

HTC has got this tech in early - current versions of Android don’t support it and users will have to wait for the official release of Android L to play nice - but it does put the Desire 820 a cut above the competition.

An eight-megapixel front facing camera and beefed up quad core Qualcomm chip complete a decent punt for Android lovers.

6 Nokia Lumia 830

nokia lumia 830

The new Microsoft/Nokia flagship is billed as an affordable top-end effort. The €330 SIM free price tag confirms that, especially as the specs promise much.

The 10-megapixel PureView camera takes up the mantel of Nokia’s previous best-in-class imaging options, with the ability to use the ace Lumia Camera app to get super sharp images that can be refocused after shooting.

There’s a 5–inch screen, SensorCore fitness tech and a removable battery, a happy inclusion that some smartphone users understandably prefer to the closed shop of some other manufacturers’ devices.

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