Sep 21, 2017

Galaxy S8, Xperia XZ Premium, HTC U11 and AQUOS R : What are they good at and what not?

High-end smartphones that debuted this summer are all well done, and it can be a trouble which to choose. We are looking at shared characteristics of the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus, the Sony Xperia XZ Premium, the HTC U11 and the Sharp AQUOS R, and we also see what each model does well and what they don't.

High-end smartphones this season are all well-done with high performance and long battery life.

The Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus, the Xperia XZ Premium, the U11 and the AQUOS R are high-end smatphones that debuted this summer and they are all popular, and you can see they are highly evaluated when you read user reviews.
These four models have the newest high-end CPU Snapdragon 835 in common. The battery lasts long with Snapdragon 835 though it attaches importance to processing performance. It also has relatively less heating issues. This is rare for a high-end CPU.
Also, they have USB Type-C port which supports USB3.1. They have strong connection interface.
However, when you look at each device closely, they have their own characteristics like what they are good at and what not. Let's take a look at each device.

The 4 models we are looking at here all have Qualcomm's newest high-end CPU, Snapdragon 835.

Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus : Vertically long and has edge-to-edge screen

The Galaxy S series gets much attention globally. The Galaxy S8 series, the newest model of this series, come in two models; the Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy S8 Plus. Their main difference is their size.
The beauty of the Galaxy S8 series is its compact body. The Galaxy S8 with a 5.8-inch display is 68mm in width and 8.0mm in thickness. The Galaxy S8 Plus, the bigger model with a 6.2-inch display, is 73mm in width and its thickness is 8.1mm. They are both very compact. Also, thanks to the rounded edges on the sides, they feel smooth. It feels thinner than what it says in the catalogue.
The battery life is particularly good. With the measurement condition which is close to actual use, the Galaxy S8 lasts for about 115 hours. With the Galaxy S8 Plus, which has a bigger capacity battery, it lasts for about 135 hours. It is 10-30% longer than its rivals.
The main camera is basically the same as the previous Galaxy S7 series. It is good with high-sensitivity photographing. You can easily take beautiful night views and photos without handshakes or motion blur.

Unique design. The display covers most of the front.

The main camera is good with high-sensitive photographing. You can take sharp night view photos with less noise and hand shakes.

Some might find the edge-to-edge screen to be warped, but the it has advantages, too. When you choose this device, it is better to see the actual phone before purchasing.

The edge-to-edge screen is one of the characteristics of this device. How you see this rounded part would be the point in deciding.

Sony Xperia XZ Premium : 4K HDR-compatible LCD and attractive main camera that can record super slow video

The Xperia XZ Premium is the flagship model of the Xperia series that has 4K HDR-compatible LCD. It has a lot higher completion level than its previous model, the Xperia Z5 Premium. It has received high evaluation, too.
This display can play 4K HDR contents, and it can also show 4K movies and still images with high resolution in highly defined quality. Another point is its main camera. It has the Motion Eye camera system, memory-embedded stacked image sensor, and it can record 960 FPS super slow video with HD and has a new function called Predictive Capture. Especially videotaping moving objects with super slow motion is fun. Also, its headphone jack that has as little crosstalk as an specialized audio device is also attractive. You can enjoy three-dimensional sound.

It has a 4K HDR-compatible display. You can play movie contents that support 4K HDR on this smartphone.

It has unique functions like Super slow motion and Predictive capture.

What I am not quite happy with is that the display sometimes looks rough in actual use. Only some preinstalled apps are 4K compatible, and most it, including the home screen, is only full HD. This is to save battery, but full HD for a 5.5-inch display feels it is not good enough, since WQHD (1440 X 2560) is standard for this class device.

It is to save battery, but other than some preinstalled apps, it only shows full HD images.

HTC U11 : Full of HTC's unique functions.

The HTC U11 has a 5.5-inch screen that supports 1440 x 2560 display. It is generous in size and has high resolution. It has many characteristic AI functions. The Sense Companion, HTC's unique AI assistant, analyses user's usage and the device's situation to stop unused apps automatically. It also considers the traffic in showing directions using the map app, and shows restaurants that suit the user's taste. Also, the Sense Companion supports Amazon's Amazon Alexa. It of course is compatible with Google Assistant, which is Google's standard, so it means you can use three AI technologies with this device.
The main camera is approximately 12 MP whereas the sub camera is 16 MP. The main camera supports 1090p/120fps slow motion recoding, and it has received a score of 90, the best score for a smartphone, with the DxOMark which is known as smartphone cameras' benchmark testings.

The main camera can record slow motion video (1080P@120 fps). It also has pro mode with manual control.

The disadvantage can be its battery life. It is not as good as other smartphones with long battery life sold this season. Also, it doesn't have an earphone jack, so you would need an audio jack adapter that comes in the box when you use earphones or headphones with codes.

The phone doesn't have an earphone jack, so you need an audio jack adapter that comes in the box.

Sharp AQUOS R : High speed IGZO liquid crystal display with smoother operation

The biggest advantage of the AQUOS R, the newest model of the AQUOS series released this season, is its smooth operation thanks to the highly sensitive high speed IGZO LCD that has 2x speed. It feels so smooth in scrolling so it almost feels like my finger is attached to the screen. It feels a lot faster than its rivals. Also, it guarantees an OS version update for two years; it is good if you are intending to keep using one device for a long time.

Preinstalled OS is Android 7.1.1. It guarantees version updates for two years.

What I am not quite happy with is its camera function. It is good in bright environment, but it is not so good with high sensitivity photo shooting; hand shakes and motion blur often occur and noise stand out because of lack of shutter speed for night view photo shooting. You would need to hold its body tightly to avoid handshakes and think about lighting if you take photos in these occasions.

It is not good with high sensitivity photo shooting. You can see motion blur and noise in dark area when taking photos at night time.