Mid-Range Smartphone Comparison

This year mobile manufacturers have really upped the ante when it comes to their mid-range devices and the market is quickly filling up with affordable handsets boasting impressive high-end features. Here we take a look at three of the most recently released mid-rangers that we think would make excellent Christmas gifts.

HTC Desire X

HTC Desire X

Key Features

  • 1GHz dual-core processor
  • Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system
  • 5 megapixel camera
  • 480p video recording
  • 4-inch super LCD display
  • 4GB internal storage (with microSD support up to 32GB)
  • Beats Audio sound technology

The HTC Desire X’s display isn’t the biggest or brightest we’ve ever seen and although it copes well with everyday use the low-resolution does mean web pages and images aren’t quite as crisp as they could be.

That said several functions seen on HTC’s high-end One Series devices make an appearance on the Desire X, including the innovative dual-capture functionality, which lets users take photographs while simultaneously recording video footage.

Talking of pictures the 5 megapixel camera might not turn heads but the LED flash does at least make capturing shots in low-light much easier. HTC’s ImageChip hardware is also on board to ensure your pictures are always in focus.

Ample storage space ensures there’s plenty of room for all your photos and media files but for users who tend to need that bit extra there’s also an additional 25GB free of Dropbox storage.

Once again HTC has teamed up with Beats Audio to bring their impressive sound enhancing technology to this device, taking listening to your music through your headphones to a whole new level.

Nokia Lumia 820

Nokia Lumia

Key Features

  • 1.5GHz dual-core processor
  • Windows Phone 8 operating system
  • 8 megapixel camera
  • 1080p video recording
  • 4.6-inch AMOLED display with Nokia ClearBlack technology
  • 8GB internal storage (with microSD support up to 32GB)
  • Wireless charging

There’s much more to the vibrant Nokia Lumia 820 than first meets the eye and style quickly gives way to substance when you get to grips with the impressive Windows Phone 8 operating system.

Microsoft’s new software not only features the innovative Live Tiles interface but also comes with the speedy Internet Explorer 10 browser, People Hub and Xbox Live integration. Housing the largest processor of these three handsets, the Lumia 820 handles multi-tasking with ease.

The 4.6-inch display is bright and functional and really shows off the infinitely customisable Windows Live Tiles, so you can tailor your homescreen to display anything you like.

The impressive 8 megapixel camera doesn’t always produce great results – the focus is sometimes blurry in low-light or when framing close-ups – but, additional features go some way towards making up for this. Microsoft’s Lenses, bring photo filters and editing opportunities, as well as augmented reality functions in the form of Nokia City Lens. There’s also the notable PureView technology, for optical image stabilisation, and wireless charging capabilities so users can fuel their device via a charging mat or pad.

Despite a generous offering of internal storage, users can rest safe in the knowledge that an additional 7GB of SkyDrive storage is available should they come close to filling the device up.

Samsung Galaxy S III Mini

Samsung Galaxy SIII Mini

Key Features

  • 1GHz dual-core processor
  • Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system
  • 5 megapixel camera
  • 720p video recording
  • 4-inch Super AMOLED display
  • 16GB internal storage (with microSD support up to 32GB)
  • TouchWiz UI

Considering this devices display is the same size as the HTC Desire X’s, for a mid-range Android device the sharpness and clarity of colours is very impressive.  As a result, Google’s latest Android Jelly Bean software is very easy on the eye, as is Samsung’s intuitive TouchWiz user interface.

Although the S III Mini is pitched as a scaled down version of the Galaxy S III, don’t think for one moment that functionality has been compromised. Samsung has included a wealth of features that first debuted on the S III, including Pop-up-Play, which allows users to watch videos in a minimised window while multitasking, and SmartStay, which recognises the user’s eye movements and adjusts the screen brightness according to their gaze.

The camera is what we’d expect from a handset of this stature but houses a number of adjustable settings and shooting options including panorama and continuous shooting for the more creative photographers.

So, there we have it, HTC, Nokia and Samsung have placed three very different mid-range wares on the table this year. In the end it’ll all come down to personal preference but whichever one you opt for you’re guaranteed a generous helping of great features and functionalities, at a reasonable price.

Written by Sarah Hazelwood of Dialaphone, the home of all the latest mobiles on O2.

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