CES 2013: Going Beyond Retina With Superphones

Screen shot 2012-12-16 at 8.49.54 PMOne trend is becoming clear at CES this year—the emergence of a new breed of Superphones. What is a Superphone, you ask?

Let’s start with the smartphone that started this madness trend. Samsung launched the Galaxy Note with a massive 5.3 inch screen in late 2011 to an awed but skeptic market.

The blogosphere largely ignored the ”phablet”. But 10 millions units sold later, Samsung knew it had a hit on its hands. Samsung followed up with the Galaxy Note II, released late last year and it has already sold more than 5 millions units world-wide.

Although Samsung solely invented the ginormous-screen smartphone market, they haven’t yet create a Superphone. The Galaxy Note II’s screen resolution of only 1280×720 means its pixel density is only measured at a paltry 267 pixel-per-inch (ppi) on a 5.5 inch display. The iPhone’s screen in comparison is measured at a much higher 326ppi. However, Apple’s iPhone 5 could never be a Superphone with its minuscule 4 inch screen.

At CES this year, a slew of largely Chinese manufacturers have clearly defined this market space of super-high-res and super-size smartphones. These Superphones pack a minimum screen size of 5-inch and a full HD (1920×1080) screen panel to match. The pixel density goes up as high as 441 ppi on these behemoths. Some of these Superphone’s screens move into near-tablet territory. Let’s look of these giant behemoths shall we?

Oppo Find 5

oppo-find-5-2012-12-10

The Oppo Find 5 was actually released late last year in Beijing, so it technically shouldn’t be on this list! However it is the first Superphone to be on the market. Equipped with a 5 inch full HD screen, the Oppo Find 5 one of the highest ppi screens available, period. The 13 megapixel camera sensor is able to capture high speed bust shot and video recording. You can buy it now, but only if you live in China.

Essential Specs:

  • OS: Android Jelly Bean 4.1.2
  • Display: 5″ 1080p @ 441 ppi
  • Processor: Qualcomm’s quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro APQ8064
  • Memory: 2GB
  • Storage: up to 32GB
  • Camera: 13MP w/HDR
  • Battery: 2,500mAh

Huawei Ascend D2

Huawei Ascend D2

Believe it or not, the Ascend D2 is actually a middle option from Huawei! The Ascend D2 has the display spec like the Oppo at 5 inch full HD. Huawei actually used the phrase “Super Retina” to describe the display of this phone. They can expect a call from Apple next week.

Highlights of the Ascend D2 include a mammoth capacity battery rated at 3000mAH. It uses Huawei’s own processor, a quad-core 1.5GHz K3V3 CPU. The phone is scheduled for Q1 2013 in China and Japan first.

Essential Specs:

  • OS: Android Jelly Bean
  • Display: 5″ 1080p @ 441 ppi
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro
  • Memory: 2GB
  • Storage: up to 32GB
  • Camera: 13MP BSI
  • Batter: 3,000 mAH

Huawei Ascend Mate

economictimes2

image credit – economictimes.com

I was going to use a press photo of the Huawei Ascend Mate, but it won’t do this phone’s gargantuan size any justice. So I present to you the mothership of Superphones. Huawei CEO said even with the 6.1 inch screen of this phone, it can still be use “comfortably” with one hand. Maybe if you’re Yao Ming.

Don’t get excited so fast, though. The display resolution of this monster is downgraded to 720p and the main camera is down to 8MP. So technically, this is not a Superphone.  The battery is rated at 4050 mAh. The Nexus 7 from Asus has a battery capacity at 4325 mAh in comparison.

Essential Specs:

  • OS: Android Jelly Bean 4.1.2
  • Display: 6.1″ 720p @ 240 ppi
  • Processor: quad-core 1.5GHz K3V3 CPU
  • Memory: 2GB
  • Storage: 16GB
  • Camera: 8MP BSI
  • Batter: 4,050mAH

Vizio’s Latest Smartphone

viso

image credit – engadget.com

Vizio, known for making budget TVs, is now also a PC and smartphone maker. They have shown some prototype of Android phones last year, but it looks like they will ship their first entries this year.

This unnamed 5 incher with full HD display will make it similar to other Superphones on this list. It’s also one of the few Superphones that include an microSD slot. Although the onboard 32GB storage size is plenty large already.

Essential Specs:

  • OS: Android Jelly Bean
  • Display: 5″ 1080p @ 441 ppi
  • Processor: dual-core Qualcomm SoC
  • Memory: 2GB
  • Storage: 32GB + MicroSD
  • Camera: 8MP
  • Batter: no info

Sony Xperia Z

xperia-z-water-tankz

Sony’s re-entry into the mobile phone market hasn’t taken off to a good start, but this high end water-friendly Superphone will attempt to change that.

The camera sensor is similar to the unit used in the Oppa Find 5. But it can capture bust image at a faster 10fps at 9MP. Sony is planning to launch the device world wide in Q1 2013.

Essential Specs:

  • OS: Android Jelly Bean
  • Display: 5″ 1080p @ 441 ppi
  • Processor: dual-core Qualcomm SoC
  • Memory: 2GB
  • Storage: 32GB + MicroSD
  • Camera: 13MP  Exmor R
  • Batter: 2,330 mAH

ZTE Grand S

zte-grand-s

ZTE is the fourth largest mobile phone manufacturer surpassing HTC only last year.

As for the specs, you know the drill: standard 5 incher, with full HD. Nothing special in term of the “Superphone.” But this phone will probably outsell every phone on this list due to the fact of ZTE’s wider distribution.

Essential Specs:
 
  • OS: Android Jelly Bean 4.1
  • Display: 5″ 1080p @ 441 ppi
  • Processor: 1.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro
  • Memory: 2GB
  • Storage: 16GB
  • Camera: 13MP
  • Batter: 1,780 mAH

Lenovo K900

Lenovo K900

image credit – engadget.com

This incredible Lenovo K900 is truly a Superphone. In fact, Intel coined the term ”Superphone” for it’s Medfield chip platform.

The Lenovo K900 is equipped with Intel’s spanking new Atom Clover Trail+ running at 2GHz. This is the first Android device to run on an x86 architect chip. The same chip architecture that powered Microsoft Windows for that last couple of decades. The Clovertrail+ chip in this phone is power efficient, but still more powerful than ARM chips.

What’s more important is that it’ll be available in all kinds of luxury decors such as gold-plated, silver-plated, and diamond-grooved backs. You can totally bling with this phone and still have the most powerful phone in the world.

No word, however, on what Android variant will be on this phone. There’s hasn’t yet been a public demo of how well Android is optimized for x86. Also, current android apps will need to be re-worked for x86, so this phone might start out with zero apps. Lots of questions still linger for this mysterious phone.

Intel targets an April release date for China and later in the year for India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Russia and the Philippines. Why is it that the countries east of the Pacific always get the better stuff?

Essential Specs:
  • OS: Android Jelly Bean 4.1
  • Display: 5.5″ 1080p @ 411 ppi
  • Processor:  2GHz Atom Clover Trail+ Z2580
  • Memory: 2GB
  • Storage: 16GB
  • Camera: 13MP
  • Battery: no info
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