High-definition–it’s the big buzzword in consumer electronics nowadays, what with new models of TVs, notebooks, cameras, projectors, etc. that boast a display resolution of 1,280 x 720 pixels (720p), or 1,920 x 1,080 pixels (1080p) being launched every other day. So how can then cell phones be left behind from the action? An increasing number of users–with deep pockets, admittedly–are now on the lookout for high-end smartphones that can capture, display and output HD video.
The main reason driving the popularity of these HD phones is that more and more consumers are using their phones for video shoots. While the small displays of phones don’t require HD video capture, these videos are then often uploaded to internet and/or viewed over much larger displays such as laptops and TVs. That’s where HD quality becomes crucial.
Here is our pick of the top nine phones (arranged in the ascending order of prices) currently available in India that allow you to capture videos in 720p high-definition resolution.
What you get: Weighing 135gm, the Samsung Wave II is a full touch bar phone that can capture and play back high-definition videos on its 3.7-inch SUPER Clear LCD display. The screen, which renders an impressive resolution of 800 x 480 pixels, is much brighter and less reflective as compared to a typical TFT LCD display–ensuring that your on-the-go experience with photos, videos and games is loads of fun.
Users get access to the Samsung Apps store from where they can download multiple applications relating to health, games, lifestyle, e-books, etc. The phone provides an integrated one-page layout of your phone book contacts, instant messengers, e-mail, and social networking hotspots. What’s more, one can customize the layout as he deems fit, using four separate templates—Info, History, Activity and Media.
Running on the latest version (v1.2) of Samsung’s proprietary bada operating system, the S8530 facilitates fast and smooth Internet surfing, thanks to its powerful 1GHz processor. You also get a 5-megapixel VGA camera with auto-focus and LED flash. Other key features include GPRS, EDGE, 3G, Bluetooth 3.0, USB 2.0 and Wi-Fi, a 2GB memory (expandable to 32GB via a microSD card) and a Mobile Tracker app.
Our take: The Samsung Wave II is a multimedia powerhouse, combining its HD capabilities with an array of other features–all for a price of Rs. 19,000–making it the cheapest HD mobile phone presently selling in the Indian market.
Model: Wave II (S8530)
What you get: Running on the Android 2.1 operating system, the HTC Desire comes with a 3.7-inch AMOLED (Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode) touchscreen and the HTC Sense user interface. The display, with pinch-to-zoom capability, renders a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels–typically the sharpest mode found currently among cell phones (as you might recall, we are yet to see a phone with a genuine pixel-for-pixel high-definition screen). Also read: Blackberry Dacota with HD
Measuring 60 x 11.9 x 119mm (width x depth x height) and weighing 135gm with battery, the smartphone packs in a 5-megapixel color camera that can record videos in HD mode (720p, i.e. 1280 x 720 pixels). The camera offers handy features including auto focus, flash, widescreen photo capture and face detection capability.
The HTC Desire, powered by a fast 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU, gives users 576MB of RAM. To ensure that you don’t run out of storage capacity while viewing home movies or Bollywood blockbusters in HD, there is a built-in microSD card slot that lets you expand the device’s memory. The HD phone provides the standard multimedia features such as FM Radio, a multi-format audio and video player. Enjoy YouTube videos and other streaming Web content, thanks to the device’s support for Adobe Flash.
Other standout features include a 3.5mm stereo audio jack, 5-pin micro-USB 2.0 port, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1 with Enhanced Data Rate, downloadable apps from Android Market, and preloaded HTS widgets for calendar, clock, news, weather, social networking, etc.
A 1400 mAh rechargeable Lithium-ion battery promises talk time of up to 240 minutes and maximum standby time of 120 hours.
Our take: While we would have liked it to improve upon its rather short battery life and the AMOLED screen which is tough to view in sunlight, the HTC Desire is worth its Rs.22,699 price tag–packing large, high-resolution touchscreen, rich features, a slick user interface and lots of processing power, all into one HD mobile phone.
What you get: The N8, the first Nokia device based on the revamped Symbian OS, is, by far, the Finnish telecom giant’s best smartphone to date. Measuring 113.5 x 59 x 12.9mm (W x D x H) and weighing 135gm (including a 1200mAh Li-Ion battery), this phone packs in solid hardware with metallic finish and glass display. Also read: Mobile TV phones in India
You get a 3.5-inch, 16.7M color AMOLED capacitive touchscreen (aspect ratio of 16:9), as well as a top-notch 12MP camera with Xenon flash and Carl Zeiss optics. The camera is equipped to capture video in high-definition (720p) mode. What’s more, the phone can broadcast on-demand TV in HD too! And to enhance the multimedia experience further, Nokia has preinstalled Dolby Digital Plus technology into the device. For those of you keen on enjoying videos in compatible HD-ready devices (TV, projector, etc.), the Nokia N8 provides an HDMI-output port. This 3G-ready cell phone comes with 16GB of internal memory which can be increased to up to 32GB via a microSD card.
Other salient functionalities include support for gaming, free voice-guided navigation across more than 70 countries, FM Radio, downloadable apps from Ovi Store, High-Speed USB 2.0 and Bluetooth 3.0. The smartphone is touted to offer up to 50 hours of music playback time in offline mode.
Our take: The Nokia N8 does have a couple of drawbacks–it offers a QWERTY keyboard only in landscape mode, and there’s no user-replaceable battery either. However, this Symbian 3-based phone is a great HD phone to have, considering its superb HD capture, an absolutely brilliant camera, excellent multimedia features, good call quality and battery life–not to mention a much improved user interface, as compared to previous Nokia smartphones. And we like its solid Nokia-ish build quality too.
Price: Rs. 23,000
What you get: Based on the Android 2.2 (Froyo) operating system, the HTC Desire HD sports a massive 4.3-inch touch-sensitive display (800 x 480 pixels) with pinch-to-zoom capability–ensuring that watching videos, games, websites, music and apps on the screen is amazing fun.
The smartphone, which also comes with the HTC Sense UI, gives you an 8MP color camera with dual LED flash and autofocus that can record videos at 720p (HD) resolution. The shooter is equipped with advanced features such as face detection capability and geo-tagging (tagging of pictures and videos with information on their geographic location).
The device is compatible with standards outlined by the DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance, a consortium of nearly 250 electronics manufacturers that make products which can interact with each other). What this means for users is that they can wirelessly stream songs, videos or photos from the HTC Desire HD to other DLNA devices–including PCs, TVs. Other key multimedia functionalities include FM Radio and a multi-format audio and video player. Powered by a 1GHz processor, the phone has Dolby Mobile and SRS virtual surround sound capabilities, enriching you’re audio experience. The HTC Desire HD is priced Rs 25,000 in India. Related: Top camera phones in India
Weighing 164gm with battery and measuring 68 x 11.8 x 123m (W x D x H), this cell phone offers 768MB of RAM and on-board memory of 1.5GB, which can be enhanced through a microSD memory card slot.
From a security point of view, too, the HTC Desire HD is quite impressive. All one needs to do is to register at HTCSense.com, and voila, he can remotely track the device, forward calls to another phone number–and even swiftly lock and wipe out personal data on the phone.
Connectivity options on this 3G-enabled phone include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR. Preloaded HTC apps, support for social networking and Adobe Flash, an eBook reader are some of the other cool features. A 1230mAh rechargeable Li-ion battery is claimed to deliver up to 4 hours of talktime and standby time of up to 120 hours.
Our take: We would have loved the HTC Desire HD, among other things, to offer video calling and a longer battery life. Still, this device, thanks to its impressive array of hardware and software specifications, is a great option for those looking for an advanced Android smartphone that can record videos in high-definition mode.
Model: Desire HD
Price: Rs. 25,000
What you get: The Samsung I9000, popularly known as the Galaxy S, is a bar-shaped, full touch phone based on the Android 2.2 (Froyo) operating system. It sports a 4-inch Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, which has a native resolution of 800 x 480 pixels. The device gives you a 5MP camera (with autofocus and digital zoom) that can capture videos in high-definition (720p) mode @ 30 frames per second. And yes, you can enjoy video calling on this device!
Certified as HD-capable by DivX, this Samsung smartphone–driven by a fast 1GHz ARM Cortex A8 processor–conforms to DLNA standards, allowing you to connect and share media (videos, songs, etc.) wirelessly between the phone and compatible televisions, computers and other DLNA-enabled devices. Expect internal memory of 16GB, with an option to expand it through a microSD card slot. It is not exactly cheap though, considering its rather high price of Rs 27,000 in India.
Measuring 64 x 9.9 x 122.4 (W x D x H) and weighing 118gm, the Galaxy S comes with a so-called TouchWiz 3.0 user interface, which lets users customize the homescreens on the phone and integrate all their social networking contacts into one widget.
Another highlight is a preloaded Layar Reality Browser, powered by Tele Atlas and Google, which enables you to record your surroundings with the phone camera and gain an instant POI (point of interest) view of the street–such as address, phone number, price listings and other information of the POI.
Apart from Bluetooth 3.0 and Wi-Fi, the phone offers connectivity option via a unique Wireless Tethering app that gets you hooked onto the Web via 3G in parks, cafes or inside a car–basically, places where Internet connections are not usually supported. The device’s built-in browser supports Adobe Flash.
A 1,500mAh battery promises talk time of 803 minutes and 393 minutes in 3G and 2G mode, respectively.
Our take: Samsung Galaxy S is the most popular smartphone in our office! While the lack of a camera flash and a one-day battery life rankle a bit, the Samsung Galaxy S (I9000) has too many pluses for us not to get bowled over. Quite simply, this is a superb Android smartphone–combining a huge 4-inch Super AMOLED screen with an impressively fast CPU, solid HD-enabled camera and an intuitive user interface.
Model: Galaxy S (I9000)
Price: Rs. 27,000
What you get: A high-end smartphone based on Android 2.1 OS, the Milestone XT720’s standout feature is its 8MP camera (with Xenon flash) which can capture videos in high-definition mode (720p). And you can play these HD videos on a HDTV via a conventional HDMI cable, which comes with the phone kit.
Sporting a dimension of 60.9 x 10.9 x 115.95mm (W x D x H) and weighing 160gm, this Motorola device has a 3.7-inch touchscreen that renders a resolution of 854×480 pixels. There is no physical keypad, however.
The ergonomically designed phone offers a smooth user interface which can be customized (e.g. creating shortcuts for quick access to Facebook and Twitter) through preloaded widgets. Another cool feature is a “magnifying glass” option for text fields that enables you to zoom in to selected text using your thumbs!
Users also get an audio player, multi-format video player, FM radio and access to Google’s ‘Android Market’ apps store. The Milestone XT720 comes with 512MB ROM and 256MB RAM, with a microSD card slot allowing users to expand the phone’s memory to 32GB. Connectivity options on this 3G-ready phone include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1 and USB.
The Motorola Milestone XT720 promises up to 540 minutes of talk time for 2G usage and 270 minutes, when used on 3G networks.
Our take: The Motorola Milestone XT720 is not perfect, for sure, given its highly reflective screen and a sluggish feel to the menus. But, to give credit where it’s due, this Android smartphone–with its HD video recording, HDMI output, sleek design and brilliant camera–won’t leave you regretting splashing out Rs. 27,000.
Model: Milestone XT720
Price: Rs. 27,000
What you get: Running on Microsoft’s latest Windows Phone 7 operating system, the HTC HD7 packs in a 4.3-inch capacitive touchscreen (800 x 480 pixels) with pinch-to-zoom capability. A 5MP camera (with dual LED flash and autofocus) is equipped to record videos in 720p HD resolution. Enjoy all your favorite HD videos hands free, thanks to a built-in kickstand.
Powered by a 1GHz Qualcomm MSM8250 processor, this HTC newbie delivers big time on the acoustic front, with a Sound Enhancer app generating virtual surround sound and equalizer sound effects. A preinstalled ‘Zune PC’ feature wirelessly, and automatically, syncs the phone with the song, video and podcast catalogues on users’ PCs–whenever they charge the phone while on their home networks. Expect built-in FM Radio, multi-format audio and video player, and integration with Xbox LIVE (ensuring access to console-quality video games). Also read: 16 MP camera phones coming up
Measuring 68 x 11.2 x 122mm (W x D x H) and weighing 162gm with battery, the HTC HD7 offers access to the HTC Hub, which lets users browse apps and mark them. Plus, you get several preloaded apps relating to diverse areas, including weather, stock markets, notes, etc. An interesting widget, called “Flashlight”, converts the device into an LED flashlight with 3 brightness levels!
Offering 576MB of RAM and 16GB internal storage, the 3G-enabled phone is compatible with Bluetooth 2.1 (with EDR) and Wi-Fi. Expect quick access to social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook.
A 1230 mAh rechargeable Lithium-ion battery is touted to deliver talk time of up to 6 hours in WCDMA network and up to 6.3 hours in GSM network.
Our take: The HTC HD7 doesn’t provide an option to expand memory. Also, its speaker is weak. But that doesn’t take anything away from this solidly built Windows Phone 7 device, which offers HD video capture capability along with a huge touchscreen, excellent multimedia and gaming features, an integrated kickstand and full wireless options.
Price: Rs. 29,990
What you get: The Motorola Milestone XT800, which has just been launched in India and is being exclusively distributed by AirTyme Communications throughout the country, is India’s first Android-based dual-SIM (GSM+CDMA touchscreen smartphone.
Based on the Android 2.1 OS, the device captures/plays back/streams HD video on its 3.7-inch, pinch-to-zoom capacitive touch display (854 x 480 pixels). You can enjoy high-definition videos on a compatible television set, thanks to an HDMI (720p) output port provided in the phone. The phone comes with a 2GB microSD card, and users have the option of expanding the memory to 32GB.
Other highlights include a multi-format audio and video player; a 5MP camera with digital-zoom, autofocus, dual LED flash; preloaded GPS satellite navigation with Google Maps, as well as Bluetooth 2.0+EDR, USB 2.0, Wi-Fi for wireless connectivity.
Model: Milestone XT800
Price: Rs. 31,999
What you get: The much heralded successor to the iPhone 3GS, the iPhone 4 is Apple’s best iPhone to date, combining a stunning design with tons of new features, a much improved camera and a simply spectacular screen.
Weighing 137gm and measuring 58.6 x 9.3 x 115.2mm (W x D x H), the iPhone 4 comes with two cameras–while the front-facing one can click your self-portraits in VGA quality at up to 30fps, a 5MP camera with built-in LED flash and an advanced backside illumination sensor records videos in HD (720p) @ up to 30fps. Must read: Dual core Snapdragon smartphones soon
Turn into a film editor, with a brand new built-in app called ‘iMovie’, involving Apple-designed themes, titles and transitions, letting you edit and create your own mini-magnum opus. Play back the HD videos on a 3.5-inch multi-touch retina display (800:1 contrast ratio) that renders an insanely high resolution of 960 x 640 pixels! An ‘AirPlay’ option enables users to wirelessly stream songs, images and video from the phone to Apple TV and AirPlay-compatible speakers or receivers. The iPhone 4 comes in two configurations, with buyers having the option of going in for a 16GB or 32GB flash drive.
Running on an improved iOS 4 operating system (with useful software enhancements), the phone’s user interface is amazingly easy to use. A really powerful processor facilitates smooth multitasking. Using a so-called ‘FaceTime’ feature, you can enjoy video calling over Wi-Fi–albeit only with other iPhone 4 devices.
Other salient features include quick access to Apple’s iconic App Store; a free-to-download eBook reader called ‘iBooks’; multiformat music and video player; preloaded Safari web browser; Maps and Compass; Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR.
A Lithium-ion battery is claimed to deliver talk time of up to 14 hours on 2G and 420 minutes on 3G.
Our take: The iPhone 4 feels heavier than it is, and the network signal drops when one holds it in a certain position–not to mention its expensive price tag . But this Apple justifies its billing as the top-selling smartphone globally, thanks to an unbelievably large screen resolution, remarkably easy-to-use features, an impressive battery life, HD camera, multitasking support and loads of amazing apps.
Model: iPhone 4
Price: Approx. Rs.38,000 (16GB ); Rs.45,000 (32GB)