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2013-10-19 11:00

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Mid-range smartphones offer much the same technology as their pricey counterparts, for a lot less moola.

Huawei Ascend P6

The Chinese company pitches the P6 as their best offering. At a glance it looks a little like an iPhone, just thinner (the world’s slimmest smartphone at 6.18mm). It might lack the premium build quality of an Apple, but it matches many of its Android rivals and runs on Android’s 4.2 Jelly Bean OS.

The excellent camera includes a face-smoothing function, 4cm macro mode and a superb 5MP front-facing camera for good-quality selfies.

Features that count: 4.7” 1 280 x 720 pixel 315 ppi display, 8 GB capacity with MicroSD. Pity about Navigation is not as smooth as rivals.

Price R5 300

www.huawei.co.za

Sony Xperia M

Sony Mobile’s top-of-the-range Xperia Z is awesome, but at half the price you can get the slightly smaller Xperia M with the same features, including TV mirroring (phone screen displayed on your TV) and the Walkman function with superb sound quality.

The CyberShot-like interface snaps painlessly. It’s all built on Google’s Android OS, offering a massive app selection and easy syncing with Gmail and Google calendar.

Features that count: 4” FWVGA 245ppi display, 4GB internal storage expandable with MicroSD slot, 5MP fast capture camera.Pity about Not as fast as its bigger brother.

Price R3 500

www.sony-mobile.co.za

Blackberry Q5 smartphone

There’s been a lot of hoo-hah about the new touchscreen Z10 with BlackBerry 10 OS – a ‘fluid’ interface allowing smooth navigation between apps.

The highlight is the Hub, which pulls together all emails, messages and social media into one inbox. But not everyone has embraced the touchscreen experience and BlackBerry still makes two models with full QWERTY keyboards. This is the value version that’s still a big step up from the old Curve.

Features that count: BBM, 3.1” display, 4G, 5MP camera with Full HD video. Pity about BBM stays, but you’re now paying by the megabyte.

Price R4 500

www.blackberry.co.za

Nokia Lumia 520

Microsoft’s new Windows 8 operating system is said to work seamlessly across all platforms, from desktop PCs to mobile phones.

Nokia punts their flagship Lumia 925, and it is superb, but at a fraction of the cost the Lumia 520 is a full-feature smartphone. The display is not quite as sharp and the processor a little slower, but it could be the new favourite.

Features that count: Full Windows 8, 8GB internal storage (expandable), 4” 235 ppi display. Pity about No forward facing camera for video Skype, no NFC, no camera flash.

Price R2 500

www.nokia.co.za

Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini

The S4 Mini, as you’d guess, is the smaller version of the Galaxy S4 and, in some ways, better. The flagship’s 5” display is too big for some and the scaled down Mini is easier to pocket and operate.

Most of the best features remain, and while the processor has been downgraded, you’d have to run it hard to notice the difference.

Features that count: 4.3” 960x540 sAMOLED display, excellent 8MP camera (back) and 1.9MP (front), 4G data speeds, MicroSD card. Pity about Screen is not full HD.

Price R5 500

www.samsung.co.za

*Prices are estimated retail values and are subject to change

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