Unlocked/International

 

We realize that a significant portion of AnandTech readers aren’t located in the USA, and to that extent want to also cover some of the international and unlocked phones that are potentially on smartphone shopping lists this holiday season. It’d be completely disingenuous if we had a myopic, USA-centric world view, and we’re actively working on getting a more international spread of devices whenever possible that’s of interest to everyone.

With companies like HTC, most of that is pretty easy. The Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer generally spins a particular piece of hardware in multiple varieties for specific markets, keeping the general reference design unchanged. For example, we have the HTC Desire, which is almost the same as the Nexus One, and the HTC Desire HD, which is a mildly updated version of the HD2/HD7/EVO 4G.

The most prominent international smartphone carrier of course is Nokia. Our top picks there are the N900 which can be had unlocked for around $330 unlocked, which runs Maemo 5 and MeeGo. We reviewed the N900 and loved the freedom of having real Linux running on a smartphone. The other awesome choice from the Finnish smartphone powerhouse is the Nokia N8, which we’re currently in possession of and in the process of reviewing. Although we’re not finished, the hardware itself is awesome - anodized aluminum all over, 12 megapixel camera with real Carl Zeiss glass optics, and a pentaband UMTS baseband. Though Symbian is showing its age, the N8 is an otherwise awesome device, and can be had for $530 unlocked. We’ve also looked at the Nokia E5 previously, but it looks like a sidestep from its excellent predecessor, the E72. You can find the E72 for less than the E5, so if you're looking for a Symbian-based BlackBerry alternative, the E72 is probably the way to go.

If you’re on a budget and want an Android 2.2 phone, the other option which has seen a lot of success recently is the LG Optimus One, which we also have and are in the process of reviewing. The Optimus One is a solid little device, packing a 3 megapixel camera sans flash, Android 2.2, HVGA capacitive display, and one of Qualcomm’s newer SoCs with an Adreno 205. Though it isn’t the speediest hardware on the block or the most flashy, the Optimus One is an admirable mass market device with a lot of potential, and we can certainly understand why they sold more than a million in the first 40 days.

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  • TareX - Saturday, December 4, 2010 - link

    Actually, I think the best advice is to wait, since the new generation of dual-core smartphones is less than a month away. The era of HD flash-acceleration and dramatic battery life improvement is upon us.

    Nexus S vs Motorola Olympus
    Reply
  • enealDC - Saturday, December 4, 2010 - link

    I partly agree with you. Manufacturers and re/e-tailiers are trying to get rid of the previous gen smartphones. Even the great ones like the EVO before the next-gen phones and platforms arrive. But I don't see the promised land quite yet. Battery life will improve, but marginally and as always, users will have to decide what devices provides them their own suitable balance of performance and power consumption. Reply
  • Marvel soniya - Thursday, July 11, 2013 - link

    I can provide smartphone APQ451W+ at only USD129.0, it is Quad core ,MOQ is 5K, without sample on hand .
    Another new model APB401W+ at only USD68.0, it is Dual core, using public housing, MOQ 3K .
    Marvel Electronics Limited
    Phone: 86-13058001063
    Fax: 0755-8318 7023-639
    E-mail: soniya.huang@marvelelectronics.com
    MSN: soniya.huang@hotmail.com
    Skype: soniya.marvelelectronics
    Website: www.marvelelectronics.com.hk
    Reply
  • StormyParis - Saturday, December 4, 2010 - link

    The best advice is *always* to wait. Technology in general, mobiles in particular, are obsolete 6 months after they came out.

    Unless something revolutionnary comes out (in my case, it would be a dock that morphs my phone into a very basic PC), I'll be getting a slightly outdated smartphone that fits my needs (huge screen, good sound, android) for a bargain, instead.
    Reply
  • vol7ron - Saturday, December 4, 2010 - link

    All comments pretty much on point, though it's not 6 months, I'd say it's closer to 9. Huge hardware revisions every year (like the iPhone) and by "obsolete", I'm sure you did not literally mean obsolete.

    I'd still like an infrared transmitter on my phone so I could control the damn TV and DVD player.

    My smartphone wishlist:
    - infrared transmitter
    - pico projector
    - better sound
    - larger screen (we bought the smartphone for a reason, if we didn't need the screen real-estate, we would be using mini phones).

    My iPhone wishlist:
    - same as above, but seriously, how many times are you going to refute Flash? Jobs has a personal vendetta that he's letting get in the way. If the new iPhone does not have flash come next July, I'm switching over.
    - better software
    Reply
  • azmodean - Monday, December 6, 2010 - link

    > My smartphone wishlist:
    > - infrared transmitter

    I'm always confused from an engineering standpoint that every portable device with a half-way decent interface doesn't have an IR transmitter. We're talking literally a few cents of additional hardware, though admittedly designing around one more conveniently placed component in a phone enclosure may be non-trivial.

    But then I put my cynical business-person hat on and I realize that they want remote control of your devices to be a "premium feature", and they haven't figured out how to make that a reality yet, so you get nothing.

    Wonder how small I can make an IR emitter that attaches via micro-usb...
    Reply
  • iannet - Sunday, December 12, 2010 - link

    The Nokia N900 has a IR port, and it also has a great UI. I have one and love it. It even has better integration with Google Talk than Android; GTalk Voice and Video chat are supported by the built-in chat software. Reply
  • TareX - Sunday, December 5, 2010 - link

    Yeah you see but "waiting" now -as the best advice- is different than "waiting" for better technology in general.

    I mean, these coming few weeks, stores and carriers will want to get rid of all heir old-gen hardware before the new gen rolls (Tegra 2, Orion...etc)

    We're talking about a leap in battery life, performance, and general capabilities in mobile phones. The worst time to buy a current gen phone is when the new gen is days away (unless you're looking for the best price).
    Reply
  • blueboy_10 - Thursday, December 23, 2010 - link

    Totally agreed. Why the hell get an Android phone now when you can get the lastest cutting-edge tech for a smartphone just mere months away. IMO, I wouldn't waste $200 on an Android phone, and then shell out another $200-250 for another phone 6 months down the road. Just doesn't make sense, but if I'm not tech-savvy, then I guess these phones will do. Just my 2 cents. - BLUEBOY Reply
  • Marvel soniya - Thursday, July 11, 2013 - link

    I can provide smartphone APQ451W+ at only USD129.0, it is Quad core ,MOQ is 5K, without sample on hand .
    Another new model APB401W+ at only USD68.0, it is Dual core, using public housing, MOQ 3K .
    Marvel Electronics Limited
    Phone: 86-13058001063
    Fax: 0755-8318 7023-639
    E-mail: soniya.huang@marvelelectronics.com
    MSN: soniya.huang@hotmail.com
    Skype: soniya.marvelelectronics
    Website: www.marvelelectronics.com.hk
    Reply

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