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Gadgets & Home Improvement

Get the 4G edge

The new iPhone 5 is Apple's first Long Term Evolution (also known as 4G) phone, but not the first such gizmo to hit stores.
The Business Times - September 15, 2012
By: Christopher Lim
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Get the 4G edge Apple iPhone 5

Apple iPhone 5
$948-$1,238 depending on storage, without contract

Although Apple's sleek new iPhone 5 will only start selling here next Friday, it's already available for pre-order, and a draw for speed-hungry mobile surfers here is that it will work with telcos' LTE networks here. That wasn't the case for the new iPad, so Apple fans will rejoice.

The phone hasn't been demo-ed to BT yet, but based on available information, it will be an evolutionary improvement over its predecessor, the iPhone 4S, sporting a similar camera and no drastically new abilities.

But it's thinner and lighter. And the camera is covered with sapphire glass - the same stuff used on watches - to shield it from scratches. The biggest improvement is the 4-inch touchscreen, which keeps the width and sharpness of the iPhone 4S screen while increasing the length.

And the biggest caveat is that the iPhone 5 sports a new Lightning dock connector that's compact but completely different from Apple's ubiquitous older cables.

With pricing remaining at iPhone 4S levels, the iPhone 5 looks like a no-brainer for those still hanging on to an iPhone 4, and still seems to have what it takes to lure shoppers amid fierce competition from Android phones sporting huge screens and exhaustive specifications. There's still no expandable storage, so pricing remains pegged to gigabytes, at $948 for 16GB, $1,088 for 32GB and $1,238 for 64GB, without contract.

The iPhone 5 will be available from Friday, Sept 21.

LG Optimus True HD LTE
$898 without contract

The first LTE phone to hit stores here was actually LG's Optimus True HD LTE in June, and even though it's had some of its glamour stolen by the new Optimus G announced last month, it's still competitive and at least it's already here, whereas there's no news when the Optimus G will land.

The Optimus True HD LTE (left) is also the most affordable LTE phone on the market without chaining yourself to a contract. And its 4.5-inch touchscreen is a bit sharper than its larger competitors. They all boast the same 720p HD resolution, so the bigger the screen, the more spaced out and jagged all those pixels get. In fact, on paper, at least, the Optimus True HD LTE is as sharp as the iPhone 5's while being slightly larger, although there's more to screen than its specifications and the iPhone 5 hasn't been demo-ed to BT yet.

HTC One XL
$998 without contract

HTC's non-LTE One X is more price-competitive ($100 cheaper) than the regular Samsung Galaxy S III, but the same thing can't be said for both companies' LTE models.

The HTC One XL (above) is only dual core, and the Google Android 4.0 software it comes with is hefty enough that the absence of two additional processor cores is noticeable even during casual use.

Considering that it retails for as much as the considerably more capable - and more up to date, in terms of software - Samsung Galaxy S III LTE, it's hard to recommend the One XL, beautiful 4.7-inch HD touchscreen notwithstanding.

The HTC One XL is available now.

Samsung Galaxy S III LTE
$998 without contract

The regular and LTE versions of Samsung's flagship Galaxy S III are the same price, which gives the LTE version a psychological edge when going against some of its competitors.

As with the standard S III, the S III LTE (left and below) is powered by a quad-core processor, and comes with a massive 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED touchscreen.

A big draw for the S III LTE is that it is set to come with the latest version of Android, 4.1, also known as Jelly Bean. The standard S III will only be upgraded to Jelly Bean next month.

The Galaxy S III LTE will be available by the end of the month.

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