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AP Reviews New Smartphones: New IPhones And More

â¿¿ Anick Jesdanun, AP Technology Writer

XPERIA Z, SONY CORP.

The Xperia Z mostly catches up with offerings from Samsung and HTC, but one feature stands out: Its water-resistant shell means you can submerge the phone at least 3 feet deep for up to 30 minutes. Making water resistance a standard feature is something more phone makers should adopt as phones become companions to our active lives. Sony also enhances Google's Android system, without overly cluttering the phone. Enhancements include battery-saving features. The Xperia also brings a lot of features from Sony's stand-alone Cyber-shot cameras, while letting you highlight only the ones you actually need. Sony's new phone offering is impressive for a company better known for TVs, cameras and game machines.

â¿¿ Anick Jesdanun, AP Technology Writer

GALAXY NOTE 3, SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS CO.

Samsung is giving its latest Galaxy Note smartphone a stylish makeover. The Note 3 has a soft, leather-like back. It feels like you're holding a fancy leather-bound journal. Grooves on the side of the big-screen phone make it easier to grip. But the new phone is complicated to use. There's too much going on. Between Scrapbook, My Magazine, Air Command and dozens of other functions, it might take even the most experienced smartphone user several hours to figure out. Once you get past that, though, you get new features such as the ability to quickly access the calculator, clock and other apps simply by drawing a box on the screen with the included stylus. The display measures 5.7 inches diagonally. That's larger than the Note 2, yet the new phone is lighter and thinner.

â¿¿ Joseph Pisani, AP Business Writer

GALAXY MEGA, SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS CO.

The Mega shouldn't even be called a phone, if it weren't for the fact that it makes phone calls. With a screen measuring 6.3 inches diagonally, the Mega is more like a small Android tablet computer. It shares the tablet's advantages in showing more detail in photos and video. Text is larger and easier to read, too. You can read small print on websites without zooming in, and you make fewer mistakes when trying to click on buttons and links. That doesn't make the Mega practical, though, for many people. It's huge and difficult to grip tightly. It could appeal to those who are willing to carry along a tablet computer but don't want to carry a second device â¿¿ the phone. For everyone else, small is the way to go.

â¿¿ Anick Jesdanun, AP Technology Writer

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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