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BOSTON — One of the reasons Android phones have become popular is the choice they offer: Want a big screen? There’s a phone for you. Want cheap? There’s one for you, too.
New phones from Sony and LG continue that trend. Although I personally find their distinctive features unnecessary, consumers looking for those specific attributes will welcome them.
Sony’s Xperia Z1s is a waterproof phone with a high-megapixel camera, while LG’s G Flex has a curved screen that offers a better fit for phone calls.
Sony’s Xperia Z1s
Xperia Z1s, Sony Corp. ($528, contract-free, through T-Mobile only):
The 5-inch Z1s stands out in two ways: It’s waterproof, meaning you can dunk it in water up to 4.5 feet deep for a half-hour. And the camera’s 20.7-megapixel resolution is higher than that of most phones, which means sharper photos when blown up or printed.
Sony also packs the phone with several camera apps that can be useful — when they work.
The waterproofing should give you some comfort using the phone in the rain or taking a selfie in the pool, as long as you keep the ports covered with the attached plastic seals.
The camera’s high-megapixel count means more details get stored, which is important for cropping and printing. However, megapixel is just one factor. At the U.S. figure skating championships in Boston over the weekend, photos of skaters from my nose-bleed seats came out average for a phone.
The camera’s Social Live app lets you stream 10-minute video clips live on Facebook. You can choose who can view them, though it doesn’t recognize groups you have curated on Facebook.
Another app, called Info-eye, gets you more information about a book, wine bottle or landmark after you snap a photo of it.
The Z1s catches up to Apple’s iPhone 5S in two ways: You can snap up to 10 shots per second in a burst mode, and you can see how an Instagram-like special effect will look before you snap the shot. There’s also a Timeshift Burst app that lets you snap even more shots — 61 in 2 seconds.