Top 5 phones for video

About The Author

CNET Editor

Joe capitalises on a life-long love of blinking lights and upbeat MIDI soundtracks covering the latest developments in smartphones and tablet computers. When not ruining his eyesight staring at small screens, Joe ruins his eyesight playing video games and watching movies. Twitter: @Joseph_Hanlon

Finding time to catch up with your favourite movies and TV shows can be tough, especially when you have boring things like work to do every day. But with the right phone, you can turn your daily commute into a trip to the cinema.

Basically, all of the phones we've reviewed in the past few years are able to play videos, so how do we pick the best? Screen size and resolution is a major consideration. Also, the more powerful the processor, the higher the quality of video that can be played. That said, it's worth noting that the highest-resolution phone screens only go up to 720p, so 1080p content will always be downscaled when watching movies on the move, anyway.

The other major consideration involves the types of files that a phone is capable of playing. Most phones will play MP4 and H.264 files types, but not all videos are delivered in these codecs. The best phones go farther, offering the capability to play a wider selection of videos, including DivX and XviD files, and, in some cases, the MKV media container. The Korean manufacturers are ahead here, with Samsung and LG offering the best file support in our experience.

You'll notice that the iPhone is absent from this list. Although we recognise that there are many iPhone owners happily watching videos during their commute, we just don't see it as being the best device for this purpose. Despite its reasonably high resolution, It's 3.5-inch screen is way too small, and its file recognition is limited.

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Will1505 posted a comment   

I'm kinda surprised with this, i've gone through a few reviews and they say that even though the Note and the S2 have the same sensor, the S2 records a little better. The microphone on the Note is apparently a little sensitive.

On another note, i am shocked the Iphone isn't here. Trust me i'm not a fan boy but everywhere i have seen, the iphone's video seems to be better than others, not the camera but the video.

Happy to see the nexus there. Proves that good optics and a good sensor beats higher MP any day of the week


Joseph Hanlon posted a reply   

We're actually coming at this from a different angle, looking for phones that are great for consuming video on, not creating. That's a great idea for a feature though....


ArdnibanI posted a reply   

then title should be for 'video playback'


Stu posted a comment   

The great Phone to bad you can only use Vodafone.


studley posted a comment   

I appreciate cnet reviews,always found when contemplating a new device,to be reliable ,informative,and on the whole accurate,thanx


Tungsten posted a comment   

For viewing media on the device as opposed to on a larger screen, surely the HTC HD2 should be on this list. The number of file formats that can be played will no doubt beat any of the other phones listed here, and it's a nice big 4.3" display to boot. I've watched many films/shows on my HD2 and enjoyed the experience.


GordonW1 posted a reply   

AHAHA, with you on that, except for the little problem with not being able to play "HD" files due to the single core vs dual core processors on the above phones. Also, the HD2's screen is does pale in comparison to the quality offered on the super AMOLED's ect. File formats are a definite win on WM6.5 though


Marcus posted a comment   

AngusT - Intelligent comments here only please. Ask your boyfriend if you need to say something in future eh!


Marcus posted a comment   

Joseph - Perhaps you can do a story/comparison on the reception and call quality - Apple vs. two the two other highest selling PDA's? You know I'd be reading it. Thanks, Marcus.

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