Top 5 Android Phones of 2013

moto x htc one galaxy s4 nexus 5 g2

On the finish of each and every yr, it’s straightforward to seek out ourselves each taking a look again in any respect that took place over the last twelve months, seeking to replicate on it, after which having a look ahead to what’s in advance. The “what’s beforehand” is set to hit us with a proper-go in a few weeks when CES arrives, so I’d say that I’m nonetheless very so much within the reflection stage at this level. Which brings me to this publish and my ideas on the highest 5 Android telephones of the 12 months.

The 12 months 2013 was once stuffed with probably the most improbable smartphones the arena has ever viewed. 1080p shows become a typical (for probably the most phase), cameras grew increasingly more higher, battery lifestyles is now measured in days as an alternative of hours, customization was once presented, and costs will have began to say no throughout the board. Cellphone producers additionally appear to have found out profitable formulation for essentially the most phase in the case of hardware, however just one nonetheless has the selling aspect (or funds) on lock. All of that helped form this listing. 

And talking of this record, it’s a hundred% my opinion, an opinion I’m hoping you’re open to disagreeing with within the feedback under. The entire level right here is to spark dialog, so let’s get to it.

moto x

1.  Moto X

No surprise here, right? Even though I handed the top phone award to the Nexus 5 in our last DL Show, that was mostly just to give a different answer from the across-the-board opinion of the team, which was the Moto X. Back when this phone first launched, I penned an article stating that the Moto X would be my daily phone until the next Nexus came out, because I assumed that the next Nexus would supplant it on my desk. And you know, that actually happened. The Nexus 5 arrived and I loved it for the most part, outside of a camera that would later be fixed. But the entire time, a wandering eye always seemed to focus on the Moto X, as it looked for a way to get it back into my pocket. And then Bamboo happened and it has returned, probably for good.

The Moto X tops this list for many reasons, but there are two in particular that make it stand out to me:  choice and Active Display. With the Moto X, you have a choice in how it looks, how much storage it has, which carrier it works on, and if it’s a developer edition. You can’t say that for any other phone on the planet. The Moto X that sits on my desk today has a one-of-a-kind Bamboo back and works on Verizon because that’s the carrier I wanted it on. But I could have gone green with yellow accents, chosen T-Mobile, and unlocked the bootloader to tinkerer to my heart’s desire. No matter what, the customization of phones is a ground-breaking idea that Motorola brought to life. I just hope they have seen enough success with it to keep it going.

The other reason I can’t get enough of the Moto X is Active Display. I’ve talked about this feature a lot, but having my phone show me timely information every single time I pick-up my phone or pull it out of my pocket without having to hit a button is the single greatest software invention of the past couple of years for smartphones. I no longer have to interpret blinking LED lights or fumble over the power button thousands of times per day. Whenever I pick-up another phone to test, this is the first thing I miss.

The Moto X may not have the best display or camera, but I’m willing to deal because everything else it offers I can’t live without.

If you haven’t yet, be sure to read our Moto X review.

nexus 5

2.  Nexus 5

Just because I show constant love for the Moto X doesn’t mean that the Nexus 5 is somehow a distant 2nd place. In fact, because of its display, power, and ties to Google, it is closer than you might think. Nexus phones will always rank very high in lists like this from me because they are Google’s vision of Android, they ship open (SIM unlocked and unlockable bootloader), seem to work on more wireless frequencies each year, and sell at unbelievably low prices for the hardware involved. I gave you two major reasons why the Moto X tops this chart, but for the Nexus 5 at a close 2nd, there is one:  price.

At $ 350 off-contract, you can have a phone that works almost everywhere (just not Verizon), matches the most powerful phones available spec-for-spec, and runs the newest version of Android before anyone else has even sniffed it. Other phones that compare to the Nexus 5 all sell through carriers at almost double that price without a contract. When the Note 3 first debuted, it was selling for $ 299 on-contract.

If you want another reason outside of price, I’d say that Google came oh-so-close to creating the perfect smartphone. With last year’s Nexus 4, Google gave us a poor camera, awful battery life, and no LTE. This year, they tried to step their game up in all of those areas with the Nexus 5, while producing a hardware design that feels and looks as good as anything on the market. Battery life is good enough and LTE is included on a variety of bands. The only issue I still have to do this day is the camera, even after its latest camera-fixing update. You were almost there, Google.

If you haven’t yet, be sure to read our Nexus 5 review.

galaxy s4 google play edition

3.  Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition

Before the Moto X entered my life, I was using a Google Play Edition Galaxy S4 and loving every second of it. I 100% despise Samsung’s TouchWiz Android skin, but actually enjoyed the build of the Galaxy S4 when it was released with its svelte body that feels as good in hand as the Nexus 5. So with a GPE phone, there is no OEM skin, only 99.9% stock Android with regular updates. What’s then not to like?

With the Galaxy S4, Samsung packed in best-of-the-best specs, an amazing mobile camera, and probably 2013′s best smartphone display until the Note 3 came along. Couple all of that with a guarantee of updates and TouchWiz’s bloat out of the way, and you have yourselves an amazing smartphone. It really was my phone of choice from the minute it was released until Motorola handed me a white Moto X in late August. Had the Moto X not existed, it would have remained my phone until the Nexus 5 arrived.

At $ 649 without a contract, the phone is by no means a deal. But if the Nexus 5 and Moto X aren’t fulfilling your every need, this is a great choice.


4.  LG G2

I have got to admit that from the moment the LG G2 was announced to the minute I finished my review, I did not think this phone would make my top 5 list for 2013. I was so put off by the rear button placement and greasy backside, that even though it offered so many other positives, I just had to push it aside. And then one day I realized I needed to pick-up a phone to use on my Verizon line (Moto X was on AT&T at the time), so I grabbed the VZW LG G2 through a ridiculously timely Amazon discount (screw-up).

Once my SIM was inserted, I immediately remembered what I’d loved about the phone and quickly looked past the two negatives. If you want the ultimate performer, I’m not sure there is a speedier or more powerful phone than the LG G2. Its touch sensitivity is the best in the game, it sports a class-leading FHD LCD panel, and probably houses my favorite smartphone camera with its insanely speedy, multi-point autofocus. Sure, it has a questionable Android skin and doesn’t yet have Android 4.4, but you know what, I’d take it any day over Samsung’s TouchWiz. LG also included useful multi-tasking tools and has dropped the price regularly since launch.

The LG G2 is a great phone.

If you haven’t yet, be sure to read out LG G2 review.

HTC one

5.  HTC One (Unlocked or Developer Edition)

To wrap up this short list, I’d have to go with the unlocked or developer editions of the HTC One. Not the carrier versions, I’m talking specifically about the versions sold directly through HTC’s store. These make the list because in 2013, updates rule the world. I own the unlocked HTC One, and it is already running Android 4.4 “Kit Kat.” The carrier and global models could be weeks if not months away from receiving a similar update. With no middle man, HTC has been able to update their 2013 flagship in the timeliest of manners, which Android enthusiasts like myself can appreciate.

You may remember that I also claimed this was my phone of the moment at one time, that used to be except the GPE Galaxy S4 got here alongside after all. However the HTC One has lots to provide. With its wonderful sound expertise (BoomSound), set of explicit stand-out digicam tips (Zoes and Highlights), efficiency with excessive-finish specs, and all-steel physique, it set a typical for 2013 smartphones that perceived to have raised the sport to a brand new stage. You’ll nonetheless in finding techies to these days in order to declare the One as the most effective on hand cellphone, even with its successor a number of months away and telephones just like the G2 and Moto X out.

2013 could have been a horrific 12 months for HTC, however I don’t suppose someone can deny the standard of the One.

If you happen to had been in search of a full high 10, right here is how mine would play out:

6.  Galaxy Observe three
eight.  Galaxy S4
9.  …ummm
10.  …ummm

And now, it’s time so that you can supply us your high 5. Who you bought?

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