The top 10 smartphones of 2013HTC One US$685
HTC’s days of being overshadowed by the likes of Samsung and Sony are officially over: the One is better than the best offered by either of those rivals. Even the S4 is going to have its work cut out when it arrives, as this HTC is a masterclass in smartphone craft, from its impossibly clear 1080p screen to its engineered looks and strokable machined aluminium body. The Sense 5 skin for Android is a pleasure, too, delivering great-looking, personalised content in a nod to the best bits of Windows Phone 8, while the UltraPixel camera is ideal for everyday, point-and-shoot pics.
KILLER FEATURE Zoe mode captures extra snaps so you can pick the best frame
Sony Xperia Z US$850
You’ve got to feel for the Xperia Z – just two months at the top and it’s already been demoted to second place. Still, while it loses the ergonomic and screen-res fights with the HTC, Sony’s 5in-screened flagship remains a gorgeously monolithic slab of a smartphone.
Samsung Galaxy S III US$410
The S III’s long reign at the top of this list is over, but its 1.4Ghz quad-core processor and Android Jelly Bean smarts ensure it’s still a fantastic phone. We also prefer its camera to the Xperia Z’s, while its 4.8in screen might please the (slightly) smaller handed.
Apple iPhone 5 US$710
Don’t call it a comeback, but the iPhone has leapfrogged the HTC One X+ thanks to the return of Google Maps to iOS. The rather dated iOS keeps it behind the other Android flagships, but for all that it’s still the smoothest phone around and has the best apps too.
HTC One X+ US$610
Our minor quibbles with the One X have been addressed with the new One X+. Its storage has doubled to 64GB, battery life now rivals the S III at seven hours and we still prefer its build, too. That said, its rival’s superior camera, SD slot and clever tricks give it the edge.
Samsung Galaxy Note II US$650
Its 5.5in 720p screen might be too much for most of us to get to grips with but the Note II’s supreme power, handy S Pen stylus and features such as Popup Browser and Multiscreen will be exactly what some gadgeteers want. The time for mainstream phablets is here.
Motorola RAZR i US$560
The RAZR’s resurrection is complete. The premium, splash-proof RAZR i surges into our top 10 thanks to a mix of its sturdy aluminium-kevlar build and powerful (if only single- core) 2Ghz Intel Atom processor. A Jelly Bean upgrade is promised by the end of the year.
Blackberry Z10 US$600
Solid, with a detailed 4.2in, 1280x768 screen and an 8MP cam, but the Z10’s real draw is the new BB10 OS. Its gesture-heavy navigation takes time to master but works well, the smart keyboard is one of the best we’ve used and BB Hub is a one-stop message shop.
Nokia Lumia 920 US$680
It’s a photo finish, but Nokia’s flagship edges HTC’s 8X as our favourite Windows Phone. The two share the same dual-core processor, but the 920’s superior 4.5in screen and battery give it this little victory. It needs more apps to take on Android and iOS though.
HTC 8X US$580
The 8X takes the title of ‘world’s best-looking phone’ and positively glows in its blue, red and yellow hues –as does its gorgeous 4.3in, sharper-than-Retina LCD display. The dual-core chip performs well too, but a thin apps catalogue loses it a crucial star.