Best Android Smartphones in 2013
2013 has been good for Android. Research from the IDC showed that 81 percent of all smartphones shipped in third quarter 2013 were Android phones. The platform had delivered great innovations especially in form factors and accessibility. Google has also done its part, improving their service and increasing the number of apps available in the Play Store. It’s a great time to have an Android phone.
In this review, we look at some of the best Android smartphones released in 2013. We’ve broken up the list into categories which specifically focus on what buyers might want.
Best for gamers – The Nexus 5
- 96-inch display
- 3 GHz quad-core
- Adreno 330 GPU
- Android 4.4 KitKat
The great display and fast processor of the Nexus 5 make it the ideal device to use for gaming.
Alternatives: Try the Sony Xperia Z1. It has a longer battery life, a better camera and storage expansion with a microSD slot. It is a bit pricier than the Nexus 5 though.
Best for workaholics – Galaxy Note 3
- S-Pen for sketching and writing on display
- 7-inch display
- A fast processor with 3GB of RAM
Business people want smartphones that can give them a productivity boost and the Note series is known for that. The Galaxy Note 3 allows for easy and quick multitasking.
Alternatives: The LG G2 is a smaller and lighter device than the Galaxy Note 3. It also features some handy multi-tasking software such as QuickMemo and QSlide. The major difference is that the LG G2 doesn’t have an S-Pen nor a micorSD card.
Best for entertainment addicts – HTC One
- Great audio. Front facing BoomSound speaker allow you to comfortably watch media with decent sound even without headphones. Beats Audio software improves the sound experience even more.
- 7-inch display
- High brightness levels which make for good outdoor viewing.
The best thing about the HTC One, especially for those who like to watch a lot of videos and listen to music on their smartphone would be the superior audio experience it offers. The display is good as well.
Alternative: The display of the Samsung Galaxy S4 is arguably a bit better than that on the HTC One. It gets deeper blacks and higher contrasts and the settings are easy to tweak to your specifications.
Best for students – the Moto G
As money can be tight when one is a student, the last thing you want is to find yourself locked into an expensive contract. The Moto G is the best option for you then. Despite the fact that it’s a budget device, it has great specs and performs well.
- 5-inch display
- 2 GHz quad-core processor with 1 GB RAM
- Android 4.3
- Good productivity apps such as Evernote and QuickOffice
- 5MP camera
Alternative: If you can afford it, the Galaxy Note 3 should serve a student well.
Best for the outdoor type – the Sony Xperia Z1
The idea that durability or ruggedness on a phone is a special niche that shouldn’t be catered for outside a flagship line isn’t something that Sony espouses. The Sony Xperia Z1 is a great phone for the outdoor enthusiast and a cutting-edge Android smartphone as well.
- Ingress Protection 67: water, dust, and shock resistant
- 5-inch screen
- 2 GHz quad-core
- 7MP camera
- Allows for expandable storage
- Minimalist UI, only things that are useful
- Bright display with a screen that is not that reflective so it’s easy to see outdoors and in sunlight.
Alternative: The Galaxy S4 Active is also a rugged phone. Similar to the S4 with a few differences such as an 8MP camera in lieu of a 13MP and a display that uses LCD, not Super AMOLED. The S4 Active is IP67 certified to be water and dust resistant.
Best for the trendy type – the LG G Flex
If you want to be seen having the greatest and latest smartphone tech, you’ll want to be seen with the LG G Flex. The next big thing in mobile technology could indeed be flexible displays and the LG G Flex is a step in that direction for smartphones.
- A flexible display which allows manufacturers to have more interesting forms.
- 6-inch display.
- Display of the LG G Flex uses plastic substrate OLED technology developed by LG. This allows the LG G Flex’s display to curve from the bottom to the top
- Good specs
- 26 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 with 2 GB RAM for fast performance.
- 13 MP camera
Alternative: The HTC One is a pretty premium device that is comparable to the iPhone. It’s well designed and is definitely a phone you won’t be ashamed to be seen holding.
Best for the gadget lover – Moto X
A cutting edge phone offers more than just specs and the Moto X was the Android smartphone that created the greatest excitement in 2013. The excitement wasn’t for its specs or hardware but its listening feature.
The Moto X listens for its user’s commands. The Moto X can be asleep and rest anywhere in a room and, using their voice, its users can wake it up. Motorola also added some great software features such as Assist and Connect.
Alternative: The Galaxy S4 also has a number of unique software features and has cutting edge specs.
Best for photographers – LG G2
The LG G2 has a 13 MP phone with optical image stabilization. It has the usual modes such as Panorama, Burst Shot, and HDR as well as a lot of other options by which you can change the ISO, white balance and exposure to suit your needs.
Alternative: The Xperia Z1 has a 20.7MP camera and this, combined with Sony’s experience with good photography technology makes this a good alternative to the LG G2. Features are good but image quality could be improved.
Best for Android purists – The Nexus 5
If you really want to have an unadulterated and pure Android experience, then the Nexus 5 is the smartphone for you. The Nexus 5 has no bloatware, no interference from carriers, and no meddling from manufacturers.
Nexus 5 has Android 4.4 KitKat and it will be the first device that will receive Google’s next scheduled platform update.
The Nexus 5 is made by LG and is a great phone with a nice price point.
The year’s best Android smartphone also depends on a lot of what it is that you are looking for. Which of these do you think is the one for you?