5 November 2013

Best Mobile Phones 2013: 10 best smartphones you can buy

Best smartphones, mobile phones, phones. Whatever you call them they all share the same thing. They’re the hottest kind of tech. They sell millions, and make billions.

They’re also the gadgets many of us are willing to spend the most cash on. Did you know that a high-end phone on contract can end up costing you over a thousand pounds?

It’s best to make sure you’re making the right choice before committing to a phone. We’re here to help you.

The first thing is to decide the platform you want to side with. There’s the iPhone and its iOS software, there’s the Android phones by Google, Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 and – new kid on the block – BlackBerry 10.

iOS offers the best apps and games, Android the most fiddling potential. Windows Phone 8 is the slickest and BlackBerry 10 is on hand for those who want something a bit different.

2013 has already been a big year for smartphones with the two iPhones, the Nokia Lumia 1020, new Android phones from Sony and Samsung, and with the Nexus 5 showing it's possible to sell a top-end phone at a reasonable price.

Which would you pick from the current bunch? Rifling through the phone reviews that get the TrustedReviews seal of approval, check out our best mobile phones of 2013 so far.

10. Nokia Lumia 1020

It might not be the best all round smartphone, but if you are looking for a great cameraphone the Nokia Lumia 1020 definitely fits the bill. The 4.5-inch, Windows 8-running 1020 piles in some impressive photo-grabbing specs including a 41-megapixel PureView camera and a Xenon flash with LED focus light. Image results can compete with compact system cameras in the right conditions and can be viewed back on a punchy, colourful 1,280x768 resolution screen. It's only dual-core and does still suffer from a poor selection of Windows apps. But if you really want camera quality photos, then the Lumia 1020 is the handset to snap up.

Review price: £599

9. Sony Xperia M

If you want an Android smartphone, but don't want to spend a huge amount, the Xperia M is an excellent option. It's only £170 SIM-only or free on a £16 a month contract, so it won't break the bank. For your money you get a 4-inch phone with a dual-core, 1GHz processor. Naturally there's a microSD slot for expanding the storage, which is just as well as only 2GB is built-in. Overall, the Xperia M doesn't do any single thing amazingly, but the screen, design and performance are all 'just right' for the price you pay.

Review price: £170

8. LG G2

The smartphone with the buttons on the back, the LG G2 sees the South Korean company make an impressive return to smartphone prominence. The 5.2-inch G2 features a full HD IPS edge-to-edge display, a 13-megapixel OIS (optical image stabilization) camera and a speedy Snapdragon 800 quad-core CPU. Moving the buttons to the rear and reducing the screen bezel frees up the extra screen estate to make the most of HD movie and video watching. The camera is good, but doesn't deliver Z1 or Lumia 1020-like images. The G2 delivers a strong overall package making it a great alternative to the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S4.

Price: £400

7. Sony Xperia Z1

Addressing the key issues with the Xperia Z, the Sony Xperia Z1 is one of the most powerful smartphones to currently get your hands on. The 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor delivers one of the slickest overall performances we've seen and the 3,000mAh battery gives the Z1 real staying power. A slightly curvier design makes the 5-inch smartphone more comfortable to hold and the added camera button makes it easier to take photos and video underwater. The improved 20.7-megapixel camera didn’t blow us away but is still one of the best smartphone snappers around. Look out Samsung and HTC, Sony is starting to get a hang of this smartphone-making business...

Review price: £550

6. Samsung Galaxy Note 3

King of the big phones, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is once again equipped with the excellent S-Pen stylus. Featuring a 5.7-inch 1080p Super AMOLED screen, the Note 3 is powered by a Snapdragon 800 2.3GHz CPU and has 32GB and 3GB of RAM to take care of multitasking. The key design change from the Note 2 is the leather-effect battery cover which is more cosmetic than adding anything in terms of comfort. There’s a 13-megapixel main camera to shoot photos on par with the S4, but the S Pen stylus is once again the star of the show and has more apps to utilize its stylus powers. If you are after a big screen phone to get creative with, this is the best to go for.

Review price: £619.99

5. Nokia Lumia 620

The Nokia Lumia 620 is the cheapest phone in our best mobile phone round-up, but it totally deserves to be in here. It costs only a shade over £150 SIM-free (as low as £14 a month on contract), but it's many times better than the majority of Android phones at a similar price. Its 4-inch screen isn't high resolution, but the colours and contrast are very good. But what really marks the Lumia 620 out as a star is the excellent design and the very responsive performance for the price. If you want a basic smartphone without the typical smartphone price tag we can't think of a better phone to choose.

Review price: £150

4. Samsung Galaxy S4

The Galaxy S series has come to be seen as the pinnacle of Android, and with good reason. The Samsung Galaxy S4 is a superb phone. It has a 13-megapixel camera, giant 1080p 5-inch display and quad-core processor (the 8-core version is not available in the UK.) In Samsung style, it has masses of extra software features including a fitness tracker, translator and eye tracking software that lets you scroll books and articles with just a gesture. Quite simply the Samsung Galaxy S4 is still one of the best Android phones to buy.

Review price: £579

3. HTC One

One of the most desirable phone of the year so far is the HTC One. And, yes, that includes the Samsung Galaxy S4. It has a sleek aluminium body that makes the top-end competition feel a little bit cheap. The HTC One also has a few other new HTC features. Top of the list are the UltraPixel camera and Blinkfeed, the star of the show of the new Sense UI. It’s sleeker and more stylish than the HTC Sense of old and – in our experience – it works better too.What’s not to like? The 4-megapixel camera doesn’t reap as detail-packed shots as its top rivals in bright sunlight, but it’ll win out in dim situations. If neither of the top two appeal to you, it's the next best around.

Review price: £549

2. Google Nexus 5

If this was a round-up of the best value smartphones, the Nexus 5 would win hands down. At £300 for the 16GB version, the Nexus 5 is far better value than the iPhone 5S and Galaxy S4, or any other rival we can think of. Its Snapdragon 800 processor means it's a match for the iPhone's A7 processor, and it's actually faster than the S4 and HTC One by dint of having the latest version of Qualcomm's top-end processor. Elsewhere, we love the understated and practical design, the screen and the pure Android 4.4 experience with its improved interface. Where it falls down is in the battery life and camera departments. Neither are bad, but they don't quite match up to the iPhone 5S, which is why it's only a narrow (but still excellent) second overall.

Review price: £300

1. iPhone 5S

The iPhone 5S continues Apple's benchmark setting trend, though the gap between it and its rivals is as narrow as narrow can be. Keeping the same 4-inch Retina display found on the iPhone 5 and its replacement the iPhone 5C, the high grade aluminium phone is now available in gold and 'space grey' colours. The most radical design change is the Touch ID fingerprint sensor situated in the home button to add an extra layer of security and convenience. The super-fast A7 processor is great, too, but it's the camera that clinches things for the 5S. The new True-Tone LED flash leads to better shots with the flash enabled, while the infinite burst mode, slow-mo video, speedy app and outstanding HDR mode make using the iPhone 5S camera a joy.

Review price: £549

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