Top Five Android Phones for 2013

Category: Mobile

The market was flooded with Android phones in recent months. Many of them are extraordinary, as both the Android software and hardware have improved at a rapid rate. These five are my picks for the best Android smartphones, heading into 2013...

What Are the Best Android Phones?

Have you ever felt a little embarrassed or envious because you didn't have an iPhone? Well those days are over. Today's crop of Android-based smartphones are every bit as capable and good looking as your friend's iPhone. And in some cases, better. Currently, 3 out of every 4 smartphones sold worldwide are now running the Android operating system software. The only downside to the rapid pace of Android development is that you can buy a phone today, and next month you're likely to see one that's faster, better or cheaper.

Of course, the unfolding of 2013 will bring even better Android smartphones. But as of today, there are several that deserve special attention, if you're considering a purchase or upgrade. I'm sure that many readers will wonder why I chose these instead of their personal favorite, but that's what the comments are for. :-)

Best Android Phones 2013

Most users and reviewers seem to agree that the Samsung Galaxy S3 is pretty awesome, and many are calling it the best smartphone currently on the market, and it is the top seller world-wide. The S3 features a quad-core processor and storage expandable up to 64 GB. Its crisp 4.8 inch Super AMOLED display (1280 x 720) has excellent viewing angles and brightness.

The Galaxy S3 is smart enough to know when you’ve changed your mind; while sending a text, just lift the phone to your ear and it will call the number instead. You can verbally tell it to wake up, answer an incoming call, or even take a photo. It supports 4G where available, plus WiFi, Bluetooth, and NFC. The rear camera is 8 Megapixels, and the front camera takes 1.9 Megapixel stills or shoots video at 30 fps.

The Samsung Galaxy S3 is available on AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile and other smaller carriers. Although it carries a whopping $699 retail price tag, both Sprint and Verizon are offering the 16GB model via Amazon Wireless for just $99.

The HTC One X+ is a sleek, minimalist design that packs a ton of features. A follow-on to the popular One X model, the One X+ is 67% faster, has twice the memory, and 50% better battery life. Its 4.7 inch Gorilla Glass screen is durable and scratch-resistant. The Beats Audio ™ sound is full and rich. Its 8 Mpixel camera is ready to shoot in one second and can take still images while filming in 1080HD. The HTC ImageChip automatically compensates for all lighting conditions. The One X+ measures 5.29 x 2.75 x 0.35 inches , weighs only 4.8 ounces with battery, and comes with a 1.7 GHz processor.

Memory includes 1 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage. As a bonus, if you sign-up for Dropbox on your HTC phone, you'll get 25 GB of online storage space free for two years. Dropbox is integrated with the HTC user interface, so photos and videos can be automatically saved there. The HTC One X is available on AT&T only, and costs $499 (unlocked) or $99 with a two-year contract.

The Samsung Galaxy Note II has a big 5.5 inch AMOLED screen (with 16:9 aspect ratio), but its slim enough to fit comfortably in your hand. Multitasking is possible without screen transitions. The detachable S Pen works with several built-in apps for handwritten note-taking, saving clips from Web pages, sketching, and even annotating photos. You can even send handwritten emails. Twin cameras have you covered front and rear. The 1.6 GHz quad-core processor gives you plenty of power. The Note II packs a massive 3,100 mAH battery, rated at over 9 hours of talk time on a 4G network. This makes it the longest lasting smartphone battery currently on the market. (The Motorola Droid RAZR Maxx HD has a slightly larger 3,300 mAH battery, but tests show that talk time is a about an hour less than the Note II.)

The Samsung Galaxy Note II is available on AT&T, Verizon and Sprint. Retail (no-contract) price is $699 but you can get it cheaper from your carrier with a 2-year contract. Current prices on Amazon Wireless are: Sprint ($139), AT&T ($246), or Verizon ($279).

The Google Nexus 4 by LG was highly anticipated and does not disappoint. With all your favorite Google apps built in, a terrific Photo Sphere camera, and impressive hardware, the Nexus 4 does Google proud. You can buy it unlocked with no carrier contract direct from Google (8GB/$299 or 16GB/$349). The Nexus 4 is GSM/HSPA+ compatible, which means it will run on AT&T or T-Mobile, but not Sprint or Verizon, which use a CDMA network. The 4.7 inch, 1280 x 720 display is made of Gorilla Glass. WiFi, Bluetooth, NFC, GSM, HSPA+, and 3G connectivity are supported. Of course, the latest version of Android Jelly Bean operating system is included.
The Sony Xperia S is a sharp looking business phone. Its 4.3 inch TFT screen is crisp and bright, displaying 1280 x 720 pixels. A 12 Megapixel auto-focus camera with 16x digital zoom is included. Talk time is rated at 8 hours, 30 minutes. The 1.5 GHz dual-core Qualcomm processor runs Android 4 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and a Jelly Bean update is due out this year. The Xperia S runs on AT&T and can be purchase for $99 with 2-year contract.

Do you have a favorite Android phone that you'd like to mention? Is there an upcoming or rumored release that you're waiting for? Post your comment or question below.

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Most recent comments on "Top Five Android Phones for 2013"

Posted by:

Dave S
04 Jan 2013

I want to ask if users feel that buying an Android phone which has the latest vanilla Google OS is better than buying another phone such as HTC which takes the basic OS and then starts tweaking it for their own purposes. Don't we risk losing the best of the look and feel that Google intended if another manufacturer puts their own skin on top of the OS?

BTW, I'm on my second HTC (now the Rezound, prior the the Incredible) and I have not been impressed. Neither phone lasted a year without some major glitches. Both were replaced under warranty and both again developed problems during the next year. I won't be buying another one from HTC.

So far, everyone I have spoken to LOVES their iPhones but I hear mixed stories on Androids.

Posted by:

04 Jan 2013

A staynch Blackberry fan here. Interested in your opinions on whether to wait for the new one or give in reluctantly and buy an iphone or android.

Posted by:

Stan Rosso
04 Jan 2013

What about the Motorola Razr HD / HD Maxx?

Posted by:

04 Jan 2013

The Galaxy Note II is also available on T-Mobile...

Posted by:

Harold P. Morgan
04 Jan 2013

Enjoy your newsletters very much. Having said that I would like to say that I think Samsung products are over rated. For Samsung Solstice II constantly dropped calls and often did not even ring through at all. So I missed a lot of calls or was repeatedly having to call people back because of the drops. After 1 1/2 years of that I went back to Motorola and now have the Atrix HD. What a great phone. Haven't had a single dropped call in 6 months. Seems to do a much better job of receiving the signals from the cell towers. I, for one, will not waste my time with another Samsung purchase. I've got stories about their TV's too but won't go into those here.

Posted by:

04 Jan 2013

I have a Samsung Galaxy S2 and it's great. If the S3 is as much of an improvement as the reviews have said it must be a truly awesome phone. When my contract with Telus is up I shall certainly consider getting an S3 or whatever replaces it.
Happy New Year Bob and keep up the good work.

Posted by:

05 Jan 2013

The Galaxy Note II is also available on T-Mobile...

Posted by:

Saundra Robinson
05 Jan 2013

Never heard of Amazon wireless. Have always loved Samsung products. Would love the Galaxy S3 but $699 is like paying rent. WOW. Definitely on my "must have" list. You're right about new equipment coming out so fast. By the time I get up the money for the S3, there will be something else available.

Posted by:

Bill W
07 Jan 2013

I am currently using an Iphone but seriously considering switching to Galaxy S3 or Nokia 920,
I believe there are 2 versions of the S3 one for US mkt. dual core and the quad core overseas maybe mistaken
hoping the quad core is available here soon because I'm almost ready to switch.

Posted by:

Bill W
07 Jan 2013

I failed to mention I saw discounts on phones well beyond At&t on amazon even upgrade prices it pays to shop

Posted by:

01 Mar 2013

At the end of December, I got a Samsung Galaxy Axiom free with no activation fee from "Hello Better!"my US Cellular dude. Having had only HTC for several years (4 models), it took me a while to even like the Samsung. But, now I'm very glad that I made the right call at the right time AND that the US Cellular dude was able to fit a stop at my apt into his schedule. I have to confess I miss Sprint's truly free mobile to mobile: regardless of carrier. USC only gives me free mobile to mobile if the number I call is a USC number. Very cheesy. The mini booklet USC provided with the Axiom ddn't tell me how to answer a call -- and incoming calls are free for me! No one is born knowing a few things about a Samsung (or any kind of) phone. A few text messages to anf from the USC dude and I was good to go. I've been in the hospital for nearly a month trying to kill pneumonia b4 it kills me. Wish me luck.
Other than that, I'm a pretty happy camper.

Posted by:

Victor A
01 Jul 2013

To the person who comments that "everyone loves their iPhone," I beg to differ. I have an iPhone 4 and could not see the advantage of changing to the 5. I also moved from the EVO 4G to a Note II. I personally like the Androids because they are easier to customize and seem a little less restrictive in how they allow you to set them up. Yes, there are differences in brands who put their mark on the operating system. Not so different than buying a car, I think. Lots of variations but, under the skin, many are identical. To each his likes. For me, I'll stick to Android till I find something I like better.

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