They come in a variety of shapes and designs-- with touch screens and without. They run a variety of operating systems, yet they're the best tools among the smartphones we've reviewed to get the job done when it comes to email, web and document management.
iPhone 5sThe iPhone 5s features Apple's new A7 CPU and a fast PowerVR multi-core GPU that's twice as fast as the iPhone 5 and 5c. The latest flagship iPhone sticks with the Leica inspired metal design and 4" Retina Display, and Apple has added a gold color option. The updated 8MP iSight camera with larger pixels takes noticably better low light shots and the front FaceTime camera offers sharper and brighter video chats. The new iPhone features a Touch ID fingerprint sensor so you can unlock the phone with a press of the finger. The smartphone runs iOS 7 and as usual is available in 16, 32 and 64 gig capacities. Editor's Choice 2013.
AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon and unlocked
HTC OneThe HTC One has the perfect storm of smartphone features, from its fast and brand new Snapdragon 600 quad core CPU to its stunning full HD 4.7" display and impressive UltraPixel camera that laughs at darkness. Then there's the striking aluminum casing that gives the iPhone 5 a run for your money and excellent BoomSound stereo speakers up front where they belong. Better yet, it's available on three of the top four US carriers and HTC sells an unlocked GSM edition for those who like their autonomy and unlocked bootloaders. Editor's Choice 2013.
AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon and unlocked GSM
Samsung Galaxy S4Samsung's 2013 flagship Android smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy S4. Yes, you could call it an evolutionary device, but the new features (love 'em or hate 'em) are more than evolutionary. When a phone watches you and responds to your movements, that's something new and exciting (and sometimes crazy making). Perhaps it's a revolutionary smartphone trapped in an evolutionary casing? The Samsung Galaxy S4 has a 5" full HD Super AMOLED display, a 1.9GHz Snapdragon 600 quad core CPU with 2 gigs of RAM and an excellent 13 megapixel camera.Editor's Choice 2013.
AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon
Moto XFinally, an Android smartphone that caters to ergonomics and usability with handy features like an active sleep screen that keeps you informed and always-on voice command. The Moto X will be available on all major US carriers and it has a 4.7" 1280 x 720 AMOLED display, 1.7GHz dual core Snapdragon S4 Pro CPU with custom processors to handle voice recognition (Moto calls this their X8 processing platform), 2 gigs of RAM, 16 or 32 gigs of storage, WiFi ac, Bluetooth 4.0 LE + EDR, NFC, a front 2MP camera and capable RGBC 10MP rear camera.
AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile
LG G2This is LG's best Android smartphone to date. From the glorious 5.2" full HD IPS display to the capable 13 megapixel camera to the new super-fast Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad core 2.26GHz CPU, the phone is a winner. Despite the larger display, the G2 is no bigger than the smaller-screen Galaxy S4 and HTC One, thanks to the edge-to-edge display. The phone has a generous 3,000 mAh battery, dual band WiFi 802.11ac, NFC and a capable 2.1MP front camera.
AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile
Samsung Galaxy Note 3There's no denying that the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 continues to top the charts as best phablet. Since the original Note shipped a few years back, we've seen occasional competition for the bigger than a phone but smaller than a tablet crown, but Samsung's combination of a relatively compact and light body, S Pen digital pen and custom software still make the Galaxy Note 3 the best phablet at the high end. The third generation Note has a 5.7" full HD Super AMOLED display, a very fast 2.3GHz quad core Snapdragon 800 CPU with 3 gigs of RAM, our beloved S Pen with note taking and art apps, a capable 13MP rear camera and the usual LTE 4G, GPS, NFC, Bluetooth and WiFi 802.11ac.
AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon
Samsung Galaxy S4 ActiveIf you love the Samsung Galaxy S4 but need a water and dust resistant smartphone that can survive poolside splashes and an accident with cocoa powder when baking, the Galaxy S4 Active is your phone. It has the same internals, software and apps as the non-Active model, and that means you get a very fast 1.9GHz quad core processor, 2 gigs of RAM, 16 gigs of storage and Android 4.2.2 with Samsung TouchWiz software. The phone has an 8MP camera (a downgrade from the GS4) but as a consolation it has an underwater photo mode.
LG Optimus G ProThe LG Optimus G Pro grows on us the more we use it. No pun intended; yes it's a large 5.5" Android smartphone, but the narrow design makes it easier to hold-- it feels like a phone, just bigger. The G Pro runs on a quad core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 CPU, and that's currently the fastest CPU on the market. with 2 gigs of RAM and 32 gigs of internal storage, it's got top shelf specs. The removable battery, microSD card slot and excellent 13 megapixel camera round up a very solid feature set. But the real selling points are the full HD 1920 x 1080 IPS 5.5" display and $199 on contract price that's less expensive than the Samsung Galaxy Note II.
Sony Xperia ZThe Sony Xperia Z is Sony's flagship Android smartphone, and this time they really mean it. Previous Sony and Sony Ericsson Android smartphones have always lacked truly all around high end specs, but the Xperia Z has all the right ingredients. Of course, it's up against some very challenging competition with the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4. The 0.31" thick Xperia Z is clad in glass, front and back. It has a quad core 1.5GHz Snapdragon CPU, a 5" full HD Mobile Bravia 2 display and an excellent 13 megapixel main camera.
HTC Droid DNALook out Samsung Galaxy Note II, there's a new kid on the block, at least if you're a Verizon Wireless customer, and that's the HTC Droid DNA. The HTC Droid DNA is one of our top smartphones for 2012. It has a slim and elegant design despite the big 5" display. That Super LCD 3 display is an impressive 1920 x 1080 resolution. The Droid DNA is one of the few quad core Snapdragon S4 Android smartphones on the market, and it earns top benchmark numbers. The phone has 16 gigs of storage, an excellent 8 megapixel camera, LTE 4G, NFC and it runs Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean with HTC Sense 4.0+ software on top.
Nokia Lumia 1020The Nokia Lumia 1020 is the latest, greatest Windows Phone 8 flagship smartphone, and it's got something very special: a 41 megapixel Nokia PureView camera that reinvents zoom. It's not as bulky as the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom and it looks much like the Lumia 920, complete with a curved polycarbonate unibody design, curved Gorilla Glass 3 display and 4.5" ClearBlack AMOLED display that's outdoor viewable and glove friendly. The Lumia 1020 is exclusive to AT&T in the US right now, and it's available in matte white, black and yellow. It has 4G LTE, dual band WiFi, Bluetooth, NFC and a GPS with GLONASS. The camera has a Xenon flash, Carl Zeiss Tessar f/2.2 6 element lens and a backside illuminated sensor. Does it steal the show? If you're a shutterbug, the answer is a definite "yes".
Motorola Droid RAZR HD The Motorola Droid RAZR was a hit last year on Verizon Wireless, and Moto's back this year with the natural evolution of that iconic smartphone: the Droid RAZR HD features a larger, higher resolution display and a faster CPU. And just as with last year's Droid RAZR models, there's a MAXX option with a larger battery and a slightly thicker casing for $100 more. The RAZR HD has a 4.7" Super AMOLED HD display running at 1280 x 720 and a 1.5GHz dual core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 dual core CPU. And yes, there's Kevlar and Gorilla Glass for good looks and durability.
HTC EVO 4G LTEThis is the phone to beat on Sprint. Like the original EVO years ago, it has the right combo of good looks, high quality materials and top off the line features that makes for a true flagship smartphone. As you can guess from the name, this 4.7" Android ICS smartphone has LTE 4G, though Sprint doesn't actually have an LTE network up and running yet. You'll get WiFi and 3G to fall back on until LTE hits your area, and the phone has NFC with Google Wallet that works now. The EVO 4G LTE runs on an extremely fast yet power frugal Snapdragon S4 1.5GHz CPU that benchmarks near the top of our tests. It has 16 gigs of storage and a microSD card slot for expansion. Also on board is HTC's excellent 8MP camera with BSI sensor and a dedicated image processing chip.