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.
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 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
iPhone 5Apple's latest iPhone is the first to feature a larger 4" Retina display with a 16:9 aspect ratio that's perfect for watching TV shows and video. As ever, it's one of the sharpest displays on the planet, and despite the larger display, the iPhone hasn't gotten that much larger. The iPhone 5 is available on AT&T, Sprint and Verizon in the US, and all models have LTE 4G for very fast data speeds. The iPhone 5 features Apple's new A6 CPU and triple core GPU that keep up with the fastest Android phones in the US. It has an 8MP rear camera that can shoot panoramas and a much improved 720p front video chat camera. The iPhone 5 runs iOS 6 and as usual is available in 16, 32 and 64 gig capacities. Editor's Choice 2012.
AT&T, Sprint and Verizon
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.
Samsung Galaxy Note IIYou know the Samsung Galaxy Note was one of our top picks last year, right? Well, the Samsung Galaxy Note II, a 5.5" smartphone or phablet is even better. Bigger display, much faster CPU than our US first gen Note, a better camera and more S Pen features. The Note II is available on all major US carriers, with a $299 price tag with contract. The Note II has a 1280 x 720 Super AMOLED HD display that works with both touch and the included S Pen. It runs on Samsung's quad core Exynos CPU with MALI 400 graphics and it has 2 gigs of RAM. Other amenities include a micro SD card slot, LTE (except on T-Mobile) and a removable 3,100 mAh battery.
AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon
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 920The Windows Phone 8 flagship smartphone for the launch of Microsoft's newest phone OS has a great combo of features. From the super-sharp and bright 4.5" IPS display to an iconic polycarbonate housing in your choice of 5 colors, the Lumia 920 is a sweet smartphone. It runs on a 1.5GHz dual core Snapdragon S4 CPU with a gig of RAM and 32 gigs of internal storage. It has LTE 4G, dual band WiFi, Bluetooth 3.0 and NFC. The 8.7 megapixel PureView camera takes excellent photos and 1080p video and features optical image stabilization to take the blur out of shaky-handed shots. The phone is fast, fun and easy to use and it won't break the bank either.
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.