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The Best Smartphones of 2013

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In this year’s Best Of, we’re going to focus on our favourite smartphones, tabletswearables and accessories. In our fourth instalment, we take a look at the best smartphones.

This was the year of the “good cheap” smartphone. As parts prices dropped and operating systems matured, we saw sublime offerings from many companies, most notably Motorola and Nokia. The high-end market, too, was alive and well, with superb hardware from HTC, LG, Apple and again, Motorola. With the gift-giving season almost over, we felt it was a good time to shine a light on a few of our favourites.

Smartphone of the Year

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Moto X

The smartphone of the year is neither the biggest nor the most powerful. But Motorola’s “reboot,” its blossoming Google-run future, is the perfect compromise in most categories, and proves that Android can be at once beautiful, fluid and accessible.

What hooked me about the Moto X, and what a lot of prospective buyers didn’t seem to understand upon its release, was that only a handful of key attributes contribute to its success, but they are executed so well, and with such focus, that they stand apart from the feature-obsessed strategies of their peers. Specifically, integrating an always-on and context-aware notification system into the 720p Super AMOLED display was a stroke of genius, and Motorola worked with Qualcomm to deliver a suite of processors and co-processors that sip power and ensure all-day battery life.

Despite not yet sporting the latest Android update, Motorola has done a fantastic job with its software. Acknowledging that more is not always better, Motorola narrowed its focus, adding tangible value through features like Touchless Control, a superb one-touch camera experience, and Assist, an app that treats automation with respect.

In fact, the Moto X is the first Android flagship we felt would be as accessible to smartphone newbies as an iPhone, something I rarely say about the platform. And despite its tepid spec sheet, it performs just as well, if not better, than many of its peers.

Most importantly, the Moto X was the most useful and enjoyable smartphone I used this year which, to me, is greater than the sum of its parts.

Best of the Rest

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Apple iPhone 5s

Apple had a good year in 2013. While none of the its products were revolutionary, nor “Resolutionary,” in the end the company reinforced why consumers choose, again and again, the iPhone.

The iPhone 5s is a probably the best all-round smartphone on the market, hampered somewhat by its underwhelming battery and increasingly-cramped 4-inch display. But the phone offers a great ecosystem of apps and games that continues to overshadow Android in almost every respect, and iOS 7 drastically improves what was already a fast, secure operating system. Control Center alone, which provides easy access to commonly-used system settings, is beautifully integrated, and AirPlay continues to make the argument for a platform over disparate services.

Though not immediately obvious to the naked eye, the iPhone 5s also offers vastly improved hardware over last year’s model: Touch ID has proven to be a reliable and time-saving way to unlock the device and authorize app payments, but, more important, it eases users into a security paradigm that they may have been reluctant to subscribe to.

With a fantastic camera, first-rate build quality and an unrivalled ecosystem of third-party accessories, the iPhone 5s, like the Moto X, is easy to recommend because it just works.

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HTC One

HTC followed up with my favourite Android phone of 2012, the One X, with the aptly-named One. What amounted to a shot against the bow of conformity, HTC opted for quality over quantity in every respect, debuting a 4MP UltraPixel camera sensor with ultra-large pixels (for a smartphone), fantastic front-facing stereo speakers and a stunning aluminum exterior.

Along with software innovations, some of which, like BlinkFeed, turned out to be distractions, HTC made one of the most impressively-built and designed Android phones of the year. The company also managed to bring Jelly Bean 4.3 (and soon, KitKat 4.4) to the One before most of its competitors and the device still, months later, holds advantages over other Androids.

The UltraPixel camera hasn’t proven to be the boon to sales the company hoped for — the resolution is too low to offset its low-light advantages — and the company is in dire financial straits, but it’s hard to avoid the facts: the HTC One holds up better than most other Android phones.
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Nexus 5

There’s no denying that the Nexus 5 is the best smartphone deal of the year. For half the price of most devices on the market, you get an unlocked and hackable device with the latest Android software, updated directly from Google itself. It also performs extremely well, has plenty of memory and storage, and its rubberized exterior is far more hardy than last year’s model.

But in reducing costs, Google and LG skimped in a few places. The 2300mAh battery cell underwhelms, and there is ample backlight bleed behind the 1080p display. The camera, which has admittedly been improved since release, is still pretty weak, and speaker quality is equally disappointing.

But there are far more reasons to like the Nexus 5 than dismiss it, and Google has worked with LG to make the most accessible, consumer-friendly Nexus smartphone to date. The addition of LTE is key, but the stock Android 4.4 interface introduces a number of important, user-facing improvements to make the OS far less intimidating to first-time users.

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Nokia Lumia 1020

The best Windows Phone ever also has the best camera every seen on a smartphone. Though the 41MP sensor and insanely sharp f/2.0 lens with image stabilization steal the show, the Nokia Lumia 1020 is a marvellously-built piece of technology. The matte finish is comfortable in the hand, and the 720p AMOLED display is extremely well-saturated and sharp.

Lately, though, it’s the app ecosystem that has begun to help claw Windows Phone 8 from its winter of discontent. From Instagram to Mint to GTA: San Andreas, the selection is better and the quality is higher. Nokia, too, is ensuring that users are kept happy, with its own suite of photo- and map-related apps that rival anything from Google or Apple.

The Lumia 1020 may not be the fastest device on the market, but it takes some of the best photos and video, supports wireless charging and Glance Screen, and offers a compelling alternative to anyone tired of Apple/Google dominance.

Best Cheap Smartphone of the Year

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Moto G

The Moto G is a revelation. It’s THE cheap smartphone to buy, and a testament to Motorola’s tight vendor relationship (and willingness to accept low margins).

For around $200, it’s possible to buy a comfortable, fast and long-lasting Android smartphone that promises not to be obsolete in a year. If you’re looking to buy a phone outright from a carrier, and are on a budget, this is the one to get.

  • Ken K.

    Excellent list. Moto X and Moto G both rocks. Moto X could have caused a storm if it is sold for $350 unlocked (which it did crash Motorola website on Black Friday).

  • jackjiarocks

    HTC ONE!

  • Pygmy Surfer

    No BlackBerry love, eh?

    • Balls O’Steele

      Bbry is fail. No need to mention it anymore.

    • Jonathan Schmitt

      I dont hate blackberry, but unfortunately the phones they came out with did not make a huge splash. Its unfortunate. Even when the Z30 came out, at my workplace we got one phone for Telus and that was it for weeks.

    • Francois Bedard

      I do agree that blackberry did not a make a big splash on there release, neither did moto x. there last quarter sales was only about 500,000.

    • Matt

      You’re missing the point. The Moto X might not have sold, but it’s an incredible piece of hardware. It just WORKS. And it works SO WELL.

      The BB10 devices aren’t special in anyway, other than they run BB10. My S3 is just as unique (i.e. it isn’t).

    • Thomas

      Obviously both of you (Balls & Jonathan) don’t know what you’re talking about.
      The only problem of BlackBerry is that: you don’t know what is BlackBerry 10, you don’t even know it exists, you haven’t seen what it can do, and you are still thinking of old legacy devices when you hear the brand BlackBerry, but you keep saying BlackBerry is dead everywhere.
      That’s too bad.

    • Tyrone Thomas

      They like many people haven’t seen what BlackBerry 10 can do because they don’t care.

    • Bbrysucks

      No, blackberry just sucks the big one. Nothing less, or more.

    • SupaDawg

      That’s not the only problem. Their new OS launched with no ecosystem, BB10 is not intuitive whatsoever for a legacy blackberry user or for an ios user, and the hardware (while built well) is not imaginative or innovative in really any way.

    • SupaDawg

      Did Blackberry release anything good this year? All I’ve seen were the overhyped BB10 devices.

    • Coneng

      BlackBerry is not a fail, big American companies try to kill it, same as Nokia, just when Microsoft bought it, reviews started to change and the list here have a Microsoft Nokia phone :). I used Z10 with no prior BlackBerry experience it’s very good. Yes apps are limited but I would say reviews are biased against Canadian blackberry for clear reasons to me now. Money talks!

  • marshallpower

    No Note 3? Why am I still reading this website…and who cares about the zillions apps from Apple that have never been downloaded even once…I use Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, TuneIn Radio, Slingplayer, Gmail, the Weather Channel and a few browsers on my phone, most of the other apps get useless after a few days…I don’t know why I should get a phone for the apps only…unless it’s for giving more money to Apple or iTunes…

    • icyhotonmynuts

      Not a single Samsung mention at all, never mind no mention of the Note 3. Best smartphone of the year is Moto X? What a joke.

    • Jonathan Schmitt

      Note 3 definitely deserved a top spot on the list. The Moto X is an incredible phone and definitely deserved top spot. The biggest feature being the completely handsfree experience.

      But I can agree that no Samsung phones on the list is like taking away the iPhone from the list.

    • Dylan Kuehl

      The Note 3 hits a niche market, and the S4 is bloated and clunky with TouchWiz. Don’t get me wrong, they’re both great phones, but there is nothing that makes them stand out, especially when compared to their predecessors. Outside of comparing the spec sheet they’re the same phones as last year, functionality-wise.

      Phones that can bring something new and innovative while still delivering a great experience is what ends up on these lists (aside from the iPhone, sheer popularity and market dominance over any other manufacturer get it a spot). Sadly, Samsung doesn’t do that, they just continue to re-iterate on their current designs.

    • Wolf_Blitza

      The fact that the Note 3 is in a niche market and still sold 10+ million units makes it’s absence even more questionable. Especially when you said the iPhone gets a spot for “sheer popularity and market dominance”.

    • Jay

      Yeah! The Moto X!
      I own this phone personally. I normally change phones every 3 months or so but I get bored of them in under a month. This is the first phone I’ve owned that, after 2 months, still has my undying loyalty! It’s a phone that does a few things VERY well. I don’t care if I can’t wave my hand over the screen to flip through pictures. I don’t even care I’m missing HTC Ultrapixel camera. The camera on the Moto X has taken pictures well beyond my actual expectations for a phone and the speaker on my Moto X is louder than my brothers HTC One and almost as clear as it too! The dual core processor has never left me lagging and, on a <5" screen, who really needs 1080p resolution eating up their battery?
      Combine all this with the active display, probably the most ergonomic curves and the best battery life I've seen in a smartphone and you have a phone worthy of being the best smarphone of the year!

    • WalkinOnBottles

      Note 3 is great, but it’s also very niche.

      I don’t know why you went on a rant about still reading this website when it has some pretty good perspectives. I don’t like iPhones but they’re pretty solid phones and still compete with the best. The note 3 on the other hand has good specs and works wonderfully, but that pleather is nasty, the difference in white & black texture is weird, the screen can be too large for some, and many other reasons why it doesn’t belong on this list.

      People always complain about lists for some damn reason. Here’s an idea, it’s just a list! No need to get personally offended because your precious device wasn’t mentioned. Y’all are more annoying than a surprise gynecology exam.

    • marshallpower

      I think my first comment was more pertinent than your own remark about something that’s not even about phones…and I’m not personally offended, it’s getting ridiculous to want to sell a phone in particular like we were all i****s on this site. But if you want this site to become one for fanboys only, then we can leave it to you if you are offended by another opinion, it’s just a list! well it’s just my opinion, same thing…

    • Jay

      Thank you for that laugh at the end there :)
      I bought 3 phones last year (I may have a problem…) and only one of them is on this list. Happily, that one happens to be my personal favorit but was also mentioned as the best phone on this list.
      That said, there are a lot of phones released this year that deserve some sort of mention for what they contributed to the industry. Not every phone can be mentioned in every list.
      I think Daniel did a great job of writting out an article that articulates what makes each of these phones great in their own regard! I love that he’s mentioned that it’s not all about who has the biggest battery or the fastest processor or the highest MP camera. He’s shown us how several high profile phones have literally changed the industry this year with something(s) that they’ve done very, very well.

    • Tyrone Thomas

      The fact that it’s niche is all the more reason why it deserved a spot. It could have went under the “Best Phablet” category as it truly is the best of that type of that device.

    • d a

      I don’t own the note 3. I do own the note 2 however. After having played with the note 3 for 10 minutes I could tell it’s the best out there at moment. Yes I’ve played with the others out there. There’s something very strange about the lack of objectivity on this silly site, at this point I only come here to get current news because I really am finding it harder and harder to respect the opinions of the writers. Perhaps I’m not totally objective being a Note 2 owner but for the note 3 to not be on the list at all is silly.

  • Dux Nobis

    Not even a word about the note 3 while ever other site recognizes it as outstanding you continue to ignore it.

    • Ryan

      The Note 3= shoddy build quality, gimmicky software, and pentile. HTC one!

    • Jonathan Schmitt

      ??? Have you felt an HTC One??????? It feels like a pop can!

    • Ryan

      Riiight. It feels well made and crafted to me….also has the best display on the market

    • Dux Nobis

      Lol best dispay? Surely you mean the note 3.

    • Dylan Kuehl

      No, HTC One has a beautiful display. Great colours and depth. Note 3 has a good one, but it’s not perfect.

      Also, Note 3 isn’t for everyone. It’s a tablet in my hands.

    • Ryan

      I had a Note 3 for a week and didn’t care for the display, thought the Note 2′s was better even despite the lower resolution.

    • Dux Nobis

      True story!

    • Dux Nobis

      Note 3= Superior display, 3 gigs of ram and the fastest most powerful phone available atm.

    • Rich

      Niche

  • Ryan

    HTC One is still the best in my books

  • Rich

    Moto X is a highly underrated phone, but tends to always stir negative sentiments as people were expecting Nexus pricing. Out of the Android devices, it was the only one to really come out with some innovative features (voice / wicked battery life) whereas all the rest just got ppi, screen size, ram/cpu upgrades — this is why your Note 3 wasn’t even listed.

    HTC One made some great strides in terms of hardware design and debatably the camera — so honorable mention there.

    The iPhone itself wasn’t really a big deal, but the OS facelift was definitely great. Finger print sensor & 64bit computing is a bit gimmicky though, but at least it’s something new and you know it will be on Android devices in the future.

  • userofAndroid

    How can the Moto X and Moro G be the best phone is the year? They are both garbage devices and they are not even selling. The camera is horrible on both of them and there is nothin to the device.
    What a joke!!
    The reason there is no Samsung is because there is nothing exciting about their devices. S4 is made cheap and feels cheap
    Note 3 is nothing exciting it’s over sized and actually doesn’t have a purpose.

    • Jay

      Thanks for not actually contributing to this discussion…
      But, I’ll bit anyways.
      Have you used any of these devices? And I don’t just mean have you touched one at your local store. Have you actually used one for a day as your go to device?

      I’ve used the Moto X for almost 2 months now and can tell you that the camera is nothing to joke at (better than my wife’s s3 and my friends N5 by a long shot from pictures that I’ve taken myself beside their devices). You say there is nothing to the device? I’m not sure what you actually mean by that… Several of my friends have made mention about how they love the feel of the contours on the back and the grippy plastic that doesn’t feel like it’s going to slip out of their hand. Also, active notifications and contextual awareness to respond to my voice or open the camera without me having to even touch a button is just shy of witchcraft in some peoples eyes!
      So, what phone do you actually use?

    • userofAndroid

      Yes i have used the following devices:
      HTC One (currently using)
      Nokia 1020
      Moto X
      Nexus 4 and 5

      I believe the HTC One should be at the top of the list for the following reasons.
      Innovative – design and construction of the device. Front facing speakers plus amped up headphone jack.
      Camera – Best camera behind Nokia 1020 for low light pictures and over look. Camera features (Zoe,editing tools, continuous shooting, her, dual axis stabilization,etc..)
      Sense overlay is amazing with the way the contacts app works, email application, layout is simple and clean, it’s intuitive, photo gallery is clean and easy to use)

      Nokia 1020 is simple ans clean and if you like WP it’s a great device without all the extra. The camera is the best on the market and is a solid and well built device.

      Moto X – the camera is crap (exactly why they put out a update right after it was launched) focus and lighting are inconsistent. Whipping your wrist to active a camera is just as gimmicky as samsungs features. Voice control is something Google has been working on for years and won’t stay a moto thing it’s an Android thing.
      It’s plastic and feels and looks cheap for a device that was hyped to be in the same class as HTC, Samsung, and LG.

      It’s the closest to stock android but it’s not stock android. It doesn’t fit anywhere which doesn’t make sense. Moto blur sucked and now they don’t know what to do. Make it stock android and it’s a scrappy cheap nexus or create a overlay that is unique and different.

      Nexus 4 and 5 are good devices but still underwhelming with what is on the market. This was especially true of the nexus 4. The design and feel of the 5 is great, the camera is okay and the processor and battery life is solid. I think if your Google and the creator of android the nexus devices should be the benchmark of the android devices and be.more innovative and creative.

      Here is my list of the best phones for 2013.
      1. HTC One
      2. IPhone 5s
      3. LG G2
      4. Nexus 5
      5. S4 or Note 3

    • Dylan Kuehl

      So what do you believe should be on this list? I’ve owned an S4 and Nexus 5 recently, both lost, and were sold in favor or the Moto X. Active Notifications are beautiful and the phone itself is as close to stock without going the Nexus route.

  • Bernard Brunu

    Why is the s4 not included

    • Dylan Kuehl

      Because it does nothing new worth using. All of the crazy functionality thrown into Samsung devices either appeal to a very niche market, or are never used. Combine that with the unholy TouchWiz software and bloatware that eats ~5GB of memory on the phone and you’ve got a smartphone that doesn’t look very smart.

  • Theactivechat

    How about Samsung Galaxy S4? I have had one about 7 months; now it doesn’t recognize my SIM card, sometimes and shuts off, or my SD card all the time. It blinks when I have 3 or more windows open, the air view no longer works…I do take very care of my phone I have it in a defender otterbox. Must be a dud..

  • SP_Fever

    the best all-round smartphone on the market is the HTC One

  • miroslaf

    A BlackBerry Z30?

  • AP 

    Z30 with 10.2.1 and I dont need anything else :)

  • Adam Watts

    LG G2 with Nova Launcher. Top tier performance, excellent battery life, stunning screen.

    • Jay

      You just nixed your own nomination by saying that it needed a new launcher before it could be the best…
      I will have to agree with your battery life comment tho. From what I’ve read and what I’ve seen on other peoples devices, it has an amazing battery capacity!

    • Adam Watts

      I see your point.
      However I think one of the strengths of Android is it’s customization. I don’t need Sense, TouchWiz or Blur. I want the hardware guys to make awesome phones, and let me choose the interface. Design my committee never works for everyone.

    • Jay

      I agree that it doesn’t work for everyone and it’s probably not going to be the best phone for EVERYONE. But, Motorola has kept it VERY close to stock and what they did add in themsleves they did VERY VERY well. Now, once Rogers gets their act together, the small complaints I do still have (I want the boot app) will be fixed!

    • Dylan Kuehl

      I’ve heard nothing but good things about the battery in a G2, such a shame the software on it is crap.

      Ah, the beauty of Android. If you don’t like something, change it!

    • mggOptimusG

      LOL … I am still rocking the LG G … with Nova Launcher … and I see no reason to change the phone yet. I see no lag what so ever but I suppose it all depends on what you do with your phone.
      .
      I hate when they compare phones with “default” interfaces. Who in their right mind will use Android with default settings ? … this is probably a way to compare the uncustomizable iPhone with the rest. … customization is the main reason why I choose Android.

    • Matthew Livingstone

      I totally get you. Like as soon as I got my Sony Z1 I put ios7 on it… YaY android… j/k. Comparing Android is like shape shifting apples and oranges. The fact it’s made to easily switch the interface is a great feature but unless you have a “pure” os that runs the basic android platform on all devices to be compared, dueling androids is kinda lame. This from an android only user :-) who also works cell retail. Feature battles are so boring cuz most phones a tier (super, lite, entry) all have the same general features and can get apps to supplement the lacking feature.
      Here’s an idea, point me to the WORST phone of the year list. Some phones get released at a hype and flop out cuz they fall short on promised features. If a phone sucks sometimes companies just gotta say “Yeah we sucked on that one” lol….
      Also I’ve noticed that nobody but me mentioned Sony lol I got it for my playstation but I’m curious of public opinion. Sony Z1

  • Bernard Giroux

    moto g no question.

    • Bernard Giroux

      A good phone for everyone else.

    • Jay

      Best comment in this discussion!!! Amazing phone at an even better price!
      Got to play with one of these at a training device and while I wouldn’t replace my Moto X with it yet, I liked the Moto G over my N4 or my wife’s S3 and both still retail as much as $450+

    • Dylan Kuehl

      My friend was looking for a new phone at Koodo, pointed him towards the Moto G and told him there is nothing better for him right now.

      A month later he is still amazed by how well it runs for a $200 phone (he’s coming from an Ace II X, no wonder)

    • Jay

      Haha! HUGE improvement!!! I hope more phones start moving this direction. We need more great $200 phones!

    • Ali F.

      Amazing phone no doubt. This year I tested almost all top phones and I ended up keeping the Moto G with windows 8 launcher! I found out that I am not into 5 inches phones. I also still use my best ever phone HP Pre 3

  • Civuck

    I’m another Note 3 fan. Far and away the most feature packed, most powerful, best display, long lasting battery – the best specs PERIOD. Yet smaller, lighter, thinner than its predecessor.

    I’ve had mine since launch day and sometimes I feel I’ve still just scratched the surface of what this thing can do. Eg. Just did a presentation using the S-Pen in laser pointer mode and mirroring a PowerPoint presentation from the phone via WiFi Direct to a boardroom Samsung TV.

    • Dylan Kuehl

      I’m glad you can take advantage of the plethora of features in Samsung phones, it’s a shame it’s lost to most of their users. I still feel like the Note 3 is a niche device, and can’t be recommended to everyone. It’s a tablet in my hands, and completely unusable in one hand for most. Also not a fan of TouchWiz, but that’s more my preference than anything.I’ve been using a Moto X for a bit now, sold my S4 after a month because I stopped using it completely.

  • Bbrysucks

    Nexus 5 FTW!

  • Yassir

    Note 3 and Moto X should beTied for first and iPhone5S was a let down it shouldn’t be there

    • Jay

      I am not an iPhone user. Tried the iPhone 5 and felt all boxed up in the OS. But, I will have to agree with putting the 5s on the list. They finally had a little bit of innovation (if you can call it that…) by doing the fingerprint scanner and control center really, really well. Hopefully this will lead other companies to see just how important and usefull it is to execute a couple of really well done features instead of just blasting the market with features and seeing what sticks.

  • M-Len

    The lack of Z30, z10, note 3, and s4 is really embarrassing on the part of mobilesyrup.

    Its a shame the way mobilesyrup is going as of late :(……you guys used to be fair and decent, but lately you guys have become predictable in your reporting bias, and reviews. This site used to have a balance that was really refreshing to see in a sea of protectionistic american bias, copu.ied by lazy international news outlets and tech sites……but it seems you guys are becoming that yourselves. shame…..

    • Tyrone Thomas

      Why on Earth would they mention any BlackBerry devices???? And please don’t start going off about the “innovative” UI of BlackBerry Flow or the Hub. If any of that was anything revolutionary then the company wouldn’t have sold more BB7 devices then BB10 devices in the last quarter.

    • Jay

      I do have to say I’m a little dissapointed that the Z10 wasn’t mentioned for it’s UI. I got a Z10 in April and still use it as my work phone today. I’ve let friends use my phone for a week just to get a proper taste of the OS and all of them have said they love the flow that BB has nailed for this UI. I honestly don’t see how anyone can debate that BB10 isn’t the best for e-mail and message multitasking with the BB Hub. That all said, it failed with the camera and buggy firmware all year so I wouldn’t have put it in the ‘best of’ list either.

    • Tyrone Thomas

      I will admit that it was a different, fresh looking UI but in order to make a list like this would have had to have an impact with a good amount of users which it didn’t. That’s pretty much why no BlackBerrys are listed here in addition to what you mentioned about the camera/buggy firmware.

    • jellmoo

      Did you just ask for a reason and then discount them out of hand?

    • blzd

      I’m just glad you mentioned both BB and Samsung devices together. Both don’t deserve to be here, glad you grouped em together like that to make it easy.

    • blzdisatard

      it’s cute that you’re replying to yourself

  • Marinton Danucias

    No note 3? What a joke :/ where’s the love for Samsung…

  • Ralph Malph

    And here we go again folks! 2 of the best phones on the market Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy S4 not making this list just shows how irrelevant online reviews are. Anytime reviews are done by so called professionals (I use the word loosely, but I’m referring to anyone who does this for a living) in the industry, they should ALWAYS stress how their review is one of PURE BIAS, aka, OPINION. Reviews used to be about facts. But these days it’s nothing about the facts, it’s all about personal opinion and agenda. NOTHING about lists like this are based on facts. For a true Best Of list, the reviewer should point out what the guidelines are for picking the best handset,with no category being a subjective one. Otherwise you get crap like the list you see above. Although, not having a single Samsung phone on the list does wreak of personal agenda. Sorry but I call it out like it is. #FACT

    • Jay

      Alright troll. Why should the S4 or Note 3 have made this list? Other than their specs (which barely mean anything these days), what makes those 2 phones better than anything else on this list?

    • framing god

      Note 3 best screen on a smart phone bar none! Best battery life except -LG g2

    • jellmoo

      It has a good screen, no doubt, but not the best. Both the One and the 1520 have stronger displays.

    • Jay

      I would say that depends how you rate battery life. Just because the battery has a large mAh rating, doesn’t mean it will last all day. My Moto X lasts me all day with room to spare. No other phone I’ve used has been able to do that (except my Z10 work phone but I don’t actually use it all that much…)
      I haven’t had a Note 3 to test my real life use on the battery so I can’t really say if it would be better or not.

    • Ralph Malph

      If you already don’t know, then there’s no help for you. It’s honestly that simple.

    • Jay

      I gave you a chance to redeem yourself and you chose not to take it… I know as much about those 2 phones as you could ask (I sell them and have used both during Samsung training sessions). But it’s not up to me to try and convince this thread why they should be on the list. You’re the one that want them on the list so please, explain why you want them on the list.

    • one5

      Man, if you were a politician, I would vote for you. I couldn’t agree with more.

    • jellmoo

      Did you actually read any of the text in the article? They are talking about their favourite devices. This isn’t a “hard fact” list, which isn’t exactly possible to do anyway. It is subjective. It says it is subjective. It has to be subjective.

      I have no idea what #FACT is supposed to mean in the context of your rant, as I’m not sure what #FACT is even in question.

    • thedosbox

      Um, a review that’s based on “FACTS” is called a spec sheet.

      Every reviewer brings their own biases, based on their experiences. The difference between a “professional” reviewer and some random fanboy is that the former have had extensive time with many devices.

      Anyone who doesn’t understand this is just another raging fanboy.

    • Ralph Malph

      Oh really? Spec Sheet? You’re exactly the type of person these so called online reviewers write this crap for. Eat it up ignoramus, eat it up. Does a spec sheet tell you how the phone runs under load in real life use? Does a Spec Sheet tell you how loud the speaker gets before distortion? Does the spec sheet tell you how clear the earpiece sounds? Does a spec sheet give you examples of how well the phone can hold a signal in real life use? Does a spec sheet tell you how long the battery last in real life use and give you screen shots of the battery stats for that use? No? I didn’t think so. Grab a brain and raise your pathetically low expectations of online reviews. People only need the facts, The subjective stuff is left for the buyer.
      BTW a review based on nothing but opinion is called a facebook, twitter post. People come to professional reviewer to get an objective review, aka FACTS. Not an opinion.

    • jellmoo

      All of these things, these so called “facts” (which aren’t actually facts by the way, you really should look into the definition of the word) do not give you an informed opinion. They exist in a void. They are important to know, absolutely, but they do not combine into something of any meaningful substance. They require subjective input as well so that things such as user experience, form factor, feature use, aesthetics and many other factors can be taken into account.

      The dude is right, you are looking for spec sheets. Reviews are way more involved than a bunch of tests that don’t add up to more than a sum of parts.

      I get it. The phones you like the mostest because they are the bestest phones in the history of ever didn’t win any accolades here. I’m sorry. There’s no need to be insulting about it, and there’s no need to pretend that the review style used (which is used by just about every major tech site in the industry) is terrible because you don’t like it.

    • thedosbox

      “Does a spec sheet tell you how the phone runs under load in real life
      use?”

      Perhaps you should take some more remedial English classes. Professional reviewers get to spend EXTENSIVE TIME with MANY devices.

      People come for professional reviews to get a perspective they themselves can’t get, biases included.

  • bembol

    Completely disagree. Super Phone of 2013 IMO is…

    Google nexus 5. Give them a break, at $399 (32GB, Unlocked) obviously they needed to cut corners. I personally do not have a problem with having a Mediocre Camera & Speakers. Seriously do you need 13-41MP pics to post on facebook/twitter? I don’t care how good the Speakers are (hTc One’s BoomSound) nothing beats using your favourite Headphones.

    Performance is amazing, knowing that you will get the latest OS is already an advantage and as long as I’m getting 12 Battery Life, I’m happy.

    • jellmoo

      So the Nexus 5 is the best phone of 2013… Provided you don’t mind it not being the best phone?

      The Nexus 5 is absolutely a great value, probably the best value device you can buy. But there are quite a few tradeoffs made for it to be the best smartphone of the year.

  • Balls O’Steele

    Any phone without LTE is fail. Moto G just isn’t worth it.

    • thedosbox

      LOL – before the Nexus 5 came out, this place was full of “HSPA+ is fast enough” comments from all the Nexus 4 owners.

      Now? No LTE = no sale.

      Hilarious.

    • downhilldude

      A. Times change. It is available everywhere now.
      B. He’s entitled to his opinion, same as you.

    • thedosbox

      A. These comments were made barely one month ago. Heck, there are still people suggesting the N4 is a better choice.
      B. Indeed we both are. Hence posting it.

    • Jay

      For $200 ($150 with Koodo) you are getting a 1.2GHz quad core and Adreno 302 graphics core, 720 display (~326 ppi), gorilla glass 3, a 5MP camera all running Android 4.3 (with Motorola commiting to 4.4).
      But you’re right, it’s just not worth it.

  • Marinton Danucias

    Note 3 deserves to be on this list… let’s be real

  • mrdeeds72

    HTC One is the best in my opinion. My pick for budget is the Nokia Lumia 620. Can’t beat the value for price.

  • Sam Wiggans

    I got the Moto X literally 3 days ago, and I love it so far.

  • BaconTelevision

    I hope the next mobilesyrup giveaway contest is for soothers, baby bottles and bibs..

    They’re some serious preschoolers ’round these parts

  • Stimulator

    No love for Sony either? Z1 is a fantastic phone!

  • Danniko

    Wow. this article is a fail at best.

    • jellmoo

      Please explain why.

  • B-Mac

    No Xperia Z1?? maybe the most underrated smartphone of the year….large 5 inch 1080p display check, LTE download speeds check, excellent 20 MP camera with dedicated camera button check, waterproof and dust proof check, massive battery and great battery life check, simple and clean UI check, beautiful premium glass almuninum design check, available on 3 major carriers and unlocked from sony store…..yet no mention and it pretty much ticks off all the requirements when people buy a phone these days

    • jellmoo

      Unfortunately it is also pretty massive for a 5 inch device.

    • Stimulator

      That’s only one minor issue, which I’d say every phone made has at least one negative thing about it.

    • jellmoo

      I definitely agree that every device has at least one negative attribute, but this isn’t a minor one to me. The device is quite large for the screen size, with pretty ridiculous bezels. With devices like the Moto X and the G2 shrinking overall device size down so much, the Z1 really stuck out like a sore thumb.

    • Kaostheory

      IPhone the worst for bezels, especially with the screen being so small already, yet these sites always voting it near or at the top. Loving my Z1 and using it in the hot tub, rain and every other wet place. I agree the bezels are the one down side but worth it for being water resistant. Once you’ve had waterproof you’ll never go back! Interesting that all the sites that are voting for smartphone of the year that the 5s is getting wiped out early.

    • jellmoo

      The iPhone has large bezels, no doubt. The issue with the Z1 though is that those bezels make it more of a challenge to use one handed and to pocket.

      It’s a cool device, and the waterproofing is pretty nifty, but the device made quite a few sacrifices to achieve this.

  • blzd

    I’m laughing at all the people who think Samsung or BB should be on this list, and especially those who think Moto X is subpar and claim MS is bias when they really can’t get over their own. Shows how out of touch most readers here are.

    Note 3 best phone? Said no one ever. Moto X best phone? This has been the case for almost every Best Android 2013 article I’ve read.

    • StevieY

      Said no one ever?

      Check out Phone dog, scrub. Note 3 is number one as a combined opinion of several reviewers

    • downhilldude

      Note 3 should definitely be on the list. Not arguing with anything on the list, but that’s a glaring omission.

    • blzdisatard

      lel this guy just went full autist mode

  • caanda45

    I have actually had the I-phone 5 and the Sammy S4 and the HTC One (my wife is currently using) and now I use the Moto X….Daniel got it right as it is not the gimmicks or the horsepower of the Phone but how you use it…I use the features on the Moto X and the rest of the phone, I have long since sold except for the HTC One…..I am looking forward to the Moto X`s successor, I think I will buy it…but please keep it the same size!!!

  • Jaime

    What.. No Samsung phones…. =|

  • G-man

    Z30 is the best – hands down.

  • jay

    Blackberry Z10 is a nice phone but doesn’t have any service because when my z10 didn’t work there was no support because I bought it used! The other thing is when we talk about apps with friends and one of them has a blackberry oh I can’t get that! Happy to have an iPhone again! I also had a nexus 5 for two weeks and wasn’t happy with it!

  • Madhav Phophaliya

    no note3 or s4 strange but still all are nice phones if i get any of the one then that would be my best day of my life

  • Shūji Kiritani

    SGS4/SGN3 should be on this list.

  • โจ้ สารักษ์

    nexus5

  • Mathew McPath

    The nexus 5 is the biggest bang for your buck. The Moto X is still an amazing smartphone making a stand with its dual core processor in a quad core market!

  • Mark Rosenfield

    I have had a number of Android phones over the past years and the new MOTO x is the best yet. It is intuative and easy to use. Great product!

  • Galaxybored

    will there be a new version of the moto x in 2014? I’m looking to buy it but i want to know if there will be a new one

  • Zen

    I’m really having a hard time deciding what to get.
    Since I will probably be stuck in a 2 yr contract, I want something to last, yet not cost a fortune, nor put me in an expensive plan that the iphone had me in for 3 long years.

    Springtime seems a bad time to get a new phone, since most of the one’s available are from last years tech, and the new ones are not out yet….AHHH!

    I don’t really want to wait for summer or fall…I’ve been looking at this damn 3.5 inch screen for far too long

    But it seems every review I read, each phone has some flaw or another

    What Mid-Range phone is very good?

    it’s like buying a car it seems, once you buy a smartphone, it’s already outdated.

    I’m all for tech, but we need to calm damn a bit and just breathe and enjoy what we have.

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