Buyers' Guide

Gift Guide: Flagship Smartphones

Welcome to the Gift Guide section, where we list our favourite smartphones, tablets, accessories and deals of the moment.

In this section, some great flagship phones, usually priced between $150 and $300 on contract.

Last updated: August 29th, 2013

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The Moto X is Motorola’s best phone to date. And after hundreds of hours of testing, I think there is no better general Android phone out there. Active Notifications would be enough to get me in the door, but the size, shape, build quality, unfettered software experience and camera speed represent the whole package.


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The Galaxy S4 is this year’s flagship from Samsung, and improves on an already-fantastic performer. The design, albeit aging, is streamlined and improved over last year’s model, and performance is top-notch.

Available across most carriers in Canada for between $199 and $249 on a 2-year term, the Galaxy S4 boasts a 5-inch 1080p display, a super faster processor, a large 2600mAh battery and tons of software features.


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The reigning champ of “closed,” Apple’s iPhone 5 is still the best choice for those looking for a well-designed, lightweight smartphone with plenty of apps. Apple’s ecosystem betters Android in many ways, as developers choose iOS before any other more often than not.

While the screen may lack the size or resolution of many modern Android phones (see above and below), the iPhone 5 hits all the right marks, with a great camera, fluid performance, unparalleled accessory support, and a variety of storage sizes. It may not be the industry-saving product it was in 2009/10, but Apple’s continued refinement of its hardware and software (iOS 7 is expected in mid-September) is what consistently makes it a top choice among consumers.

The iPhone 5 is available across most carriers in Canada for between $199 and $399 on a 2-year term.


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The HTC One may be the best-designed smartphone ever made, and while its UltraPixel camera doesn’t boast the detail of some of the competitors, its overall marriage of hardware and software is better than any other Android OEM.

Cheaper than the equivalent Galaxy S4, and with more storage to boot, the HTC One has one of the best displays on the market, incredible front-facing stereo speakers, and an all-aluminum design that is sure to impress.

Available on all the major carriers for between $149 and $179, the HTC One is a must-see contender.[/msgg]

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Sony’s waterproof marvel is only available on Bell’s network, but with summer sticking around for a couple more months, there is plenty of time to show off a smartphone that can withstand the elements.

With a 5-inch 1080p display and a 13MP shooter with advanced optics, Sony’s flagship is a giant in more than a few ways.

The Xperia Z is available from Bell for $149 on a 2-year term.[/msgg]

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BlackBerry’s best smartphone is also its first in HD, with a 4.2-inch 720p display running the all-new BlackBerry 10 operating system.

What the company lacks in apps it makes up for in built-in functionality, and the experience seven months in is extremely mature. Though the company itself has hit rocky times, the Z10 is a great smartphone for BBM fans and IT professionals alike.

The BlackBerry Z10 is available on most carriers for between $99 and $149 on a 2-year term.

See alsoBlackBerry Q10 for a keyboard version of the Z10


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The company’s Canadian flagship may have been superseded in the United States by the 925, 928 and gargantuan 1020, but the sleek polycarbonate device still holds a tender place in our hearts.

Packing a beefy 4.5-inch 720p AMOLED display, Microsoft’s latest Windows Phone 8 operating system, and an amazing image-stabilized camera for exceptional low-light photographs, the Lumia 920 is in a class of its own. If you’re looking for a Windows Phone — and there are plenty of reasons to do so — this is the one to get.

The Nokia Lumia 920 is available exclusively from Rogers for $149 on a 2-year term.