Best Android Smartphones (April 2013 edition)

Best Android Smartphones (April 2013 edition)

Summary: Time to take a tour of a handful of the best Android smartphones currently available on the market. Here are some killer handsets from Google, Motorola, and Samsung.

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TOPICS: Android, Smartphones
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  • (Image: ZDNet)

    Introduction

    Looking to replace your aging Android companion with something newer and with a little more oomph? Here are five excellent Android-powered smartphones from Google, Motorola, and Samsung.

    No matter whether you are looking for a consumer handset or something that will be suited to a BYOD role, you're bound to find something of interest here.

    The handsets are arranged in no particular order, but my current favorite is the Nexus 4. It's a powerful package that delivers what I believe to be the best, purest Android experience possible.

  • Google Nexus 4

    (Image: Google)

    Google Nexus 4

    The Nexus 4 is the smartphone that Google thinks Android should be loaded on.

    One of the downsides to the Nexus 4 is that it doesn't come with LTE support, despite having a supporting integrated modem. According to LG, the manufacturer of the Nexus 4, the LTE modem requires a signal amplifier and filter to work, and these components have been omitted to keep the cost of the handset down.

    Despite this, the Nexus 4 is a solid, well-made Android handset.

    • Jelly Bean (Android 4.2)

    • 1.5 GHz quad-core Krait processor

    • 4.7-inch WXGA IPS display

    • 8MP rear camera

    • 1.3MP front camera

    • 8/16GB internal storage

  • (Image: Motorola)

    Motorola Razr i

    Here we have a new entry from Motorola — the Razr i.

    Perhaps not the best — or best made — handset around, but the Razr i is nonetheless a decent, solid smartphone that won't break the bank.

    The DuPont Kevlar fibre and Corning Gorilla Glass construction gives it a good feel in the hand, and it comes with an SD-card slot for storage expansion, something that the Nexus 4 doesn't have.

    • Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0), but Jelly Bean in inbound

    • 2GHz Intel Atom Z2460

    • 4.3-inch Super AMOLED 540x960 display

    • 8MP rear camera

    • VGA front camera

    • 8GB internal storage

Topics: Android, Smartphones

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  • Motorola Droid RAZR MAXX HD

    You wrote

    "The only downside to this handset is that it is powered by Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich," but an upgrade to Android 4.1 "Jelly Bean" should be available before the end of the year."

    That is very outdated. The RAZR MAXX HD has already been updated to Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean.
    blane27
    • I wrote that same point...

      ... in a comment on the February edition.

      Somehow, the copy/paste bug still rules. Too bad because technically, the phone has had TWO updates - the first a stop at JB 4.1.1...
      traumadog1
  • A brilliant piece of writing

    "Perhaps not the best – or best made – handset around, but the RAZR i is nonetheless a decent, solid smartphone that won't break the bank."

    Then why is the article named "Best Android Smartphones April 2013"?
    ikissfutebol
    • Nice catch.

      It's should have been called "Almost Best Android Smartphones (April 2013 edition)".

      I say that as while the Samsung are quite nice from what I have seen, two people I know with the Nexus 4 have said basiclly "If given a choice, definately get something else other then the Nexus 4"

      The RAZR's I've heard no complaints about to speak of.
      William Farrel
      • I have the razr maxx hd's dad

        The razr maxx, and it's been solid for me. I had one little blip where I had to re-flash it as battery life had fallen to around 8-9 hours, but it was just software and it went back to an every other day charge with pretty full on use there after.

        Not had any hardware issues or games that I couldn't play, etc. only thing I can think of is finding a case is a bit of a pain compared to say and sgs 3 or iPhone, and Motorola are slow at providing updates... Or releasing then taking back!

        Just bare in mind that battery is massive, but it's not just a case of pop-out like most of the others! At the end of the day, it's claim to fame is it's battery life, and it's epic at that.

        This whole list feels dated to be honest... I know we did HTC vs Sony before the weekend, but both of those phones should be on here... For April 2013 edition most of this bunch are half a year old! I agree with the nexus; purely for it's price point.
        MarknWill
  • HTC One

    You didn't mention HTC's 2013 flagship phone. With its incredible software and sleek and durable hardware it really is a nice phone. It's disappointing that it is not mentioned in this article. The phone is the successor to both the HTC One X+ and the Evo 4G LTE! I consider it the best android phone that will be available this year. In my opinion, it destroys the Galaxy S4's customized home screens and gimmick features.
    newphiproductions
    • but then again...

      The GS4 is not listed either. Both are only available for preorders and are not currently available. So, it does make more sense when you think about it.
      newphiproductions
  • You Can Drop The "Android" Qualifier

    And just call this a list of "best smartphones" full stop.
    ldo17
    • Full stop would be correct.

      What colour iPhone 5 did you go for? Actually for that matter what colour lumina 920 and HTC 8X.... What didn't you like about them that each of these beat through your own extended use?

      What's that you haven't owned every phone on the market? What about the Sony Xperia Z? That tops most of this lot in several areas?

      Hmm.. I think I'll go with the guy that reviews these devices for a living and leave the android prefix where it is.

      Let's just have one comment section where we cut the BS as it begins and agree there is actually no one "god device" each to there own... Ymmv of course.
      MarknWill
      • Re: What's that you haven't owned every phone on the market?

        Neither has this reviewer.
        ldo17
      • Who is the guy that reviews phones for a living?

        I'm a retired PhD pharmacologist whose computer days go back to (ahem) Fortran V, COBOL, and SPSS. Got through college keypunching cards! While decently proficient with Windows for what little I do now, lol: Junior League database sorts with Access, etc. my smart phone is definitely a "smarter than I am" one. Though three years old and running slowly, any way to sort through currently and soon-to-be available models? It will be used for phone, text, pics, limited internet searches, etc. With planned obsolence rampant in all technology, is it worth waiting for Galaxy IV or another vs Nexus or whatever iteration of the Droid is available the day I decide to purchase. Also, is 4G significantly faster than 3G in major markets? A newbie to commenting, pls forgive my posting here if it is not germane or in the correct spot. TIA (or total ignorance attack, take your pick)
        wendyb964
        • Have to seek it out

          keep applying for jobs on sites like this. I always wondered how people got a job traveling for a living like on the travel channel.
          new gawker
      • I love my HTC 8x

        And I like the Windows Phone 8 operating system. With that said I'm likely to switch to an iPhone or GS4 once they become available on T-Mobile. Windows Phone still has a lot of niggly things that bother me. I find myself using my iPhone 4S too much to work around the shortcomings of the Windows Phone.

        If HTC would put the Android OS on the 8x that would be my ideal phone.
        ye
        • Re: If HTC would put the Android OS on the 8x that would be my ideal phone.

          Look for the HTC One X. That's the hardware that was adapted to make the 8X.
          ldo17
  • Jelly Bean

    The last time I checked ALL of the phones in this review are available with Jelly Bean. They may arrive from the store with Ice Cream Sandwich, but that is only because that is what they were flashed with when they were manufactured.
    msdamico@...
  • Samsung S4 wireless charging

    I have a S3 and am going to get the S4 as soon as it comes out. The only thing is that the Samsung wireless charging back is bulky and expensive-$100. I had gotten a Stealth S3 upgrade kit for $40 from vivealive.net and they emailed me that they will have a newer S4 version in June for $50. I CAN'T WAIT! :-)
    Michele Li
  • My favorite is Sony Xperia-Z

    My favorite is Sony's Xperia-Z. Check it out:

    http://www.techradar.com/us/reviews/phones/mobile-phones/sony-xperia-z-1119637/review
    mocnarf
  • Re: Best Android Smartphones

    Hmmm...
    How much did Samsung pay you to keep Butterfly / One out of top 5... or Xperia Z?
    I wonder....
    Which is why I frankly don't trust these reviews/ Opinions...
    shaunakbasu
    • "don't trust these ... opinions"

      Opinions are just that, no more, no less. Pretty much everything here is opinions - some better supported by facts than others.

      Why would yours be any better?
      D.T.Long
  • Razr-i

    I have been using my Motoroal Rzr-i, since november 2012. I´ve always wondered why such great smartphone was always out of the lists. Until now.
    Let me tell you it is, without a doubt, one of the best smartphones available. Intel did a great job with it´s 2ghz processor and Motorola created a really solid, beautiful and fast machine, with great battery life as well.
    Honestly I haven´t found cons yet, only pros.
    debaskerville2