Best Android smartphones (August 2013 edition)

Best Android smartphones (August 2013 edition)

Summary: Time to take a tour of a handful of the best Android smartphones currently available on the market (August 2013). There are a few new handsets, including one for all you pure Android fans.


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  • UPDATE: The "The Best Android smartphones (September edition)"  is now available.


    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. My current favorite continues to be the Nexus 4. It's a powerful package that delivers what I believe to be the best, purest Android experience possible. However, I have to admit that some of the features present on the Samsung Galaxy S4 make it a great choice for the BYOD crowd. 

  • (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)
    • 1.5GHz quad-core Krait processor
    • 4.7-inch WXGA IPS display
    • 8MP rear camera
    • 1.3MP front camera
    • 8/16GB internal storage
  • (Image: Google)

    Samsung Galaxy S4 "Google Play Edition"

    Like the idea of a Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone, but prefer a device that gives you a more pure Google Android experience? Or maybe you just want an unlocked handset. Either way, take a look at the Samsung Galaxy S4 "Google Play Edition."

    This is the same hardware as the Galaxy S4, but with all the Samsung bells and whistles removed. Some people love this, others hate it. But if you want it, it is yours, unlocked, for $649.

    • Skinless Jelly Bean (Android 4.2.2), which means the same experience as the Nexus
    • 1.9GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600
    • 5-inch Super AMOLED high-pixel-density (441ppi) display
    • 13MP rear camera
    • 2MP front camera
    • 16GB internal storage
    • MicroSD slot

Topics: Mobility, Android, Smartphones

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  • Nexus 4 version

    I would just like to point out that the article erroneously states that the Nexus 4 is running Jellybean 4.2 when it is in fact running 4.3. A selling point, as I do not know of any other phones on this list that can claim the same.
    Caleb MacLachlan
    • Indeed

      Well, the Google Play edition S4 has got JB 4.3 now as well.
    • RE: Nexus 4 version

      Actually, it comes shipped with 4.2. So, not all of them are running 4.3 even though the update is available.
    • your are right

      5 days after the 4.3 announcement it was pushed on my phone. If you get a new Nexus with 4.2.2 it should upgrade when you first connect yo WiFi
  • Nexus 4 version

    I would just like to point out that the article erroneously states that the Nexus 4 is running Jellybean 4.2 when it is in fact running 4.3. A selling point, as I do not know of any other phones on this list that can claim the same.
    Caleb MacLachlan
  • Pffft!

    You could have started and ended this article with the S4. It smokes all of the rest. Nothing else really comes close.
    • love my BlackBerry Q10

      Nuff said.
      • Er,

        Think you wanted the list of Best Blackberry Smartphone August 2013 article.
        This is the Android one.
        • it can be compared

          Since it can run most Android apps.
      • Q10

        You can't compare the Blackberry Q10 to any of these handsets. Completely different form factor and OS. For someone who wants a physical keyboard and doesn't care about the small screen it is a great phone. However, that represents a small number of people, and because of that Blackberry will have a hard time competing. The Z10 is the only competitor among these phones, and it doesn't stand much of a chance either.
      • Blackberry - Really

        Phlebett LOL i guess we are all entitled to make our choices ;oP
    • The HTC One comes very close.

      We have both. My oldest son has used both and prefers the HTC One. He feels it is snappier but the main thing it does the things he likes most particularly the camera. In other words the software implementation he finds better on the HTC One even though the S4 has marginally better hardware.

      Me I still like my Z10 while it doesn't have the same hardware chops as the above, it is extremely easy to navigate and get the notifications that I need and it is the right size. Bigger than an iPhone 5 but not as big as the two listed above.
    • S4 doesn't beat Nexus 4 on the point spread

      $300 to $350 unlocked, $30/month for Tmobile unlimited data and text.

      Limited to 100 voice minutes, but I get great voice quality with CSipSimple and the leftover minutes from my Callcentric home phone.

      It's everything I need and more at a price that leaves me ahead about $1,000 per year.
      Adam econ Smith
    • Actually....GSM Arena Compare

      The above site allows you to compare phones side by side. The Samsung S4 differs minimally to the S3 - especially after the upgrade. So until they bring something a little more superior out, i'll be staying with the S3 for now.
  • S4

    there seems to be a version of the S4 called 'Active' specially sealed from dust and moisture... anyone have insight into how well that works?
    • S4 Active

      It is not much more rugged than the S4. I have been doing research on these, and many users have tried using them underwater and they killed their phones. It seems that the battery cover needs to be set in place just perfectly for it to work. And even then some of them leak water into the handset. As far as I am concerned, the only reason you buy the Active is if you want physical menu and back buttons instead of touch buttons.
    • Not well at all

      For an ever increasing number for both it and Sony's Experia Z. It is not waterproof and they void your warranty for water damage if that is what damaged it. You want waterproof get a good waterproof case.
  • An Indian handset in the "best 10"? Surprised and happy!

    As an Indian, I am surprised and happy to see an Indian brand mentioned here - Karbonn! Though it's another product made by a nameless Chinese OEM, the brand, and the company is Indian, and well, this is truly a surprise!
    • Congrats!

      Yeah, that's the first I've seen of an Indian company making such a list.

      It's also nice, as a American, to see to actual American phones on the list, the pair from Motorola... and the Moto X is actually being Made in Texas (the Google Nexus is certainly from a US company, but it's really just an OEM model from LG in Korea, and no doubt manufacturered by a nameless Chinese CM).

      With that said, I'm not sure either Motorola phone really belongs here. The RAZRi is only interesting because of the Intel processor, and I'm not sure that makes it against the slew of ARMs, particularly given the Atom Z2460's single core. It's also way behind on screen quality, screen resolution, and only 8GB storage? I love the near indestructability of the RAZR series, but I really don't know what this is doing on the list.

      The Moto X seems more interesting, despite it being a soundly mid-range device compared to the cream of the Android crop these days. But that may not matter if the extras, like enhanced voice recognition, really pay off in actual use.
      • reviews say that...

        it is smoother running than both the S4 and HTC, also better battery life and just as fast, in some cases faster. : ). Mid-range specs, high end performance.