Best Android smartphones (July 2013 edition)

Best Android smartphones (July 2013 edition)

Summary: Time to take a tour of a handful of the best Android smartphones currently available on the market (July 2013). This time around, I've added a dual-SIM handset into the mix for those of you looking to switch networks quickly.


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  • (Image: ZDNet)


    UPDATE: Best Android Phones (August 2013 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 long-term evolution (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

    • 8GB/16GB internal storage

Topics: Mobility, Smartphones

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  • You keep doing it and we keep telling you

    Won't be reading any of it due to stupid flashing page refreshes because a) zdnet refuse to update their software to something that isn't akin to being poked in the eye by a maglight, & b) you refuse to listen to the comments that tell you you're formatting is sickness inducing.

    Might be a great article - who knows and lets face it, who cares, I can get the same from any tech site without getting a bleeding nose.
    Little Old Man
    • Agree.

      Came here to read the story, but can't be bothered clicking through the slideshow.
  • "Best Android smartphones for today"... a better title, since what's best will undoubtedly be different tomorrow. Assuming that the best will stay the best in Androidland for a whole month is stretching it, isn't it?
    I know, I know. Choice is good. Choice is good. But the rate and variety of recent Samsung product announcements is getting a bit ridiculous. There's a point at which TOO many choices is a downer for phone shoppers.
  • Your slide show format needs to be updated.

    If you insist on showing us slide shows for information that should be put in list form then at least look at how "computerworld dot com" does their slide shows. They put the picture on the left side, the text on the right, ad under the text, ad every 4th (I think) slide, and NO full page reload.

    ZDNet take a hint. Other commenters have stated this many many times. There is a reason we are telling you that your slide shows suck.
    • Also...

      I have a 15.6 inch screen on my laptop. Every time I go to the next slide I have to scroll down to see the text because your images are way too big. I hate having to scroll down every time I go to the next slide especially since some of the slide shows are 15 or 20 slides long (that is 15 or 20 times I have to scroll down).

      Also as you may note this is a new comment under my original comment. This is because I CANNOT edit my original comment. This adds clutter to the comment section.
      • I feel the pain

        With most computers having widescreen monitors it would be easier if the text would go to the side of the picture instead of below (or get below on other ratio monitors or when using in portrait).

        And like everybody says... STOP THE WHOLE PAGE RELOAD ON EACH SLIDE!!!!!
    • Agree with commentary

      When is the writer going to listen to his frustrated and insightful readers... after they've gone?
      I'm gone - don't need the antagonism... the article is valueless with its graphic encumbrance, no matter how wonderful the writer thinks it is.
  • the nexus 4 is the best value

    if you don't need LTE. I've even flashed my own AOSP build just to show I could. But now I am just using "stock" CM10.1.
    • Best Value is in the eye of the beholder!

      Eg, I originally wanted the first Galaxy Note but I was on plan with Voda-network-absent-fone until November 2012. In the time that I was waiting, out comes the Galaxy Note 2. I already had a Windows 7 laptop, I3 Windows 7 desktop, ASUS TF201 (darned GOOD machine!!) and now I get the Note 2. It is fabulous for me. I do my spreadsheets on it, I voice dictate SMS messages, GPS anywhere - and sure you say many phones do that and you are right about that - but I need reading glasses which are obviously not in use when driving and other than reading I dont use glasses. Imagine the annoyance on, say, an iPhone when I am driving. If I dont have that phone set to read it out to me, I have to stop to read it but that means getting the glasses out.

      With the Note 2 if I dont have message reading on at least I dont have to pull the glasses out as it is big enough to read the message. Besides that, the size is conveniently accurate for placing, when the phone is in a flip up from the bottom cover, in the spot in my 2010 model Holden Captiva, where a GPS unit would have been had I wanted one fitted there. I can wedge it in without having to have a stupid suction cup thing to hold the phone that can often lose its grip while I am driving and is in the way when it doesnt.

      With everything the Note 2 does, for me it is the best phone on the market. Now note that I said "for me" because, as I said in the subject line the best value is "in the eye of the beholder".
      • I would have a galaxy note 2

        but it's too expensive off contract for me. I definitely plan on getting one someday though.
    • Nexus 4 is my phone

      But I have to admit it is getting a bit long in the teeth. The specs were nice for six months ago.

      the HPSA+ is actually pretty darn fast, If I have 3 bars showing I get 14mb/s which is similar - if not the same as the LTE networks. The only problem with not having full LTE is that it limits the choices of networks to two.
      • Wow

        mention any of the carriers by name and ZDnet blocks you for posting spam. Sad.

        Like I was saying you can only really use the carriers that start with A or start with T. The S, and V carriers are off limits. That is the only problem. Not having LTE limits choice. but then it also saves $30 on the phone.
        • yeah but I would pay

          30 more dollars for an LTE nexus 4, and I think many others would as well.

          Having said that, my LTE phones get ~15Mbps at home, so doesn't seem like to much of a difference.
  • Image 7 of 9

    .....honestly and REALLY should have been Jerry Ryan! ;-}
  • Motorola Razr i doesn't belong

    The Motorola Razr i doesn't belong in the "top tier" Android category. You keep putting it there but it doesn't even have an HD display (minimum of 720p). My Galaxy Nexus (Nexus 3) from 2011 has 720p. Come on! All the top tier Android smartphones have 720p and now even full 1080p HD.

    (The laggard smartphone is the Apple iPhone which also doesn't have HD -- 640p which is not HD -- but fanbois don't hold Apple's feet to the fire. Android is better than that.)
  • The Galaxy S4 is the best phone on the planet.

    Yes, it has a plastic case, the better to keep it light, and a wise person cases his phone, so the basic shell is a moot point. Performance - wise, nothing out there can beat it (for now, of course).
  • Hey, Great !!!

    You did it again! Look, I know that your boss or other makes these decisions, but YOUR NAME is on the article. EVERY WEEK we have to remind you that Slide Show format articles are NOT acceptable. If your significant other wants to do a slide show, let him/her and make a link to it. MEANWHILE, the rest of us DO NOT want a Slide Show.
    YES, I flushed the article, just as I do with all Slide Shows. Stop wasting our lives!
    Leo Regulus
  • Please post an article, not a slide show

    Where is the link to the article. This slide show thing is horrible.
  • And now for the Social Media act

    Apparently you will not pay attention to your Client / Readers total disdain for Slide Shows. So, now it's at a new level. I'm posting my comments on Social Media. Check your FB, TW & Google links.
    Leo Regulus