Best Android smartphones (September 2013 edition)

Best Android smartphones (September 2013 edition)

Summary: Time once again to take a tour of a handful of the best Android smartphones currently available on the market (September 2013). There are a few new handsets, including one for all you pure Android fans. There's also a brand new phablet to keep an eye on!

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TOPICS: Android, Smartphones
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    UPDATE:

    The October edition is now available.

    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. 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: Android, Smartphones

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19 comments
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  • Shouldn't this be the August Edition

    Given all the new phones yet to be released since Sept is hardly more than a day old.
    greywolf7
    • ??? Pedantry ???

      Perhaps the August Edition was published on 1st August?

      And maybe it doesn't really matter?
      Zogg
    • This report only covers...

      ...the 793 Android phones that have been released so far this month.
      Userama
  • My thoughts...

    For the most part, I agree. However, as a tech enthusiast, let me add my two cents worth.

    First off, expect to catch some crap over the Galaxy S4 better in almost every way than the HTC One comment. For the most part, I agree, but there is room for debate. It mostly comes down to preference, things like the screen. HTC One has a truer to life colored screen that is naturally brighter and has a higher resolution. The GS4 argues that its higher saturation and much better contrast ratios reduce the need for brightness, and that although there is a higher PPI count on the HTC Once, the GS4 is actually the smaller phone with a matching full HD screen. So, give and take, depending on your preference. I personally prefer the amazing look of the AMOLED screens, regardless of the saturation value, but there is no denying that the HTC One is slightly more visible in direct sunlight.

    One other note...your last phone was completely unnecessary. Either the Google Play edition of the HTC One (amazingly left out when you included the Play edition of the GS4) or the brand-new LG G2 would have been MUCH better phones to include in that last slot. Yes, it has dual SIM, but so does the HTC Desire 600, which offers a fairly decent experience overall (Boom Sound and 8MP Camera, anyone?)
    Kevin McClain
    • AGREED WITH YOUR THOUGHTS, ON ANOTHER NOTE!

      Galaxy S4 is probably the new big thing and is by far one of the best android phones on the market. But you don't always have to pay for the american brand name. I just bought a Generic Star N9500 - 5.0 inch (1280*720) HD IPS screen Android 4.2 1.2GHz Quad Core, and It blew me away at a 80% cheaper price. But I am one of those people that does not believe in signing a contract to get a phone cheap. I would rather pay for it out of pocket then spend $45 a month on an unlimited plan and have no obligations to anyone. I encourage you guys to do your research and try this phone out. It might just blow you away as it did me!
      jjmudge
  • Galaxy SIII

    The Samsung Galaxy SIII has become a fairly affordable device for post-paid phone customers. I got the Cricket version not too long ago. Still a great device. As one of the best phones you can get on Virgin, Boost, Cricket and a few other post paid carriers I think it deserves a mention.
    dsf3g
  • A little misleading...

    The article is a little misleading when it claims phones other than the MotoX compute everything on a single CPU while the Motorola does so across 4 chips.

    It's true that the Motorola spreads certain tasks to 2 additional low power processors, but ALL the phones listed use a separate graphics processor, and most the exact same Adreno 320 that the Motorola uses. They are not, as the article states, a single multicore cpu doing all the work.

    So most phones use a quad core cpu + a quag core gpu, while the MotoX uses a dual core cpu + a quad core GPU + two low power processors.
    PC987
  • Old News

    Most of these have been out for months, so pretty old news. HTC One has already been available at Verizon for a while now. Get tired of these guys sending out 'refreshed' articles just to fill up our mailboxes.
    kburrows
  • sad and dissappointing piece of electronic.

    Have had the Samsung Galaxy S4 16gb from t-mobile for 9 days brand new and already these problems below:

    Phone shuts down by itself when not in use, even though it's
    fully charged and it won't turn on. I have
    to remove cover, remove battery and place it back
    then turn on the phone.

    Touchwiz doesn't respond (touch screen). Have remove
    battery and place it back then turn on the phone.

    Having phone on standby, the battery drains quickly. And the battery drainage is higher WITH the wifi on.
    And don't get me started on how delicate this item is. It's the thickness of two saltine cookies and no gorilla glass. You drop it once and it's a wrap. Gotta get a new one. Oh decision, decisions. Really don't wanna get the iPhone cause it's like a car. Everyone has a BMW cause others have it. I prefer a Ferrari.
    nuno808
    • Check for spam wair

      Did you buy your Samsung from Europe? If you did not buy it from the store and it is an unlocked phone it most likely did. These phones had spamware already installed from the manufacture and can easily be deleted. They can easily be removed, simply call the provider you bought the phone from and they will most likely walk you through the process to remove the spamware or you can simply do your research online. There should be reviews and videos on You Tube to help you remove them. If this does not fix your issue and you did not buy the phone from the store. Hurry, because most providers only give you 14 days to return for a new phone/ refund. Like all electronics brand new models will have their issues and need some tweaking. That is one risk of buying brand new technologies!
      jjmudge
    • HTC

      should have gotten the HTC One. the Samsung is excellent, but the HTC is a bit more refined.
      Chris Rosa
  • why only big name phones?

    Lenovo and Zoppo have 2 of the best phones on the market atm yet aren't listed. Did you do any actual research or did you just look at the back page of a shop brochure to see what's for sale near you?
    Andrew Hargrave
    • Lenovo?

      The reviews by users of the Lenovo are much different from the reviewers reviews of the Lenovo mobile, a lot of people are regretting buying that, have a look around!
      http://www.gsmarena.com/lenovo_k900-reviews-5241.php
      dookus
      • Yes, Lenovo?

        The first page has nothing but praise. I admit I haven't used the k900 but still, the specs are super impressive.

        @louis - Xiaomi make some nicely specced phones too!
        Andrew Hargrave
        • Lenovo

          Read on, as the pages go along, the reviews of problems increase, many people rant and rave about an item when they receive it, many of the ranters are complainers further along, have a look.
          dookus
      • Yes, Lenovo?

        The first page has nothing but praise. I admit I haven't used the k900 but still, the specs are super impressive.

        @louis - Xiaomi make some nicely specced phones too!
        Andrew Hargrave
  • These slide shows...

    These slide shows are tedious and self-defeating because I almost always abort after the 2nd slide. Clicking next, the whole page reloads, auto-scrolls up and down until it settles, and then you click next again. There has got to be a better way for you guys to display information than these terrible slide shows.
    chris_black
  • Nokia Lumia 920

    is the best Phone I ever had
    TELLUS-SE
  • HTC

    doesn't matter what you get, its obselete as soon as you buy it.
    Chris Rosa