Top 10 Android phones (November 2013 edition)

Top 10 Android phones (November 2013 edition)

Summary: Time once again to take a tour of a handful of the best Android phones currently available on the market (November 2013). There are a few new handsets, including one for all you pure Android fans. Want something bigger than your average smartphone? If so, there's also a phablet for you to look at!


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  • Just out: Google Nexus 5

    Hot off the production line is Google's latest smartphone, the Nexus 5.

    Not only has it been put together using some of the best components currently available, it also offers the purest Android experience possible, and gives owners access to the latest Android 4.4 KitKat. Owners also will get their pdates direct from Google and won't need to wait for hardware OEMs or carriers to release customized updates (or just never receive updates, as is still the case with many handsets).

    I've always found Nexus-branded hardware to be solid and reliable, but I'd give this a few weeks for Google to shake out any potential bugs before recommending it to anyone other than hardcore Android enthusiasts.

    • KitKat (Android 4.4)
    • 2.23GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 CPU
    • 4.95-inch 1920x1080 display with a pixel density of 445 pixels-per-inch
    • 8MP rear camera
    • 1.3MP front camera
    • 16/32GB internal storage

    (Image: Google)

  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3

    The Galaxy Note 3 is, as you can probably gather, a sequel to the Galaxy Note 2. It brings a whole raft of improvements to the table, and it is currently the only phone or phablet that's compatible with Samsung's new Galaxy Gear smartwatch (support for devices such as the Note 2, and the Galaxy S3 and S4 should arrive before the end of the year).

    Probably the biggest downside to this handset is that it feels plasticky and a little bit cheap in the hand, this shouldn't put you off.

    • Jelly Bean (Android 4.3)
    • 2.3GHz Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor
    • 5.7-inch 1920 x 1080 display with 388 pixels-per-inch
    • 3GB of RAM
    • Stylus (a pro or a con depending on your view of them)
    • 13MP rear camera
    • 2MP front camera
    • 4G LTE
    • NFC
    • 32/64GB or internal storage
    • microSD card slot for expansion

    (Image: Samsung)

  • The all-new HTC One is the first of two new kids on the block in terms of Android-powered smartphones.

    Under the hood, the HTC One isn't all that different to Samsung's new Galaxy S4 — it features the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 CPU (although it runs a little slower), 2GB of RAM, and a 1080p screen — but it is also a very different beast thanks to Sense, the bold new user interface HTC has loaded into the smartphone. It also features an aluminum shell, unlike the Samsung Galaxy S4, which has a plastic shell.

    • Jelly Bean (Android 4.2) with HTC's Sense user interface
    • 1.7GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600
    • 4.7-inch Super LCD, Full HD, high-pixel-density (468ppi) display
    • 4MP rear camera
    • 2.1MP front camera
    • 32/64GB internal storage

    (Image: HTC)

Topics: Mobility, Android, Smartphones

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  • Error.

    The slide for the LG is wrong and misleading. It says LG and then talks about the Nexus. Please repair this content.
    James Stevenson

    the LG G2 slide is a repeat of the Nexus 5 content. ALL the information on the LG G2 slide is wrong.

  • Moto X is not top tier

    has mid-tier specs --4.7", 720p? in 2nd half of 2013? Seriously? All top tier Androids have 1080p in 2013, and most have at least 5". Only HTC One has 4.7" and would have sold better with a 5" display. But ALL have 1080p.

    The Moto X was delayed by Google for several months to the 2nd half of 2013 but forgot to update the specs. The LG G2 and Moto X were announced within days of each other and you can see why Google chose the G2 as the Nexus 5 base and not the crappy Moto X.
    • Had a Note

      Love the smaller screen on my HTC One. The Note was just too big for everyday use. I use it without a SIM as a tablet now. Gave my GF my Galaxy Tab 10.1.
      • you hold the phone, not the display

        but point is, even the HTC One has 1080p. The Moto X does not. Plus, look at the Xperia ZL. It has 5" 1080p display in a body SMALLER than the HTC One. You hold the phone, not the display.

        Moto X going with 720p was last year's specs, but still tried to charge 2013 prices.
  • one you failed to mention

    The Sony Xperia ZL C6506, the "compact" version of the Z. Has same display and camera as the Z, but with minimal bezels. Amazing way to pack this into a smaller package. 5" 1080p display with Sony Bravia engine, quad core CPU, 2GB RAM, 13MP camera, unlocked, multiple LTE bands (for AT&T and T-mobile), pentaband HSPA+.

    It's almost a Sony "Nexus". Was going to be my backup choice if Google messed up on the Nexus 5. (They didn't).

    Sells online at Amazon,, NewEgg, and the Sony store.

    Yeah, now Sony needs to update to Snapdragon 800, but
    • SONY ZL C6506

      still deserves mention in this "best of" group.

      Comes in 3 colors -- black, red, white.

      More info at Amazon:
  • Forgot the Droid Maxx

    720p, but on a 5" screen, who cares? It's as fast as my wife's HTC One and the battery lasts for days. I usually can go 3-4 days between charges. That eliminates my #1 pet peeve about my previous phones.
    Bob Buchko
  • I agree with Bob - You overlooked the Droid Maxx!

    I switched from the Original Google Galaxy Nexus to the Maxx when it came out; and it has been a game-changer. I have become all about battery life. Who cares about phone colors and customization if half the time you need your phone it's out of juice; or you're always worried about having somewhere to plug in. The Maxx is plenty fast, has a great camera, some very cool Moto-specific features such as 'Assist' which automatically reads your text messages when it detects your in a moving car; or screens incoming calls when your calendar says you're in a meeting to those who call twice within a 5-min period (all customizable). But most of all, the phone just works, and works well!

    The battery - I don't even use my car charger anymore. The thing will go for up to two days with normal usage.
  • Droid Maxx

    The Droid Maxx is by far the best phone I have ever owned. Many of the phones the author lists are good consumer phones, but what I look for in a phone is something with incredible battery life, and bulletproof. Android features are Android features, no matter which device you choose.

    My phone takes a beating and continues to work in some pretty nasty situations and environments.
  • You've slighted the (arguably) best phone available

    You list at great length last year's and lower tier samsung models and the LG G2 gets two lines and basic specs. Fail.
    • AGREED

      The LG G2 was the first in the wave of Androids in the 2nd half of 2013 to get the Snapdragon 800, which changed EVERYTHING. This is why all the other manufacturers are rushing out updates to their flagship phones with Snapdragon 800,, and why Google made the decision 6 months ago to make the LG G2 the blueprint for their Nexus 5. The Nexus 5 is basically a "mini" G2. (4.95" 1080p vs 5.2" 1080p. 8MP OIS camera vs 13MP OIS camera).

      But the G2 has other innovations besides just specs. It deserves to be #2 behind the Nexus 5.
    • I just can't get into LG

      after having the LG Revolution, I just can't bring myself to even look at LG. I now have a Note 3 and I love it!
  • Wish they hadn't cheaped out on the HTC One camera.

    The design of the HTC One still makes it the best looking Android phone. It's a shame the specs don't match the other flagship phones. It has a weak camera, for a flagship phone.
  • Site layout

    Your new click for each new paragraph sucks.
    Not only does it interrupt the smooth reading of the story.
    It wastes my bandwidth so you can throw more adds.

  • Galaxy S4 - Fast!

    I switched from Sprint's Galaxy S3 to AT&T's Galaxy S4 because of coverage issues in New Haven, CT. You'd think Yale might have something to do with it when the iPhone was only with AT&T.

    Every time I upgraded from the S2 to S3 and now S4 there was a huge performance difference. The S2 had major issues almost causing me to go iPhone until I lost the phone and replaced it with the S3. What a difference.

    The same thing happened to the S3 so I moved carriers and up to the S4. Although it's only 32bit, the 4 cores makes the S4 produce blazing speeds and multitasking really doable.

    The OS has translation built in and it really works well. I can only speak for the Samsung phones, I'm sure the other brands are similar performers. So, for productivity and even WordPress edits, the Android Galaxy S4 is highly recommended.
  • so many to choose from

    with so many to choose from i have compiled the list of all time best applications, have a look
  • I want 6.5' to 7" screen (largest tablet still fit in pocket & make calls)

    As a happy Note 2 user, what I really want -- and they are available from no-name manufacturers via AliExpress -- are phablets that are even larger. In the 6.5" to 7" range, which depending on the bezel will still fit in a shirt or pants pocket. Maximum tablet functionality that happens to also make calls. Alas, those no names devices from China are all GSM or WCDMA, and might work on AT&T... and I am on Verizon for now.
    Steve Auerbach
  • LG G2

    You put noticeably less effort into the LG G2 write up than any other, yet the LG G2 has the best/better specs of all. Other reviews support this. LG in fact manufactures the Nexus 5. Also, you referred to the LG G2 as a "phablet", yet there are 2-3 others in your article (you provided for pay) that have larger screens, some even with stylus, yet are not called phablets by you. As such, you have no credibility. Are you paid by other vendors or are you an Apple bigot doing a ho hum article about all Android smartphones?

    You're a professional - I expect a lot better effort. Or at least you should read CNet or TechRadar as they do evaluate products hands on.