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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  • Samsung Galaxy S4

    There's an awful lot to like about the Galaxy S4 — the powerful CPU, plenty of storage space, a user-replaceable battery, the microSD slot, the fact that it can be used as a remote control for a DVR. It is very much like HTC's new One handset, except marginally better in almost every way (except, perhaps, for the plastic shell).

    Another quality handset from the company that is now the king of the Android smartphones.

    • Jelly Bean (Android 4.2.2)
    • 1.9GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 (1.6GHz octa-core processor offered in some markets)
    • 5-inch Super AMOLED high-pixel-density (441ppi) display
    • 13MP rear camera
    • 2MP front camera
    • 16/32/64GB internal storage
    • microSD slot

    (Image: Samsung)

  • Sony Xperia Z Ultra

    A newcomer to the list. Sony's Xperia Z Ultra packs a lot of cool features under the hood, sporting the sharpest LCD panel on the market, and a 13-megapixel camera capable of capturing HDR video.

    This handset is also thin, coming in at a svelte 6.5-milimeters. But don't the thinness fool you, the Xperia Z Ultra is tough, featuring tempered glass, and a dustproof and waterproof build, rated to with IP58.

    This is the smartphone you need if you want to be able to submerge it in 1 meter of water and still have a working handset.

    • Jelly Bean (Android 4.2)
    • 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor
    • 6.4-inch TFT 1920 x 1080 display, powered by an updated Sony Mobile BRAVIA Engine 2 with 342 pixels-per-inch
    • 8MP rear-facing camera
    • 2MP front-facing 1080p HD video capture
    • 16GB internal storage
    • Compatible with the Sony SmartWatch 2
    • microSD slot

    (Image: Sony)

  • Samsung Galaxy Note 2

    The Samsung Galaxy Note II is the Android smartphone for those people with large hands to hold it with, and large pockets to keep it in.

    The Samsung Galaxy Note II really is a solid handset packed with an array of high-end features. It even comes with the S Pen that can be used to copy text, crop images, and to share content.

    • Jelly Bean (Android 4.1)
    • 1.6 GHz quad-core Samsung Exynos processor
    • 5.5-inch Super AMOLED HD display
    • 8MP rear camera
    • 1.9MP front camera
    • 16/32/64GB internal storage
    • microSD slot

    (Image: Samsung)

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.