Top 5 smartphones (February 2013 edition)

Top 5 smartphones (February 2013 edition)

Summary: Five of the best smartphones. Something for those who like iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.


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  • Introduction

    Whenever I present a list of what I believe are the best smartphones and tablets, I invariably get comments from readers who feel that it is artificial and arbitrary for me to break down devices by operating system. They feel that the 'best' device should come down to the hardware, and not the operating system it runs.

    OK then, let's do that.

    Here are five of the best smartphones currently on offer.

  • Apple iPhone 5

    In my opinion—and in the opinion of millions of buyers ever quarter—the iPhone 5 is the king of the smartphones.

    Not only is the iPhone 5 a solid, reliable smartphone, but it is backed by a massive ecosystem of apps, and an equally robust ecosystem of physical hardware in the form of docks, camera accessories, toys, and much more.

    • iOS 6
    • 1.3 GHz dual-core Apple A6 processor
    • 4-inch 640 × 1136 pixels (326 ppi) display
    • 8MP rear camera
    • 1.2MP front camera
    • 16/32/64GB internal storage

    Credit: Apple.

  • Samsung Galaxy Note II

    The Samsung Galaxy Note II is Android smartphone 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 even 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 

    Credit: Samsung.

Topics: Smartphones, Android, iOS, Windows Phone

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  • Say the iphone is king just cus it sells alot is a hipsters folly

    Just like the Toyota Camry isn't the best car.

    Unless you love cracked screens maybe or condom cases on your iphone, idk lol

    You should of just said here are the top 5 in no order.
    • Your Analogy...

      doesn't make any sense. Android sells the most and it's still lags behind in terms of hardware cause they're made of plastic so it's more like a Toyota Camry. iPhone is more like a Mercedes, they are more upscale in terms of build quality but don't sell as many.
      • There are two many droid phones, not really counting cheap ones

        S3 and all the other top teir models mainly.
      • Find me a material as impact resistant as polymers

        I'll wait.

        And while you search, I'll just point out that plastics is far and away a better choice than a cheap aluminum alloy that starts flaking away even before it gets out of the package, and that is the case for many reasons, durability being the greatest. Or are you going to argue that people have those plastic and rubber cases on their iphones for a reason other than making up for the iPhones inherently fragile body?
        • Because their easy to find for their models.

          Drop a note 2 or a windows phone 4 feet on to concrete and you will discover that physics is actually at play here; pop one of the phone models into a google image search with shattered at the end. It's simple physics - high speed impact onto a solid surface is not appreciated by glass.

          As for the body, plastics wear badly, metal's paint flakes. Nokia's approach with their windows phones has been the best so far in that respect; if you scratch it the colour doesn't get scratched off but it also won't crack as easily as a plastic bodied phone.

          It's one of the great irony's; all my mobile tech will spend most of it's life in protective cases (none of them are truly built for the lives they lead) yet I still make final decisions based on look and feel without it; apple know this so they use the expensive metals and glasses in their cases. It makes them harder wearing, but more prone to impact damage. Nokias solution seems to be the future to my mind, but it's a little to early to tell. Cheap bendy plastics on plus 300 units is not acceptable.
          • Forgot to say the razr maxx had is my favourite by far.

            As I say my device live in cases and I have a 1st gen razr maxx. The batty life is the key; no more worrying about the battery; still being able to use maps to find your way to the night bus at the end of a late night out after work when everyone else is switch on airplane modes or run out of battery is excellent. All these devices do the same things. I like having the freedom to be truly mobile again.

            All In all excellent list! I'd possible swap out the note2 for the sony xperia Z as I think the form factor makes it a but niche but otherwise excellent list covering all the bases!
          • battery life

            If you talk about battery life, u can't beat Nokia, simple
          • Yes but I also want a smart phone...

            The old Nokias and contempories actually have managed a bit of a coup with their battery life; the talk time was actually usually shorter than many of today's smartphones - typically anything from 3-5 hours. So as a phone their battery life wasn't much to brag about; for people who would spend a large period of time on the phone it was common to either replace the NiMh battery with a new Li-Ion alternative, carry two or use the often included car charger.

            One of the reasons they are remembered for their battery life is that they were most popular with teenagers - my generation. 5110 3210 8210 I owned them all I even had a 3310 for a while on loan. Forget unlimited calls, everyone was on pas as you go and calls cost around 35p a minute. If you called someone you got off the phone as quick as possible not to "rinse" your credit. This meant that you would spend maybe less than an hour on the phone a month, communicating via text message.

            Result of this; the phone was nearly always on standby and standby lasted so long because it didn't do anything but talk to the network; no wi-fi, Bluetooth, email checking, cloud syncing, no mobile data. And then when you did use it; low res monochrome screen with led backlight - no large brightly lit hd colour screen to power, no camera or music playback.

            Don't get my wrong I love those old Nokias; they defined my generation, but credit where it's due; yes they were designed to use as little power as possible, just like the razr maxx series, but it wasn't quite "legendary" performance. Fact is tech moves on; the phones that replaced the old Nokias got better talk time - the iconic colour/camera motorola's got around 7 hours and then their replacements the fantastic Sony cybershot devices would usually have 9 hours talk time, with budget compact camera rivalling performance and memory card/Walkman capabilities. Of course if you went near WAP your portability would suffer!

            The reason I praise moto so much for it is that no one else seemed to be bothering; smartphones also get very good talk time, but have very poor general usage time because they have to do so much. As the tech has moved on, companies such as apple and Samsung seem to have just used the advances to shrink the battery to make it smaller/lighter rather than increase life - you'll have to charge it every day anyway my razr maxx replaced my 4s and now I won't be going back; I just don't find myself constantly watching the battery meter on the way home.
          • battery life

            I'm pretty sure the Note II and Razr MAXX both beat the 920's battery life
          • my 920 last all day, at worst I get half a drain if

            listening to lots of podcasts etc at work

            At night I just set it on the free wireless charger nokia provides on my nightstand.

            Haven't plugged it in, in months.
      • But I do agree with your analagy to Mercedes

        To quote Jeremy Clarkson, Mercedes' build quality is "appalling".
      • Perceived quality

        Those trite car analogies are also stupid, by the way.

        A Camry and Mercedes do not use the same engine, gas tank, etc. ;)
      • Lags behind in HW? You must be joking. iP5 is inferior

        You must be a Marsian to say that the HW of iP5 is ahead when iP5 missed the followings: 1) no NFC; 2) lower resolution when other phones offer 1920x1080 with 4.7 or 5" display; 3) no uSD card slot; 4) no pen input; 5) no environmental friendly microUSB connector; 6) no user-replaceable battery.

        If the use of more metal equates to upscale build quality and advanced HW, I am afraid that I need to go back to school to take a degree on psychology!
      • Toyotas Last Longer

        Great analogy. But, Mercedes are a bitch to fix and are super over priced and toyotas will last far longer. If you are looking for a good phone that will last you a long time with unlimited customization capabilities go droid. If you want a phone that is a basic fancy computer go iphone
  • "Best" is always subjective ....

    but can be relevant nonetheless.

    As far as limiting it to the hw only, that is pretty ridiculous. HW without sw is as useful as a stick.
    • Speaking of software

      WP 8 has fewer viable software titles, and will soon lose even more as the new Blackberries will pass them in sales by the end of the first quarter. lol Windows Phone sucks bad!
      Troll Hunter J
      • Your living in the past app man

        get a wp8 break free of the chains of needing an app to do anything on a phone.
        • and do it

          with a hideous interface instead!

          wp is pretty smooth, but I'll never understand how people want to use that paint shop explosion.
      • Yes they do, CB7

        because you said so, and we know you're an expert on everything.

        And of course you have no obsession with Windows 8 Phone whatsoever, nore are scared by it in any way. If that was the case you'd comment on it all of the time.

        All of the time... ;)
        William Farrel
      • I agree Troll Hunter you troll

        WP 8 is pretty good, I definitely won't be converting back to Android

        You noob