Best Android smartphones of the year

by: Simon HillDecember 9, 2013

It has been another good year for Android. According to IDC, Android was on 81 percent of all the smartphones that shipped in the third quarter of 2013. The platform has driven real innovation, with new form factors, and accessibility, with affordable handsets. Google has rolled out many new features, improved its services, and kept optimization for lower-end hardware in mind, which could prove to be the path to conquering fragmentation. The number of apps in the Play Store sailed past 1 million in the summer. There has never been a better time to own an Android phone.

Whether you’re ready to choose your next Android smartphone, or you want to buy one for your nearest and dearest, we’ve been weighing up the highlights from 2013’s frenzied release schedule. We’ve broken them down into categories with a focus on what the buyer might be looking for.

Without further ado, here are the best Android smartphones of the year.

Best smartphone for gamers – Nexus 5

Nexus 5 Review aa yt (6)

A stunning 4.96-inch 1080p display, a lightning fast 2.3GHz quad-core processor, and an Adreno 330 GPU, the Nexus 5 is ideal for gaming. It also rocks the latest version of Android, 4.4 KitKat, and updates will be rolled out here first. The feature set and connectivity tick all the boxes. According to Basemark X the Nexus 5 comes in third behind the iPhone 5S and Xperia Z1, but it’s a tight race. Google’s LG manufactured smartphone is much, much cheaper, which leaves gamers with plenty in their pockets to buy games and hop on board with the next-gen consoles.

Check out our Nexus 5 review for more.

BUY NOW: Google PlayAmazon

Runner up – The Sony Xperia Z1 is worth considering if you can stretch to the bigger price tag; it has a longer battery life, a far superior camera, and a microSD card slot.

Best smartphone for workaholics – Galaxy Note 3

Galaxy Note 3 S Pen s note

Business people and hard workers of every kind, demanding a productivity boost from their smartphones, can’t look beyond the Galaxy Note 3. Samsung popularized the phablet form factor with the original Note and it continues to lead the field. The S-Pen allows you to write and sketch on that huge 5.7-inch display. A speedy processor is backed by 3GB of RAM and, combined with features like Multi-Window, this device becomes a multitasker’s dream. Samsung’s software features seem to make the most sense on the Note 3 and this device could easily be a contender in other categories, but in terms of productivity it is unparalleled.

Read our comprehensive Galaxy Note 3 review to find out what makes it so special.

Buy Samsung Galaxy Note 3 from Amazon

Runner up – The LG G2 is smaller and lighter than the Note 3 and it has a range of handy software features like QuickMemo and QSlide, but it doesn’t have the S-Pen or a microSD card slot.

Best smartphone for entertainment lovers – HTC One

htc one vs sony xperia z one hardware boomsound aa

Love to watch movies and listen to music on your smartphone? We have to recommend the HTC One, mainly for its superior audio. The 4.7-inch 1080p display is great, and high brightness makes it suitable for outdoor viewing, but it’s the forward facing BoomSound speakers that clinch the deal. Not everyone likes to wear headphones and on the HTC One you can comfortably watch a movie without them and still enjoy decent sound. Beats Audio is designed to improve the audio quality further, but if you want to mess with an EQ yourself then grab something like PowerAmp.

Our HTC One review will give you the full picture.

Buy the HTC One from Amazon

Runner up – The Samsung Galaxy S4 arguably has a superior screen for movies. If you’re watching in the dark you’ll enjoy deeper blacks and higher contrast, and there are also settings to tweak, which the HTC One lacks.

Best smartphone for students – Moto G


Money is tight when you’re studying and you don’t want to be locked into an expensive contract; the best option is the Moto G. This smartphone should really make the short list for anyone seeking a budget device. It blows the low-end of the market away completely. The Moto G packs a 4.5-inch 720p display, a 1.2 GHz quad-core processor, and Android 4.3 (with a promise that 4.4 KitKat will be coming soon). The compromises — lack of LTE, 1GB of RAM, and a 5MP camera — should not be too hard to bear, and they are mitigated by the improvements in the Android platform. Load up QuickOffice and Evernote and you’ve got productivity on a budget.

Buy Moto G from Amazon

Runner up – If money is no barrier then the Galaxy Note 3 will serve you well.

Best smartphone for outdoorsy types – Sony Xperia Z1

sony xperia z1 review aa 35

This idea that rugged features or durability is a special niche that should be catered for out of the flagship line has been rejected by Sony, and that’s great news for outdoorsy types. Not only does the Xperia Z1 have Ingress Protection 67, which means it can deal with water, dust, and shock, it is also a cutting edge Android smartphone that’s awesome in every department. We’re talking about a 5-inch 1080p screen, 2.2 GHz quad-core processor, 20.7MP camera, expandable storage, and all the extras. Sony’s minimalist touch in terms of UI is refreshing and largely limited to things that are actually useful. The display is also very bright and the screen’s not too reflective, so sunlight legibility is good.

Read our Sony Xperia Z1 review to grow more tempted.

Buy Sony Xperi Z1 from Amazon

Runner up – The Galaxy S4 Active is basically a rugged S4 with some slight differences, most notably an 8MP camera instead of 13MP and LCD instead of Super AMOLED. It is also IP67 certified and some people might be interested in Samsung’s software extras.

Best smartphone for trendsetters – LG G Flex

LG G Flex Hands on AA (15 of 19)

If you have to be seen with the latest and greatest in smartphone technology then you’ll want to be pulling a LG G Flex out of your pocket. The next big development in mobile could well be flexible displays, which will enable manufacturers to create more interesting form factors. The LG G Flex is a small step in that direction, with a huge 6-inch display that curves from top to bottom using LG’s plastic substrate OLED technology. It also has some self-healing properties, though it didn’t fare that well in our LG G Flex drop test. If you’re concerned that the curve might be a gimmick, you needn’t worry, because the G Flex also packs a seriously impressive set of specs. The 2.26GHz quad core Snapdragon 800 processor is backed up by 2GB of RAM and performance is lightning fast. The 13MP camera is also very similar to the one in the G2 and it won our photography category.

Buy LG G Flex from Amazon

Runner up – The HTC One rubbishes the assertion that the iPhone is the most premium device around. It’s one of those phones that you just want to stroke all the time.

Best smartphone for gadget lovers – Moto X

moto x vs galaxy s4 aa hardware moto x google now

Being at the cutting edge is about more than just the specs and no Android smartphone generated more excitement this year than the Moto X. The hardware is perfectly respectable, but it won’t top many benchmarking charts. The real killer feature here is the fact that your phone is listening for your command. It can be sitting, apparently asleep, on the other side of the room, and you can wake it up. There’s something beautifully advanced about that and improvements in Google Now are fast elevating it beyond gimmick status. The disappointment that the potential of hands-free voice controls has not been properly realized, because you have to preface every command with a button press, is relieved by the Moto X. Motorola also added some nifty, forward-thinking software features in the shape of Assist and Connect.

Find out more in our Moto X review.

Buy Moto X from Amazon

Runner up – The Galaxy S4 is a real all-rounder with a huge number of unique software features and cutting edge specs.

Best smartphone for photographers – LG G2


This category was tough because the HTC One proves that megapixel count is not where it’s at, and the Xperia Z1 goes the opposite direction with a camera that could improve with software updates. The 16MP Galaxy S4 Zoom is Samsung’s attempt at an amazing camera phone, but it’s horrible as a phone. We would assume most photography enthusiasts have a real camera, so a phone is for grabbing shots when you’ve left the camera at home. In that case, the 13MP G2 with OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) won’t disappoint. The usual modes, Panorama, HDR, and Burst shot, are present and correct, and there’s access to a host of options allowing you to tweak ISO, exposure, white balance, and more.

Check out our LG G2 review for example photos.

Buy LG G2 from Amazon

Runner up – With a 20.7MP camera and Sony’s know-how in the photography space, the Xperia Z1 is the runner up here. It also boasts some great features, but the image quality could be better.

Best smartphone for Android purists – Nexus 5

Google Nexus 5 black aa 8

If it’s important to you to experience pure, unadulterated Android just the way Google intended, then there’s really only one choice right now and it’s the Nexus 5. It has Android 4.4, KitKat, and it will be the first device to get Google’s next platform update. In fact, Android 4.4.1 just rolled out, drastically improving the camera performance of that 8MP shooter, which has been one of the few complaints about the device. Built by LG, it’s also an extremely powerful phone at an extremely attractive price point. No bloatware, no manufacturer meddling, no carrier crap, just Android.

Runner up – The Moto X shouldn’t be far behind with updates thanks to Google’s ownership.

The best Android smartphone of the year depends very much on what you’re looking for. Let us know what gets your vote and why in the comments. If you’re done with that, check out the Best Android Gifts under $50!

[poll id=”426″]

  • sag7392

    N5, Moto X (which are equally great devices), and the HTC One IMHO.

  • venorme

    Nexus 5 for games? It will be 1 hour playing and 2 charging. Had to sell it – will stick with Z Ultra – it looses only in camera abit and no Kitkat. Things I can live with

    • mobilemann

      plus, software buttons are at their worst when present in games.

      • MasterMuffin

        Z Ultra has those too

        • mobilemann

          yeah, my note 3 doesn’t tho!

          • MasterMuffin


          • Jayfeather787

            Paranoid Android
            AKA witchcraft

          • Colin Kealty

            Yeah but then there isn’t even the option to make them disappear :/ at least with software keys, and the new immersive mode, it’ll be possible to get rid of the keys completely for games

      • NeedName

        KitKat allows the software buttons to disappear. . . the app developer needs to update if that isn’t happening.

    • NeedName

      and cpu thermal throttling will kill the cpu within 3 minutes. .

      • Maxim∑

        nexus 5 has severe throttling just like Nexus 4, cuts 2 cores and brings it down to 1.32Ghz after playing real racing for 10min. Lost 15% and performance went down so I returned it and bought the Moto X and its a lot better!

    • Nathan Buffington

      The Z Ultra is terrible, that screen is so ridiculous it’s for NBA players only, and the camera doesn’t even have flash! The screen isn’t that good and it doesn’t have any helpful features like the Note 3 for being a large phone. With that price tag, it should be perfect, too bad it sucks

      • venorme

        You definitely dont own one. Its great device for that price. Well size is someones preference but display is gorgeous and I can play 4 hours of intense games vs 1.5 on Nexus. s with 100 usd difference I ll stay with Ultra. Note 3 is just killed with touchwiz for me – personal hatred

        • Nathan Buffington

          $100 difference?? For me it’s like over $300!

          • venorme

            its 600$ for z Ultra and 500 for Nexus where I live

          • Nathan Buffington

            Where do you live? In U.S.A. it is $350 for Nexus 5 and like $750 for Z Ultra, which isnt even offered by carriers

          • venorme

            Ukraine, but its price for 32Gb Nexus 5

          • Nathan Buffington

            Cool, and 32 GB here is $400, so still $300 difference. Not worth it at all

          • venorme

            I guess Ultra wasnt as popular as stores expected so they prefer to lower price to sell them out. And vice versa for Nexus.

    • G2forme

      LG G2= log lasting battery!!!

    • Thang Fozika

      That is the dilemma of battery capacity

  • asdf

    Galaxy S4????

    • Luciano Carvalho

      Runner up. It was not considered best in any category.

      • sunny

        Best seller category..they are missing the most important category

        • Tom Mcbigglesworth

          Most important to whom? The iPhone sells well.

          • ichuck7

            Extra points for correct usage of “whom.”

          • Mike Palmer

            Well it must be the best in a lot of people’s books, if it’s the most widely sold phone available.

    • ooo

      Came here for this.

    • Biavela

      I am a 100% sure the S4 is best for gaming than the nexus 5.

      • Anonymous

        and i am a 200% sure the G2 is better than S4..

  • Jhon

    Moto X is a great smartphone, maybe it’s not the best specifications, but it’s experience user.

    • mobilemann

      i think you mean user experience.

    • Shark Bait

      It looks great , but I’ve never seen or used one so can’t comment. If only they made it globally available …..

  • Carlos Portillo

    What’s the game on the first Nexus 5 screenshot?

    • iLenc

      Plants vs. Zombies 2

    • chip

      Plant vs zombies 2

  • Jean Charles

    Sony..if only you din’t fuck up the software updates

    • NeedName

      and got rid of that plastic over the display.

  • Fedinho


    • G2forme


  • AsakuraZero

    voted for the Z1, i love this phone, its all what the S4 never could give me. we only need the damn unlocked bootloader and its the best phone of the year imo

  • Bone

    Note series steals another year.

    Price considered however, one must go with the Nex… no, you see I’ma get my Nexus 5 soon, but price considered it’s the Moto G takes it. Incredible that a year ago we were amazed that for one flagship price you could get 2 Nexus phones, but now for one Nexus price you can get two very decent Motorola’s. Why they are running under two brands is the only thing I can’t figure out.

  • MasterMuffin

    Seriously, if we consider from average consumer’s perspective, G2 is better than Nexus 5. It’s in every way (that’s important for an average consumer) better than Nexus 5. I don’t consider myself an average comsumer because I flash stuff and modify stuff a lot etc. so I’d still go for Nexus 5 though, but I actually voted for Xperia Z1, because it looks sexy and has great hardware. Sony Nexus 5 (2014) please Google!

    • NeedName

      agree. . . certainly can’t put the N5 tops for “average consumers” IMO. The Moto X where it is sold and G2 seem better fits. . . and I’ll take a Sony Nexus 6 or oppo or Moto :)

      • MasterMuffin

        Something new, not the Koreans again :D

    • MadCowOnAStick

      i don’t find thick bezels sexy :P

      • MasterMuffin

        Yea they could make those a little thinner!

    • Nelson

      If i were google i would never consider to create sony nexus…who uses google software for mobile and hit them back with patent law suit…
      maybe htc would be best….but i heard rumor about google creating chrome os for mobiles…maybe, maybe not….

    • Mike Palmer

      Unless the average consumer cares about price lol

  • best_android

    Did androidauthority just make up all these on their own? Lol can i make my own best smartphone of 2013? Best phone for fb lovers: htc first, best phone for those whos on a tight budget: galaxy s4 mini, best phone for those who want more battery life: moto maxxx

    • Azeem

      The moto g is a way better budget phone then the s4 mini.

  • MattHail

    The X8 chipset owned my vote!

    • AnGeLFaCe77

      I couldn’t agree more. Motorola did something great introducing the moto x to the market. I can imagine moto x 2, 3 and 4 :-) excellent job Motorola.

  • Leonardo Rojas

    Nice ranking by category n.n
    But the Nexus 5 as the best for gamers? A powerful device but capped; no microSD card support. Especially for a gamer, I think it’s a deal breaker. I’d say the Z1 is an all in one, and the best for everything. What I don’t like of it is its bezels, are big. That makes the Z1 bigger than it should be. Do you think such bezels have some very important hardware inside? I mean, couldn’t Sony make the Z1 similar in compactness to the ZL? It’d be the perfect smartphone, at least for me.
    I compared it to my ZL, Bravia Engine 2 has little to envy Triluminous, and overall they are not very different in good user experience, but the rather huge bezels of the Z1 were kind of shocking…
    Any chance to include a new category like “Best biggest screen in a compact smartphone”? Haha ; )

    • Dexter

      I think i read somewhere that the z1 has the big bezels because of the camera unit which takes much more space than in other smartphones

  • AbbyZFresh

    The Nexus 5 may handle gaming very well because of it’s high specs and stock android KitKat.

    My Moto X is currently running 3 intensive games at the moment as well as Chrome and i’m not having any lag problems. The X should’ve been on the gaming list(or at least runner up)

    • NeedName

      Interesting cause, I would put the Z Ultra #1 for gaming due to the size of the screen. For me, gaming and video are all about the screen size and quality. . . goes to show we all have very different preferences, along with performance of course — no point it a big beautiful screen if everything stutters.

  • Shark Bait

    I own a nexus 5 and think its great. But it is no way the best.
    I put that to the HTC one or moto g for being great and cheap. It could be a game changer !

    • Mike Palmer

      I’d have to disagree with you…… I really like my Nexus 5 and I think it’s pretty great :-D

      • Shark Bait

        I really like it, its great ! But is it really the best??

        • Mike Palmer

          If it was the same price as the rest I’d say no but if you take the price into consideration then it’s pretty great :-)

          • Shark Bait

            Yeah its a price thing. For the price I think its a no brainer. I think the absolute best has to be a Sony

        • AnGeLFaCe77

          Moto x forever

  • meno lopy

    Hope to put the phone price each i think that will be nice

  • meir

    Shame on you!!! Were is the samsung galaxy s4. Why you ignor complitly from the galaxy s4?????
    Again:shame on you!!!
    The samsung galaxy s4 is the best smartphone for 2013.
    Fuck you all.

    • jeff

      I agree the s4 is the best by far! Cant knock it until u tried it

    • ftw

      GS4 FTW.

      • AnGeLFaCe77

        It’s just a runner up lol

    • deepen915

      I love my S4! fuck Android Authority.. absolute BS of a list!

      • Arturo Raygoza

        s4 sucks get over it

      • AnGeLFaCe77

        It’s like having a gs3,get over it

    • ichuck7

      It was the runner up in so many categories. It is no longer the BEST at any one thing. It’s a “something for everybody phone.”

      • Saif Merseysider

        Dude, on a lighter note, don’t u think S4 should get the award “The Best Allround Phone” considering how it managed to snatch a handful of honourable mentions? Haha. Just a point, bro.

        • ichuck7

          If the LG G2 had a micro SD slot, I would say that could be best all around phone. However, you could make a good case for the S4. For me it’s missing front facing speakers… But I’m not everybody. You could also make a point to for the HTC One because of looks and boom sound.

  • meir

    Simon hill. Do me a faver
    Go fuck yourself
    Thank you.
    Samsung galaxy s4

    • Maxim∑

      S4 is crap far from being the best at this point

  • Data

    I think the Galaxy Note 3 is the best phone released this year.

    • joejoe5709

      But the phablet segment still has limited appeal to a lot of consumers. It’s probably the best phone out there, but it’s not the must-have or even the best bang-for-buck.

    • AnGeLFaCe77

      Moto x, nexus 5 and g2

      • Saif Merseysider

        Note 3, G2 and HTC One. Moto x and G should not be in the list at all. Peace.

    • Thang Fozika
  • dean clarke

    Why no grandpa phone group? Something easy to use ? No am 40 I mean for the older mobile user’s? eney how my vote was note 3 just kills the other work horse’s

    • Azeem

      Moto g

    • joejoe5709

      Doesn’t Samsung have an “easy mode”?

      • dean clarke

        Yeah it does but I meant 2 inch number pad and all.

  • joejoe5709

    Not a bad list! I agree with most, but some of them leave me very puzzled.

    Gamers – LG G2 or Note 3 because their power and displays are unmatched. Runner up: Despite the lower processor and smaller screen, the HTC One is my choice for similar reasons as entertainment – those speakers and great display. Why the heck did you choose the Nexus 5? The G2 beats it specs-wise with a much better display and better speakers. You say the N5 is cheaper, but this is essentially the “specs beast” category here and the N5 isn’t the best. A hardcore gamer will spend some money on a great phone with massive specs to get the most of of his gaming experience. Not that the Nexus 5 isn’t a stellar phone, but for most gamers I think it’s an easy jump to a G2.

    Agreed on the Workaholic but I’d probably put the GS4 as the runner up, but I understand if you didn’t want two Samsungs in the same category. Samsung has the best feature sets for work and multitasking. Motorola’s Assist software is great for those on-the-go and often in meetings.

    Students – I think most of them are probably on a contract or still on a family plan and for those on a contract the upfront price isn’t as much of a problem. So I’d say battery life (making it all the way through a day of school and Facebook marathons), connectivity, and productivity is the key here. You’re onto something with the Note 3, but I think the Moto X was worth a mention due to MotoMaker (custom designed phones are all the rage, right?) or the Maxx (also G2) for battery life.

    Best for Android purists? WTF? Uhhh yeah pretty obvious which phones will top that list. Software can be easily changed, folks. Pure Android is not a huge factor anymore. In fact, I’d consider changing this category from “best for purists” to “best for tinkerers”. It’s the phone with the best perceived developer/ROM/mods support. The Nexus 5 (along with any other Nexus) would still handily win, but I’d wager the G2 or GS4 are shortly behind it.

    Then again I’d replace that list with a “best all-arounder/overall”. Where is your money best spent if you simply want it all? It’s the phone that will appeal to the MOST consumers and satisfy just about all of their needs reasonably well. This user would be relatively techy and reads lots of reviews. This would definitely go to the LG G2. The power, the screen, the features, the camera, dat battery life… it’s the best Android package I’ve seen in a long time. Runner up would definitely be the Moto X. It may not rock the best specs, but it’s quite enjoyable and available on all carriers unlike the Nexus 5. Honorable mention: The Galaxy S4. Yes, it’s slightly older but it still represents one of the best overall packages out there and there are far more accessories to be found. And if you don’t like the G2’s keys, it’s a very appealing alternative. The SD card slot alone will win some buyers. Some quick reviews however would reveal that it is outclassed by the G2 in nearly every other way. Can’t wait for the GS5!!

    But I’m sure you chickened out on a best overall category so not to piss off a particular OEM and I pretty much agree with all other choices. Good job, guys!

    • Timmy

      G2 FTW.

    • ^_^

      Gamer? I will vote for sony xperia z ultra or z1 :) samsung galaxy note 3 can run need for speed most wanted smooth but not smooth as z ultra does maybe because of it’s heavy customization…

    • Mike Palmer

      The nexus 5 has the same great specs, minus the battery so it will run the games just as well :-)

    • Thang Fozika

      But I’m sure you chickened out on a best overall category so not to piss off a particular OEM and I pretty much agree with all other choices. Good job, guys!

  • Nick LaMoureaux

    What’s the game being played on the sony at about 1:15 in the video?

  • Xavier_NYC

    G2 is the best IMO. Great Battery life, great camera and amazing display fit into a small package. Now that I’m running CM 11 it’s perfect but that’s just me.

  • Wraithpraiser

    Bitches don’t know about the LTE Butterfly S

  • Alex Ohannes

    I would get a Galaxy Note 3, except I don’t want to be scared to turn the screen on. Are there any Galaxy Note-like phones with a stylus that don’t have AMOLED displays?

  • James Sarino

    Interesting results so far. I have the Nexus 5, but I picked the Moto X largely because despite having mid-range specs, I think it gives you the best user experience over all the phones listed.

  • Jayfeather787

    Nexus 5!

  • lgg2awesome

    Really !!!
    The lg g2 is the best phone of this year and prob next. The screen size is perfect the snap dragon 800 is unmatched the camera is proven to be the best. Lg loaded this phone with tools and gave the customer free range when it comes to customization with out root. If they would have pumed all the money into advertising as samung does we wouldnt be having this discussion. The people that did not chose it dont have one.

    • Mike Palmer

      LG did pump a lot into promoting this phone, as they were using the Samsung way to selling the phone. They just don’t have the brand recognition that Samsung has after multiple years of iteration in the S series.

  • lgg2awesome

    Can we say 2 day battery life

  • Mohammed Al-Ogaily

    the Padfone Series is BEST suited for the Tech lover/trend setters
    plus its a bitchin phone with specs matching the best plus a VERY long lasting battery life

  • Dave

    Note 3

  • Brendon Brown

    How is the Galaxy S4 active the runner up for the Outdoor section ? that desserves to be The Xperia Z !

  • Mel Harper

    Why is the LG Optimus G Pro is never mentioned? It is an excellent smartphone. It has a high build quality (a bit slippery on the grip), an awesome HD screen, and is well-spec’d. It has my vote for Least Respected Award for 2013. :(

    • Dave Weinstein

      Honestly, LG refused to open up the G Pro’s code to open source ROM developers and the phone is languishing. Primarily do to LG’s anti-open source stance.

      I will never again trust a phone with LG’s software meddling. My G Pro lays “soft bricked” and LG refuses to reload the software on it, saying that it’s a Korean model and they WON’T fix it in HK (presumable to punish me from not buying it from the HK distribution channel).

  • deepen915

    and how the hell is the S4 not on this list? Absolute GARBAGE List!

    • ichuck7

      It is on the list.

      • Saif Merseysider

        No, its not on the list. Read again.

        • ichuck7

          Sorry, I’m counting the “honorable mention” as being “on the list.” It makes honorable mention in several categories. Runner up isn’t bad at all. Not every runner up is a loser. Pepsi is a runner up, I wouldn’t mind being Pepsi.

          • Saif Merseysider

            Not when it is the runner up to the most exaggerated phone of 2013, moto x. That piece of garbage should have the honour of “Empty Canned Bins” award if u ask me.

          • ichuck7

            What’s wrong with it? What’s overrated about it?

          • Saif Merseysider

            To start with, name me two things which is worthy of talking point about this phone. I’ll give u one. Always listen. Others?

          • ichuck7

            1. Top of the line battery. 2. Vanilla Android with no bloatware 3. Quick updates 3. Small phone but big screen 4. Speedy phone (in real world usage I find it to be faster than the S4 and HTC One and I own both). 5. Customization; though that doesn’t appeal to me 6. Active notifications 7. Very quick access to the camera

          • Saif Merseysider

            1. Battery – comes with how u use your phone. Believe me, even with the most gigantic battery u can find in the market, it will drain like hell if u use it for high resolution gaming, hd video viewing etc. 2. Vanilla android – not worthy of mentioning unless it is the only company that comes with it. Unfortunately HTC and Samsung have the answer in their Google Edition of One and S4 (funny that the 2 devices are not mentioned in this article). 3. Quick updates – Not because of the phone. Because of the company. Everyone knows that motorola will get a favourable treatment from Google when it was bought by the company. 4.Speedy phone – Can’t say anything much about this because how exactly fast is fast? If u r saying it is fast, r u trying to point out other flagships to be slow? But since u own an S4 and One, maybe u r right on this one. Who knows. 5. Customization – doesn’t appeal to me either. Most people will slab a casing on their phones so it is a no brainer. 6. Active notifications – as much as it is a gimmick from samsung with its air gestures n stuff, this one doesn’t stray too far away from being one too. Sorry. 7. Very quick access to camera – I am a bit confused. Any other way of starting to access our cameras with our phones now? If u r referring to twist your wrist to start it up, it is downright funny to me and another gimmick.

            These are my points. Cheers.

          • ichuck7

            1. It still has one of the best batteries. True using it has an effect on the battery, but load up the same game on two phones and the Moto X will last longer.
            2. Vanilla Android matters to some people. Too me it’s a huge selling point, but I’ll give you this one on matter of preference. The Google Play editions aren’t mentioned but the HTC One is.
            3. Doesn’t matter WHY the phone gets updates quickly. The point is that it will be updated for a long time.
            4. Day to day usage this phone is faster. Barely, but it is.
            5. I agree. Although I hate cases.
            6. I don’t like Samsung’s gimmicks. The active notifications seem cool. I would have to use it though. The album view on the original iPhone seemed so cool, but it was a gimmick. A lot of things seem cool but end up as gimmicks when you use it outside if the store.
            7. I think This would be handy. I can never open my camera app up fast enough when I need it.

          • Saif Merseysider

            Battery life (again.sigh) is something that we have to live up with. Major reasons why most flagships (current) do not have a commendable battery life can be pointed to 2 factors: screen and bloatwares. Now, I can argue that the reason why moto x have an outstanding battery life because it has only an HD screen and no bloatwares. With only 720p screen as to Full HD, it saves a lot of juices and u know it. A point there. But, they have to give up a remarkable screen for viewing movies n stuff for that. Pls don’t tell me that it is enough with 720p because it is not. U can read this attachment.


            No bloatwares that help out the battery life. This one is connected with how a phone is perceived. On one hand, if a phone is free from bloatwares, while being lag free and stuff, it can also be deemed ’empty’ and boring. One of the best thing about android (apart from customization) is that every devices are different from another. It offers something that others don’t. So what is wrong actually with bloatwares? Nothing right. But I have to admit that it slows the phone down at the expense of the features that none other has.
            Now gimmicks. Interesting when u mentioned the word “handy”. I found some of the gimmicks in samsung’s to be handy as well. When I can’t touch my screen (handful or dirty), I can still answer phone calls n stuff with air call accept or looking at photos in gallery. A lot more that I would like to share but in the end, I have to stick with what I firmly believe on moto x. Respect your opinions tho. Cheers.

          • ichuck7

            It’s nice to see courtesy, even on the ineternet. With Android, you can customize your device however you want. Bloatware just gets in the way.

            I disagree with the screen resolution. I don’t mind either. I like the idea of a phone that is easier on the processor and battery. So it’s awash for me. But I suppose that’s preference. I respect that.

          • AnGeLFaCe77

            It doesn’t have any name on the front of the devices either. Nobody can tell what device you have unless you tell them. I love my Moto x

          • ichuck7

            Yeah. In fact I would even say this is the biggest true one handed phone. (if your hands aren’t NBA player size). I have the HTC One which has the same screen size, but it takes a lot of hand maneuvering to work one handed.

          • T.J.

            Long battery life, almost stock android, great ergonomics, customizability, quick updates.
            The Moto X is the phone of the year in my opinion.

          • Saif Merseysider

            Read my reply on ichuck below. And, no. It is not the phone of the year. To you, maybe.

          • AnGeLFaCe77

            You forgot the active display and best accessories :-) moto x device of 2013. Let’s keep in mind that when the galaxy came out it was garbage. Moto x introduction is awesome. I can’t wait for what moto x 2 has to offer.

          • Saif Merseysider

            Hahahahahaahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. (Sorry, had to. I need something to laugh at today. Thanks :-) )

          • ichuck7

            To me it’s the most underrated phone of 2013. True, it was overhyped, but when it released, people just dismissed it.

          • AnGeLFaCe77

            Moto x has the best chip x8, best design, feel in hands and it doesn’t have cheap plastic like the s4

          • Saif Merseysider

            X8 chip computing skill is just a marketing point by motorola (as I pointed out in my earlier posts. U can find it in this thread. If moto chose to market a poo n call it a brand new technology, people who WANTS to believe will believe it). Best design? R u kidding me? No, it doesn’t have the best design. That honour goes to HTC One. Not a cheap plastic like an S4? First, I think moto x is also built by some sort of plastic too. Maybe u meant “doesn’t feel as cheap”. In that case, let me tell u why Samsung made their phones with plastic. First, durability. We all can agree that no matter what our phones are made of, they are not indestructible. But, with plastic it IS more durable than other materials. Second, mass production reason. Samsung aware that their product will be in demand in the most excessive number, rivalled only by Apple. Go n research yourself about this. With premium material, they would never b able to mass produce their flagships in time to meet the demand. Third, microsd and removable battery. I’m pretty sure that Samsung can find a way to cater this particular need in the future. Just, not now. Btw, do u have any casing on your phone? If u do, stop barking as that preium feeling shit u were talking about is totally useless with any type of casings.

  • Fizzow

    Samsung galaxy note 3

  • Cao Meo

    HTC One all the way

  • Androidphan

    There’s a lot of good phones out this year. Love my LG g2!

  • artiplier

    I love HTC’s Boomsound, but I wanted the Snapdragon 800 and expandable storage, so i went with the Note 3. Touchwiz isn’t my favourite, but with Nova launcher, I’m really enjoying my Note so far. The pressure sensitive stylus is great for sketching as well, which is a plus for me as I enjoy drawing.

  • ichuck7

    I like how you did this article. I appreciate that you did them in categories. For me it’s the HTC One. However, the Moto X or Nexus 5 would be my runner up. Love the look and front facing speakers.

  • Richard Giordano

    What bout the DROID Maxx for serious battery junkies?

    • Mike Palmer

      I think it’s a good phone over all…. Too bad it’s stuck on that garbage carrier Verizon :-P

  • Dp

    How about your site makes an actual decision instead of peanut buttering accolades across multiple areas?

    • Dave Weinstein

      Like a JD Powers survey, every phone is the “best”, when you limit the scope to a cooked survey group.

      Yes, I’d like to buy the phone that’s first in initial owner satisfaction amongst people who prefer blue phones.

  • Joe

    LG G2 is the great smartphone, maybe it’s the best specifictions.

    • Dave Weinstein

      But, requires rooting and custom ROM to fulfill it’s potential.

  • gh0st

    all of them phones miss out on something –

    Nexus 5 – camera, audio sucks deep
    Xperia Z1 – Bezels, camera software
    HTC One – I think the ultrapixel camera is a bit gimmicky
    MOto X – I find it difficult to find faults (limited availability maybe)
    Galaxy s4/Note 3 – ugly plastic, touchwix UX is ugly, too much bloatware (gimmicks)
    LG G2 – tries to copy samsung too hard & fails,LG UI is not comparable to others
    MOto G – not the must powerful/ featureful
    G Flex – too costly (but such is the cost of real innovation, it still has a long way to go )

    • Saif Merseysider

      I can list a couple of faults with moto x, bro. Mediocre screen and camera, gimmicky camera startup (not just samsung’s, u know), dual core (when others can offer more). Sorry. I just hate it when people are trying to talk big about this piece of crap. Moto x is and will ever be (for the foreseeable future) the most hyped phone of 2013.

      • gh0st

        well maybe you are right, but for most people it provides an enjoyable user experience, and most people don’t care about number of cores or the pixels on the screen

        • Saif Merseysider

          What do people mean with user experience in moto x? Can u help me out with this?

          • T.J.

            User experience is how smooth and quick the phone is and ease of use.
            Nexus phones are built mainly for developers that’s why it has a quad core cpu. The Moto X is made for the general public and with only two cores it’s able to be just as quick as almost any other phone out there.

          • Saif Merseysider

            With regards of quick and speed, how fast is fast? R u saying that other flagships to be slow? And ease of use. Any different way of operating a moto x to compare with an s4 or One? I assume if u want to listen to music or watching a video on moto x, it opens the same way as others right? In a dedicated app or gallery. Its the same with others. How is it different that it offers me something else in ease of use?

          • T.J.

            The Moto X is faster than most other flagships. That’s because they stick close to stock android and have optimized the software with the hardware.
            Ease of use meaning no extra apps like Samsung likes to add to make things confusing. Twist to launch the camera. Hands free calling, texting, searching. Simple controls on the camera. Etc.
            Another way it is easier is no sd card. Some people think that’s a bad thing and their reasons are usually justified but for the general public, they can be confusing.
            It’s obvious that you haven’t used the phone so you can’t say it’s not one of the best.

          • Saif Merseysider

            Yes, u r right in saying I haven’t use it. Its because it is not available in my country. Next, how is it the performance of moto x as compared to Google Edition of S4 and One? Considering they are stock android as well with no bloatwares, they must be faster then as they have more powerful innards. But they r not listed, right? Ease of use in moto x (hands free texting and calling) are also available with other flagships. Example in case, S Voice in S4. Pretty useful too. Twist your wrist to launch camera? Sorry. Way to gimmicky (comparable to some samsung is offering) and doesn’t contribute to ease of use. The ONLY thing worth mentioning in Moto X is the Always listen feature. But still, not enough for me to be the best of 2013.

          • T.J.

            Your first sentence just made every other comment of yours void.

          • Saif Merseysider

            Don’t have to try sounding like an intelligent guy. Just because I haven’t try it doesn’t mean I am not entitled to my own opinion. Sometimes it’s better than that way rather than be blinded by fool people :-)

          • grumpyfuzz

            How is the twist your wrist to open the camera gimmicky? I use it all the time when I want to take pictures. If there is something you want to take a picture of quickly, you take it out of your pocket, twist your wrist, and tap the screen to get the picture. Much quicker than other phones… But whatever you say. Oh and did you forget active display? Everyone who owns the Moto x including me all love the feature.

  • Bloods

    Whats a load of rubbish. How can the Moto X be 3rd at the moment? Are people just guessing or going on reviews they see on Youtube

    • grumpyfuzz

      No, because it’s a great phone.

  • Ari Yoga

    I think Note 3 is the best. Note 3 should be in all category except for outdoor and android purist. IMHO

  • Dave Weinstein

    In some respects, I’d have to say, “who cares?” Looking back at 2013 does us no good.

    Looking forward to 2014 with LTE-A, 2k zero-bezel displays, OIS and low-LUX cameras, unlocked bootloaders, AOSP code drops from manufacturers, and “Google Editions” of every popular model (are you listening LG???).

    These are the things that we need to know about and the things we should be trying to pressure manufacturers into delivering!

  • nishantsirohi123

    for students i think the note2 is also a great option, it is now being available at amazing deals

    and with 4.3 update it is still amazing

  • Andye82

    I must also agree with many that choosing Nexus 5 as the best gaming phone is just strange. Why not choose G2 there which is basically the same phone but with better battery? It doesn’t matter so much if there is Kitkat or jelly bean in the phone while playing games.
    I think that Nexus 5 is maybe the most over-hyped phone of the year among us Android fans. I have owned many Nexus devices and also tried Nexus 5 but its just not good enough for me.
    Best phone of the year is today slightly outdated but still so wonderful HTC One. I haven’t used one phone this long as I have now and if this one gets robbed or broken for some reason I would buy another HTC One rather than getting Note 3, G2 or Nexus 5 (those 3 would be my runner ups)

    • Saif Merseysider

      I would not say that Nexus 5 the most hyped, bro. For me that honour should go to Moto x. Now that is waaaaaay exaggerated.

  • nishantsirohi123

    as for watching movies, lack of SD card slot in HTC one is a shortcoming

  • Saif Merseysider

    Can’t stop laughing at this make-believe ranking system, conjured by a bunch of people who think they r worthy enough to label what is the best and what is not. Credit is where credit dues. So, certain group and category is nailed on (outdoor type n stuff). But Moto X for gadget lovers? Seriously? The most overhyped and gimmicky phone of 2013? Somehow I notice that people at Android Authority can’t help themselves to wet over this piece of crap (had to say it). Time n over, countless articles are produced by u guys to convince people that this is THE phone. Sorry. We r not buying it. Not with the junk Clearpixel camera. Not with the last year standard 720p screen. Not with the 2 years ago dual core standard. Not with the X8 computing skills (enough with this particular shit already!!). Stop fooling us readers as we DO know what is the best and what is TOTAL JUNK. Most of the honours above should go to Note 3, G2 or HTC One. I think most readers will agree with me over there. Not all. But most. N certainly not you guys from Android Authority. Peace.

  • PinoyAko

    sony xperia z ultra is not on the choices but i’ll vote for z1 though…

  • Groud Frank

    I would be in glee if there was a GPe Note 3.

  • Saif Merseysider

    And to think that u guys listed Moto G as one of the phones to be voted as the best this year???? When u DO know that it is an entry level phone??? U guys r either illiterate or just too cheap (dirt cheap) to be able to b bought by Motorola as their advertising agent.

  • G2forme


  • cory

    Moto X should win because of its innovations and for the fact that with lower specs it out preforms almost every other phone on the list. Personnal favorite is the Nexus 5 because of its all around package. Surprised the iPhone 5s isn’t on the list?

  • ichuck7

    I love the HTC One. I went from a Note 1 and Note 2. I love the UX. It’s a good looking phone. And I use blinkfeed way more than I thought. I wouldn’t mind giving the HTC One Max a try.

  • kissme

    Iphone 5s!!!! lol

  • Saif Merseysider

    A bit curious of something too, Android Authority. Why didn’t u guys include the Google Edition of S4 and HTC one in the list? Pretty sure most readers would love to vote for them too. After all, was it not u guys (and others) who squealed about how bloated Touchwiz and Sense were in the original devices; and was hoping for a more pure, unskinned version of the phones? Now that the companies had delivered, is this how u guys responded? By naming the crap moto x for the runner up of ‘best smartphone for android purists’?

  • Rafhael Almeida

    hey samsung galaxy note 3 it’s a phablet not smartphone!!

  • Emiliano Piccirilli

    Samsung galaxy s4? !?!?

    • AnGeLFaCe77


      • Saif Merseysider

        Moto X is garbage. Period. End of story.

  • Andres Almeida

    HTC One all the way!!!

  • AnGeLFaCe77

    The moto x is the device of the year because of it’s advanced features, latest operating system and beautiful design.

  • Gadiel Raid

    What game is it at 1.22

  • Huy Idol

    lol phone’s features rest mainly on stock. If you go with a custom rom like PAC (which will gift you all the features mentioned above) then only few other aspects are considered. I hate the fact that Z ultra is not here (note 3 wont be replacing it because most custom roms for the note dont feauture Touchwiz, which is essentially for S pen to work). The z ultra has decent display, great hardware, and pen-touch-able (just like a note 3 hah) with a minor down side of 8 mp camera on such high end phone (which most people wont be noticing much) and the lack of flash (which only be used as a flashlight)

  • tigerbalm

    Nexus 5 – no expansion slot? Shame on you…no device without expansion should even be mentioned. No excuses! What are you trying to be, the Android Nazi?

  • Anonymous

    What about Galaxy S4?

  • ej

    Note 3

  • Anastasios.K

    The Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom should’ve won in the photographer category. I have one and it might be quite chunky but it takes superb photos. Not to mention the 10 times optical zoom and 16 megapixel rear camera. It’s ideal for people who want a Samsung Galaxy S4 experience but need a better camera.