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Top 10 smartphones of 2013

December 25, 2013 12:48 IST

Top 10 smartphones of 2013

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It’s the end of the year -- a year that saw much advancement in smartphone technology, perhaps more than any other year thus far. We’ve seen full HD displays, quad core SoCs that put most PCs of the early millennium to shame, professional grade cameras, 64-bit CPUs and much more, all within the palm of our hands.

We take a look back at the top 10 smartphones of 2013 along with what made them so special and worth owning despite the premium price tags some of them have.

LG G2

Though it formed the framework for the Nexus 5, the LG G2 is enough to stand out on its own. Featuring a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 SoC, 2 GB of RAM and up to 32 GB internal storage, the G2 stands out with its 5.2 True IPS display and 1080p resolution which is slightly superior to the Nexus 5. There’s also a 13 megapixel camera, in contrast to the latter’s 8 megapixel sensor.

Its battery life is also above and beyond what the Nexus 5 is capable of, with its SiO+Li-Polymer 3000 mAh lasting you for days on end with above average usage. It comes with Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, which isn’t the latest version, but is still a very compelling device overall.

Price: Rs 44,900


Image: LG G2
Photographs: lg.com
Tags: IPS , RAM , LG

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Google Nexus 5

The Google Nexus 5 was arguably one of the most successful and most sought-after devices of the year. Less than an hour of going on sale at the Google Play Store, it sold out worldwide and saw a similar strong reaction when launched in India -- a big step up from the Nexus 4’s launch. With a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 SoC, 2 GB of RAM and up to 32 GB of internal storage, it boasts a ton of power for a fairly affordable price.

With a 5-inch, 1080p resolution display, an 8 megapixel camera sensor with HDR+ and Android 4.4 KitKat out of the box, it’s hard to resist.

Price: Rs 28,990

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Image: Google Nexus 5
Photographs: google.com/nexus

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Samsung Galaxy S4

Samsung’s flagship smartphone line continued to evolve with the Samsung Galaxy S4. Shipping in two variants -- the Exynos 5 Octa and Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 -- the Galaxy S4 offered tons of functionality no matter which one you opted for.

Android 4.3 Jelly Bean coexists with the new TouchWiz Nature UI, which had S Translate, Group Play, Smart Pause, Smart Scroll and Life Companion.

The device also featured 2 GB of RAM, up to 64 GB internal storage and a microSDXC slot for up to 64 GB more space. Along with a 5-inch Super AMOLED display with 1080p resolution, a 13 megapixel rear sensor which incorporated several features seen in the Galaxy Camera line and a strong battery life, the Galaxy S4 is as complete as any other device on the market.

Price: Rs 33,000

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Image: Samsung Galaxy S4
Photographs: samsung.com

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iPhone 5S

Unlike the iPhone 5, the iPhone 5S only featured two real evolutions in its design. It otherwise looks, weighs and even feels like its predecessor. That being said, those two changes are big ones.

A new 64-bit dual core A7 CPU puts the device above and beyond most in terms of performance, with Apple claiming it to be up to 40 times faster than the first iPhone. It certainly is the premier solution for those who want the best portable gaming solution but casual users will also enjoy the new Touch ID fingerprint sensor.

It allows one to automatically unlock their phone and access iTunes without needing password credentials. Being highly accurate and capable of recognising several sets of prints, it gives a more futuristic vibe to the iPhone than you’d expect. Despite being expensive, the iPhone 5S backs it up with powerful technology and all-round value.

Price: Rs 52,700

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Image: iPhone 5S
Photographs: Jason Lee/Reuters
Tags: Apple

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Samsung Galaxy Note 3

After complaints regarding the lack of evolution in the Galaxy S4, Samsung decided to do both a design and feature overhaul with the Galaxy Note 3. Starting with the design, users would now have a faux leather back panel that felt more premium to the touch.

The Note 3 also packed a large amount of power, being one of the first phablets to feature 3 GB of RAM.  It also features either an Exynos 5 Octa 5420 or Snapdragon 800 SoC with up to 64 GB internal storage and microSDXC slot for up to 64 GB more space.

The 5.7-inch Super AMOLED display also benefits from a full HD resolution adorned with Gorilla Glass 3. The 13 megapixel rear camera is also one of few capable of 4K resolution recording, besides featuring the usual set of Galaxy Camera features. But it’s the addition of features such as My Magazine, a Flipboard-esque content aggregator; Scrapbook, which lets you collect bits and pieces from all over the place into your own personal scrapbook; handwriting recognition for Action Memos, Air Command; and much, much more with to go with the S Pen.

It’s a premium device for sure, but hands down the best phablet in the market.

Price: Rs 44,900

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Image: Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Photographs: Tobias Schwarz/Reuters

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Sony Xperia Z1

The Xperia Z Ultra may have signalled Sony’s first real phablet venture, but many of its features laid the groundwork for the Xperia Z1. These include the Snapdragon 800 CPU, 2 GB of RAM, 16 GB internal storage and microSD slot for up to 64 GB of space.

The 5-inch TRILUMINOUS display with its full HD resolution also comes off looking sharper with more pixels per-inch and it features many durability features such as the dust- and water-resistant shell. This allows one to submerge the phone underwater and take pictures using the 20.7 megapixel lens (with Superior Auto more than helping out novices with balanced picture taking).

Its battery life also marks a significant improvement over the Xperia Z Ultra and despite being one of the least heavily customised user interfaces, Android 4.2 Jelly Bean on the Z1 is still very speedy and reliable.

Price: Rs 39,990

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Image: Sony Xperia Z1
Photographs: sony.com

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Nokia Lumia 1020

For its next flagship Windows Phone 8 device, Nokia decided to bring PureView technology to the forefront. The Lumia 1020 is equipped with a Snapdragon S4 SoC, 2 GB of RAM and 32 GB of internal storage with the 4.5-inch AMOLED display featuring a 1280x768 resolution.

But in terms of optics, it’s the 41 megapixel camera that is the star. The PureView camera benefits from a Carl Zeiss Tessar lens, a BSI sensor and 26 mm focal length. Its low light photography and optical image stabilisation are bar none the best in its class. The battery life also remains fairly strong, even with heavy picture and video capture. Even if you’re not a fan of Windows Phone 8, the Lumia 1020 remains the best camera phone that money can buy.

Price: 46,999

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Image: Nokia Lumia 1020
Photographs: nokia.com

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Sony Xperia Z Ultra

The Sony Xperia Z Ultra marked the company’s first foray into Snapdragon 800 SoC equipped devices, and it added its own unique touches to make it more worthwhile. These include  a dust- and water-resistant frame along with shatterproof glass which more than protects the device in all circumstances.

Coupled with 2 GB of RAM, 16 GB of internal storage, a microSD slot for 64 GB more space, and a 6.4-inch TRILUMINOUS display with full HD resolution -- all within a lightweight and slim frame -- and the Sony Xperia Z Ultra is certainly a force to reckon with. This is despite its above average battery life and 8 megapixel rear camera sensor.

Price: Rs 41,990

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Image: Sony Xperia Z Ultra
Photographs: sony.com

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LG Optimus G Pro

The LG Optimus G Pro may be fairly out-dated compared to the likes of the LG G2 and Nexus 5, but it’s still a very well-rounded phablet.

It features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 SoC, 2 GB of RAM, 16 GB internal storage and a microSD slot for up to 64 GB more space. Though it may seem less powerful compared to the latest smartphones, it’s still above and beyond what many devices in the mid-tier segment are capable of.

It also has an excellent 5.5-inch True IPS display with a 1080p resolution and 13 megapixel camera, both which compare to the G2 quite well. Battery life relies on a massive 3140 mAh and you’ll even receive a replacement battery for free.

The Optimus G Pro is a great option for those who want a reliable workhorse of a phablet at a reasonable price.

Price: Rs 29,500

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Image: LG Optimus G Pro
Photographs: lg.com

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HTC One

HTC may not have had the best year, but its new flagship One device has done a lot to further the brand’s journey into the future. Equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 SoC, 2 GB of RAM, 32 GB of internal storage and a microSDXC slot for up to 64 GB space, it also boasts a 4.7-inch full HD Super LCD3 display and 4 megapixel UltraPixel Camera.

The One also introduced some key new features including three-second videos composed of several pictures and BlinkFeed. Despite criticisms associated with the new BlinkFeed, it still functions very well as a content delivery system for news, social network updates and much more. And who can say no to that design?

Price: Rs 43,999

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Image: HTC One
Photographs: htc.com

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