We're six months down the road from our last "best Android phones" roundup, and the smartphone landscape has altered dramatically. Back in December we crowned the Samsung Galaxy S3 king of all Android phones, on account of its responsiveness, broad availability and excellent performance across the board. A generation later, the Android space is dominated by two new heavyweights -- the Galaxy S4and HTC One, with other contenders including the Xperia Z and ZL from Sony and LG's Nexus 4.
In mid-2013, buttery-smooth performance, beautiful screens, high-quality cameras, 4G LTE connectivity and Jelly Bean out of the box come as standard at the high-end. Competition is more fierce than ever, and that's resulted in some of the best Android hardware we've ever seen.
But there can be only one winner. Join us after the break to find out which phone takes the prize.
The best of the best - HTC One
We really have reached the point where the top of the Android smartphone market is blanketed by some highly impressive devices. It's tough to go wrong. There's something for everyone, be it form factor or features or gimmicks and gizmos. But for our money, there's currently no better phone available than theHTC One.
There's a lot to like here. The (mostly) all-aluminum body looks and feels more sophisticated than a plastic phone, and the gentle curve fits the hand nicely. While we've still got our quibbles with the Sense user interface, Sense 5 is the most stylish version yet, and most important is that it doesn't exhibit the lag that we've seen in the Samsung Galaxy S4.
The front-facing stereo speakers change the way you experience music and videos on a smartphone. Games and movies are much more immersive and are a downright pleasure to play and listen to. There are a few times when the speakers may be too loud, but there are many more times when you're amazed you're getting that sort of sound from a smartphone.
HTC's camera also brought forth a bit of a paradigm shift. It's not the best all-around camera -- it suffers from contrast issues, and if you need something with a higher total resolution for enlarging pictures, you'll need to look elsewhere. But the introduction of Zoes -- the 3-second video clips -- and the introduction of automatically composed Video Highlights are something that nobody else is doing, and they make up for a lackluster camera application.
The HTC One also has been released on three of the four major U.S. carriers, as well as seeing wide availability worldwide -- and we're expecting Verizon to get its own variant this year as well.
In the months we've been using the HTC One, it's continuously caught the eyes of those around us and continued to impress us with its performance -- and for that it ranks as our best smartphone for first part of 2013.
The runner-up - Samsung Galaxy S4
If ever there was a phone to beat, it was this one. Samsung took everything that was good in the Galaxy S3 and made it better in its successor, the Galaxy S4.
Well, maybe not quite everything. The plastic body remains a turn-off for many, and it's certainly not as chic as the aluminum HTC One. It's also lost a bit of the curve of the Galaxy S3. And while Samsung has managed to squeeze a 5-inch display into the same size as the slightly smaller Galaxy S3, the IPS or Super LCD displays on other phones perform better in sunlight and seems to better handle shifts in brightness. The TouchWiz user interface has been refined a bit, but it's still flat in places and doesn't match the sophistication of other UIs.
Samsung's camera, however, remains the best in the business, as far as everyday use is concerned. It's filled with features, and the camera app itself is a joy to use, having been adapted from the high-endSamsung Galaxy Camera. You might not use features like the animated gif creator every day, but they're fun to have, even if they're not all that innovative.
But what landed the Galaxy S4 as our No. 2 is the laggy user interface -- we've experienced delays and stutters on a number of versions of the phone -- as well as the anemic storage situation. Samsung's 16-gigabyte version of the GS4 only has about 9 gigabytes of storage available to the end user. And while Samsung likes to say you can add another 64 gigabytes with a microSD card, that's a different kind of storage. Good luck keeping your larger games and apps on there. The sin isn't so much that Samsung's using all that space for the hundreds of features on the phone -- and it's got some really good preloaded apps and settings. The sin is that in 2013, that sort of deceptive marking and, for many, a lack of larger storage options, is unacceptable.
Would we recommend someone buy the Galaxy S4, which is available on just about every carrier on Earth? Absolutely. It just might not be the first phone we suggest.
The best oversized phone - LG Optimus G Pro
The other South Korean manufacturer -- LG -- has a bit of a dark horse on its hands with the Optimus G Pro. It's a 5.5-inch phone -- in the same class as the wildly popular Samsung Galaxy Note 2, but without the pen input. It also improves on the Note with a higher-resolution display, updated internals and a slightly narrower body.
LG's user interface still leaves a bit to be desired, but it's also come a long way in a short time. The Optimus G Pro has a more-than-capable camera, and it's the first outside of the Nexus line to sport the Photosphere feature.
Hamstringing the Optimus G Pro, however, is availability. In the United States, it's only available on AT&T, and it's seen limited release worldwide as well, though that's beginning to change. We're also expecting Samsung to at least match the Optimus G Pro's specs and features later this year. But for now, it's a pleasant addition to the oversized phone market.
from : androidcentral,androidfr,androidtalks,samsung galaxy,