This is my personal opinion about the top end smart phones released last year , I have used these phones personally from hours to days depending on the phone and have done fair bit of knowledge check through the Tech Websites to reach into the result.
5. Sony Xperia Z1
Spec-wise if you check this phone, it is actually the best phone available, but the truth is Sony as a company totally messed this phone. This was one phone I was waiting for this year since it was touted to be the best Cameraphone at least among Android phones.
Z1 is a fantastic looking phone with the glass built, it is covered with Dragon trail glass on the front and Corning Glass on the back, have a 1080p 5inch Display, latest Snapdragon 800 chipset, 2GB Ram, 20.7mp Camera and a completely waterproof phone.
But the problem was execution, it has one of the worst displays I have seen – bad viewing angles, unreal color reproduction, low brightness and poor sunlight Visibility. It had 20.7mp Camera with 1/2.3 inch Sony Exmor Sensor with 6 element lens, making it the phone with biggest sensor in the android phones. But it the software they failed to deliver here. Photos have muted colors, it always tends to overexpose the photos, and having no OIS was a poor decision.
The Good: Excellent built quality and great looks with glass built, Dust and Waterproof, Great specs, Great performance, Good Battery Life, Expandable Memory
The Bad: Poor Screen, Poor Camera performance, Sony’s Android UI layout is not great
4. HTC One
It was the flagship phone for HTC this year; it is a very good looking, well made device, with top end specs.
It has one of the best 1080p displays I have seen, HTC’s superLCD3 shines with good viewing angles, superb colour reproduction, and good sunlight Visibility. It has Snapdragon 600 chipset with 2GB Ram, and it performs really well on the buttery smooth Sense UI of HTC. The best thing about HTC is the aluminum built an finish they provided for the phone similar to Iphones
Its Ultrapixel technology Camera, was great for social sharing, but it lacked details because it was essentially a 4mp shooter. It was first flagship Android phone with OIS, so videos looked smooth, OIS was not as good as spring loaded OIS in Nokia Lumia 920 of last year. The nightshots looked good, the color reproduction seems to be accurate, but there is visible grain in nightshots, lacks finer details.
The Good: Excellent built quality and great looks, Brilliant Screen, Great performance, Best Audio output from a phone (HTC Boom Sound), Video Recording, Slick UI
The Bad: Camera still images lacked details, No expandable Memory, Expensive (even with a lower processor)
3. Nokia Lumia 1020
The Lumia 1020 is the spiritual successor to Nokia’s first phone with a 41-megapixel camera sensor, the Nokia 808 PureView. It touts to be the best cameraphone available now.
Lumia 1020 runs Windows 8, it have a decent Spec configuration of a dual core S4 Snapdragon processor, and 2gb Ram. Since Windows is optimized to run on lower hardware it really performs well. It has a 720p ClearBlack Amoled display, being a 4.5inch phone we don’t find any pixel peep on the screen, it has great viewing angels, best sunlight readability among the smartphones. The display on the 1020 is bright and the colour reproduction closer to the real world when compared with most other AMOLED displays.
The results from camera are the best you can get. It has great detail, little saturated, and OIS makes sure that shot looks clean It has the biggest BSI sensor size of 1/1.5 inch which is much bigger than regular point and shoots that why the details are good, it has the best camera application called Nokia pro Cam, giving you the leverage of manual controls like a professional camera. Video is great with lossless zoom available.
The Good: Excellent built quality with polycarbonate body and great looks, Great Screen, Good performance, unmatchable Camera performance, Slick Windows UI
The Bad: Expensive, No expandable Memory, new apps are a problem especially Games
2. Samsung Galaxy Note 3
One thing Samsung can always boast is that they opened up this space called phablets and no one is a direct match for them in this space. Even though a certain Galaxy S4 looms I personally like Note 3 and its features.
If you take it spec wise, nothing is a match for it at least in paper. And Octacore processor, 3GB Ram, 5.5inch 1080 Super Amoled Display. Its performance is great if you don’t try to use all the available options(I call bloat ware inherited from S4), its S-pen feature are fantastic, and very useful. It is a very good media consumption device except for if you don’t like saturated colours and huge display that is not good for one handed usage you are looking at the wrong device for you.
Camera is good at well light situations, at night time it performs really badly. OIS not implemented on this flagship device was surprising. But day time it took some great shots and had good details and good colour reproduction, Video Recording is good, but not the best, giving 4K support for US and not for everybody is kind of not great gesture from Sammy. But like Nokia Lumia 1020 which is the best at what it was intended, Note 3 is best at multitasking and its superb execution of S-pen feature.
The Good: Great Screen, Good performance, Super multitasking, Good casual shooter, Best Battery Life in a phone, expandable storage along with 32GB internal, S-pen is unique and very useful
The Bad: Expensive, poor night time photos, not suitable for everyone, too much bloat ware with heavy UI
1. LG G2
With its almost bezel-free display and bold decision to move keys to rear side LG first time hits almost everything on right notes.
It is just like every flagship phones, is a beast with a snapdragon 800 chipset, 2GB Ram a brilliant 5.2inch display and a good camera with OIS. It has a very good 1080p display with good viewing angles, superb colour reproduction, and great sunlight visibility. It’s almost Bezel free built made sure that it accommodated a bigger display with smaller portfolio making it a huge screen phone perfect for one handed usage.
It has a very good camera, the shots shows accurate colour reproduction, contrast, white balance and details. With OIS it produced better night time photos than the other Android counterparts, even though it was still no match for Lumia phones. With OIS, you will get good smooth Video recording and 60fps 1080 recording is possible too. It is the overall things that rounded LG G2 to be the best smartphone of the year 2013.
The Good: Great Screen with almost no Bezels, Great performance, Good multitasking, Good Camera, Great Battery Life, Practical design, less Expensive to its counterparts
The Bad: Not premium looking, No expandable Memory.
Honourable omissions were Iphone 5s, which I never got a chance to look into and was not much of an increment over Iphone 5 and Galaxy Nexus 5 which I couldn’t find anywhere in the stores.