The 10 Coolest Smartphones Of 2013 (So Far)10:00 AM EST Mon. Jul. 22, 2013
In the innovative mobile world, things move quickly, with smartphone makers unveiling new mobile devices at a pretty quick quip. Top contenders in the smartphone market are in the heat of a popularity contest. Complete with improved features and brand new technologies, the options for smartphones are numerous. Here's a look at some of the coolest smartphones on the market this year, and just think: this is only the half-way point.
Operating System: Android 4.1 Jelly Bean with HTC Sense 5.0 User Interface
Light and thin with solid aluminum, the sturdy HTC One sports a 4.7-inch Super LCD 3 screen with 468 ppi. The touchscreen is lined with dual front stereo speakers with built-in amps, which HTC calls "BoomSound," possibly one of the best stereo systems to make its way to the smartphone. Sense 5.0 UI comes with "BlinkFeed," a feature that collects real-time news and social media relevant to the user and places it on the home panel. Another new feature is "Zoe," which records three seconds of video for each picture captured. The One runs on Qualcomm's 1.7GHz Snapdragon 600 quad-core processor and comes with 32- or 44-GB storage with 2-GB RAM.
Price: $199, with plan
Operating System: Android 4.2 with TouchWiz User Interface
Samsung's Galaxy S4'sHD Super AMOLED 441 ppi stretches all the way to the edge of the Korean tech giant's latest smartphone. New with the S4, a number of sensors allow the phone to easily access information like temperature, humidity and barometric pressure, which comes in handy for apps. More new Galaxy S4 features include "Air Gestures," which allows users to control the device by hovering a hand over the screen, along with a sensor in the camera that anticipates things like page scrolling and video pauses by reading its user's eyes. The smartphone runs on a 1.9GHz Snapdragon 600 processor, has 16 GB of on-board storage plus 2-GB RAM and the option for a microSD card.
Price: $199, with 2 year contract
Operating System: iOS 6
Lighter than previous iPhones, the iPhone 5 houses a 326 ppi, 4-inch Retina display with a fingerprint resistant coating over the screen. According to Apple, the 5 is more than twice as fast as the 4S due to the new A6 chip that can fly through graphic-intensive apps and sites quickly and smoothly. The 8MP iSight camera boasts panoramic photos, more editing features and HD video recording. Siri is smarter than before, and the additions to the lineup of built-in apps like Passbook enhances the user experience. Aside from the grand embarrassment of the Maps App, the iPhone 5 received overall great reviews. The device comes in 16-, 32- or 64-GB options
Price: Starts at $199
Operating System: BlackBerry 10 OS
Though seemingly popular with BlackBerry loyalists, the Z10 is struggling for wider acceptance in the U.S. Its 4.2-inch, 356 ppi display includes a touchscreen keyboard that learns and adapts to writing habits and style. BlackBerry Hub allows real-time insight into its user's important messages and notifications and is never more than one swipe away. Additional features of the BlackBerry Z10 include BBM Video chat, Screen Share options and a Time Shift mode on the device's camera that allows shifting targeted portions of a photo by milliseconds from when it was snapped to allow for optimal pictures. The device is powered by a 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and contains 16 GB of internal storage and 2-GB RAM with a microSD card option.
Price: $199.99, with contract
Operating System: Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
Google and LG teamed up to create a smartphone that is sold unlocked and able to operate on more than 200 networks worldwide. The Nexus 4 has a 4.7-inch, 320 ppi touchscreen equipped with a gesture typing keyboard and runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor for speed. Google sets the Android phone apart with features like Google Now, the real-time information center, as well as Google Answers, the search-by-voice feature. Users can also take advantage of Google Wallet, the pay-by-phone feature that allows users to securely carry debit and credit cards via phone. The device comes in 8- or 16-GB options with 2-GB RAM.
Price: Starting at $299
Operating System: Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
The 5.5-inch HD Super AMOLED display may seem a little overkill for a phone, but it's very handy for a highly productive and creative phablet. Though the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 fits easier in two hands, the keyboard can be shifted for one-handed use. Its stylus, the "S Pen," can be used for creative functions like sending hand written emails, cropping photos or sketching. The Note 2 can move fluidly from single screen to multi-tasking mode to easy mode and uses Air View to allow users to quickly view pictures or text without shuffling through cluttered folders. The phablet runs on a 1.6GHz quad-core processor and comes with 16-, 32- or 64-GB options with 2-GB RAM and a microSD slot.
Price: $799.99, without plan
Operating System: Google Android Jelly Bean 4.2
The 5-inch screen on the Sony Xperia Z smartphone officially makes it a phone-tablet hybrid, a "Phablet". Dust resistant and able to withstand up to 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes, the Xperia Z was built to endure. Sony made crystal-clear photos and videos a priority by loading the device with a 13-megapixel camera and HDR video. "One-Touch" is an Xperia Z motif, allowing users "one-touch" sharing, mirroring, backup and listening, with a string of features that allow a user to wirelessly connect with other Android or Sony products. The phablet runs on a 1.5GHz Qualcomm quad-core processor and contains up to 16-GB of on-board storage, 2-GB RAM and a microSD card slot.
Price: $579.99, without contract
Operating System: Windows 8
According to Nokia executives at the recent launch of its new flagship phone, the Lumia 1020 is built with camera capabilities that allow users to see things never before seen. Using what Nokia calls "oversampling" technology to capture photos and videos, users are able to zoom in to small, detailed portions of photos without losing quality. The phone comes loaded with other camera options to stabilize photos, capture action shots and choose the best photo from a lineup up of 10 photos taken in 2.5 seconds. The device sports a 4.5-inch screen, up to 32-GB of on-board storage and 2-GB RAM, and it runs on a 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 dual-core processor.
Price: $299.99, with 2 year contract
Operating System: Android 4.1 Jelly Bean with HTC's Sense 4+ UI
Five inches of full HD display space with 440 ppi, paired with a built-in amplifier for Beats Audio is intended to give HTC Droid DNA's users a stellar entertainment experience. The 2.1MP front-facing camera offers an 88-degree wide-angle lens as well as a panoramic option. Offered with 16 GB of memory and 2-GB RAM, the device is lacking a microSD slot. The device runs on a 1.5GHz quad-core S4 processor and is capable of multitasking. For a lower-budget smartphone, the Droid has received a lot of praise for being fast and efficient even though it is more limited in features.
Price: $129.99, without plan
Operating System: Windows 8
Before the Lumia 1020 came the Lumia 9020, a Windows 8 device by Nokia that comes complete with a 4.5-inch display and a 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon dual-core processor. The 8.7MP camera is enhanced with an image stabilization feature, while the Here City Lens allows users to use the camera to access information about the space around them, in augmented reality style. The device can be wire-free with the use of the wireless charger, and it can also wirelessly stream music for free via Nokia Music. Though it has 32 GB of on-board storage and 2-GB RAM, it is lacking a microSD slot.
Price: $49.99, with contract