Our judges this year were faced with a tricky task, to determine the best overall smartphone of 2013. With hot contenders from the likes of two-time winner Samsung, hot property Sony and the ever-present Apple, picking just one was never going to be easy. However, after heated debate the panel unanimously agreed on the ultimate winner...
From the moment we clutched the HTC One in our quivering mitts, we knew it was something special. Sure enough, the panel of judges voted unanimously for this innovative and highly desirable device, which blew away even the fantastic HTC One X from 2012.
Starting with the gorgeous exterior, that metallic frame is perfectly rounded so it looks great and sits beautifully in the hand. In a world dominated by plastic phones, the HTC One really does feel premium. The gorgeous design is capped off by a crisp 4.7-inch LCD screen, which packs in an impressive 468 pixels-per-inch (PPI) – more than the iPhone 5 and Galaxy S 4 – and the powerful dual ‘BoomSound’ speakers, which pack a real punch.
Then there’s the powerful innards. A quad-core 1.7GHz Snapdragon 600 series processor is ably backed up by 2GB of RAM, which proves powerful enough to run the latest system-pounding action titles. And one of our favourite features is the Ultrapixel camera, which captures bright photos and videos with crystal-clear clarity, and compiles them into a neat little montage with the Zoe mode. All of these features combine to make the HTC One a truly remarkable mobile, and our Phone of the Year.
Samsung Galaxy Note II
The judging panel was also impressed by Samsung’s Galaxy Note II, voting it into second place overall. The original Note was a stroke of genius, effectively kick-starting the new phablet craze with its spacious screen and excellent S Pen stylus, and the Note II is just as uniquely and brilliantly executed. It’s incredibly powerful, able to effortlessly multi-task with various creative apps, while the screen is bright, sharp and brilliantly vibrant. Phablets still have their doubters, but the sales figures show that consumers are embracing these gargantuan devices, and the Note II is the best we’ve seen.
Apple iPhone 5
Is the iPhone 5 the best ever iPhone? Of course it is, that was never really under any doubt. Newcomers to Apple’s world will find a slickly designed smartphone boasting a supremely sharp screen, a strong camera and a more spacious four-inch display, although as with previous iPhones it’s bogged down by the usual Apple quirks, such as a lack of memory card support and fiddly, difficult iTunes software. However, existing owners already rocking an iPhone 4S have little reason to upgrade, considering the steep asking price, unless they really desire that bigger display.
Nokia Lumia 925
Nokia has produced a stunning range of phones this year, and after the slight misstep of the chunky Lumia 920, it once again has a flagship premium smartphone to be proud of. The Lumia 925 packs a bright and tweakable high-res screen, a powerful PureView camera and some excellent unique features, and does away with the bulky, heavy build of the previous Lumia 920. And while battery life is still merely average, and the app store is badly understocked, we have no problems recommending the Lumia 925 to anyone who desires a clean, simple, feature-packed smartphone.
Samsung Galaxy S 4
The Galaxy S III was a run-away winner of Phone of the Year in 2012, just as the Galaxy S II was a clear winner the year before. And while the Galaxy S 4 hasn’t quite won over our judges in the same way, it’s still a supremely desirable chunk of designer tech that’s packed with the usual incredible Samsung features, and one of the best handsets of the past 12 months. The enlarged and improved screen, mind-boggling range of innovative features and impressive camera make for a truly formidable handset, while the surprisingly strong battery life keeps you going all day.
Sony Xperia Z
The intelligent 13-megapixel camera and Full HD screen on Sony’s Xperia Z complement each other perfectly. While it may rock a hefty body that is a friend to dust bunnies and be a little lacking when it comes to battery life, it’s still a sleek, desirable and durable superphone that’s loaded with power and killer features. NFC and 4G LTE support also keep it future-proof. Sony has gone a step further with its NFC too, offering quick and easy connectivity to a host of Sony accessories as well as its Xperia Smart Tags. And, of course, you can dip it in your pint without breaking it. Marvellous.
Congratulations to all of the winners. You can find all of the incriminating photos on our official MCAwards 2013 website, and a full list of the 2013 Mobile Choice Award winners can be found here!