The smartphone world is evolving at breakneck pace, and it takes a keen manufacturer to not only keep up, but to help focus that evolution with innovative technologies and features. Our winner has proved to be a truly unstoppable force, producing new as well as improved smartphone and tablet tech.
It’s now three in a row for the all-conquering Samsung, who once again had a stunning year in terms of both sales and releases. The big news came in July, when Samsung overtook Apple as the world’s most profitable mobile phone manufacturer, ending the American giant’s four-year run. Those record sales were understandable given the continued innovation of Samsung’s smartphones and tablet devices, which also had another strong year. The company’s shortlisting in seven of our nine handset or tablet categories is a sign of the calibre of its products. The Galaxy S 4 was another superstar, winning the full five stars in its Mobile Choice review for an impressive range of features and incredibly strong specs. The Galaxy Note devices have similarly gone from strength to strength, with the third phablet recently announced at IFA 2013. With smart watches and cameras extending the brand beyond those areas, we’re looking forward to seeing what’s next from this mobile giant.
Choosing between Samsung and Sony for Manufacturer of the Year was a near-impossible task. Samsung’s sales success was backed up by an incredible slate of products, but Sony has had another sterling year, crafting some truly gorgeous smartphones that boast the very best in mobile design. The Sony Mobile stable contains brilliant individual devices, from the great-value mid-range Xperia SP up to the mighty Ultra phablet, but they feel like part of a family thanks to the iconic look and their effortless connectivity with other Sony products. We love the new five-star Xperia Z1 and the chunky coolness of the SmartWatch 2, and look forward to another fantastic year from the Japanese giant.
We fell in love with Asus’ Nexus 7 tablet last year, a collaboration with Google that offered consumers a powerful quad-core HD device for under £200. Asus has continued this trend of offering impressive value for money this year, with its £129 MeMO Pad tablet proving to be an incredible bargain, and finally we’ve seen the Padfone hit UK shores. With several new devices announced at IFA 2013, we’re expecting even more greatness from Asus in the coming months.
Once known for releasing about a dozen different phones every month, HTC has matured and focused its output on a very small range of smartphones in 2013. As a result, the HTC One and HTC One Mini were two of the very best handsets we reviewed – mobiles that we’d enthusiastically recommend to anyone within earshot. Although the One’s release was marred with delays and manufacturing issues, the handset itself was truly incredible. We hope for more of the same from HTC in 2014.
After the recent buy-out by Microsoft, we’re going to be keeping a very keen eye on Nokia in the next few months. While still proving more popular globally for its feature phones than its smartphones, Nokia has produced some great value Lumias this year, as well as a brilliant premium handset in the sleek Lumia 925. Close collaborations with Microsoft can hopefully only help this popular company to produce more fantastic mobile devices.
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!