Dec 17 AT 12:32 PM Nick Gray 16 Comments

Editor’s Choice Award: best smartphones of 2013


Following our Reader’s Choice award, which crowned the HTC One as the best Android smartphone of 2013, we decided to do some internal polling to find out how our editors rank this year’s crop of phones. Rather than a standard poll, we asked our editors to list their favorite five Android phones for the year and rank them from 1-5. ┬áThe numbers were then reversed to tabulate a score for each device.

With nine people on the Android and Me team submitting their votes for the top five Android phones of 2013, only eight devices were named. While there was some consensus around which phones deserved to be listed, finding a clear winner was harder than expected; our editors assigned the number spot to five different Android phones.

In the end, the Motorola Moto X was named as the Editor’s Choice for best smartphone of 2013. When it comes to performance, the Moto X is clearly a mid-range device, but sometimes specs aren’t all that matter. Motorola delivered an incredibly balanced device that offers an exceptional software experience with unprecedented customization options to offset the Moto X’s lackluster spec sheet. If Motorola manages to release a successor to the Moto X in the first half of 2014, it could easily be a contender for next year’s Reader’s Choice award as well.

Second place on the list was hotly contested between the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, but the HTC One’s BoomSound speakers, zero-gap aluminum construction and UltraPixel camera simply couldn’t hold off Samsung’s S Pen toting phablet and its Snapdragon 800, 3GB of RAM and gorgeous 5.5-inch display. The Nexus 5 came in at number four while the Samsung Galaxy S 4, LG G2, Sony Xperia Z1 and Motorola Moto G grabbed the same spots as they did on the Reader’s Choice Awards.

This has certainly been an incredible year for Android, but all of us here at Android and Me are looking forward to what manufacturers have in store for us in 2014.


Nick is a tech enthusiast who has a soft spot for HTC and its devices. He started (the first HTC blog) back in 2007 and later joined the Android and Me family in the summer of 2010.

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  • Michael

    For a larger phone I’m with the LG Optimus G Pro. Solid and a truly underrated and under-marketed phone.

    • jake

      Couldn’t agree more. I saw this phone at a Costco while traveling and wanted it immediately. Removable battery, microsd card slot, huge screen but a little smaller sized in the hand than the Note(Note II and III too big for me). I was ready to buy it till they told me it was only available on AT&T. No phone is worth jettisoning Verizon’s unlimited. Why do phone companies do this?

  • Daniel Davis

    I have the Sony Z1, I don’t see why it’s not getting the credit it deserves. It has spectacular performance (I’ve had only 2 problems with software which were ironed out in updates). The camera is great but people still slate the viewing angles. But who watches videos at an angle anyway?

    • Lauren

      People just have really absurd criteria for reviewing devices. People always tote devices with great viewing angles, but I have never watched a video on my phone with it titled at a stupid degree. I suppose it might matter if you have several friends crowded around you trying to look at it at different angles.

      • Colton Walker

        Because it take strongly affects use art even a very slight angle. I’m sitting at my desk right now on my Nexus 5 typing this comment. It’s tilted to about a 15┬░ angle, because it’s charging and I’m resting it on the desk.

        This phone has the best viewing angles I’ve seen on a phone before. It’s incredible.

        It even affects how colors look head-on, because you’re always looking at the top, sides or bottom of your phone at an angle.

    • Nick Gray

      The Xperia Z1 was second on my list, but the problem is that the phone isn’t available on service providers here in the US. Sony has had an incredible year, but they have not spent a dime promoting their phones in the US market. If they change their US strategy in 2014, Sony could easily be the number two Android smartphone maker.

  • Lauren

    How do you get away with calling the Moto X a mid-range device? Have you ACTUALLY used one? Benchmarks can’t be the deciding factor when you review a device. It’s all about the actual user experience. By all definitions, the Moto X should have failed if you only went by benchmarks. I have personally used both the Nexus 5 and the Moto X for the same functions, and quite literally cannot tell the two apart based on performance. The Moto X is not a “mid range device,” it is a flagship device.

  • Skis03

    Motorola is making some nice phones now with Google involved.

  • cliffy223

    Still can’t see why Samsung’s Galaxy S4 is ranked so low. It is such a great phone and it is nice to have a phone that many people recognize and have.

    • splabs

      Um, just because it wasn’t listed first doesn’t mean it isn’t a great phone. It could be argued that all the phones on this list are great in their own way, and different people will have different preferences. Take the article for what it is, and try not to get too attached to the details.

      2014 is almost upon us, and it will bring with it a whole new set of ‘best’ smartphones…

    • Tangent

      It’s definitely a great phone. Thing is, the winners on this list are also great phones *and* they brought something special to the party. The HTC One with the front facing speakers and construction, the Note 3 with the size and S Pen, Moto X with the customizability and active display, etc…

    • Falcon

      The galaxy s4 is really a great phone, I use the octa version and ut rocks no matter what you throw at it

  • Paximos

    I bet the editors ranked these phones after their Monday “happy hour” gathering!!!

  • Renato S.

    I’m really interested in Moto X successor, hopefully it will come with a better camera.

    • Ben B.

      The Moto X camera gives up little to the S4 camera once the updates were done. Don’t judge the camera performance based on August reviews!

      I totally agree with the editor’s choice. There comes a point when specs no longer benefit the user experience as evidenced by the Moto X, which is EVERY BIT as real world snappy as the S4 and One (actually snappier than either, IME).

      What the X offers is real world beneficial features. For instance, Active Notifications are outstanding, I no longer want a phone without this feature! It’s also nice to have a 4.7″ display with a phone not much physically larger than an iPhone 5S.

      Another shocker for me was the speaker, people keep going on and on about the One’s dual speakers, but the Moto X speaker is louder, has more mid-range punch and clearer highs in head-to-head comparisons.

      The Moto X is an outstanding accomplishment, and anyone dismissing this device due to paper specs is simply missing out.

  • frida

    Congrats to Motorola!

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