Top 10 Best Android Smartphones Buyers Guide: September 2013 Edition


This past month has been an exciting time for Android fans. We've seen some great devices break cover from Sony, Samsung and LG. With only 10 slots to choose dome of the best Android smartphones around, it's getting crowded. Not only that but, it's hard to remember just how good 2012's devices were. However, we're all about keeping things current at Android Headlines and besides if you're going to sign on the dotted line or spend hundred of dollars in the next month or so, you want to get one of the best phones out there. We've come to the conclusions below based on many factors; how expensive they are, how available they are (i.e. carrier availability etc), how good updates will be in the future and so on. What we think are the best might not be what you think. That's why we want to hear from you! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below – please keep things civil though! Don't forget that you join the conversation on Google+ and Facebook!

10. Sony Xperia M



At $250 the Xperia M is hardly a shining example of what Android is capable of. However, it is affordable and available unlocked from Sony's online store in the US. With some fairly underwhelming specs, the Xperia M isn't going to be a device for those looking for speed and great gaming performance. Rather, this is a device that doesn't cost a lot of money, doesn't come with a contract and offers good value for money. If you need a device to tide you over for a while, this is not a bad choice of course, the Nexus 4 price drop doesn't help the Xperia M here. With a slightly upgraded display, the Xperia M would be a fine device for just $250.

  • 4-inch 854 x 480 Display
  • 1 Ghz Snapdragon Dual-Core CPU
  • 1GB of RAM
  • 4GB of internal storage with microSD support
  • WiFi, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0 Etc
  • 1,700 mAh Battery
  • Android 4.1 Jelly Bean

09. HTC One Mini

HTC One mini_Black_3Up_575px

The HTC One MIni is how these "Mini" versions of devices should be made, if made at all. While the Droid Mini and Galaxy S4 Mini offer the same sort of thing, HTC do it a little better. While it's not perfect, the One Mini goes along to ticking all the right boxes. Unlike the Galaxy S4 Mini, the One Mini is very close to its larger brother. At least in terms of headlining features. BoomSound stereo speakers? Check. Sense 5? Check. UltraPixel Camera? Check. The One Mini is a great device to consider if you're on AT&T and looking for something a little smaller. The exclusivity however, is one of its downfalls as is the pretty poor battery life. However, for a certain set of people that want a smaller device they're not going to be use all day the One Mini is great.

  • 4.3-inch 1280 x 720 resolution Super LCD2
  • 1GB of RAM
  • 16GB of internal storage; no microSD card slot
  • 4MP (UltraPixel) camera on the back; 1.6MP camera on the front
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 dual-core procesor clocked at 1.4GHz
  • 1800mAh battery
  • Android 4.2.2 – Jelly Bean

Android Headlines Review

08. Droid ULTRA and Droid MAXX




When Verizon took the wraps off of their new Droid line, things were underwhelming. The Droid line once used to be about speed and power, and were the best Verizon has to offer. Now though, things have become a little middling. With essentially the same internals as the Moto X, there's little reason to choose the Droid Ultra or the MAXX over the Moto X. Unless of course, you absolutely have to have great battery life. With an underwhelming build, the Droid ULTRA isn't so ultra at all and the Droid MAXX is an extra hundred bucks for storage and a bigger battery. Color us unimpressed. However, if you want the Droid line and happen to have great Verizon coverage then by all means give these a look however, take a look at the Moto X first, okay?

  • 5-inch 1280 x 720 AMOLED Display
  • 1.7 GHz Dual Core with Quad-Core Graphics, attention hub, & 2GB of RAM
  • 16GB storage
  • 2GB RAM
  • 2,130 mAh in the Ultra, 3,500 mAh in the MAXX
  • Usage: Up to 28 hours or 48 hours with the MAXX
  • 10MP RGBC camera with quick capture
  • 2MP Full HD Recording Front Facing Camera
  • Bluetooth 4.0 LE +EDR,
  • Android 4.2 Jelly Bean

07. Sony Xperia Z1


When we reviewed the Xperia Z, we liked it. It was perfectly quick enough, Sony's "touch" on Android is nice and light, and it still is one hell of a looker. Where the device fell down however, was in its poor camera and poor display. With the Xperia Z1, Sony hopes to right those wrongs and deliver an altogether incredibly powerful machine. The Xperia Z1 is extremely similar to the Xperia Z but, there's an improved camera with a "G" Series lens and a much better display. Also, under the hood is the same Snapdragon 800 that's powering the Xperia Z Ultra. However, Sony's problems remain the same; while the Galaxy Note 3 already has many carriers on board, the Xperia Z1 is left in limbo. Meanwhile, the device is quite expensive at full retail. Potentially locking themselves out of the US once again. The Xperia Z1 is a fantastic device. It's just a shame very few of us will get to buy one. Hopefully, this changes in the future.

  • 5-inch 1080p Triluminos Display
  • Water/dust/scratch/shatter resistant rated IP55/IP58
  • One-piece aluminum frame
  • 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor
  • Adreno 330 graphics processor
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16GB internal storage with microSD card slot
  • 3,000mAh battery with Sony's STAMINA mode
  • 20.7 megapixel 1/2.3-inch Exmor RSCMOS image sensor
  • Sony G-Lens at 27mm with F2.0 aperture

06. Moto X



It's difficult to put this phone in this position. Especially considering that I, personally, feel the Moto X is one of the best Android phones out there. It just works, and you can make one your own; quite literally. However, underneath it all we're not looking at a high-end smartphone. Sure, we're looking at a highly manufactured smartphone that is made at home, and that's great but, is it better than the HTC One, or Samsung's Galaxy S4? Maybe in style but still, that's pushing it. Overall, the Moto X is a fantastically solid device, it's just a shame that it's as expensive as it is and doesn't offer anything new – aside from the dizzying array of customization options. What the Moto X is, is a great Android smartphone for everyone. You know what? That's great.

  • 4.7" AMOLED Display at 720p
  • Motorola X8 Mobile Computing System
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 10 Megapixel Rear-Facing Camera with "Clearpixel" technology; 2 Megapixel front-facing camera
  • 16 and 32GB Storage options with 50 GB free with Google Drive
  • Bluetooth 4.0 LE + EDR
  • WiFi 802.11a/g/b/n/ac (dual band capable), mobile hotspot
  • Bands GSM/GPRS/EDGE UMTS/HSPA + up to 42 Mbps
  • CDMA/EVDO Rev. A (CDMA model only)
  • 4G LTE
  • Android 4.2.2
  • 2,200 mAh battery

05. Samsung Galaxy S4

Galaxy S4 Two Colors

Samsung's sequel to their most successful smartphone ever is a pretty good one. With a much better display and a faster CPU, all the right boxes are ticked here. However, the Galaxy S4 casts a very familiar shadow as the Galaxy S III. While there's nothing wrong with that, we're left with the impression that Samsung could have done better. Especially when talking about their flagship device. This is their number one device, not something that they're ashamed of. Needless to say, the Galaxy S4 is a solid device and Samsung have packed it full of new features. While Samsung has kept their formula much the same, that doesn't mean it's any less effective.

  • 5-inch 1080p displayHD Super AMOLED Display 440PPI
  • 1.9GHz quad-core Snapdragon 600/Exynos 5 Octa for the International Version
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 16GB/32GB/64GB internal storage; Expandable via MicroSD card up to 64GB
  • 13MP camera on the back, 2MP on the front
  • Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0
  • IR LED (remote control like in the HTC One)
  • MHL 2.0
  • 2600mAh battery
  • Android 4.2.2 – Jelly Bean

Android Headlines Review


04. HTC One



HTC's 2013 flagship has high hopes resting on it and so far it's proven to be a successful device. From the unique to design to the excellent build quality, the One has it all. In our review, we found it to be a solid all-rounder with stunning looks and a great feel. While Samsung has kept things much the same in 2013, comparing this to the One X is like comparing two different phone manufacturers. With good performance, a lighter skin and a decent camera, the HTC One is one of the better devices on the market. With HTC showing signs of promise when it comes to updates, things are looking up all round for HTC's devices. Especially if the One is anything to go by.

  • 4.7-inch 1080p display giving it a 468ppi
  • 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 32/64GB internal storage; No microSD card slot
  • Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, GPS and GLONASS
  • 2,300mAh battery
  • Android 4.1.2
  • Sense 5.0
  • IR Reciever allowing you to use the HTC One as a TV remote

Android Headlines Review

03. Google Nexus 4



Hey! Look! It's that old Nexus 4 from last year, man these guys must be so bias! Nope. Not at all, not here. To get across why the Nexus 4 has held its spot so near the top once again, let's draw up a shortlist:

  • Unlocked? Check.
  • Better Updates than most other smartphones? Please, this thing will have KitKit before the Chocolate melts.
  • Decent Specs? Check.
  • Quality Build? You could say so.
  • Price? From $199 Unlocked, no contracts.

A smartphone to last longer than most others at $199, unlocked with no contract? Yeah, we'd say the Nexus 4 was a good deal all right.

  • 4.7″1280 x 768 pixel resolution (320 ppi)
  • Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro
  • 8 MP rear-facing camera with 1.3 MP front-facing
  • 4G HSPA+ up to 42mbps
  • 16 GB storage
  • 2 GB RAM
  • 802.11 b/g/n
  • NFC
  • 2,100 mAh
  • Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean

02. LG G2

LG G2 Picture


The G2 from LG is one of the few generic smartphones that stand out from the crowd. For one thing, the buttons are on the rear of the device, for another it's a little bigger at 5.2-inches. Overall, LG have engineered an extremely powerful smartphone with a slightly unique design. It looks good, it's quick and it's finally coming to pretty much every carrier in the US. LG have pushed the boat out when it comes to software features as well, with innovative quirks like being able to double tap the display to wake it up and a plethora of installed software. It's feature creep to some but, for others it's genuinely great to have. The G2 is easily the best smartphone LG has ever made and we're glad that it's coming to all major carriers in the States and rolling out globally.

  • 5.2-inch Full HD IPS Panel
  • Quad-Core Snapdragon 800 at 2.26 Ghz
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 16 or 32GB of Storage
  • A 13MP rear-facing camera with full OIS and a 2.1MP front-facing camera
  • Android 4.2.2
  • Support for 24 bit "HiFi Quality" Playback
  • 3,000 mAh battery

01. Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Galaxy Note 3 colors


The Galaxy Note 3 is the latest in a line of large-screened devices from Samsung. However, what sets the Note 3 apart from the rest is more than its size. The S-Pen and all of the features that go along with it all make a big difference. Also, with the device being available on every carrier and all across the globe, Samsung have done it again. With the faux-leather backing, Samsung have changed it up a little bit and soon there'll be a whole host of them available to buy. It's a neat idea and one that helps make the device stand out. The Note 3 is pretty big but, its size does offer benefits when tied to the S-Pen. You can genuinely use this to take decent notes on and get some work done on the road. Launching all over the US shortly and across the globe, Samsung have another big hit on their hands.

  • 5.7-inch display, Full HD Super AMOLED (1920×1080)
  • Processor: Snapdragon 800 quad-core clocked at 2.3GHz, or Exynos 5 Octa octa-core processor clocked at 1.9GHz
  • 3GB of RAM
  • 32GB or 64GB of internal storage
  • 13MP rear-facing Camera with 2MP front-facing
  • 3,200mAh battery
  • Android 4.3 Jelly Bean with TouchWiz

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Former Editor-in-Chief

For years now I've had a heavy interest in technology, growing up with 8-bit computers and gaming consoles has fed into an addiction to everything that beeps. Android saved me from the boredom of iOS years ago and I love watching the platform grow. As an avid reader and writer nothing pleases me more than to write about the exciting world of Android, Google and mobile technology as a whole.

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