In 2013, phone technology has made great strides. New technology from major companies including Apple, Motorola, and Samsung has improved smartphones for everyone from casual users to tech geeks and gamers. Customers in the market for a new phone in 2013 will benefit from faster processors, larger screens with higher pixel density, lots of camera improvements, and better battery life. Whether for business or personal use, this year’s technology releases can improve both productivity and efficiency.
When it comes to deciding which smartphone is the best, it’s going to be a highly personal choice for each user. This comparison of the latest phone technology will help anyone trying to find the best device for mobile gaming, photography or productivity.
1. Samsung Galaxy S4
Samsung’s Galaxy S4 has numerous smart features that intrigue many phone shoppers. The phone is tough, and the battery charge lasts long – in head-to-head tests against the iPhone, the Galaxy S4 came out on top, offering more than 16 hours of talk time – nearly double the results from the Korean manufacturer’s arch rival. Even web browsing returns a more-than-respectable 6.5 hours of entertainment before the power runs out.
The S4’s 5-inch Super AMOLED HD display has more than doubled the resolution of the S3. The only downside is that it’s not made to operate in bright sunlight.
Based on the Android operating system, Samsung’s latest Galaxy has plenty of options for gamers. In addition, S4 owners will get a handful of exclusive health and utility apps designed by Samsung.
The S4 comes standard with a 13MP camera, but mobile photography enthusiasts should check out the Galaxy S4 Zoom, a fantastic smartphone/camera hybrid that takes 16MP images and features 10x optical zoom. Another option for Galaxy fans is the upcoming S4 Active which has an impressive array of durability features, including protection when submerged in up to three feet of water.
The Galaxy S4 has the power to keep gamers and road warriors happy, but cost-conscious users may think twice when they see the price. The Galaxy S4 is quite expensive, with a suggested retail price of $639 or $199 with a contract.
2. Apple iPhone 5
Apple’s iPhone 5 is undeniably the phone other smartphones are judged against. According to experts, it delivers great performance and has a good battery life of nearly eight hours of talk time and slightly longer for video and audio playback. In fact, some statistics show that its processing speed is twice as fast as previous iPhone versions, and it is also known for offering twice the graphics performance.
The iPhone 5 has a 4-inch widescreen high resolution display. At 326 ppi, games and apps are crystal clear – even more so thanks to the fingerprint-resistant coating of the glass. The iPhone has also been praised for its built-in camera which takes 8MP images with built-in software for panorama pics and full 1080p HD video recording.
The iPhone is an excellent choice for “generalists” who like to switch among games, apps and productivity. The App Store from Apple has more games and apps than any other carrier. However, it should be noted that excitement over the iPhone isn’t universal – while immensely powerful, it can’t handle a simultaneous VoIP phone call and data transmission.
An unlocked iPhone 5 retails for $649-$849 depending on size. Get a service plan and the price drops to $199. Several carriers are even offering promotions as low as $99 with the trade-in of an old phone.
3. HTC Droid DNA
With claims of nearly 13 hours of talk time, keep in mind that in the field, battery life varies by use. Gamers will be disappointed to learn that three to four hours is more realistic.
The most likely cause of battery drain is also one of the things which makes the DNA great. Its 5-inch screen is coveted by many users because it makes it easier to view streaming video and photographs. The screen features full HD with 1080p, plus it works great in bright sunlight – even with sunglasses, this screen is readable.
Another disappointment for gamers is that gameplay is hit or miss with DNA. The phone has access to the full catalog of games for Android, but due to its extra large screen size gameplay can be awkward as many of the top games just aren’t made to take advantage of the extra real estate. On the plus side, the blazing speed of the Snapdragon™ Quad-Core S4 processor is excellent for gaming as well as for those who multi-task with their phone.
Even packed with all this power, the HTC Droid DNA is lightweight, with a thin profile. Some people like the phone because it is easier to use with one hand than some other devices. It carries an MSRP of $699, but new owners can find deals as low as $49 with a new contract.
4. Motorola Droid Razr Maxx
Motorola’s Droid Razr Maxx is another impressive smartphone. Road warriors will love it because it claims the best battery life of any Android phone: Expect to get about 21 hours of talk time or just over two full days of listening to music. Even under non-ideal conditions, its eight-megapixel shooter operates well.
Users can access a smorgasbord of games from the Google Marketplace. With a decently-sized 4.3-inch screen and a dual-core 1.GHz processer, the Razr Maxx is well equipped for mobile gaming. Software upgrades have repaired data roaming problems, and WiFi functionality is far more impressive than it was in previous versions.
The Droid Razr Maxx has a suggested retail price of $649.99 but can be purchased from most carriers for $199 with a new two-year contract.
5. Nokia Lumia 920
Nokia’s Lumia 920 is known for its WiFi charging assistance, which allows users to replenish their battery without plugging in. The device is also lauded for its ultra-responsive touch screen – some have joked that it is best used with gloves.
Despite its generous 4.5-inch display and Qualcomm Snapdragon™ S4 processor, the 920 is not a great phone for hardcore gamers. The Windows Phone Store is definitely lacking in the apps department. However, casual gamers will find access to the most popular titles. Photo enthusiasts will enjoy Nokia’s PureView technology and Optical Image Stabilization. These advanced features help users capture blur-free videos even during shaking or in low light.
Fully charged, the device offers about 10.8 hours of talk time or 74 hours of music streaming. In fact, music streaming is the other claim to greatness for the Lumia 920. Users get free streaming with Nokia Music.
The full retail price is listed at $449.99, but the phone is typically available for $49-$99 with a two-year contract.
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