Best Android Smartphones for Holidays 2013

Best Android Phones 2014

The holidays are coming and many of you will be probably hunting for a present. We believe that a smartphone would make a great present and it would a great surprise whether you plan on giving it to your significant other, best buddy, or a member of your family.

Maybe some of you want to buy a smartphone for themselves knowing that most retailers will apply heavy discounts during the holiday shopping season.

Hopefully the list below will help you make up your mind and buy the best Android smartphone for the upcoming holiday season.

In our list containing the “Best Android smartphones for Holidays 2013″ you will find most of the flagship smartphones launched in 2013, a couple of popular 2012 handsets, and a handful of mid-range smartphones.

We have also included online purchase links for some of the devices in order to make your job even easier. In fact, what’s nicer than ordering a good phone from the comfort of your home than wait for the delivery guy to leave it by your door?

Samsung Galaxy S4

Without a doubt, the Samsung Galaxy S4 is the most popular Android smartphone of the year. Samsung announced in October that over 40 million Galaxy S4 units were shipped world-wide since its launch in April.

The Samsung flagship smartphone boasts about a 5-inch full HD Super AMOLED display with 1080 x 1920 pixels resolution and Gorilla Glass 3 protection. The hardware platform is based on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 chipset with four Krait 300 cores clocked at 1.9 GHz and Adreno 320 GPU.

Galaxy S4 specs list also include 2 GB RAM, 16/32/64 GB of internal storage with microSD card slot, 13 MP primary shutter with loads of features and 1080p@30fps video recording, and a user-facing 2 MP camera.

The connectivity features of the Samsung flagship include all standards of WiFi, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy, IR blaster (so you can use it as a remote-control), 4G LTE, and microUSB 2.0.

The handset is powered by a Li-Ion 2600 mAh battery which should be enough to get it through a day and a half of normal usage.

There’s also a non-LTE Galaxy S4 variant, which has an octo-core Exynos 5 Octa SoC with quad-core 1.6 GHz Cortex A15 CPU + a low-energy quad-core Cortex A7 CPU at 1.2 GHz and a PowerVR SGX 544MP3 GPU.

Samsung Galaxy S4 was launched pre-loaded with Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, but you can now upgrade to Android 4.3 which brings Galaxy Gear compatibility and other software goodies.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 is available on Amazon Wireless on contract with AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint. You can use the following links to order it online:

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Until a couple of years ago, the Galaxy Note line-up was dominating the phablet. They still are, but the Galaxy Note 3 has a lot of powerful competitors this year. You’ll find three of them in the “Best Android smartphones for Holidays 2013″ list.

Since we’re talking about a phablet, expect a bigger screen. The Note 3 has a 1080p 5.7-inch Super AMOLED display with 386 ppi pixel density.

The processing tasks are handled by a Snapdragon 800 SoC (for the LTE variant) with quad-core 2.3 GHz Krait 400 CPU and Adreno 330 GPU or an Exynos 5 Octa SoC (for the non-LTE variant) with quad-core 1.9 GHz Cortex A15 CPU + quad-core 1.3 GHz Cortex A7 CPU and Mali-T628 MP6 GPU.

Galaxy Note 3 comes with 32/64 GB micro-SD expandable storage, 3 GB of RAM, and all the connectivity features worthy of a modern smartphone, including 4G LTE (N9005), WiFi, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, infra red port, and microUSB 3.0.

The primary camera has a 13 MP sensor with autofocus, LED flash, Dual Shot, Simultaneous HD video and image recording, geo-tagging, touch focus, face and smile detection, image stabilization, panorama, HDR, and 1080p@30fsp. Furthermore, the LTE variant records 4K videos at 30fps and slow-motion 1080p@60fps videos.

Galaxy Note 3 runs Android 4.3 Jelly Bean customized with Samsung’s proprietary TouchWiz interface, packed with impressive software features and some S Pen-optimized applications. A Li-Ion 3200 mAh battery is keeping the Samsung phablet alive so expect about 2 days of moderate usage.

You can purchase the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 on contract from Amazon using the below links:

Samsung Galaxy Note 2

Even though the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 was launched in 2012, the second-gen Sammy phablet is still a powerful handset.

Packing a 5.5-inch Super AMOLED display with 720 x 1280 pixels resolution, the Galaxy Note 2 is underpinned by an Exynos 4412 Quad chipset based on four Cortex A9 cores at 1.6 GHz and Mali-400MP GPU. Note 2 also features 2 GB of RAM, 16/32/64 GB storage with microSD card support (up to 64 GB), and an 8 MP primary camera with full HD video recording capabilities.

The connectivity features include WiFi in all standards, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, and microUSB 2.0.

Galaxy Note 3 runs Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean out of the box, but it’s upgradable to Android 4.3. The battery is a Li-Ion 3100 mAh battery unit.

You can order the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 from Amazon with Sprint, AT&T, or Verizon contract using the links below:

Samsung Galaxy S3

I’ve told you there will be a couple of 2012 smartphones in the “Best Android smartphones for Holidays 2013″ list.

The Samsung Galaxy S3 was announced in May 2012 and released on the market later the same month. Since we are talking about a smartphone launched more than a year ago, we talk about an HD 4.8-inch screen with Super AMOLED technology and Gorilla Glass 2 protection.

Just like it happened this year with the Galaxy S4, in 2012 there were two Galaxy S3 variants: one with LTE support, and the other without LTE.

The LTE-enabled Galaxy S3 units pack a Snapdragon S4 SoC with dual-core 1.5 GHz Krait CPU and Adreno 320 GPU. The non-LTE variant only has 1 GB RAM, while the processing tasks are handled by a quad-core 1.4 GHz Exynos 4 Quad processor.

Samsung Galaxy S3 features 16/32/64 GB of native storage, microSD, WiFi, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, microUSB 2.0 and a Li-Ion 2100 mAh battery.

Launched with Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich, you will be able to upgrade your Galaxy S3 to Android 4.3.

The Samsung Galaxy S3 is available on Amazon Wirels on contract with AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon. You can use the below links to order it online:

Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini

Besides the Galaxy S4 flagship, the Korean phone maker launched at three or four other Galaxy S4 models, transforming the S4 brand into a line-up of devices: Galaxy S4 Active, Galaxy S4 Zoom, Galaxy S4 LTE-A, and Galaxy S4 Mini. The later one is a bit less powerful than its cousins, but it would better fit your hand and your budget.

Because it’s a Galaxy S4 Mini it comes with a mini display, too. A 4.3-inch Super AMOLED unit with 540 x 960 pixels and Gorilla Glass 2 protection. The internal storage accounts 8 GB, but you can expand it using microSD cards, the amount of RAM is of 1.5 GB, and the primary camera is an 8 MP unit, while the secondary shutter has a 1.9 MP sensor.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini has a dual-core Snapdragon 400 processor at 1.7 GHz with Adreno 305 GPU, WiFi, NFC, IR blaster, Bluetooth 4.0, and microUSB 2.0. Because the screen is smaller and the processor is battery friendly, the Galaxy S4 Mini has a Li-Ion 1900 mAh cell.

The GS4 Mini comes pre-loaded with Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, but the Android 4.3 update should be on its way.

You can grab the Galaxy S4 Mini on contract with either Sprint or Verizon from Amazon using the links below:

Nexus 5

As you probably know, Google has made a habit out of partnering with phone makers and releasing a new Nexus smartphone each year. After Nexus One (HTC), Nexus S, Galaxy Nexus (both made by Samsung), Google teamed-up with LG and released the Nexus 4 in 2012 and the Nexus 5 late October 2013.

The Nexus 5 boasts about a 5-inch True HD IPS+ display with 1080 x 1920 resolution and Gorilla Glass 3 protection, while being underpinned by Qualcomm’s mighty Snapdragon 800 processor with four Krait 400 cores clocked at 2.26 GHz and Adreno 320 GPU.

The Nexus 5 specs list also includes 2 GB of RAM, 16/32 GB native storage, 8 MP primary camera with OIS and 1080p@30fps video recording, 1.3 MP user-facing camera, and a non-removable Li-Po 2300 mAh battery.

The connectivity features include DC-HSDPA, 42 Mbps; HSDPA, 21 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps; LTE, Cat3, 50 Mbps UL, 100 Mbps DL, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, DLNA, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0 with A2DP, NFC, and microUSB 2.0 slim port.

The Nexus 5 is the first smartphone in the world to come pre-loaded with Android 4.4 KitKat and, because it’s a member of the Nexus tribe, it will always be in the first wave of smartphones that receive the latest Android updates.

Sprint is selling the White Nexus 5 and Black Nexus 5 through Amazon Wireless:

LG G2

Some of the best Android smartphones are coming from Korea and the LG G2 is definitely one of them.

The LG G2 is currently one of the most powerful smartphones on the market being powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 chipset with 2.26 GHz Krait 400 CPU and Adreno 320 GPU, 2 GB of RAM, and 32/64 GB of internal storage.

The camera mounted on the back of the LG G2 is a 13 MP unit with autofocus, optical image stabilization, LED flash, Simultaneous video and image recording, geo-tagging, face detection, HDR, and 1080p@60 fps video recording support.

LG G2 has a non-removable Li-Po 3000 mAh battery and packs all the connectivity features you can find inside a high-end smartphone: LTE, WiFi, NFC, IR blaster, Bluetooth 4.0, and micro USB 2.0.

The G2 leaves the factory gates pre-loaded with Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, but it was recently reported that it will skip Android 4.3 and get updated to Android 4.4 KitKat in the coming weeks. In fact, the Android 4.4 roll out has already begun in Korea.

The LG G2 can be ordered on contract with Sprint, AT&T, or Verizon via Amazon:

LG Optimus G Pro

The Optimus G Pro is LG’s response to the Galaxy Note line-up and is one of the biggest rivals of the Galaxy Note 3.

Announced in February 2013, the LG Optimus G Pro packs a 5.5-inch True Full HD IPS Plus LCD screen with Corning Gorilla Glass 2 protection and 401 ppi pixel density. The chipset underpinning the Optimus G Pro is a Qualcomm APQ8064T Snapdragon 600 with four 1.7 GHz Krait 300 cores and Adreno 320 GPU. It has 2 GB RAM, 16/32 GB native storage, and support for microSD cards up to 64 GB.

In terms of connectivity, the LG Optimus G Pro brings HSDPA, 42.2 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps; LTE, Cat3, 50 Mbps UL, 100 Mbps DL, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, IR blaster, and microUSB 2.0.

The primary camera brings a 13 MP sensor with autofocus, LED flash, Geo-tagging, face detection, image stabilization, panorama, HDR, dual-video recording, and 1080p@30fps video capture. The user-facing 2.1 MP camera makes a great tool for video calls.

Optimus G Pro runs Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean out of the box, but, for the time being there’s no news about getting updated to Android 4.3 or Android 4.4. The battery that keeps G Pro’s lights on is a Li-Ion 3140 mAh unit.

The Optimus G Pro is available in either White and Black and it can be purchased from Amazon with AT&T contract following these links:

HTC One

HTC One is the most powerful handset ever released by the Taiwanese company and it would make a perfect addition to the “Best Android smartphones for Holidays 2013″ list.

In my opinion, the HTC One is the best-looking smartphone on the market and, on top of that, it’s powerful, too. The terminal packs a 1080p 4.7-inch Super LCD3 display with an impressive pixel density of 469 ppi, while the being powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 chipset quad-core 1.7 GHz Krait 300 CPU and Adreno 320 GPU.

The connectivity features of the HTC One include WiFi in all standards, 3G LTE, NFC, infra red blaster, Bluetooth 4.0, and microUSB 2.0.

It also comes with 2 GB of RAM, 32/64 GB of internal storage, non-removable Li-Po 2300 mAh battery, and a 4 MP UltraPixel camera with autofocus, OIS, LED flash, 1/3” sensor size, 2µm pixel size, simultaneous HD video and image recording, geo-tagging, face and smile detection and full HD video recording support.

Launched with Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean, the unlocked and Developer Edition HTC One in the US are already getting Android 4.4 KitKat, so the other variants should join the OTA update party pretty soon.

HTC One is available on Amazon on contract with AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon Wireless and it can be purchased using the following links:

HTC One Max

The phablet market is pretty crowded this year and the HTC One Max is one of the most competitive handsets.

Packing a 1080 x 1920 5.9-inch Super LCD3 screen and a non-removable Li-Po 3300 mAh battery the HTC One boasts about a Qualcomm APQ8064 Snapdragon 600 chipset with quad-core 1.7 GHz Krait 300 CPU and Adreno 320 GPU. The handset also comes with 2 GB of RAM, 16/32 GB of internal storage with microSD card support, and connectivity options like WiFi, LTE, NFC, IR blaster, Bluetooth 4.0, and microUSB 2.0.

The HTC One Max has the same 4 MP UltraPixel camera as the HTC One, minus the optical image stabilization module. One Max’s shutter has 1/3” sensor size, 2µm pixel size, simultaneous HD video and image recording, geo-tagging, face and smile detection, autofocus, LED flash, and full HD video recording capabilities.

It runs Android 4.3 Jelly Bean and it is one of the few smartphones that comes with a fingerprint scanner.

The  HT HTC One Max is available on-contract with or via Amazon.

HTC One Mini

Aside of the Max variant, the Taiwanese company also launched a Mini version for the One flagship, which, just like its name suggests is like a mini One.

The terminal has a dual-core 1.4 GHz Snapdragon 400 processor, 1 GB RAM, 16 GB internal storage, and a 1800 mAh battery. Even though its a Mini, it brings all the connectivity features you need including HSPA+, LTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, dual band, DLNA, Bluetooth 4.0, and microUSB 2.0.

The display is a 4.3-inch Super LCD2 unit with 720 x 1280 resolution and Gorilla Glass 3 protection. Just like the HTC One Max, the One Mini brings a 4 MP UltraPixel camera with 1/3” sensor size, 2µm pixel size, geo-tagging, face and smile detection, and full HD video recording support.

HTC One Mini is currently running Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, of course, customized with HTC’s Sense 5 interface.

HTC One Mini is available on contract with AT&T through Amazon Wireless and it can be ordered online using this link:

Sony Xperia Z1

Sony is one of the most appreciated Android phone makers and the Xperia Z1 is its latest flagship smartphone.

Xperia Z1 brings a 1080 x 1920 5.0-inch TFT Triluminos display with X-Reality Engine and takes advantage of the power delivered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 chipset with four Krait 400 cores clocked at 2.2 GHz and an Adreno 330 GPU.

The main selling point of the Sony Xperia Z1 is the impressive 20.7 MP camera with G Lens autofocus, LED flash, 1/2.3” sensor size, geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, image stabilization, HDR, panorama, and 1080p@30fps video recording with 1080p@30fps, video stabilization and HDR video.

The handset also comes with 2 GB of RAM, 16 GB native storage expandable using microSD cards of up to 64 GB, all standards of WiFi, 4G LTE, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, and microUSB 2.0.

The Xperia Z1 is  IP58 certified – dust proof and water resistant over 1 meter and 30 minutes.

The Xperia Z1 runs Android 4.2.2 and it will be soon upgraded to Android 4.4 KitKat, of course, with Sony’s own skin on top of it.

Sony Xperia Z Ultra

If you want a very slim smartphone with a huge display, than the Sony Xperia Z Ultra will definitely fit your needs.

The Xperia Z Ultra sports a massive Triluminos screen sized 6.4 inches diagonally and boasting a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels.

The chipset underpinning the 6.4-incher is a quad-core Snapdragon 800 unit with 2.2 GHz Krait 400 cores and Adreno 320 GPU. Xperia Z Ultra also comes with 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of microSD-expandable storage.

On the connectivity features list you will find HSDPA, 42 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.8 Mbps; LTE, Cat4, 50 Mbps UL, 150 Mbps DL, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0 with A2DP, and microUSB 2.0.

The primary camera is an 8 MP unit capable of recording full HD videos, but, unfortunately it doesn’t come with an LED flash. Just like the Xperia Z1, the Z Ultra is both water and dust proof.

Sony Xperia Z

The Xperia Z was announced by Sony in January and released on the market a month later. Bringing water and dust proof protection, the Xperia Z is still a good smartphone.

Powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro chipset with 1.5 GHz Krait cores and Adreno 320 GPU, the Xperia Z also brings 2 GB RAM, 16 GB internal storage with microSD cards support (up to 64 GB), and a 5-inch full HD TFT screen with 441 ppi pixel density.

The connectivity options include 4G LTE, all standards of WiFi, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, and microUSB 2.0. It runs Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean out of the box, it can be upgraded to Android 4.2.2, and it will soon get KitKat.

The primary camera mounted on the glass back of the Xperia Z is a 13.1 MP unit with autofocus, LED flash, Geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, image stabilization, HDR, sweep panorama, and 1080p@30fps video recording.

Moto X

The Moto X is the first Motorola smartphone co-developed with Google after the Mountain View-based giant acquired the American phone maker mid 2012.

Even though it’s not the most powerful smartphone on the market the Moto X is an appealing smartphone given the unique software customization it runs. The Verizon and T-Mobile Moto X models were recently updated to Android 4.4 which, aside from the Active Display, always-on voice controls, and Motorola Assist customizations, is almost untouched.

The Motorola flagship has a 4.3-inch HD AMOLED display with 321 ppi pixel density, while featuring 2 GB of RAM, 16/32 GB of internal storage, and a 10 MP ClearPixel camera with 1.4 µm pixel size, geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, panorama, HDR and 1080p@30fps video recording.

Moto X is powered by the X8 mobile computing system, which is basically a Snapdragon S4 Pro chipset customized by Motorola. It brings a quad-core GPU, dual-core 1.7 GHz Krait CPU, and 2 low-power cores for natural language and a contextual computing tasks.

In terms of connectivity, the Moto X brings HSDPA, 42.2 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps; LTE, Cat3, 50 Mbps UL, 100 Mbps DL / EV-DO Rev. A, up to 3.1 Mbps, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, and microUSB 2.0.

Droid Ultra

Released in July 2013, the Droid Ultra is a Verizon exclusive and one of the most powerful smartphones produced by Motorola.

It has a 5.0-inch Super AMOLED screen with 720 x 1280 resolution and Gorilla Glass protection. The processing tasks are handled by the same Motorola X8 mobile computing system, paired with 2 GB of RAM, and 16 GB of native storage.

Droid Maxx also comes with 10 MP ClearPixel camera with autofocus, LED flash, Touch focus, geo-tagging, face detection, and full HD video recording.

The connectivity features include EV-DO Rev. A, up to 3.1 Mbps, LTE; HSDPA, 42.2 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi hotspot, DLNA, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, microUSB 2.0.

The handset is running Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean out of hte box and it is upgradable to Android 4.4 KitKat.

Moto G

The Moto G is the latest addition to Motorola’s line-up for 2013 and it is a great affordable smartphone.

The Moto G packs a 4.5-inch screen with 720 x 1280 pixel resolution and Gorilla Glass 3 protection. The primary camera is a 5 MP unit with full HD video recording support, while the processor is quad-core Snapdragon 400 unit at 1.2 GHz with Adreno 305.

The specs list also includes 2 GB RAM, 16 GB internal storage, WiFi, HSPA+, Bluetooth 4.0, microUSB 2.0 and Li-Ion 2070 mAh battery. The handset runs Android 4.3 Jelly Bean and it will get updated to Android 4.4 KitKat.