Looking over this year's smartphones the accolades for the most powerful, fastest and coolest go to Apple for its iPhone 5s – arguably the best smartphone yet built - although it is perhaps a shame that the Apple did not reach for a lower price point with the 5c, instead choosing to simply repackage the 4s in eye-catching plastic.
Moving away from Apple's offerings, the best value handsets undoubtedly came from Google. At the lower end is the Motorola Moto G; starting at £135 without contract it's a phone that offers tremendous capabilities including a high-resolution display to a good camera and powerful processor.
For around £150 more you can get the Nexus 5, with a 5-inch 1080p screen, a 2.3GHz processor and 2GB of RAM. Google still took some flack for not offering expandable storage on top of the 16GB/32GB memory options, but at £300, the price is certainly right.
Away from the Google vs Apple fracas Samsung continue to produce phablets, with the Galaxy Note 3 arriving this year: a 5.9in-screened phone/tablet hybrid that is blazingly fast and big enough to make you feel you can do without a tablet.
Other stand out devices include Nokia’s Lumia 1020 (its 41MP camera remains a stunning choice for anyone who likes taking photos) and the company's Asha 503 (it's £80 and you don't get many apps, but with a tough case and a battery that lasts weeks, you have other features to crow about).
Best smartphones of 2013
Best smartphones of 2013
1/5 Apple iPhone 5s. With looks that are nearly identical to the iPhone 5 (though it does come in gold) many people mocked the iPhone 5s's slogan of "Forward thinking". But with its 64-bit A7 processor and a fingerprint sensor to unlock your phone (yes we know it's not completely secure, but what is) there are some genuine innovations in the 5s. As ever Apple aren't just giving these away (prices start at £549 for 16GB of storage) but it remains the best smartphone for the non-specialist and the professional alike.
Apple's iPhone 5s
2/5 Motorola Moto G. The only budget smartphone you should consider buying this year - and the word 'budget' nearly doesn't apply. Starting at £135 the Moto G comes with 8GB of internal memory (there's a 16GB available for £160) and a 720p 4.5-inch screen. It runs the Android operating system without fuss (though loading multiple apps will induce some lag) and simply out-competes any competitors at similar prices. Of course, there are some drawbacks (there's no 4G connection and the build quality doesn't match phones from Apple and Sony) but the Moto G is still an amazing deal.
3/5 Samsung Galaxy Note 3. If the four-inch screens of the iPhone 5s or Moto G aren't enough screen real estate for you then you need the Note 3 with its 5.7-inch, 1080p display. Samsung pretty much invented the 'phablet' genre of smartphones, and although they remain far more popular in Asian markets, the lure of the big screen is still tempting customers over here. With up to 64GB of storage, a 2.3GHz quad-core processor and 3GB of RAM its the most powerful handset on our list. Prices start at £435.
4/5 Nokia Lumia 1020. The 1020 offers the customary Lumia styling with its bright colours and a gorgeous build quality but also whacks a 41-megapixel camera on the back. It does mean that the phone isn't the slimmest of handsets, but if you're and avid amateur snapper it saves you carting around an extra lump of metal. There's a 4.5-inch HD screen to view and edit your pictures on and plenty of Nokia-built software to help capture the best shot. It's just a shame the rest of the specs (1.5Ghz processor especially) aren't quite as stunning for the £510 price, but for photo-enthusiasts it could be a smart pick.
5/5 Nokia Asha 503. On the face of it this might look like an unlikley addition to a 'best of' list: the specs are far less impressive than the Moto G and the app selection is woeful (it doesn't run Android but a custom Nokia operating system). However, with its tough case takes a beating, the battery lasts for days and at £80, it's even cheaper than the Motorola. For parents looking to buy a 'first' smartphone for their children the Asha 503 might be a smart choice: no app store means less dodgy content, but Nokia still have old standbys like Facebook and Twitter available.
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