Best smartphones on the horizon

Galaxy_S4The smartphone revolution has pushed past one billion devices and it’s still going strong. There are new smartphones hitting the market all the time. In this article we’re going to take a look at the best devices on the horizon, both near and far, for 2013. If you’re looking to take the smartphone plunge, or you’re due an upgrade, these are the smartphones you should be looking for.

HTC One

  • 4.7-inch 1080p display
  • 1.7GHz quad-core processor
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 4-megapixel camera

The new flagship from HTC is just days away from availability. It’s crafted from a single block of anodized aluminum with polycarbonate, which makes it tough and good looking. A couple of capacitive soft keys sit beneath the stunning display for Back and Home. On the back the Beats logo advertises the excellent sound quality on offer. It runs Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean with HTC’s Sense 5 user interface which offers an amalgamated stream of news and social media updates known as BlinkFeed, amongst other things.

You might be concerned about the 4-megapixel camera (there’s also a 2.1-megapixel front-facing camera). Well HTC has used a special sensor and what it calls UltraPixels to ensure that the performance is comparable to cameras with a much higher pixel count. It’s also especially good for low-light conditions. All in all it’s a powerful, well-designed smartphone.

Samsung Galaxy S4

  • 5-inch 1080p display
  • 1.6GHz octa-core processor
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 13-megapixel camera

With the Galaxy S series Samsung has been dominating the premium Android market for a couple of years now and the S4 looks set to extend that dominance. The South Korean manufacturer has managed to pack in a larger display and better hardware without significantly increasing the size compared to last year’s S3, in fact the S4 is slimmer and lighter. It has the same polycarbonate body and single home button beneath the display as its predecessor.

The big push with the S4 has been to include unique, new features, so we’ve got S Voice Drive for hands-free operation in the car, S Health to monitor your environment and help you get fit, support for various gestures so you can operate the phone without actually touching it, and Smart Scroll which turned out to be a way of scrolling text by tilting the phone rather than the predicted eye-scrolling technology. Samsung has also worked hard on the camera, so it’s not just rated more highly; it also has a bunch of new features like the ability to combine several images into one (it can take 100 shots in four seconds) and a dual shooting mode which records from the front-facing 2-megapixel camera and the main camera (handy for video calls).

iPhone 5S

There’s no guarantee that Apple will release an iPhone 5S at all. The rumour mill never stops grinding for Apple and we’ve heard about the possibility of some kind of iWatch, a cheaper version of the iPhone, and even an early iPhone 6. The probability is that we’ll see an iPhone 5S towards the end of the summer this year. It is likely to retain the exact same design as the iPhone 5, but we’d expect some internal improvements, like a better camera and maybe NFC support.

Everything has stepped up a gear since the iPhone 5 was launched. If Apple wants to compete with flagships like the HTC One and the Galaxy S4, it needs to catch up.

BlackBerry Q10

  • 3.1-inch 720×720 pixel display
  • 1.5GHz dual-core processor
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 8-megapixel camera

BlackBerry’s re-launch with the BlackBerry 10 platform was led by the Z10 and it went on sale in the UK first. The more traditional looking Q10 with the full physical QWERTY keyboard will be along soon. The Q10 could be the perfect smartphone for anyone struggling to adapt to a full touchscreen design. It combines that physical keyboard with an up to date platform. The BlackBerry Hub gives you a central repository for all of your messages (email, text, BBM, and social networks) and multitasking is handing with aplomb.

The BlackBerry brand has always been associated with business and the Q10 is likely to be popular in that community. The fact that BB10 also has a feature called Balance, which allows you to switch between work and personal modes, will help. There’s also the usual support for enterprise security.

Motorola X Phone

Apparently this will be the first phone to come out of a close partnership with Google and it will likely showcase the new version of the Android platform (Key Lime Pie). Motorola has a strong track record when it comes to battery technology and durability, combine that with Google’s software know-how and we could have something very special on our hands. Look for this one at the Google I/O event in May.

Is there another smartphone on the horizon that has caught your eye? Post a comment and tell us.

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About Simon Hill

Simon is an experienced tech writer with a background in games development. He has been covering the world of mobile technology for several years now and writes for a variety of popular websites.