20 best mobile phones in the world today (2013)
Top mobile phones compared: what phone is best for you?
20. Nokia Lumia 900
Android could learn a thing from the nearly bloatware-free Windows Phone – the Nokia Lumia 900 brought together a big screen and an excellent OS.
It was a triumph of design for Nokia at the time, but has since been superseded by other polycarbonate-clad handsets; not least by Nokia itself during the intervening period.
It's a shame the camera hardware doesn't live up to its software – there's so much more that can be done here.
It's not as exciting as it once was, as we have the fancy Nokia Lumia 920 on the market - plus that brings 4G and the next version of mobile software through Windows Phone 8, where the Lumia 900 will always be stuck on Windows Phone 7.8
The Nokia Lumia 900 certainly isn't an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy beater - but it's a decent Windows Phone device that's not too pricey. If you're a fan of a simple interface with some quality add-ons, then you should definitely look at Nokia's older flagship.
19. iPhone 4S
When Apple announced the iPhone 4S, it's testament to the power of the rumour mill that people were angry it wasn't called the iPhone 5, which is now a real device.
Predictably the iPhone 4S is no longer the iOS handset we recommend, but it's still a worthy choice in the smartphone game thanks to some decent upgrades through iOS 6 (although the less said about Maps, the better...).
Siri voice recognition has shown itself to be slightly more than a novelty and has been upgraded to actually become useful with the new OS, and the screen technology is still top notch.
We were hoping for a larger display (which we now have with the iPhone 5), and things such as a lack of Bluetooth transfer, no Flash integration with the internet browser and an uninspiring contacts app still grate - but they're no match for the sheer ease of use and general operation of Apple's OS if you're talking to one of the fans.
The only reason this phone is so low in the rankings is the fact it still costs so much to buy, despite being years old now.
A decent camera, slick platform and superb display are still the things we look for in a phone, and the iPhone 4S delivers that.
It was one of the most expensive phones on the market but sadly hasn't dropped much in price (otherwise we would have kept it higher up the rankings) so think about whether you really want its high-end features, since the iPhone 4 is a cheaper alternative still.
18. Huawei Ascend G330
The Ascend G330 is a solid performer. It's smooth in use, has the power to run even the most demanding apps very well, and although not hugely exciting to look at and hold, the display's clear and bright enough to elevate it above some of the tattier budget models.
And it's definitely more capable than the old Ascend G300, with hardly any glitches when downloading/updating apps and navigating the phone at the same time.
It delivers a great smartphone experience for the money with hardly any obvious compromises.
When deciding on a budget phone, it can be a nightmare trying to decide which one to go for. Is it power? Name? Specs? Or just a low price tag attached to a phone that doesn't go bananas when you prod it?
The latter applies to the Huawei - and it delivers well, especially for the £100 sticker whacked on it.
17. Samsung Ativ S
Thanks to an excellent build, good specs, beefy storage and an open body design, the Ativ S is an excellent WP8 option.
While Windows Phone 8 is definitely wanting in the app department, it's still a rich enough eco-system for many, and the sleek lines of the Ativ S remind us nicely of other high-end Samsung phones.
Samsung has really one-upped the competition by including a removable battery, and more importantly, microSD storage. One of our biggest complaints with the HTC 8X was its paltry 16GB of space and lack of removable storage.
It's not the ultimate Windows Phone device, and it can be tricky to get hold of in the UK - but if you're not up for Nokia's Lumia range of Microsoft-powered devices, this should definitely be next on your list.
16. Nokia Lumia 620
There's not a whole lot that the Nokia Lumia 620 does wrong. As an all-round, jack of all trades budget handset it does a great job. We'd love it if the screen was slightly bigger or it had a little bit more RAM, but for the price we can't really complain.
The only real issue is the battery, and that's an issue to some extent with every Windows Phone 8 right now.
It might not have the style of the HTC Windows Phone 8S or the specs of the Nokia Lumia 820, but with a big enough microSD card it's got more storage than either of them, and it really is one of the best value phones - particularly at the low end of the market - that we've seen in a long time.
The Nokia Lumia 620 is a great budget handset. It's also brilliant value, and the only sub-£200 Windows Phone 8 option right now.
With interchangeable covers, you can see enough of the younger market enjoying expressing themselves with this budget option. It's fast, fluid and brings enough of the WP8 experience without costing the earth.
15. Sony Xperia S
We used to love the Xperia Arc S - but we're a fickle bunch, and now Ericsson has been cast aside, we're all over the new brand like a cat on a fresh set of curtains.
The Xperia S almost has too many positive points to list, with a HD screen, 12MP camera and dual-core processor all combining to make one of the finest smartphones of 2012.
As you will gather from our review, the Sony Xperia S has both a quality screen and a dual-core processor that never slows down - plus that 12MP camera is still more than half-decent.
Sony has also very kindly bundled lots of software with the Xperia S out of the box, which saves you having to dash to Google Play as soon as you turn on to grab vital apps.
Battery life is the only slight wobble (if you don't mind a plastic casing), but it will generally last a day under normal conditions, and that's a solid enough benchmark for us.
There are still some niggles with the Xperia S but we think it says a lot that when deciding on the pros and cons for the device, we really struggled with the cons section.
It's since been bested twice with the announcement of the Sony Xperia T and then the Xperia Z with faster innards and a better screen - but that means the Xperia S has become more of a budget winner, so don't worry about the first Sony phone just yet.
14. Motorola Razr i
Motorola's done a good job with the Razr i. It's taken a line that refuses to die quietly, injected it with a little bit of pizzaz and thrown it right out there for all and sundry.
The fact that you can expand the storage by up to 64GB makes this an attractive option. And it's an easy phone to use without too much customisation to confuse Android newbies. Plus, it works well as a phone, with good signal, and provides you with a top notch, fast internet service.
And let's not forget about that screen: with the edge to edge display, it really pops and fizzes in the palm, with the Super AMOLED display impressing.
Would we recommend the Motorola Razr i to friends and family? Yes, without a second's hesitation. Because not everyone wants a phone that will drop the kids off at school, bake you a cake and give you a massage in the evening.
Some want a device with little pocket imprint, with fantastic specs at a reasonable - rather than stupid - price. And that's what you're getting here.
It's got a lovely small footprint and a gorgeous display, so if you're not bothered by reams of high-end specs, then you're onto a winner with the Razr i - it's only the higher price bracket that keeps it out the top ten.
13. Samsung Galaxy S2
This former number one phone in the world continues to slide down the rankings, despite still being a decent piece of hardware. That's not to take anything away from a cracking phone that is getting to a really low price these days, but it's nothing compared to its successor (and subsequent sequel).
Make no mistake - this is still a great phone, thanks to the Ice Cream Sandwich update, and the design has moved from cool to iconic pretty quickly. On top of that the Jelly Bean update is rolling out apace for this ageing phone, which means for the money you can buy it for, it's still a decent choice.
Don't go for a two year contract though - you could end up using a phone that's nearing hald-a-decade old.
What we love about the Samsung Galaxy S II is the sheer amount of stuff that's packed in under the chassis - but more important is the way Samsung has used all that tech to create a phone that just works near-flawlessly.
The dual-core 1.2GHz processor, the Super AMOLED plus screen and the excellent sonic performance of the media player are still good enough for use, if you're not bothered about bleeding-edge speed.
Recording in 1080p is a nice touch (given that it actually works most of the time) and the camera is more than enough to take great shots in a short space of time - although we suggest you check out the phones higher in this list for more powerful snappers.
In short, be it internet browsing, navigation, media, or social networking- the Samsung Galaxy S2 is still more than good enough for all those functions in one phone.
The Samsung Galaxy S2 has sold many millions of units worldwide - and It's a cracking media mobile, still next generation in web browsing thanks to slick Flash integration, a very good replacement for a pocket camcorder and, goshdarnit, it makes calls pretty well too.
The Samsung Galaxy S II not only set a new bar for smartphones in 2011; it smashed the bar, recreated it in its own image and even managed to see off the competition of an Apple smartphone that doesn't drop signal all over the place - but now it's been usurped by more powerful devices.
12. Sony Xperia T
The Sony Xperia T took over from the Sony Xperia S as the Japanese company's new flagship device, but borrows the design found on the popular, but now aging Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc and Arc S.
Now the Xperia Z has emerged as the first 'true' Sony phone, there's no doubt this handset's time in the sun is setting, but as 007's phone of choice it still one to check out, thanks to sweet design and innards.
It runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and is powered by a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, with a 4.6-inch display boasting Sony's Bravia TV technology and on the back of the handset you'll find the 13MP camera – one of this phone's best features.
Jelly Bean is being delivered for this phone in the near future too, so you won't end up with last year's software if you still fancy spending on Sony.
That being said, when compared with the earlier Sony Xperia S, or some of the other flagship Android handsets, the difference is negligible.
The Sony Xperia T is a very, very good phone. Everything about it is slick and well-executed and the performance is certainly what we expect from the Japanese firm.
Despite opting for a dual-core processor over a quad-core option, the Xperia T doesn't lag and navigating the interface is smooth and easy - one to watch if you like a decent Bravia screen but aren't bothered about it being waterproof, like the newer model.
11. HTC One X+
The HTC One X was an odd handset - not in the design (lovely) or the features (top-end) - but that it's seen as a 'renaissance' phone for the firm, despite its success in such a short time.
It took that design, threw out the bits that don't work and had another go... while adding a '+' on the end to show it's all new and shiny.
It's addressed storage concerns and improved web browser efficiency and the always reliable HTC keyboard – although the battery is still a bit of a sore point.
Obviously now the HTC One has popped up, this phone is much less relevant than it once was... but camera and design aside it's not a million miles away from the impressive force of the One.
The beefed up processor along with the Android 4.1 and Sense 4+ UI updates makes the One X+ an even slicker, smoother and more powerful customer than its older brother.
The already excellent HTC keyboard has once again been given further improvements making it even better and for the first time we didn't feel the need to download an alternative from Google Play – kudos HTC - and LOOK! It comes in red and black with 64GB of storage.
There are so many things to love about the One X+ and it really is a great smartphone. It's fallen down thanks to no longer being HTC's new child, but it's still worthy of its place among the greats.
However, we urge you to look at the HTC One before deciding on the One X+ - if you're not enamoured by the fancy new features, then you'll still get a very good phone here.
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