Update: Find out our latest picks for Best Android Phone! (Updated in November)

HTC One, Galaxy S4

Find out which handset gets the Android Central recommendation

We're six months down the road from our last "best Android phones" roundup, and the smartphone landscape has altered dramatically. Back in December we crowned the Samsung Galaxy S3 king of all Android phones, on account of its responsiveness, broad availability and excellent performance across the board. A generation later, the Android space is dominated by two new heavyweights -- the Galaxy S4 and HTC One, with other contenders including the Xperia Z and ZL from Sony and LG's Nexus 4.

In mid-2013, buttery-smooth performance, beautiful screens, high-quality cameras, 4G LTE connectivity and Jelly Bean out of the box come as standard at the high-end. Competition is more fierce than ever, and that's resulted in some of the best Android hardware we've ever seen.

But there can be only one winner. Join us after the break to find out which phone takes the prize.

Upda​te: Check out our new list of the best Android phones — updated for August 2013!

The best of the best - HTC One


We really have reached the point where the top of the Android smartphone market is blanketed by some highly impressive devices. It's tough to go wrong. There's something for everyone, be it form factor or features or gimmicks and gizmos. But for our money, there's currently no better phone available than the HTC One.

There's a lot to like here. The (mostly) all-aluminum body looks and feels more sophisticated than a plastic phone, and the gentle curve fits the hand nicely. While we've still got our quibbles with the Sense user interface, Sense 5 is the most stylish version yet, and most important is that it doesn't exhibit the lag that we've seen in the Samsung Galaxy S4.

The front-facing stereo speakers change the way you experience music and videos on a smartphone. Games and movies are much more immersive and are a downright pleasure to play and listen to. There are a few times when the speakers may be too loud, but there are many more times when you're amazed you're getting that sort of sound from a smartphone.

HTC's camera also brought forth a bit of a paradigm shift. It's not the best all-around camera -- it suffers from contrast issues, and if you need something with a higher total resolution for enlarging pictures, you'll need to look elsewhere. But the introduction of Zoes -- the 3-second video clips -- and the introduction of automatically composed Video Highlights are something that nobody else is doing, and they make up for a lackluster camera application.

The HTC One also has been released on three of the four major U.S. carriers, as well as seeing wide availability worldwide -- and we're expecting Verizon to get its own variant this year as well.

In the months we've been using the HTC One, it's continuously caught the eyes of those around us and continued to impress us with its performance -- and for that it ranks as our best smartphone for first part of 2013.

More: HTC One review, HTC One, two months on

The runner-up - Samsung Galaxy S4

Galaxy S4

If ever there was a phone to beat, it was this one. Samsung took everything that was good in the Galaxy S3 and made it better in its successor, the Galaxy S4.

Well, maybe not quite everything. The plastic body remains a turn-off for many, and it's certainly not as chic as the aluminum HTC One. It's also lost a bit of the curve of the Galaxy S3. And while Samsung has managed to squeeze a 5-inch display into the same size as the slightly smaller Galaxy S3, the IPS or Super LCD displays on other phones perform better in sunlight and seems to better handle shifts in brightness. The TouchWiz user interface has been refined a bit, but it's still flat in places and doesn't match the sophistication of other UIs.

Samsung's camera, however, remains the best in the business, as far as everyday use is concerned. It's filled with features, and the camera app itself is a joy to use, having been adapted from the high-end Samsung Galaxy Camera. You might not use features like the animated gif creator every day, but they're fun to have, even if they're not all that innovative.

But what landed the Galaxy S4 as our No. 2 is the laggy user interface -- we've experienced delays and stutters on a number of versions of the phone -- as well as the anemic storage situation. Samsung's 16-gigabyte version of the GS4 only has about 9 gigabytes of storage available to the end user. And while Samsung likes to say you can add another 64 gigabytes with a microSD card, that's a different kind of storage. Good luck keeping your larger games and apps on there. The sin isn't so much that Samsung's using all that space for the hundreds of features on the phone -- and it's got some really good preloaded apps and settings. The sin is that in 2013, that sort of deceptive marking and, for many, a lack of larger storage options, is unacceptable.

Would we recommend someone buy the Galaxy S4, which is available on just about every carrier on Earth? Absolutely. It just might not be the first phone we suggest.

More: Samsung Galaxy S4 review

The best oversized phone - LG Optimus G Pro

Optimus G Pro

The other South Korean manufacturer -- LG -- has a bit of a dark horse on its hands with the Optimus G Pro. It's a 5.5-inch phone -- in the same class as the wildly popular Samsung Galaxy Note 2, but without the pen input. It also improves on the Note with a higher-resolution display, updated internals and a slightly narrower body.

LG's user interface still leaves a bit to be desired, but it's also come a long way in a short time. The Optimus G Pro has a more-than-capable camera, and it's the first outside of the Nexus line to sport the Photosphere feature.

Hamstringing the Optimus G Pro, however, is availability. In the United States, it's only available on AT&T, and it's seen limited release worldwide as well, though that's beginning to change. We're also expecting Samsung to at least match the Optimus G Pro's specs and features later this year. But for now, it's a pleasant addition to the oversized phone market.

More: AT&T Optimus G Pro reviewKorean Optimus G Pro mini-review

Honorable mentions

It's not fair to just focus on the top three. Here are a few other contenders that are worth a look if the latest Samsung, HTC and LG handsets don't float your boat.

Xperia ZSony Xperia Z and Xperia ZL

The Xperia Z for Europe and Xperia ZL for North America put Sony back in the game. The Japanese manufacturer might be something of an outcast as far as U.S. carriers support goes, but its latest Android smartphones have a lot to offer. Speedy performance, a clean UI and great camera software are highlights for both the Z and ZL. The Xperia Z also offers water resistant capabilities, though at the cost of ergonomics -- it's a blocky handset that can be uncomfortable to use. And both phones suffer from poor viewing angles, though on-screen images are crisp and clear when viewed head-on. Overall, both the Xperia Z and Xperia ZL are decent phones, but not without their share of niggling issues.

Nexus 4LG Nexus 4

Despite the recent trend towards "Google Editions" of popular phones like the Galaxy S4 and HTC One, there's only one real Nexus, and LG and Google's collaboration remains the best value Android phone you can buy. (As ever, we'd recommend you spend a little extra and pick up the 16GB model.)

In mid-2013, the Nexus 4's main weakness is its lack of (official) LTE support. We don't know whether the dormant T-Mobile LTE capabilities will be reactivated, but we can't help thinking if that was going to happen, it would've happened by now. So with the Nexus 4 you're going to top out at DC-HSDPA (42Mbps) data speeds. For some buyers, that's no big deal; for others, it's a deal-breaker. Aside from that, you're looking at a very speedy phone with stock Android, lightning-fast updates from Google and recently a new white color option, if the standard black model isn't doing it for you. Even now, we'd struggle to think of a better phone for the $300-350 contract-free asking price.

Galaxy S3Samsung Galaxy S3

Now 12 months old, the Galaxy S3 is positively geriatric by smartphone standards. But the GS3 is still being sold by carriers around the world, and some are even just getting around to launching it. Much of the praise we heaped upon the GS3 back in December still applies today -- it's still fast, feature-packed, LTE-capable and eminently available wherever in the world you happen to be. The one part of the S3 that hasn't aged so well is the screen -- compared to the current crop of smartphone displays, it's not great. If we were being unkind, we might even call it below-average. But if you're looking for a good, solid mid-level phone that won't cost you much on-contract, the GS3 fits the bill -- just be aware that you're already a year into its life cycle at this point.

Looking ahead, we're not expecting the Android smartphone ecosystem to be shaken up much until the end of the year. We'll probably see Android 4.3 sometime in the next couple of months, and that'll tide us over until the next major Android revision, most likely towards the end of the year. Until then, the first half of the year has brought some exceptionally great hardware. Be sure to hit the comments and share your picks for the top Android phone of 2013.


Reader comments

The best Android phone you can buy, as of June 2013



Don't 95% of the phones have a case on them? That takes away all the coolness of the HTC. Isn't that what most of the rating is about.

Oh sure HTC has great speakers but after that all the specifications are in GS4 favor.....many cool features, bigger screen size, better camera, etc.

Agreed! For some reason, I find that Android Central is the ONLY site that seems to put the One on top of the GS4. Aside from the speakers and the looks, how can it compare? It can't.

then you are not reading any good reviews. verge gives higher score for HTC One than S4. many sites give higher points to HTC One

Many more sites give the S4 higher marks than the htc. The S4 has so many better qualities. Not many people actually like the aluminum body. And I think it shows in sales.

thats not true, the iPhone has great quality, but lately little ingenuity. We're all android fans, no reason to be ignorant.

I'm an iPhone user, and I take offense that you only commented on the scratches...go to youtube and search "iPhone 5 bent" That crap phone gets bent, it also comes brand new with chips in it. I can't wait for this summer to upgrade to a real phone, the Note 3. Just saw a 1080p screen yesterday, Pantech Vega Iron, puts my iPhone 4S to shame.

Samsung's long history of attempting to copy the iPhone has finally paid off! They made an uninspiring continuation of their last phones, but millions of people will buy them along with boring old iPhones even though they're not the best. The best smartphone as of June 2013 is the HTC One, soon to be followed by the Motorola X, placing the S4 and iPhone 5 behind both. The S4 used to stand a chance of being a close tie until HTC's 4.2 update ended up being much better than the S4 on 4.2

While I agree with some of what you say, including that the HTC One currently reigns #1 as the best smartphone...1) You don't know that the Motorola X will be the best smartphone when it comes out, we've only just started hearing rumors that pertain to it's details (though the phone itself has been rumored for a while) and 2) Unless you're in Taiwan, you haven't tried 4.2 on the One yet, as it hasn't been released (unless you've tried it on a ROM, which at that point you can't compare 2 phones in this way once you install custom software, we're talking about stock here).

"Samsung's long history of attempting to copy the iPhone"? Are you braindead? It's been the exact opposite ever since Samsung's phones started kicking the iPhone's ass. Which was when the S2 came out.

Who cares if either one of these phones is mainstream? Is your goal to live "outside the mainstream?" Let me guess... Got a fedora? How about some tattoos (Better be some Kanji)? Vans and some skinny jeans? Thought so.

You REALLY want to avoid mainstream? How about dumping that Face-twittering machine you've got and going with an old Moto StarTAC? Then you'd be WAY out of the mainstream.

Or, how about a phone with a cord and no display at all?

GSMArena favors the S4... and they do quite a bit of extensive testing.

It's no surprise that Android Central chose HTC One. They've been wanting an HTC device to take the top spot for a long time. It's easy to root for the underdog.
Plus many of the mods love the Zoe / Highlight feature, which I find just as useless as many of the new S4 features.

Looks didn't matter to me. I upgraded from my HTC Evo3d to the S4. Since I'll be rooting it, Touchwiz won't be a bother.

I do agree with AC that if you aren't going to make a lot of modifications on your phone (different launcher, root) then the HTC One might be better out of the box for you.

Somebody pointed out Verge earlier... If you want to take Verge's word for everything, you'll be buying Apple all day long.

This won't stop the flaming though. So many people from the HTC One forums would come to the S4 forums to complain about the S4 so as to get converts.

I've been a diehard HTC user for a minute now. I love their SLCD screens and I actually like Sense.

This time around however I went with the S4. My main reason being the 2 button layout. I can't stand the soft menu button along the bottom of the screen.

Removable storage and battery wasn't a huge concern or me but the fact that its possible and with 64GB sd cards going for &50-$60, bigger screen etc... that just sealed the deal for me.

I do not regret my decision at all

And see, your forgetting about the people who own both like me. I prefer the One hands down. Why? Touchwiz is annoying and I should have to root for a better experience. I shouldn't have to turn off most or all features to get good battery life. I shouldn't have to. Period.

People said the same thing about 4g.

And to date the only phone that can manage 4g and a full day's worth (in all honesty) is the MAXX series by Motorola.


Touchwiz has some GREAT features. Being able to pull down the notification bar and turning on/off settings or change brightness, for instance, is a big time saver.

The lag is annoying. And I agree -- you shouldn't have to do much to change that out of the box. Too bad more people are going to buy the S4. Too bad people like me will root their phone anyway. Too bad alternative launchers get hundreds of thousands of downloads from the App store.

As for you choosing the One over the S4, wasn't it because of some bluetooth thing?

I agree the HTC does indeed win this time, despite the handful of drawbacks.
They deserve more sales and I hope they get them.

As a nexus 4 fan who thinks it owns both the htc one and the s4, the htc one definitely deserves the top spot when comparing the two.

I find it hilarious that you just go straight to "you are not reading any good reviews" I guess any review that doesn't agree with YOUR opinion is considered "not good"? Oh wait I must have misunderstood you it's not that your opinion isn't good its just any opinion that doesn't agree with yours and speaks it mind in a REVIEW which is up to personal opinion must be incorrect. There is just no possible way that you can be wrong right?

The HTC One is also available with more than the mean 16Gb of internal memory on the S4. I didn't buy the S4 for that reason.

Sorry, you are incorrect. The list of sites naming the HTC One either the best Android phone, or the best smartphone ever include:

AnandTech which after a 16,000 word review gave it an Editor's Choice Gold award. They've never awarded an Editor's Choice to any smartphone, let alone a Gold.

IGN, Pocket-lint.com, Venturebeat, ZDNet's Matthew Miller and Android Police.

And Eric Schmidt, Google's Chairman carriers three phones: A Nexus 4, a Galaxy S III and...yes, you guessed it an HTC One.

Trust me, its not the only site, and the rating of the phone really depends on the originality, which the S4 lacks. But yet again thats just my opinion, to whom thousands agree.

Actually The Verge won't shut the fuck up about it either, I swear to god if their mobile app wasn't so good I would drop them like CNET.

The HTC one may have a 4mp ultra pixel camera, smaller screen, and way LESS features its still a great phone. Just because the Galaxy s4 has a 1.9gz quad core over the HTC ONES 1.7 doesn't make it better since the S4 lags very often. The S4 also is really gimmicky so if you dont like air view and all that extra nonsense (saying that because not everyone wants a phone that can do that type of things.. Thats just my opinion.). When you get down to the S4 you'll notice the lag, and how much space is taken up from the features that you probably wont even use everyday. Majority of popular review sites for these 2 phones have said the S4 won because of screen, camera, and features.. Everything else goes to the HTC ONE..
In my opinion if you S4 didnt have all those extra features taking up space and looked differently I would like it more. I feel like th eS3 has a better design than the S4.

I guess someone has to say the One is better...NOT! I just bought an S4 and it is AWESOME! I checked out a One before I got the S4 NO COMPARISON!

I guess these guys make it pretty obvious then. Go out to the store. Play with the phones. Pick the one you like best. That is the best phone. For You. The only opinion that really matters. Ignore everyone else, except me of course. Always listen to me.

I have the SGS3 and the HTC One, the SGS3 now it`s not more than spare phone to me after the HTC One... Before I go to SGS4 I rather buying the SGNote2. Or, better stick with the SGS3.
SGS4 has nothing more than gimmicks to offer.

I don't get all the hate that Samsung is getting these days!!! The GS4 is by far the best phone on the planet! It has the best camera, but people love talking about how the One's low light is better!!! Seriously, who takes pictures in low light without the flash??? Then they talk about the plastic build, don't most people keep their phones in cases anyway??? And is the plastic really hurting anybody? How is aluminum adding any value to the phone? Besides it hurts worse when you throw it at somebody!! The plastic allows for a micro SD card, and removable battery! That outweighs an aluminum case any day!! The screen is bigger and to my eye a little better! I really love Super Amoled! It POPS!!! I don't like blink feed, I don't want someone to be able to pick up my phone, scroll to the left and have access to my facebook and twitter without even having to go into the app. This is a nosey girlfriends dream! Then why is everyone punishing Samsung for trying to be innovative? Calling most of the features gimmicks! If you don't like them simply don't use/activate them! Some you may rarely use, but hey it's better to have and use only once in a while than to not have at all! I feel like at the end of the day, people are just hating on Samsungs success! This article called the GS3 a midlevel phone! When nearly every midlevel phone I've seen has a 480-800 display, 5 mp camera, weaker porcessor, 1 gig or less of ram, maybe 8 gigs of internal memory, and the list goes on! The GS3 is still a top 10 phone and is better than the iphone 5!

I owned the Galaxy SII and currently own the Note II and Note 10.1. I don't get how anybody can be cheering for them right now. Samesuck is turning into Apple with their laziness. And their new tablets are hands-down the ugliest Android tablets I have ever seen from a major manufacturer. I'm not going to applaud them anymore than I applaud Apple which is a very quiet slow golf clap for everything released in 2013 so far. Sorry. Not impressed.

did you do a poll to find that 95%?? meaningless number since I can make a number too. with all metal HTC many wont even use a case.

HTC specs are good as well. we have reached a point where specs dont matter any more. they both are high end smart phones

"many cool features" like most of the bloatwares like S-Translator, S-health, motion gesture. wonder how many use those features. Its just an app download away to get those features in any phones

about camera. HTC produce better image on low light, S4 on day light.
so both has it + and -

i love it when people throw out bull shit stats. nobody in my family of four uses a case. so for n=4, i'd say 100% of people don't use cases.

I have five lines. All five have cases. Two of them Otterbox defenders and 2 of them otterbox commuters. The other is a seidio case. So that's 5 out of 5 which = 100% of people using cases. Add in your 0% and it equals 50% of people using cases. Problem solved.

I don't have a case on my Nexus 4 and it still looks fine (miniature scratches which I don't notice unless I really look)

In terms of features it's all about preference. If you want a bigger screen get the GS4 but 4.7 isn't exactly tiny. In terms of camera, if you want to zoom in alot and crop get the GS4/Xperia Z but if you just waant to take a picture and put t as a desktop backround then the One's camera will suit very well. Other specs are pretty much the same and in terms of removable storage you have the cloud, external storage (PC, USB, etc) if you find 32GB too small for your preference, or just get the dev edition with 64GB.

Apparently you didn't read the article. Design and build quality are small portions of the overall reasoning. Also, I'm 95% confident that less than 95% of phones actually have cases...

Because of the aluminium body you may not need a case at all, while a plastic phone does need one.

Can you press a knife a little bit pressure on plastic and on aluminium which on have scratches? !!!!
And now deep press it again on plastic and aluminium which one have scratches? !!!!
Oh no. It's common sense guy.

This isn't a very good comparison and experiment. Can you also take said knife's handle and lightly hit the plastic and the aluminum? Which one will have a permanent dent? Would you more likely have something sharp or something blunt hit the plastic or aluminum during everyday use? Both plastic and aluminum have their pros and cons.

Also, let's not forget scratches/dents in the back of the HTC One are there for good (assuming you can't buff 'em out), but the back cover of the S4 is replaceable. Just another factor here.

Does anyone remember that you can get aluminum backings for the GS4? Also, aluminum is only coated on the outside so a scratch will show up. Plastic is molded in the same color the whole way through, so a scratch will not show up. Plus, who the hell puts a knife to their smartphone anyway?

Did you read the article? Maybe you took lag as a feature the S4 has over the HTC One? Just seems silly that such a great phone, that according to so many is hands down the best phone ever, has any lag at all. Also they mentioned the S4 shipping with about 9GB of usable app space. Again, best phone, ships with 9GB of space?

I don't own either, so have no first hand experience, just stating I think their decision is based on more than just speakers.

Haven't seen any lag in the S4 at all, and everyone I know that has brought it as well have said the same thing. My wife love's her S4 I got her!

I have lag/stuttering on my S4. And the 2 people I know have lag and can't stand it. Lag/stuttering is only perceived by how bad "you" think it is.

I actually don't understand the reason they dinged the S4 for having 9gb of space. It has a microsd slot and Samsung knows people will be taking advantage of that.

tell that to spotify where you can only use the internal memory. i already have downloaded more music on my one than the 9 gb the s 4 offers and still got 10 more to go :)

This is untrue. The devs have posted many times since their new update that if you uninstall and reinstall Spotify, it will choose the largest storage medium to store all your media/playlists.

I wonder if everyone music service provider is going to switch to this or if this will remain a Spotify exclusive.

People have different opinions, people will always disagree, but personally the lag and space issues on the S4 are minuses, SD memory isn't the same as internal memory and is more awkward to use.

HTC made a great phone, if AC likes it more as many do, then that's their opinion.
I actually agree, but if they liked the S4 more I wouldn't complain.

Personally I didn't buy either, I'm happy with my N4.

@hazenagent Most people I see are also wearing clothes, but that doesn't mean what's underneath is not important.

I believe they docked the SGS4 down because of the lag issues. It can and should be fixed through software improvements.

But that's a huge problem. It really lowers the user ability if your gallery, app drawer, camera and everything else randomly stutters.

This is good criticism though. This should get Samsung to hire more or better computer science software guys to make a lag free interface.

I think a fair comparison of hardware will be the two google editions of these devices running benchmarks and speed test next to each other.

Agree even though I have the s4, I can say that these random lags are annoying but am sure it will be sorted out via an update.,the 1st update made it less laggier and am sure the next one will..,right now in terms of performance the one is ahead but imo the s4 is still the best overall phone..as for the metal vs plastic that's mainly for the techies to argue over...

New features that nobody wants and that don't work well. The screen is a whole 0.3 larger than an HTC One. HTC One has better low light camera and I doubt many will notice the 13 MP on the S 4.

GSM Arena tested cameras -- they found the S4 to do better in low light.

I do agree the S4 features aren't my cup of tea, but I think Zoe/Highlights are just as useless, if not more.

Try a real camera review site like DPReview. You'll see that the HTC One is better in low light.

Honestly, I can see the camera issue being a win for either of the phones. Personally I wanted something with better low light performance, which is one of the reasons I chose the One; I find that a lot of the pictures I take are either at night or in places with low lighting, so the bigger pixels were a major plus.

Also, 95% is probably an exaggeration when it comes to the number of phones in cases, but either way, a good design is a selling point for many when it comes to a phone; my phones hold up fine without one.

The majority of the reviews I've read have said that the One is the superior phone, but most have reiterated, as many here have, that it's more about preference than anything else.

p.s. - The speakers on the One are absolutely killer--So good that it still amazes me after having it for more than a month.

I normally would agree, but when the first time I opened the battery cover when my S4 arrived (last 2 phones were HTC) I understood what the plasticy complaints were about. The rest of the phone is fine and feels solid, but I'm worried I'm going to break the cover if I have to remove it.

However, the phone rating should be about it's use, not the back. really superficual. Also, I have yet to find the "laggy" UI experience I keep reading about. Mine is lightening quick. blows my HTC rezound out of the water. No lag for me at all. VZW doesn't offer the one, so I didn't have to choose, but even if I did I probably still would have chosen the S4.

The GS4 has some well-documented lag issues, which the HTC One does not (because of how bloated Touchwiz has become). I'd never buy a non-Nexus, but if I did, there's no way I'd buy a device that is laggy out of the box, no matter what features it has.

I always guess correctly when I imagine these articles re-titled as "We have more to talk about if the best phone is..."

You clearly haven't heard those crazy speakers then. That screen combined with those speakers are hard to beat. I love the screen on the S4, but the One won my heart and my $$$. I know the S4 beats the One in benchmarks (by a hair), but side by side their speed difference is indistinguishable. The camera on the One isn't the best, but it's good enough for FB, and it's great in low light. You can't go wrong with either. It's a good time to love gadgets.

Just for your information, I am one of who`s using case on the HTC One for one good reason! Which is, the kickstand. Other on that I`ll never use the case.

depends on the person. I NEVER use a case. didn't use one on my iPhone 3,4 or 5. didn't use one on my LG Optimus G Pro and I don't use one on my S4.
Hate cases. Why cover up my phone? the S4 is a sexy beast and looks best NEKID.

yes most people do have cases on phones, but its not only looking into the aesthetics of the device, putting a case on the HTC One doesn't give you GS4 lag, it says quite clearly its 2nd due to system lag, and bigger screen size is fair enough, but not as many ppi as the HTC

My HTC One doesn't have a case on it. Not a single scratch on it either.

The S4 is bloated full of lame features, yes. The One actually comes with cool features you'll use. Also, it would have cost me $65 more to get an S4 with around a third of the usable app storage space as my HTC One.

Reviews are nothing more than the personal opinion of the "reviewer". If I or millions of others listened to a film critics(reviewer)biased opininion I would have missed out on some of the most fantastic movies of all time.... the same stands true of the S4 and One. Considering that Samsung has sold twice as many S4s as HTC has sold Ones, I'm thinking the consumers are speaking their mind against the biased favoritism of the underdog in this case. When the sales numbers speak, they say that the S4 is best, hands down. Oh yeah, and don't say it's about marketing because I have seen 20 HTC One commercials to every S4 commercial this year.

I don't own either the HTC One or S4. Perfectly happy with my Nexus 4 and won't upgrade until something has a Snapdragon 800, but it does seem AC is a bit biased towards the HTC One.

Bias. Right. It's biased to prefer an amazing phone that doesn't lag over an amazing phone that does lag.
Samsung is working on fixing it, but it never should have been an issue in the first place. Until the problem IS fixed, the S4 doesn't deserve to be in the top spot.

I've never seen Android users cry over lag so much... especially when the S4, to most people, doesn't lag.
I mean, last time people wanted minimalist and speedy over features and a little laggy were the Iphone vs. Android days.

Also, I wanted to talk about the speakers. They're definitely cool. But when I had my Evo3D it had some amazing sound because when you place it on a flat surface the phone echoes because of the speaker placement. For me it seems like they put it in the front as a marketing ploy. It's great to be a little different.

I personally think AC wanted to see HTC win something.
Phil hated the S4, Jerry DEFINITELY hated the S4, and the others made it seem like they tolerated it.
Jerry would throw negatives upon negatives on the S4. He wasn't afraid to show how much he liked HTC. And Phil talked up Zoes/Highlights so much when it takes 30 minutes to make one of those.

Eh -- to each his or her own. But the mods were very very much in favor of the HTC One for what seemed like superficial reasons.

Not in big cities like Chicago where I live. Samsung commercials outnumber HTC commercials by a lot.

However, you are not looking at things correctly. The real question isn't how well the GS4 is doing. The question is how is the HTC One doing in sales. And the early tallies are going awfully well. :-) Remember, just because Samsung's sales numbers are good doesn't mean HTC's aren't. They actually are. They certainly can't compete with the dollars/marketing monstrosity that Samsung is. However, you can't just HTC on that. You need to base HTC's success on its own sales. And so far so good with the One!

Dumb logic is dumb. Sales numbers don't always correlate with quality for a wide variety of reasons.

For me, on T-Mobile and needing wifi calling it really came down to hackability and camera. Unlocking my One was a breeze, took all of five minutes, and then the camera samples using the latest software from HTC sealed the deal. I cannot say with enough enthusiasm how fantastic this camera is and what a joy it is to use. After slapping on a custom Sense 5 ROM and then going back to my old standby of Nova Launcher, I could not be happier with every aspect of this phone.

If you want to get scientific then yes, my HTC One lags too. It just lags slightly less than my pervious phone, the S4.
My S4, non-rooted with touch wiz would take half a second to open up an app after clicking it. Sometimes it would take 1 sec~. Look this is simple. A phone with this much power shouldn't have these issues. It's unacceptable.

PS: I'm a compulsive phone buyer, like trying out new things =D

The Oppo Find 5 should be at last in the honorable mentions.
Its a great phone, and it would be the one I would buy now.

I personally would have put the N4 on top, but I guess as an overall choice, I agree with what was chosen in this article.

I agree with you completely, right now, because of what some custom roms are doing, I would take the Nexus 4 any day.

I know that I am probably in the minority of people who tinker and install roms like Paranoid Android, but that is something that I love about the nexus platform and I would recommend the nexus 4 to anyone, any day because of this. If you know what you are doing, you will never get more freedom than a nexus device.

It is all about software for me I guess, and what you can do with it

I'm with you, although I may have to wait longer to get the Note 3. It was only 5 months ago I popped for full price on my Note 2. And I'm really shocked that the Note 2 wasn't anywhere in that list. Even if it isn't one of the latest, it's still one of the greatest.

Agreed. I came from the Note 2 to the One, and still occasionally use the Note 2. Not gonna lie...I miss the size and some features of the N2. I'm one of those rare individuals that can use it one handed, but then I have hands the size of meat platters.

Anyway, I LOVE my One and it is my daily driver, but that Note 2? Damn nice device. Looking foward to a 1920x1080 Note 3, or even better, an HTC version that has similar size but with HTC build quality and refinements.

Totally agree. I do hope the Google edition HTC One comes with not only an unlocked bootloader, but also none of that S-On nonsense... Additionally, stock images (similar to the Nexus devices) would be wonderful.

I love my HTC One and I would absolutely recommend it in a heartbeat as is. But I would go crazy for a device like what I just described (probably just a pipe dream though...)

I kinda like the idea of stock Google, but honestly Sense 5 is growing on me. I would miss the Zoe functionality of the camera too.

I think everyone is hoping for a stock AOSP ROM with the Sense Camera being an add on package. I know that's a pipe dream, but really that would be my hope.

I agree that the HTC One is a great phone with some really good things going for it but my problem, and this is just my opinion, is that you have to balance it with the things going against it. No removable battery, no expanded storage, no wireless charging options, no way to disable blink, not available to verizon customers. So when you add the negatives with all the positives it pretty much comes up even. I agree the S4 is not what it could be and all of the things that samsung added to it slow it down but when you add the negatives of the S4 it comes out ahead. I really think HTC has lost sight of what android customers think should come with all high end phones.
Personally I love my note 2 and have not seen anything that would make me want to change..... yet.

How can a very fast One be less than or equal to a S4 that reviewers are calling "very laggy"? It seems as if Samsung went backwards with the S4.
A non-removable battery is not an issue with 95% of buyers, and the same is true with storage. 32GB is plenty for that same 95%.
Not available on Verizon is a big negative, though.

I have used the S4 extensively for a couple days and I disagree completely with the very laggy part. I agree the HTC is smoother but in no way is the S4 very laggy now. The initial software maybe but the one I received on verizon last week not at all.
I understand what you are saying about the battery because 95 percent of the time the phone will make it all day without needing a charger. However there is always that time when you stay out too late or maybe camping and a spare battery would come in so handy. I have the note 2 and battery life is amazing. Way better than the HTC one and s4 but I still carry a spare battery because there have been times it really came in handy. Storage may not be an issue for you and maybe not for 95 percent of people in reality but the perception is why does other high end smartphones have it and the HTC don't? We are not iphone people and expandable storage is a big reason for some of us.

More and more phones are going the route of the cloud, and SD cards are probably going to go away.
And 9GB of storage on the S4 is absolutely PITIFUL!

Not true I just bought the S4 for my wife from Verizon and is a smooth phone probably about as smooth as my Note 2, and I know what a laggy phone is as I have had HTC a while back and it was terrible........but I'm not saying that the One is laggy.

Lol@people implying the note 2 is smooth.

Let's face it. Touchwiz will make ANYTHING, no matter what spec, lag. People used to it will not notice it. But people coming from other devices will notice it right off the bat.

Touchwiz is the #1 reason why isheep still think android lags in general. Because they don't know any better.

I have the dev edition with 64GB of storage and my battery life is actually better than that of the Galaxy 4. It has a great feel and I came from the S3 to this phone so I know about the removable battery and so on. I don't miss that at all and in fact I love the fit and finish of this phone more so than my S3 (which is nearly identical to the S4 in almost every way).

Here's the thing.

For some folks, removable battery, SD card, wireless charging are all a big deal. For other folks, these things mean jack squat. They're matters of personal taste.

NOBODY likes lag/stuttering. Until Samsung gets that fixed (working on it isn't good enough), the GS4 is a FLAWED phone. Period.

I don't care about removable battery, SD cards, or w/e. I don't care about how the HTC One looks either. Zoes are practically useless and so is eyetracking software.

Lag and stuttering = subjective. People don't recognize the minimal stutter on the S4, especially coming from phones like the Evo3D, One X, S2, etc.

If a little lag scares you away, I wonder what phone you had before the One... because all of them lagged. Yes, all of them (minus the N4, I guess). Androids ALWAYS lagged. Samsung was the first manufacturer to introduce smoother scrolling to Androids.

The Nexus 4 is SO over rated. Its an average device in terms of hardware, at best, and the camera is just plain rubbish. Software wise vanilla Android is dull and featureless.

Dont get me wrong, for the price Google charges its a bargain nonetheless, but its not a high end device.

As with mist things, this is subjective. Is it the best hardware? No. Is it as good or better than Samsung build quality? Absolutely.

I also personally value "dull, featureless" stock more than TouchWiz's (even Sense's to some degree) feature overstauration. To me, it's a plus.

Not only that but with Nexus, I can easily flash a more feature packed ROM with the comfort of knowing that I can at any time flash a clean stock image straight from Google.

Just my two cents:)

Have you actually used the Nexus 4? I completely disagree when you say it's not a high end device. I've tried and returned both the S4 and the One. They are both really nice devices but have nothing over the N4 in everyday use. Like I said they are both great devices but are hardly an upgrade from an N4.

You are right, there is no LTE in my area and that does play a factor. I would say that would be the only real drawback for the N4.

I live in an LTE area, and I don't want it. Find me an unlimited LTE plan. VZW (and their godawful prices) doesn't have one. Neither does ATT.
LTE speed means jack squat if I'm bumping up against my data cap halfway through the month. I'd rather have the still very fast speeds from HSPA and have my unlimited data than pay twice (or three times) as much for capped data.

It is what you can do with that software that makes it great though. For that price, and its openness, developers are all over it and are making amazing things that the one and s4 just aren't able to get yet, like halo from PA.

I agree that the camera isn't the best, but the build quality is great, the screen is very good (not 1080p, but still really nice), and the processor still flies. Just because it is last years device doesn't mean that it isn't a high end device

Since when is a quad core s4 pro and 2gb or ram average? Average is 1gb or ram, dual core processor, qHD or the occasional 720p display. The nexus 4 is def not average.

I need to move to Verizon now - the question is, HTC Droid DNA, or S4?

The DNA is similar in form factor to the One...camera and speakers being the obvious deficiency. But it has the SuperLCD, which is better in sunlight...it will be getting the upgrade to Sense 5...

If I can't wait, which is the better choice?

I seriously love my DNA, stock it's a pretty fantastic phone but of you're into rooting and roms and such it gas a growing development community that keeps churning out great stuff. The S4 is a nice phone for sure but I would take the DNA over it any day (duh I'm biased). I also love the build quality of the DNA.

Unfortunately AT&T is a dead zone at my house (literally, my living room has NO signal), T-Mobile is non-existent, and Sprint is what I have which is not sufficient. Verizon does have the best coverage in the area.

I have gs4 and in my opinion its should be the #1 beacuse after latest update there is no lag. I agree design isnt premium but compared to htc one everithing else for me is better , gs4 is smartest phone of all. I mean all the clever features and performance.

Riiiiight. Performance exactly the same as the One with the Snapdragon CPU which is used in all but the most exclusive markets. And the 'features' which i feel will be hugely underused. Of course if you find them useful it's fine but I can't imagine how often would want let alone need to take a 2 second audio recording for a photo. Just an example but there are others.

Actually, the S4 preforms on average about 15% faster than the one in synthetics. Real world use is probably more normalized - but it's certainly clocked higher using faster memory, the subtext and "great unknown" here is that the s600 in the galaxy s4 isn't actually the same s600 found in the HTC One - so there's likely more at play here than just a bump in clockspeed and faster memory.

As much as I love the beautiful look of HTC One, I have to give it to the S4. Even though it has many gimmicks and that plastic feel, the specs and the features of the S4 leaves HTC One in the dust. Many sites have chose to dislike the S4 as they anticipated for it to look ala iPhone (i.e. HTC One) and less Samsung. I'm sure Samsung is looking for a unique look from all the iPhone court cases and accusations, hence today's unimproved plastic look. If they manage to get it right, the S5/Note III will be beasts.

I can't believe the excuses people come up with for Samsung. it has nothing to do with the iPhone and everything to do with making a cheaper to build phone for more profit.

Build design is not build quality.

Didn't Alex have a post on mini scratches on his One?
People didn't complain about plastic until another Android phone did it. I mean, nobody cared when the Iphone kept releasing expensive-looking phones.

Didn't alex admit that he didn't even see any until he looked hard for some? Didn't he also admit that they really weren't visible unless you were looking very closely at the phone? Fact is: put the GS4 and the One in a pocket with keys or change for a few days, and the One will come out looking much better. Those won't be "mini" scratches on the GS4.

I think you're forgetting how durable plastic is.

Regardless, I put a cover on my phone (albeit a light cover) anyway.
Looks don't matter to me as much.

Yet Sammy holds on to that clicky iPhone like home button. Honestly, it is the only thing I can't stand about Galaxy Series devices. I don't want a big clicky button on the front of my phone.

Notice I said "I dont like..." Personal preference. I like the front of my phone smooth and unblemished. I don't want anything that can snag or rub on the front of the phone. The HTC One button layout is weird too, but at least it's flush.

What specs are you referring to out of curiosity? And the bigger question is, do those technical specs translate to real world results?

Bigger screen yes, better screen I don't think so. LCD is generally considered superior, and is undeniably better in bright light and has better viewing angles.

Better camera is as much a wash as they come, it's pretty much split down the middle and both are good at different things. To say that one is definitely better than the other just seems impossible to determine to me, it comes down to what you value more.

Better battery life is also something that has varied pretty significantly in reviews and from comments from owners, so to me that's also a wash. These are not pure "specs" so it's difficult to find a consensus.

But here's where we do have a consensus: The One has superior design, speakers, and OS smoothness and speed.

Look at some battery tests. HTC does better in browsing time but SGS4 better in all other areas.

"Where the One runs into a problem is sunlight legibility - it's good, but not great. It's comparable to that of a Sony Xperia Z and noticeably better than that of the HTC Butterfly. However, the Galaxy S4 screen is just less reflective, giving it better sunlight legibility even if the maximum brightness is lower."

I don't think one camera is necessarily better than another. I think if you're going to be fiddling with settings a lot the GS4 can be superior simply because of the sheer number of pixels. However, point and shoot can arguably go to the One.

OS Smoothness is all HTC One has imo. To be honest I preferred the design of the Evo series.

Also, I'd be a little wary. There's no Apple Care with HTC. Bad battery after one year? Good luck trying to replace that.

The finish wasn't the point. The build quality of the One was the factor. You can have all of the aluminium you want on a phone but if the build quality is rubbish then even a rubber phone would be better.

Maybe you should read again. S4 has lag. Ships with 9Gb of usable app space. Just two factors you missed.

LG Optimus G Pro over the Samsung Galaxy Note 2?? Really, limited carrier availability and a crappy UI greatly hinder that device.

I have a Note 2 and there is nothing wrong with the U/I on the LG. It's better than the bloated Touchwiz with is weird inconsistent look and performance.

Not to mention its anemic 14 hour battery life (according to AC's own Anndrew Vacca)

Re: "the bloated Touchwiz with is weird inconsistent look and performance" is easily fixed with a decent launcher such as Nova, Apex or Holo Launcher.

If you have to "fix" something with the phone, then it's a problem with the phone. This wasn't an opinion comparison of launchers. It was a comparison of phones, and Touchwiz is a problem for the GS4 out of the box. Most users don't buy launchers...they just want their phone to work right the day they buy it with no "fixing" necessary.

I agree there is no excuse for lag on the S4. It's like having a Ferarri with a GM-built 4-speed automatic transmission.

That's why alternative launchers have hundreds of thousands of downloads on the Play Store.

That's also why HTC One users are also told to turn off 4G to save battery. If you can turn that off, then why can't you also turn off Smart Stay or something you don't use? I mean, it's easily doable by pulling down the notification bar and tapping on the icon.

As for the "lag" -- it's all perception. Most people in the forums don't notice it when 90% of them come from phones that REALLY lagged. Read: old HTC, LG, Sony, and even Sammy phones.

Not to mention its superior processor, better screen, narrower profile (for easier one-handed use), and better UI (because the last one is subjective).

Just because the speakers are on the front, doesn't mean they are better. I took my Galaxy S2 to the AT&T store and played the same media on my phone and the HTC One. My S2 was LOUDER than the HTC One. Regardless, if you are playing media on your device you are probably using headphones. If you need something louder, you won't be turning to ANY speakers on ANY smartphone. My requirement for sound is loudness, so that I can hear my ringer and notification sound bits. Louder is better for me, I would not downgrade my personal sound requirements just because a new phone has a different design (front facing speakers).

You do realize that when grown ups mention sound quality we are not simply discussing the raw volume. If the sound quality on your S2 is better, than one of two things is broken. Your ears or that phones speakers.

Yet another person who doesn't understand the speakers on the HTC One. Sorry, but quite often users DO use the speakers on the One. Why? Because they actually work at a good, clear volume level, and they are on the front! They change how you actually use your phone, since it is convenient now to NOT use the headphones.

BTW, you are deluding yourself if you believe your G2 was louder then the speakers on the One. No cupping of your hands allowed either!

My Evo3D was louder. And that was when I placed it on a flat surface.

The front facing speakers are a marketing ploy imo. It's better to do something different.

While boom sound is not the loudest, it is definitely up there with the best of them and actually full sounding. Some phones can be loud but they sound limp.

You beat me to the punch lol. There is a big difference between loud, and loud & clear. Hell, my old Motorola Razr flip phone was loud as hell, but it sure doesn't sound like a One does. Other phones sound tinny, and you find you have to cup your hand just right to get any semblance of bass response. No need for any of that with the One. That's not marketing, just fact.

If that is the case then I guess I would like to see an article based on best phones by carrier. Granted the S3 and S4 will be listed for VZW, but I am curious as a VZW customer how so they compare to the Maxx HD?

Dual-core S4, 1GB RAM, etc. The only thing it has in its favor is battery life and near-stock Android, both of which are equaled or bested by the Note 2 and Nexus 4, respectively.

Am i the only one here that doesn't like aluminum devices? i HATED the feel of the iPhone 5, the iPads and iPad Mini kept slipping out of my hands, and even the HTC One just didn't do anything for me.
maybe when reading about the reviews, about the AWESOME screen and AMAZING build quality, i just had high hopes. but when i got the One and the S4 in my hands at the same time....i Kept going to the S4. yes, it was a TINY bit slower here and there, but it felt better in my hands (One was too sharp on the sides IMO) and i was more impressed by the screen on the S4. maybe it is just me being used to AMOLED screens...i Dunno, but i was still more impressed by the Nexus 4 display than i was with the HTC one's for some reason

if i was to buy something today, it would be the Nexus 4 or the S4....but probably the S4 since it can be rooted and ROM'd fairly easily.

yes, a cold device which isn't really textured, along with dry hands = a fairly slipper object...couple that with a pretty wide device which i couldn't really get my hands around and it was slipping out of my one handed grip....something that just doesn't happen with my "cheap plastic" nexus 7

Slipped out of my hands as well. It is okay if it doesn't slip out of yours. That doesn't mean it will apply to everyone else. The S4 feels better in the hand in my opinion as well.

I agree with you. I was able to get my hands on HTC One at a T-Mobile store. It felt okay in my hand. After reading all the reviews, I thought I would be blown away by the feel or something. Didn't happen. I like the way my GS2 feels in my hand.

Unfortunately I couldn't compare the screens, because I used the HTC One from one of the reps in the store and the GS4 that was on display wouldn't turn on for some reason :((

The first time I saw the GS4 screen at a Samsung event, I thought there was a sticker on the display... lol.

My question is that if you root the GS4 does the lag disappear or is it just inherent to Samsung's phone? I have a GS3 and love it but hate the lag...but no where can I find a decisive answer to the question if rooting is the solution. All help appreciated.

the problem is touchwiz. yes, it ads TONS of features, but it also slows down the phone as well. rooting alone wont do anything, but if you stip out 90% of the crap they put on there, and only keep the stuff you use, the phone will be faster....strip out touchwiz completely for an AOSP build, and the S3 absolutely FLIES....but then you have very few features to the OS, and the camera software leave much to be desired.

IMO, stip EVERYTHING touchwiz out of the device besides smart stay, and the camera, and run AOSP everything else (if you can) and you would have an amazing device.

Thanks! I guess I didn't realize I could strip out touchwiz features without rooting the phone...my bad, and I'll look into this immediately. Does everyone agree with turd? (and I speak your name with the utmost respect)
I just know the hardware on the GS3 is still great, but unfortunately the layover of touchwiz slows it down so much I'm considering to make a serious change.

Pretty sure you still have to Root to get rid of the touchwiz stuff. you can try to disable the apps through the settings>applications>all but i though Sammy blocked that stuff.

i also agree with the other guy, a different launcher (nova/apex/action) will speed up the home screen transition 10 fold as well as add a lot of customizations along with it.

holy shhNikes. Who would think that putting another piece of software over an already bloated interface would speed things up. But that is exactly what happened when I loaded the Holo Launcher HD. Lag is gone and my phone is BACK!
Appreciate the help everyone...and I didn't even have to root.

You can root and then put a Touchwiz rom.

A touchwiz Rom can be optimized by developers to be super speedy.

Features also mean things like pulling down notifications bar and being able to change the display brightness.

Little things like that = touchwiz stuff. Pretty useful actually.

Install a decent launcher like Nova, Apex or Holo Launcher and you will never see lag again. Yes, it is a shame that a beast of a device like the S4 still lags, but the problem is Touchwiz (not the S4 hardware, and not android per se)

I think I agree with this list. HTC One is the phone of the year for me too. I really love it. Bye S3! It was fun. :D

I gotta go with the S4. Stock, with the updated ROM, there is No lag, it is lightning fast and, with the crack out to unlock AT&T and Verizon versions bootloaders, eminently flashable. No phone can withstand a drop, especially a corner drop, without a case. So much for the looks factor. The S4 is light, easy to handle and use, and, if you must have that much internal storage, get the 32GB version.

Frankly I think it's pretty stupid that the One wins. If you are going to compare two products functionality is much more important then looks which honestly I don't even care for the looks of the One.

S4 Pros:
Removable battery
Lots of software features, voice actions, sharing via tappings
Wireless charging option
Gorilla glass 3
Larger screen
Smaller bezel

One Pros:
Screen easier to see in sunlight
Capacitive home button but otherwise bad button layout

Subjective to user:
Looks/case - one person prefers a lighter phone that is more durable and can replace the back cover for pennies while another thinks the alum case is everything.

I think this was a bad review that mostly based on personal preference of style/looks.

LOL, an opinion article always brings the fanboys out! Sorry, but listing partial lists of "pros" doesn't help your cause:

One Pros:
Lots of software features (like Zoes) that are not only easy to use, but actually change the everyday use of your phone. Users don't turn most of these off like with the GS4.
Sharper screen.
Smoother operation.
More storage for apps and DRM data.
Day 1 availability of an unlocked, SIM-free version at the same cost as carrier versions.

Keep in mind that removable battery is subjective, as well as the "feature" bloat of the GS4. Simply put, HTC built a better phone for the AVERAGE user, and designed it around how the AVERAGE person uses their phone. That makes it the winner in my book.

If the average user was more interested in the One's build, it would sell more. Sales are compromised of majority average users. ;-) Everything you listed as a pro could be perceived as subjective as well. That isn't fact (except for the availability of an unlocked version and app storage). BTW... I like both phones. The arguments are hilarious to me. I just enjoy Android as a whole. They're both winners in my book.

Actually, what matters more with "average" users is marketing, prior sales, and word of mouth. Fact is, Samsung simply has more money to spend on marketing. Many "average" users don't know anything other than iPhones and "Galaxies". They don't know the first thing about the Xperia Z & ZL, the Nexus 4, or the Optimus G Pro. The fact that HTC has gained enough mind share and word of mouth to sell over 5 million phones already with their highly limited marketing budget speaks to just how good a phone the One is. They are both great phones. I (and quite a few other folks) simply feel that the HTC One is the better phone this year, and somehow all of the Samsung fanboys think that only their opinions are the ones that count. There is no such thing as a "right" opinion!

What about pulling the notification bar down and being able to change lots of settings and display brightness? The S4 can do that.

Zoes are just as useless as a lot of the gimmick features on the S4.

Sharper screen doesn't matter in everyday use. We're talking about 400+ PPI you know. Both phones have a higher resolution than lots of laptops.
However, screen size does matter, especially at that PPI.

Wouldn't the response be "you shouldn't have to fix something that should have been there in the first place?"

I mean -- if I suggest launchers if you perceive there to be lag on the S4 -- then people go haywire, saying that you shouldn't have to download something onto the phone like that.

Well said! :))

I don't understand why some people are scared of installing a different launcher. Just download the app, install it and hit the home button. Most new launchers can also import your layout. It's a piece of cake operation :)

When I get my GS4, one of the first things I'll do is download Nova Launcher :)

I guess you could make that argument. But downloading an app to add a functionality doesn't change the experience of the phone as much as a launcher would.

now...with the smaller bezel..is debatable...you do get 2 or 3 mm of a black sub-bezel or whatever u want to call it that is an add on the s4 normal bezel..(a bit of a cheat from "sammy" if you ask me because in all billboards and commercials the black bezel(sub-bezel) mysteriously disappears)..BUT I do love the fake metal lookalike/wannabe chinese style band all around the s4...get it ?

Pretty biased and completely wrong. You forgot more stock memory, more ppi, faster benchmark speeds, better indoor camera, wider aperture, better megapixels on front facing camera, fm transmitter, easier one handed use and if we're using your logic size and battery and SD slot are all preference because not everyone cares

Actually, I highly disagree with your comment that there is "Something for everyone" in form factor. If you just want a slab phone, that's true, but what about those of us who still want physical keyboards? We have little to no options outside of the piece of shit bargin bin crap. What I wouldn't give for a nexus 4/Galaxy S4 slider phone. There is a keyboard case for the GS3, but it's a piece of shit as well. Why can't the developers make quality keyboard cases for their flagships? I would be my note II that it would be a huge success.

I feel your pain, but the reality is that physical keyboards will probably never appear on a top tier phone again. What was the last big selling phone with a physical keyboard, the OG Droid or Epic 4G? That was 3 years ago. You may be hard pressed to find smartphone users between the ages of 20 and 25 who have ever used a device with a physical keyboard. Also, current design demands make it about impossible to implement one. The length of a phone with a 5 inch screen and portrait keyboard would be impossible to handle and store. So, this limits it to a slider. Yet, the thickness required, in addtion to the width and length of the device, would make the phone almost impossible to hold. Heck, even Blackberry has walked away from physical keyboards.

For me the biggest plus for the GS4 is the awesome camera. Every S4 review I read has better things to say about that camera. But I do wish it didn't have Cheesewiz spread all over it.

The biggest thing keeping me from an HTC One is HTC's very poor track record in regards to OS updates on their phones. Incredible 2 and Thunderbolt being the two I'm mostly thinking of. The One isn't coming out of the gate with JB 4.2 and based on my experience with HTC it may not get an upgrade until the end of summer, if then. I love HTC's hardware, their phones are rocks and can take a beating, but I think Samsung has a better chance of keeping up with OS updates.

I wish people would get off of this "it's an increment revision newer therefore it *must* be better" idea when it comes to software. It's clear that HTC put in the time to put out a fully-optimized OS that runs smoothly and does what it's supposed to do, rather than get wrapped up in the newer is better and rush an incomplete, under-optimized piece of junk out the door, which Samsung clearly did. All just to check the box for "latest version of Android."

So what are you missing without 4.2?
Lock-screen widgets? I personally can't stand how they're implemented in stock, and think Sense 5 does a much better job handling the lockscreen.
Drop-down quick-settings? Valid point, but easily implemented by any number of free widgets in the play store.

That said, word is that HTC will be releasing a 4.2 update fairly soon anyway.

It may be an incremental version update but for me it was a major improvement in the user experience (on my ASUS tablet). Lock-screen widgets? Hell yes, that's some cool shit. Drop-down quick settings? Yes, please. And why should I have to add widgets from the play store to do what the OS that should be on the phone does natively?

LMAO @ HTC releasing a 4.2 update fairly soon. I've heard that kind of crap from HTC before. If a company consistently promises updates that either never appear or don't appear for months (or even a year after the promised timeline) why should we start to believe them now?

You kinda missed the overall point I was trying to make. I'll grant you that comparing base-to-base, 4.2 is an overall better experience than 4.1. However, you can't extend that statement to make any sort of blanket claim that 4.2 > 4.1 across the board - it all comes down to how it's executed by the OEM.

It's clear, in this case, that HTC did a much better job in optimizing their OS than Samsung, nevermind that the Android base is one increment behind. The only fault I give HTC as that they went one step too far in their de-bloating efforts by removing the quick-settings that were in earlier versions of Sense.

No, I got your point, I just don't necessarily agree with it in this case. But I haven't had an HTC One in my hands to judge how they've optimized the OS so I won't try to argue that one. But 4.2 is better than 4.1, and it isn't like HTC hasn't had 6 months or more to work out any bugs it may have with their phone.

And I certainly won't argue that TouchWiz is better than anything. From my (admittedly limited)experiences with all three I probably find MotoBlur least offensive. I greatly prefer a pure Android experience myself, but being stuck on Verizon for now I don't have a lot of options along that line.

I agree with this. Yes it's nice when it ships with newest version, but there's very little functionality difference between the two. Quick settings is nice and I do want that, but that's hardly at the top of my list when deciding among phones.

I'm afraid I would have to take away more points for the lack of a removable battery, and expandable storage.

My S4 has a 64G card packed with 50G of music (over 5,000 songs at a high bit rate that sounds awesome), videos and pictures with storage left over. The HTC with 16G max is way too small for me.

My S4 has a 64G card packed with 50G of music (over 5,000 songs at a high bit rate that sounds awesome), videos and pictures with storage left over. The HTC with 16G max is way too small for me.

Agreed...that's why my HTC One has 32GB.

I've never once needed to swap out my battery in my Photon 4G or my HTC One, nor my wife's GS3, or my son's GS3...it just isn't a necessary feature for the vast majority of users.

It just isn't something that I need as a feature any longer.

That said...I completely get why someone who is a super heavy user would need to have the option.

My HTC One comes with Spotify and ish loads of space for apps, dropbox, and an owner who lives in an on demand world of streaming content with no need for removable storage.

So Phil can you please please post a best Android tablet article too this week? I'm looking at picking up a new 10" tablet and can't really figure out what's best. Also leaning towards a Surface RT tablet.
I've tried lots of 7" but never been satisfied cept for the Kindle Fire HD 7" but not the 8.9 (which was sluggish and not a good performer 4g-wise).
Gracias Phil and crew!

I hate these types of "Best phone you can buy" articles as they're entirely subjective and just bring out the fan boys in the comments that quickly devolve into mindless crap. That and it's more or less click bait. If you're basing your phone purchase off such articles, I feel bad for you. :(

HTC made a completely New phone and work hard on it.Samsung just made quick phone without hard work just upgrade from the Samsung s3. anyone can tell that the s4 is just an upgrade no hard work was put into it

Really? i can agree with you from a pure design aspect as the thing looks near identical to the old one.
but fitting in a new processor, larger camera sensor, larger screen, and larger battery into something that is smaller than the previous generation is not easy to do.

sure, more time and money probably went into the HTC one....but maybe that is HTC's problem....if you put the time and money into a phone, it should blow away the competition and this shouldn't even be a post...everyone should know that phone is the best out there.

that's your opinion for me the htc one is the best phone ever made Htc fixed all past problems there phones had in the Htc one.

There's nothing wrong with tweaking a good design. I actually don't think the design if the GS4 is that bad. Touchwiz on the other hand... yikes. It's just a disaster.

I'm not saying that it means anything.. but The "ONE" is the first android phone to pull me away from iOS, and WP7/8 and keep me happy. I have returned galaxy's, and Nokia's, and other HTC's but the "One" kept me, and as a result my Iphone 5 was sold on Ebay.

So at least for me.. in the US.. I agree with the choice.

I do kinda wish I waited for the black one though.

Agreed. I've been a long time iPhone user who has trird Android devices in the past but often found them lacking in one aspect or another and I always went back to the iPhone. It's true I've only had the HTC One for a couple days now but I can I tell you my experience is so much better than what I've had in prior attempts with android.

"But what landed the Galaxy S4 as our No. 2 is the laggy user interface -- we've experienced delays and stutters on a number of versions of the phone"

Makes me wonder if either A) you're doing something weird with the phone or B) just not being honest. My S4 has never lagged.

fan boys sell there soul and lie to them self. there is millions of reviews/comments all over the internet of people who experienced Lag with the s4 and returned. so they all lying and your right ha?

Sprint here and my S4 lags like a little b*tch when my "One" gets near it. Oh wait....it lags and stutters...I'm sorry I didn't clarify at first....

"Their" soul; "There are" millions; "So, they are" all lying; "You're" right; And, "Huh?"

If you want people to take your arguments seriously, you might consider proofreading, and tightening up your language. Oh, and for the love of all things Holy, learn to use your shift key.

They are videos showing the lag on the lock screen when you swipe to unlock and when swiping homes screens the pages stutter . Also opening apps are a bit sluggish. If you disable some of the bloat touchwiz features the phone will run smoother and Samsung has promised to resolve the lack of internal storage (8.66gb) out of its original 16gb and remove the lag in an update soon.

I don't have lag when using the lock screen or swiping home screens, no pages stutter.

Opening apps is not sluggish.

I think you made up the videos showing all of that.

probably an LG widget would be my guess. check out system info widget. it gives the available RAM....not sure how accurate it is because it hasn't been updated in about 12 years, but its an option....lol

The aluminum of the One is great, but the software is fantastic and worthy of note too. It is the thing that made me choose the One over the S4 more than the build quality of the phone. The S4 is a well built phone. But the ugly out-dated user interface of the S4 is something I could not take. The One's Sense 5 interface is beautiful, well designed, modern. The built in productivity apps are nicer, better integrated, and prettier to look at and use. The One is much more than a "hot body." It's got a beautiful mind to go with it. :)

Yeah I'm surprised the built-in apps for the One don't get mentioned more. The messaging and contacts apps are way better than Touchwiz, not to mention the built-in tasks and stocks apps are really nice as well.

I don't get it....I really don't. Samsung is by far the better product and these HTC One fans are actually saying it's a better product???!?!?! How???? I won't even begin to repeat what everybody knows product features and the like......go figure.

opinions are opinions. while a agree the S4 is the superior device this time around, I'm not going to "bash" others for thinking the ONE is the better device....because for them, it probably is.

that the great thing about being human and using android phones...we have choices, and we have opinions....and they can vary from one person to the next and we shouldn't be ridiculed for our decisions.

All I had before my HTC One was Samsung. I have never had a case. I love the feel of the One over the S4. The speakers as a heart plus. What got me over the the One was features I would use. I felt I would use more of the features of the One then the S4.

I don't get it, I like the HTC One but how can it be the best when the S4 sold more units? Not to mention there is no SD card slot and the battery is not removable. Also a smaller battery then the S4 and the Note 2? Now I know the sound is the best, and a better build quality because it feels solid in your hands but that's about it for me. I still give the edge to the S4 and the Note 2 but thats just me. Maybe the Note 2 is not included because its a Phablet but with the many features, I can't see how the HTC is #1. I know its new but the S4 is newer and has sold more this year and even came out later then the One. I am just saying? Don't get me wrong, I am a HTC fan and love HTC phones but I look at sales and features and Samsung have them beat


If Sales were the only measuring stick, you'd be correct. However, based on that argument, a Toyota Camry is a better car than a Ferrari 458...b/c the Camry sold more...(I'm not equating a Ferrari 458 to an HTC One btw.)

Sales doesn't always = 'Best', only 'Most'.

But this article is an Opinion piece...so your criteria my differ yielding a different result of what phone is your personal 'Best'.

I personally couldn't have the GS4, TouchWiz is not for me...and I don't want a Phablet...I left my Stylus back in 2004 with my PocketPC HP Jornada (or did I have a Handspring Visor then?)...and I don't care to find another one.

Usually I would say your analogy works, but in this case the phones are about the same price (I wish a Ferrari 458 were the same price as a Camry lol). Personally, I have the Note 2 and neither one is so good that I feel I need to upgrade. Someone asked about the size of my phone today and said that he bought the smallest phone he could though I am happy with a larger phone for my larger hands so everyone has a preference to size. But the Sense 5.0 seems to be a lot better than Sense on my EVO LTE. I also replaced Touchwiz quickly with Nova to get that stock feel while maintaining all of the awesome features...mainly S Note which replaced my notebook in the gym and it's great for quick notes too.

I think that the S4 is better as far as features (including microSD and removable battery) and the HTC One has that amazing screen, speakers, and aesthetics but I would choose the S4 over the One. I had the EVO 4G and EVO LTE and feel kinda burnt out on the lagginess that I experienced on both. I'm glad HTC lightened the load of Sense 5.0 though. Either way, both seem to be awesome phones for people who are looking for different things.

I'm missing the Note 2 love. I love how the S Pen is completely dismissed whenever they start talking LG. It at least deserved honorable mention. There is no other phone on the market that could draw me away from my Note 2.

"sammy" fan boys...when apple was selling millions of iphons you were all crying and defending "sammy" saying ooohhh number mean nothing... AND NOW ??? WHAT HAS CHANGED NOW YOU BRAINLESSS TROLLLLLSSSS..ups sorry..control yrself mike..

i get all crancky around stupid comments..

Numbers mean nothing in the sense of the particular device at launch.

However, those numbers came from a base that Samsung built up, much like Apple, due to releasing good products/service before.

I am a happy S3 owner and went with S4. They made it easy for me as I am on Verizon and HTC One is not yet available for Verizon.

One can't go wrong with either device. The tradeoff is metal body and front facing stereo speakers on HTC one to removeable battery and SD card on S4. Pick what is more important to you.

Don't go by the reviews. They are just personal opinions of someone. It's YOU who would be using YOUR phone! Choose what matters to you.

What I don't understand why people would want a phone that you can NOT remove the battery OR add additional memory space. Personally, those two or either of of those. I will NOT get the phone. I need to add space and after a while ALL battery's go to shit. Or for heavy users, we buy our own battery's that are 2'x or 3x as strong and last a few days. Apps in the Android market are always getting bigger. Within a few years, 1080P will replace 720P and 4k will be the 1080P. SO I imagine 4k Movies and shows ect. will be quite bigger in MB/GB than SD/HD. 16Gb or 32GB doesn't cut it. They have already created the 500GB and 1Tb MicroSD cards. But those won't be out in existence for us to use for a year or two. I was thinking of getting the HTC one till I found out you can't remove it's battery nor add space. But this is just my opinion on the matter. GS4> HTC One.

you didn't say that when the iphone first came out and you had the iphone in your hands years ago. shut it

Well people like me don't understand why people like you insist on a removable battery and expansion slot. So I guess we're at a stalemate

In a year or a year and a half when the battery fails on you, it'll be trouble.
Why? HTC doesn't have something like Apple Care where you'll get it fixed.

I personally don't care much about removable storage though.

146 total comments... 130 or so of which are butt hurt Samsung owners. No one said your phone was crap, congrats for loving your S4 more than anything on the planet, but this time something else gets the nod. Competition breeds innovation!

I've read your arguments for both devices..(Even a few Tender Nerved N4 owners..)

Now.. here are the FACTS..
The S4 uses 2 Gigs of DDR 3 RAM..
The One uses 2 Gigs of DDR *2* RAM..

The S4 with the higher clocked Snap 600 should be the faster (Lag Free) Phone.

The reason it's not is simple..
All this Cool 2013 Tech.. (And yes, it's damn cool) and Sammy YOU KEPT THE RAM AT ONLY 2 GIGS!!!

You are already correcting this mistake in the Galaxy Note 3.. which is rumored to have either 3 or 4 Gigs of RAM..

Turn off all the High Tech features on the S4, and WaLa! No More Lag.. You can't have S-Health, Eye Monitoring, Split Screens and whatever other options all turned on and expect there not to be lag using the same amount of RAM the 2012 phones had with all these cool new features enabled at the same time 2 Gigs of RAM just ain't enough to compensate Sammy..

And Sammy.. Really? 9 Gigs of storage available for consumer use?

Sammy, most of these folks don't have a clue on how to Root & Rom so they can take advantage of moving High End Games / Apps to the SD Card.. Please with the Galaxy Note 3.. Correct this.. 32 / 64 / 128 Storage options only.. Leave the 16 Gigs of Storage to the Mid-Line Phones.