By Anton D. Nagy | December 18, 2013 3:42 AM
We’re slowly leaving another year behind us, and what a year 2013 was!
We couldn’t have asked for more, yet, we’re excitedly looking forward to seeing what 2014 will bring, and we know it’s going to be even better. Smartphones, tablets, phablets, curved screens, convertibles, fingerprint readers, acquisitions, companies rising, falling, and I’ve just realized I could fill the entire page with keywords descriptive for 2013.
It’s a Pocketnow tradition to look back, every year end, at what happened, good or bad, and, of course, forward, to what we think we can foresee for the year to come. We’ll have recaps for 2013 and predictions for 2014, of course with an Editorial twist, of what the team considers worthy of mentioning.
We’ll have something for everyone! Every day this week, expect a new piece gathering the thoughts of our team members regarding the topic at hand. We’re continuing the series with best devices in 2013, and here’s what the Pocketnow team members think:
“2013 was a great year for mobile technology”
Samsung dialed up the specs and pushed the envelope in the RAM and processor department, Nokia took camera technology to 11, and LG introduced the flexible phone.
Being the Windows Phone fan that I am, for the best device, I’m going to go with the Nokia Lumia 1020 as the best device of 2013. The Lumia 1020 finally brought the true PureView experience that people have been clamoring for to the masses.
41 juicy megapixels that literally redefine what is possible in smartphone camera tech. That’s a whole lot of win in my book. Now if only Microsoft could come up with a nice 41 megapixel olive branch to Google.
“The best smartphone of 2013 has to be the Nokia Lumia 1020″
For me, one of the best devices of 2013 was definitely the Microsoft Surface Pro tablet. I bought it at the beginning of 2013 the morning it was released at the Microsoft Store during a snowstorm. Throughout 2013 I used it for all of my mobile computing needs. After some driver updates, it was a master of Photoshop, and I could easily plug-in any camera to drag/drop 1080p video files into Premiere Pro for instant editing. Then, back at home on the couch, it worked just as well as any consumer tablet for casual web browsing, touch-friendly games, and some Xbox Smartglass.
The best smartphone of 2013 has to be the Nokia Lumia 1020. Sure, everyone else has iPhones, but where ever I went when carrying the Lumia 1020, people recognized it and wanted to know more about it. Of course the big deal with the Lumia 1020 was its ridiculously awesome image quality, but there are plenty of other innovative aspects of that phone that really make it shine.
Anton D. Nagy
“For me, it’s the Samsung Galaxy S 4″
Using, writing and talking about multiple devices, makes it more difficult to select a winner, compared to those who decide to grab a gadget, actually spend money, and stick with it for at least a year or two. I’ve changed my mind several times about my top device for 2013, and I think I have a winner. For me, it’s the Samsung Galaxy S 4 — granted, I’m among the few using the octa-core version. Would it have been my top choice if I had the Snapdragon variant? We’ll never find out. While I don’t care about removable batteries and expandable storage, the GS4 is fast, snappy, and has a good camera.
The only reason I picked the GS4 over the HTC One (I was heavily vacillating between the two) is the One’s awful camera, at least according to my tastes and perception. Sure it looks and sounds better, but I find myself taking more pictures than listening to music using the phone’s loudspeakers (or than looking at it).
…and since we all know I’m a camera aficionado, I can’t help it: the Nokia Lumia 1020 is a masterpiece from all points of view, except Windows Phone… While I do carry it as one of my daily drivers, I often find myself clenching my teeth because of the things I can not do on Microsoft’s platform.
Disclaimer: I stopped using tablets. However, I’ve got to hand it to both Apple and Google/LG, for the iPad mini with Retina Display and the Nexus 7 (2013).
“I think Apple did a really nice job with their new iPads”
I think Apple did a really nice job with their new iPads.
The iPad Air is a marvel of engineering, and the iPad Mini with Retina Display just might be my perfect tablet for now.
I’d also give the HTC One an honorable mention.
Even a year after its release, it’s still one of the fastest, nicest-looking devices available. Too bad the camera is awful.
“We had a ton of great products, but each with a caveat”
This is a tough one. We had a ton of great products, but each with a caveat.
One of the best selling devices in 2013 is the iPhone 5s, and it would easily win my prize as the most boring update. I do love Touch ID, but I still find my old iPhone 5 to be more stable than the iPhone 5s.
I do admit that I loved my time with the LG G2, and that I am enjoying the Galaxy Note 3, but each of them needs a software revamp.
When it comes to tablets, I do admit the iPad Air has kept me great company, but iOS 7 needs better enhancements toward the tablet UI. Bottom line, I can’t wait for 2014. All of these were solid steps, but in need of more polish.
“The best device in 2013 was Google’s Nexus 5″
Hands down, the best device in 2013 was Google’s Nexus 5.
Packing in a quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor clocked at 2.3GHz and up to 32GB of storage for less than US$400 was nothing short of amazing.
Well done Google!
“My vote for best device of 2013 goes, in part, to Motorola’s outstanding Moto X”
I touch on this a bit in my prediction piece for the forthcoming winners of 2014, but my vote for best device of 2013 goes, in part, to Motorola’s outstanding Moto X. I know the amount of love heaped on this device is confusing to a lot of spec freaks out there … but that’s exactly why it’s such an important device. With the Moto X, Motorola shifted the conversation from the unimportant specifications race to answering the question “now what do we do with all this processing power?” The answer, a smartphone that delivers an excellent overall experience through a potent hardware/software combination, is in my opinion the best thing to happen to Android in a long time.
But there’s more than one device in this category deserving of plaudits. In my mind, the Moto X is tied with another platform’s flagship for the “best of” slot: the Nokia Lumia 1020. The “warthog” isn’t just the best cameraphone on the market today; to my eye, it’s the most compelling Windows Phone ever produced. For a platform as desperate for mainstream attention as Microsoft’s, even a small win deserves celebration – and the 1020 is in no respect “small.”
Chief News Editor
“The one phone I actually spent money on this year, the Nexus 5″
I suppose it would be hypocritical not to name the one phone I actually spent money on this year, the Nexus 5. It is what it is, but while I’m largely satisfied with the hardware, there are just a few software idiosyncrasies that I could do without.
Both the Moto X and Moto G are awesome in spite of “meager” hardware, and I wouldn’t kick either out of bed for eating crackers.
On other platforms, Apple absolutely nailed the iPhone 5S, and even for an “off year” flagship, I’m still very impressed.
“I’ve narrowed it down to four total devices in two categories”
This is a tough call, so I’ve narrowed it down to four total devices in two categories.
For smartphones, it’s the Nexus 5 and Moto X. Are they the best of the best? Far from it, especially on paper. The Nexus 5 has some glaring flaws, and the Moto X was never meant to be a superphone. But the second half of 2013 has been all about value. And when you’re talking value, you get the best bang for your buck with the Nexus 5 and Moto X. Period.
In the tablet market, value is also very important. That’s why I chose the Nexus 7 and iPad mini with Retina display. The Nexus 7 is a fantastic tablet at a fantastic price. The new iPad mini has all the same value as the iPad Air – which received the highest score we’ve ever given a tablet – for $100 less. For a more in-depth look at both of these, you can read my reviews on them.
The Pocketnow Reader
“What are your best devices in 2013?”
We couldn’t have had more contrasting opinions, and that’s one of the main characteristics of Pocketnow: diversity.
Let us know of your thoughts in the comments below. Upvote your favorites and we’ll update this post to reflect your best devices in 2013. Top three upvoted devices, platforms, OEMs, will make it here, you know, for posterity!