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Welcome to 2013!  As this new year kicks off the Official Smartphone Rankings roll on and so does the Expert Spotlight segment.  This week we are happy to include our new Managing Editor, Taylor Martin, along with Stefan Etienne of LAPTOPMEMO and Anna Scantlin also of PhoneDog Media.

Taylor Martin - Managing Editor for PhoneDog.com.  Follow him on twitter @PhoneDog_Taylor



 

My #1 pick this week, yet again is the Samsung Galaxy Note II. The 5.5-inch display means it isn't necessarily for everyone, but it's the largest display available that will still fit in an average-size pant pocket. Overall, it is the most well-rounded package available – in both software and hardware.

Second is the Google Nexus 4. Specs are decent. It has a 3.7-inch display, 2GB RAM, either 8GB or 16GB of storage, 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro chip and an 8-megapixel camera. The key factor, however, is price. The smaller capacity model sells for just $299. It's a great value for the phone, specially considering it's unlocked and sans contract.

The #3 phone is the HTC One X+. I loved the original One X, but storage was always an issue. HTC rehashed the One X with the One X+ and swapped the 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 for a quad-core Tegra 3 chip and 16GB for 64GB. It also got a small battery bump. It addresses all the outstanding issues with the original One X.

The Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX HD is fourth, due to its giant 3,300mAh battery and near-stock interface. Spec-wise, it's hardly the best phone available. But its stamina is second to none.

Finally, the Apple iPhone 5 is my fifth pick. Design and hardware are great. It's a decent phone all around: camera, battery, display, performance, etc. But the software is aging poorly and is in need of an overhaul. It feels dated and lacks vital functionality for some diehard users.

 


 


 

Stefan Etienne - CEO and Head Editor for Laptopmemo.com.  Follow on twitter @stefanetienne


 

 

The Galaxy Note II on T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T is the best smartphone of the year for Android users who want large screens to watch the latest funny YouTube video or text while watching that video, using Multi-Window. Google Now is an added plus to the already amazing and huge Note II.

The iPhone 5 is your popular choice of smartphone going into the new year. Believe me when I say it's polished, has all the apps you need, and almost nothing you don't. Of course, there's always specifics, but the iPhone has indeed come a long way.

Google's Nexus 4 can only be used on T-Mobile in the States, killing the possibility of using LTE and having great reception, but on its own, it's the best Android phone that isn't from Samsung. It's from LG, if you care about brand image.

Nokia keeps on making Lumias to save their skins, and the Lumia 920 is no different. Hopefully it will hold up to the other devices going into the new year, but you don't want to be uncertain about buying an expensive smartphone, do you? 

The DROID DNA is HTC's take on a large-screened Android handset. It's a good one, actually. Full of Verizon DROID branding, it can do what most other Android 4.1 devices like the Nexus 4 and Note II can do -- isn't that all what a DROID does?

 

 

 




 


 

Anna Scantlin- Intern for PhoneDog.com.  Follow her on twitter @PhoneDog_Anna


 

 

I did a little bit more switching this week. The Galaxy Note II and the Lumia 920 are still my two favorites right now. The Samsung Galaxy S III came back on the list because it's still a really boss phone. Other than that, not much has changed. I'm pretty excited for the coming weeks when BlackBerry 10 comes out; I'm hoping to be able to add some flavor to this list again!


 


 


Don't forget to VOTE! Each week, PhoneDog Fans vote for their #1 smartphone in the Official Smartphone Rankings. Vote now and contribute to the industry's most relevant weekly ranking charts


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