PhoneDog's weekly Expert Spotlight

The PhoneDog
Mascot from  Charleston, SC
| Published: January 25, 2013

With January 2013 fast approaching it's final week, the number of new devices to join the Official Smartphone Rankings this year is still somewhat shocking.  Since CES we have only had two new smartphones become available so all we can hope for is that February will surprise us and offer a much wider selection.  This week's Expert Spotlight includes our new Contributing Editor Chase Bonar along with David Beren and Stefan Etienne.

David Beren - Founder and Managing Editor for  Follow on twitter @tmonews.





Another week, another top five list that appears similar to weeks before. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your point of view, CES didn't do much to excite us for the coming smartphone year. Hopefully, we'll see a huge Mobile World Congress next month with a number of high-profile handset debuts. 

Until then, the Galaxy Note II takes the top spot, thanks to a resurgence this week post CES in the phablet form factor. The combination between a tablet and a smartphone is one that has us wondering if this is the future of the business. Combining a larger screen, but not too large so its considered a tablet allows for numerous possibilities that a smaller form factor won't allow. It also retains the pocket-ability that larger tablets 7' and above won't allow for. Is the Note II and devices like it the future? Who knows, but it's the top phone for us this week. 

The Note II is followed by the iPhone 5, maintaining its stop in the list thanks once again to its incredible hardware partnered with reliable, if older feeling software. There is no question that iOS needs a refresh, but it definitely maintains the same level of stability we've expected since the original debut 5 years ago. 

Following up is the Galaxy S III, Nexus 4 and DROID RAZR MAXX HD, all in the top five for various reasons. The S III continues to be the most popular Android device in the world and for good reason, but we still wonder if Samsung won't start concentrating more on devices like the Note II over the S III. The Nexus 4 continues to be hugely popular, if you can get your hands on it. The MAXX HD hits our top five spot because we're reminded how important battery life as I watched all of my colleagues at CES run through batteries like it was going out of style.



Chase Bonar - Contributing Editor for PhoneDog.comFollow him on twitter @PhoneDog_Chase





In terms of features and usability, the Galaxy S III reigns supreme in my mind. It's the best combination of battery life, screen real estate, and functionality...its successor has large shoes to fill.

The 8X works as needed all the time, feels premium, and that display really makes WP8 look phenomenal. It's a showcase of where the bar is set for WP8 devices.

The DNA is the top dog in terms of specs. It is well rounded if you can deal with physical buttons and an improved, but ever so present skin atop Android. The device might be large, but I've grown accustomed to it and can't stop staring at the attention to detail of the device.

Nokia's Lumia 920 is the Mercedes of phones. That title had previously belonged to HTC. The PureMotion HD+ screen is a close second to the SLCD2 atop the 8X. The colors offered are a plus, too. It's a great overall package if you can deal with the size.

The iPhone 5 is mellow and aged like a fine wine. There's never been a better time in Apple's history to embrace 'Designed in California.' It's the qu

intessential 'as seen on TV' smartphone. Despite a lack of NFC, it's still got very little to prove to its fans.



Stefan Etienne- CEO & Head Editor for   Follow him on twitter @stefanetienne





Every week, same devices, different story: I always recommend the Galaxy Note II. Large screen, immense processing power (quad-core), and the S Pen makes this a productivity machine. 

The iPhone 5 is another great addition to my top 5 list. Popularity, sleek design, tons of apps from the App Store, and LTE on some of America's best wireless carriers. The iPhone 5 has it all -- or at least, most of it. 

The Lumia 920 is a Windows Phone savior. But for how long? No one knows. But it is worth considering.

HTC's DROID DNA is a versatile Verizon smartphone. Is it really an upgrade to yourself? No. But it is an upgrade worth considering, especially if you're into a 'cool' smartphone instead of a just 'powerful' smartphone. The DROID DNA is both.

Google's Nexus 4 is a timid T-Mobile device with the latest base high-end Android specs. It's the geek's phone.