Expert Spotlight - Alex Wagner - 3-6-13

The PhoneDog
Mascot from  Charleston, SC
| March 6, 2013

It's an exciting week for the Official Smartphone Rankings!  We are celebrating a year of voting with an awesome giveaway.  You could be a new owner of the popular Samsung Galaxy Note II just by voting for your favorite smartphone.  The Note II was the #1 smartphone with our experts for another week.  Which device does your vote go to?

Alex Wagner - Senior News Editor for  Follow him on twitter @PhoneDog_Alex.

Apple's iPhone 5 features an attractive hardware design as well as 4G LTE connectivity on AT&T, Sprint and Verizon here in the U.S. The iPhone 5 is also offered on C Spire Wireless and Cricket Wireless. Apple's iOS is starting to show its age, but the quality of apps available in the App Store is high. The iPhone 5 also features an 8-megapixel camera that's one of the better shooters available on a smartphone today.

The Samsung Galaxy S III also makes the cut, packing HSPA+ connectivity on T-Mobile and LTE support for AT&T, Cricket, MetroPCS, Sprint, U.S. Cellular and Verizon. The Galaxy S III has a 720p display and a nice 8-megapixel camera, but it's also got a glossy plastic design that may be a bit of a turn off for some. The AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon versions of the Galaxy S III have been updated to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.

Next on my list is the HTC DROID DNA for Verizon. One headline feature of the DNA is its 5-inch 1920x1080 Super LCD 3 display, which is one of the highest-resolution screens available on a phone in the U.S. right now. That's not the only notable feature of the DNA, though, as it also touts a quad-core processor, 4G LTE and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. However, it doesn't have a microSD card slot for additional storage, and the DNA itself includes just 16GB of storage, meaning that anyone with a large media collection will likely find the DNA bit cramped without a microSD card.

Also in my rankings is the Samsung Galaxy Note II. This phone-tablet hybrid has a pretty impressive spec list, including a 5.5-inch 1280x720 HD Super AMOLED display, 1.6GHz quad-core processor, 4G LTE (except on T-Mobile, which doesn't yet have an LTE network) and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. The Note II's 5.5-inch display can make it a bit too large for some, so anyone interested in the device may want to try one out before pulling the trigger. The Galaxy Note II is available from AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon.

The Nexus 4, the newest handset from Google, has earned a spot on my list. It boasts a 4.7-inch 1280x768 display, quad-core processor and an 8-megapixel camera that's much improved over the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Also included is Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, and the fact that the Nexus 4 will be one of the first devices to get the latest Android updates for some time makes it an attractive phone for fans of the platform. Unfortunately, two features that didn't make the cut are LTE support and a microSD slot (the Nexus 4 comes with 8GB or 16GB built-in storage), which will be a deal breaker for some.