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The best new and upcoming smartphones of 2013

We round up the best new and upcoming smartphones of 2013

Smartphones

With the popularity of smartphones ever increasing, we've put together a list of the best new and upcoming smartphones of 2013. Updated on 22/04/13.

Smartphones are most definitely among the top of consumers' most wanted gadget lists, so we've rounded up the best smartphones which have arrived so far this year and what is still to come from the biggest brands.

See also: Group test: what's the best Android phone?

We’ve had some big launches in the first quarter of the year from Sony, HTC and Samsung. And looking forward, there are some exciting things to come from Apple, Google and others.

New smartphones 2013

Sony Xperia Z

The first big smartphone announcement of the year was the Sony Xperia Z which the firm unveiled at CES in Las Vegas back in January. It was the first Full HD phone we'd seen and combined with the stylish glass design which is dust and waterproof, we were impressed.

After a slew of underperforming handsets throughout 2012, Sony has got off to a good start this year - we said "The Xperia Z is the first smartphone which Sony has really nailed." With the amount of competition around it needed to.

Price: £519

Our rating: Rated 9 out of 10

Read our Sony Xperia Z review.


BlackBerry Z10

After a long delay, BlackBerry, formally RIM, launched its BlackBerry Z10 smartphone running the BlackBerry 10 operating system at the end of January. Many have pegged it as the firm's last roll of the dice after dwindling success.

The Z10 is the first BlackBerry with no buttons for navigation whatsoever. Looking distinctly like a plastic iPhone, it only has a 4.2in touchscreen and uses gesture based control. The BlackBerry 10 OS features a combined inbox called the BlackBerry Hub and keyboard which lets you flick suggested words.

Price: £534

Our rating: Rated 7 out of 10

Read our BlackBerry Z10 review.


HTC One

Next up was the HTC One, a confusing name after the One X, One S and other handsets last year. Following in the footsteps of Samsung, HTC decided to announce just before MWC (the big smartphone show in Barcelona) at its own launch event in London.

Like the Xperia Z, it features a Full HD resolution but on a slightly smaller screen. It's the best built Android smartphone we've ever seen with the Sony close behind. HTC took things a different direction with a heavily modified version of Android and an Ultrapixel camera.

Price: £519

Our rating: Rated 9 out of 10

Read our HTC One review.


HTC First 'Facebook phone'

As expected, Mark Zuckerberg unveiled the Facebook Phone in the form of the HTC First. It's the, er, first smartphone to come pre-loaded with the Facebook Home app which take the place of the usual Android homescreen and lockscreen.

The HTC First is a plain looking device with a modest specification – a 4.3in screen, dual-core processor and 5Mp camera. It is cheap, though.

Price: $99 in the US (UK price TBC)

Our rating: Rated 6 out of 10

Read our HTC First review


Samsung Galaxy S4

Like last year, Samsung waited until after MWC to reveal the Galaxy S4. This time it was in New York rather than London. The launch event was a bizarre panto style affair with extra toppings of cheese but it's the phone that's important.

To rival its competitors the Galaxy S4 also has a Full HD display and design wise looks extremely similar to its predecessor, the Galaxy S3. The Galaxy S4 will be the first smartphone with an 8-core processor, but not in the UK unfortunately. Samsung has gone all out on software features including Smart Scroll and Smart Pause.

Price: £629

Our rating: coming soon

See also Samsung Galaxy S4: details, what you need to know

With the main flagship releases of the year covered, let's look forward to what's to come. These are, of course, based on rumours and we can't say for sure whether the handsets will arrive or not – in general they are mostly likely to tip up at some point.

Upcoming smartphones 2013

Apple iPhone 5S/iPhone 6

The iPhone 5 has been around for a few months so naturally thoughts are turning towards the next generation. It's unclear whether Apple will release an iPhone 5S or iPhone 6, or possibly two handsets with rumours of a cheaper plastic model. The iPhone 5S seems the most likely, going by previous generations.

If Apple's tradition endures then the iPhone 5S will use the same physical casing as the iPhone 5 with upgrades to the internal components. If rumours are correct, then Apple could announce the next-gen iPhone as early as this month. If not, we're sure we’ll see a new iPhone at some point this year.

Earliest possible launch date: March

See also iPhone 6 release date: When will Apple's next iPhone arrive?


Samsung Galaxy S4 mini

A likely candidate for this year is a mini version of the Galaxy S4, as Samsung did with the Galaxy S3. This would be smaller, of course, but also more affordable due to less impressive specifications. I decent photo of the Galaxy S4 mini has been leaked.

The Galaxy S4 will supposedly have a 4.3in qHD SuperAMOLED display and a 1.6GHz dual-core processor but the same styling as the flagship Galaxy S4.  It is thought that Samsung will launch the Galaxy S4 mini this summer.

Earliest possible launch date: June

See also Samsung Galaxy S4 mini photos and specs leaked online


Google Nexus 5

Google is firmly in the hardware market now, with some help from its manufacturing partners that is. The LG made Nexus 4 is the firm's current smartphone offering so the next version is believed to be the Nexus 5.

Rumoured specifications include a Full HD screen at either 5in or 5.2in, a 2.3GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor and a camera made by Nikon. We could see the Nexus 5 announced at Google I/O in May along with Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie.

Earliest possible launch date: May

See also Google Nexus 5 release date: When will the new Nexus smartphone arrive?


Motorola X Phone

Things have been pretty quiet on the Motorola front since it was bought by Google. However, rumours of a new flagship 'X Phone' have been circulating. It is tipped to offer customisation over its components or colours and materials so you can 'build your own phone'.

Beyond this there's a lot of mystery with other rumours suggesting it's the name for a number of different smartphones. Rumoured specs include a 4.8in screen, Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 chip and a large 4000mAh battery. Like the Nexus 5, it could tip up at Google I/O in May.

Earliest possible launch date: May

Follow Chris Martin and @PCAdvisor on Twitter.

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