What's in the running for Phone of the Year at the T3 Awards?
3rd Oct 2013 | 11:30
TechRadar's team give their shortlist thoughts
Phone of the year is one of the most sought after awards at the T3 Awards each year, and with TechRadar in charge of handing over the trophy, we thought we'd run through which of 2013's handsets are in the running.
Ford SYNC presents the T3 Awards 2013 and the lineup of phones is a veritable who's who in the current hierarchy, with Apple and Samsung's rivalry propped up by the brilliance of HTC, the fascinating world of Nokia and the backdrop of Sony's long-awaited resurgence and BlackBerry's sad decline.
But at its heart, the award is all about the actual handsets. So we asked TechRadar's phone guru Gareth Beavis, mobiles staff writer John McCann, as well as some guest comments from the rest of the team their thoughts on the six shortlist contenders.
Apple iPhone 5
TechRadar iPhone 5 review: 4.5 stars
T3 judge and TechRadar's Editor-in-chief UK Patrick Goss: "It's become almost too easy to criticise Apple's iPhones as innovation slows and debacles like Apple maps add a faint patina of tarnish to the brand's reputation, but this was (and still is) a gorgeous phone. Light, fully featured and just a little bit taller - the arrival of iOS 7 recently has made it even better."
TechRadar staff writer Hugh Langley: "The iPhone 5 is an obvious contender for 2013's best phone. It was a smart evolution for the series and the bigger screen was more than welcome. While it made iOS 6 feel a little dated at first, iOS 7 has turned the iPhone 5 into what feels like a completely new handset that's more intuitive than ever. Most importantly, it's an absolute joy to use."
TechRadar HTC One review: Five stars
TechRadar phones editor UK Gareth Beavis: "The HTC One is a phone that defies all expectations through a clever camera, amazing sound quality as well as the best-designed smartphone out there. Add to that industry leading specs and cool content discovery and there's no surprise when you learn the HTC One is already our phone of the year, and competing in the T3 Awards for their accolade."
Patrick Goss: This is a beautiful phone and it's not a coincidence that it sits proudly at the top of our 20 best phones on the planet list. Wonderful construction, sweet, sweet Android and, eventually, an improvement to the early battery life woes proved to the world that it wasn't just Apple and Samsung who could wow us with flagship phones.
Nokia Lumia 925
TechRadar Nokia Lumia 925 review: Four stars
TechRadar UK phones writer John McCann: "Windows Phone is still finding its feet in the mobile market, but Nokia's Lumia 925 is the best smartphone currently on the market running WP8. It's metal chassis gives it a solid, premium look and feel, plus the camera on the back is great for low-light snaps. We're still not sold on the Windows OS yet though - both iOS and Android offer more."
Patrick Goss: "I'm coming to the conclusion that it's time to stop patronising Nokia and Windows Phone for being an okay third option and start beating them with a big stick labelled 'make a wonderful phone already'. I'm just not that big of a fan of the Lumia 925 and I think it doesn't compare that well with some of the big hitters on this list."
TechRadar BlackBerry Z10 review: 4 stars
John McCann: "The BlackBerry Z10 is the most significant smartphone to come out of the Canadian firm for years - the flagship for the new BB10 operating system the Z10 offers a completely new experience for all users. While it may not be the first phone you think of, the impressive messaging capabilities make this handset a contender."
Hugh Langley: "Did the BlackBerry Z10 deliver the goods as the first BB10 handset? With that 4.2-inch HD display, stylish design and 8MP camera, it would be tough to say no. But as great as it was, it's hard to argue it offered anything special. Which is why it wasn't the phone to save BlackBerry."
Samsung Galaxy S4:
TechRadar Samsung Galaxy S4 review: 4.5 stars
Gareth Beavis: "The Samsung Galaxy S4 takes power to the next level, with a supreme screen, strong camera and solid design. The South Korean firm should be applauded for its bravery too... The reams of innovative new features in board may not all be useful, but at least it's working out what the next big thing will be in smartphones."
TechRadar UK deputy editor Marc Chacksfield: "The Samsung Galaxy S4 is a no-brainer for me. Superior AMOLED screen, sizzling processor, expandable memory, a tie-up with Dropbox and touchless gestures are just a few reasons why it became my phone of choice this year. I do wish Samsung would move away from plastic, though - the chassis is the only thing that lets this superb smartphone down."
Sony Xperia Z1
TechRadar Sony Xperia Z1 review: 4 stars
John McCann: "Supremely powerful and outstandingly specced the Sony Xperia Z1 is, on paper at least, a solid gold winner (It's not gold though, it's black). There are a few niggles with the interface and excessive levels of bloatware, but if you're in the market for a super slim smartphone with 20MP camera and waterproof credentials, look no further."
Gareth Beavis: "The Sony Xperia Z1 is another great step away from the troubled Sony Ericsson venture - and now imbued with all the great tech the Japanese firm has to offer, the Z1 packs an impossible amount of tech into one thin frame. Be it compact camera-level snapping, TV-spec visuals and a simplified UI there's a load of reasons to see this as another moment in Sony's smartphone revolution."