Home 5 Smartphone Alternatives To The iPhone 5S

5 Smartphone Alternatives To The iPhone 5S

Apple is about to drop a new iPhone on the hungry consumer masses. Lots of people will love it, whether it is any good or not. It’s Apple, after all. This is what it does.

But what if you don’t want an iPhone? Turns out you’re in luck. This has been a great year for smartphone buyers, especially those who don’t want an iPhone. Just about every smartphone maker has upped its game in 2013. The screens are brighter, the processors are faster, the gimmicks are more interesting and the features are more functional.

Here are five smartphones that rival the newest iPhone and give consumers some excellent alternatives as they decide what gadget they want in their pockets for the next couple of years.


Why You’ll Like It

HTC is second to none when it comes to industrial design. The HTC One has a full metal unibody case that a short study of potential consumers said they prefer over the Samsung Galaxy S4. It runs Android and runs it well, and has a customized skin/launcher in HTC Sense 5 that does a great job in making the features of the phone shine. Released in April, the HTC One is still probably the best phone launched this year.

Why You Won’t

Unless you’re getting the “Google Nexus” edition of the HTC One, there are some quirks you might not like. First among them is the “Blink Feed,” a news aggregation feed that you can’t get rid of without installing a third-party launcher.

HTC also likes to do odd things with photo sharing with its “Zoe” features in the camera. Then there’s the camera itself. HTC calls the technology behind its camera “ultrapixels,” as opposed to the classic megapixels. The camera works well enough, especially in low-light conditions but it’s not the best smartphone camera on the market this year.

Nokia Lumia 1020

Why You’ll Like It

Speaking of smartphone cameras, the one on the Lumia 1020 is the best of the best. At 41 megapixels, with killer optics and advanced software, the Lumia 1020 camera is awesome in just about every way. If you want a change of pace from the Android and iOS duopoly, the Lumia 1020 runs Windows Phone 8, a respectable operating system that is the epitome of “flat” design with its Hubs & Tiles interface.

Why You Won’t

Outside of the camera, the Lumia 1020 is kind of mediocre. The body is fairly big and the 41-megapixel camera on back creates a bit of a bump. Then there is Windows Phone 8. It’s a decent operating system, but it can sometimes be difficult to find what you’re looking for (like basic settings). In terms of apps, the Windows Phone Marketplace lags both Android’s Google Play store and Apple’s App Store in volume, quality and number of top app publishers using the platform (there’s no official Instagram app, for instance). 

Motorola Moto X

Why You’ll Like It

Calling a smartphone “comfortable” is kind of a weird description. But it’s a word that fits Motorola’s flagship device very well. The Moto X just fits. It fits in your hand, fits in your lifestyle, fits in your pocket. It runs Android and has a proprietary system that Google calls “X8 Mobile Computing System” that runs its advanced Touchless Control voice features, gesture-based controls and Active Notifications system. The Moto X may come from Google and Motorola, but it’s not just another stock Android smartphone. 

Oh, and you can also design what the phone looks like yourself.

Why You Won’t

While the Moto X has some of the best voice controls of any smartphone around, it is not the be-all, end-all of voice interactions. You have to say “OK Google Now” to prompt the system anytime you want to use it. This becomes slightly awkward at the office or in social situations. The camera is good but lags those on the Lumia 1020 and the Galaxy S4. In many ways (except for voice control), the Moto X is second-best to everything else on the market. That still makes for a pretty good smartphone these days, though.

Samsung Galaxy S4

Why You’ll Like It

It’s attractive and functional, has top of the line hardware specifications, a 13-megapixel camera and a replaceable battery. Samsung loves to cook up interesting feature functions and gimmicks such as the ability to wave your hand at the screen to answer the phone or the ability to pause a video you are watching by looking away. The battery life of the Galaxy S4 is probably one of the best available.

Why You Won’t

Samsung tends to go a little overboard with its features. And they don’t always work. Sometimes more is just … well, more. And that’s not necessarily a good thing. Samsung often likes to make things unnecessarily complicated as well, which is in full view with the TouchWiz skin it lays on top of Android. The Galaxy S4 also comes with preloaded apps that are difficult to remove.

LG Optimus G Pro

Why You’ll Like It

Do you like big smartphones? So big that they could almost be called small tablets? The Optimus Pro G is such a device, often referred to as a “phablet.” A 5.5-inch screen makes it a touch smaller than the Galaxy Note 3, but still bordering on ridiculous. It’s a solid, if unspectacular, smartphone.

Its primary differentiator is a feature called QuickMemo that lets you screen capture anything on the smartphone at any time and then write on top of it (with your finger, not a stylus). That is a pretty handy feature, especially if you create a lot of media. If you need a large phone that is fairly simple to use and understand, the Optimus G Pro is as good as bet as any.

Why You Won’t

Well, it’s huge. You’ll look weird talking on it while walking down the street, unless you have a gargantuan head. And the LG Optimus G Pro is uninspired, though functional and solid. 

Honorable Mentions

Galaxy Note 3: Samsung’s latest flagship phablet is a decent upgrade from the Note 2, but still huge and complicated.

BlackBerry Z10/Q10: If you still have a fondness for BlackBerry, the new BlackBerry 10 operating system is a distinct upgrade from its aging predecessor. The Q10 is one of the very few flagship smartphones on the market these days that still features a physical QWERTY keyboard.

iPhone 5: Because it’s still a great smartphone, and it’s about to get cheaper when the iPhone 5S is released. 

Droid Maxx: Probably the last of Motorola’s old product pipeline, the new Droid Maxx has hands down the best battery on the market. Available only at Verizon.

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