Excited about the new iPhone 5S and 5C but also thinking about what else is out there? Before you upgrade to your next iPhone, take a look at the competition. We did the legwork for you and tested 8 other smartphones. On top of new technology and striking design, the other phones -- which operate outside of Apple’s iOS ecosystem -- allow you to easily take your music, contacts, videos, apps and games to various platforms. Shopping for a new phone has never been more fun.
Features: 5-inch HD screen; 13-megapixel camera with fun shooting modes and dedicated settings; LED flash; 4G LTE; Eye-tracking software and gesture control; Watch On app works with built-in infra-red (IR) to control your TV and DVR; S Translator for verbal or written translations in 10 languages
What We Love: Out of the embarrassment of riches you’ll find featured in the S4, our favorites include the One Touch system of buttons which lets you simply find and change your settings, and the optional SWYPE keyboard—which, like a magical spellcheck elf, lets you trace your finger over letters to type words. The Easy Mode is also a great option for anyone who needs help sifting through the phones many options.
What’s Missing: Better speakers! With all this multimedia, we expect better sound.
Features: 4.5-inch display; 41-megapixel camera; Xenon flash; optical stabilization; stereo audio recording for video; sleek, matte design; free voice-guided navigation
What We Love: Did we mention the 41-megapixel camera? Simply the best cameraphone we’ve ever laid hands on, it comes with a dedicated Windows app called Pro Camera which lives on your start screen and promises clear pics in low-light conditions, high-end editing tools and a dual-capture feature which simultaneously takes both a 38 megapixel image for editing and a 5 megapixel picture for instant sharing.
What’s Missing: Though still in early stages, the Windows app store is not yet up to par with iOS and Google Play.
Features: 5.2-inch edge-to-edge HD display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor; 13 megapixel camera; 8x digital zoom; back-panel control design (no buttons on the side or front of the phone); Hi-Fi audio playback; extended battery power
What We Love: You don’t have to take your gloves off to use the touchscreen. We also like the Slide Aside feature, which allows you to swipe three fingers across the display to open the last three apps you‘ve used, while Answer Me automatically lowers the volume of the ring and answers an incoming call once the phone is raised to your ear.
What’s Missing: Though we appreciate the streamlined design of the back buttons, it can be hard to figure out exactly which button is which—especially the power button.
Features: 4.7-inch HD display; 4 megapixel camera; LED flash; ultra-light, premium metal body; dual-speakers with amp and Beats Audio; IR button which also doubles as a home theater remote control
What We Love: The super-slim, all-aluminum body makes the phone a serious looker. We also appreciate the built-in voice recorder and a Kid Mode which will lock your phone and apps in case the little ones get hold of it.
What’s Missing: You can’t get rid of the BlinkFeed news aggregator and though the camera takes good still shots, the 4 megapixel shooter isn’t great for video.
Features: 4.2-inch HD display; 8 megapixel camera; LED flash; no navigation buttons; micro-HDMI port; access to multiple accounts and one unified inbox for business users
What We Love: Finally, Blackberry users get an upgraded design--which touts curved edges and a comfy black plate. The speedy, gesture-driven interface and the virtual keyboard work together to create an efficient business experience.
What’s Missing: The mapping app is underwhelming and the gestures, though neat, do have a learning curve.
Features: 4.7-inch OLED display; 10 megapixel camera; LED flash; thin, rounded body; rubberized back; always-on voice control; Motorola Assist for hands-free driving; Motorola Connect lets you access voicemail, contacts and call info from your desktop
What We Love: The Moto X will be the first and only smartphone made in the U.S, which means you can order it online and it will be at your door in just a few days. That’s important because it can be custom designed on the Moto Maker website, where you can choose from 252 color combinations, accents, wallpapers and even a personalized signature—all at no extra cost. It also takes advantage of its Google parentage with Touchless Controls. Just say, “Ok Google Now” and it will answer your questions or follow your commands.
What’s Missing: Space will be tight on the 16MB version because it has no expandable storage.
Features: 4.5-inch HD display; 8.7 megapixel camera; LED flash; Carl Zeiss optics; curved glass screen; glove-friendly screen; wireless charging; Nokia Drive turn-by-turn voice directions
What We Love: This slick, polycarbonate-clad smartphone feels great in your hand and comes in lively, cheery hues like yellow and red. The screen, which boasts rich, life-like colors, also brightens automatically in sunlight.
What’s Missing: It may be beautifully designed, but watch out for the massive amount of fingerprints the 920 incurs.
Features: 5.5-inch HD screen; 8-megapixel camera; LED flash; quad-core processor for extra speed; digital S-Pen stylus; light sensor; customizable home screens; split-screen, multi-view for viewing more than one app at a time
What We Love: The vast screen makes it more akin to a tablet than a phone, making it a great multi-media companion.
What’s Missing: As much as we love watching video and typing on the larger than life display, it’s not easy to hold in one hand—especially when you want to make calls.