If folks on your holiday shopping list are lucky enough to be getting new smartphones, their timing couldn’t be better. The best smartphones 2013 has to offer are miles above what was available last year. And the best smartphones last year were pretty good, so that’s saying something.
Technology is just moving that fast, with both Apple (AAPL) and Samsung (SSNLF) forcing everyone else to not only compete on technology, but on product design as well. The result is a crop of new smartphones that shines.
There is no bad choice among this group, but if you’re trying to decide on the best smartphones to buy for your specific situation, there are a few variables you should consider in addition to the hardware.
For example, does the recipient have a strong OS preference? If so, buying a new Apple iPhone for a Google (GOOG) Android fanatic is probably not a good idea, no matter how good that shiny gold iPhone 5S looks. Carrier also plays a role. The best smartphones are supported by all the carriers, but some might be offering deals or exclusive colors.
It was tough to pick the top new smartphones, as there are plenty of worthy options like the LG G2, Sony (SNE) Xperia Z and even the BlackBerry (BBRY) Q10 (for QWERTY keyboard diehards). But only five could make the cut as the best smartphones 2013 has. We can’t make the choice for you, but we can at least help to narrow it down.