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iPhone 5s vs HTC One vs LG G2 vs Lumia 925 vs Galaxy S4 vs Xperia Z1

By S21, 21 Oct 2013

Back in the Summer we pitched the 4 best smartphones against each other in a fight to the death (the Samsung Galaxy S4 won by a whisker.) But 3 months later, lots has changed, so we're taking a look at the 6 best smartphones you might be tempted to buy this Christmas. We've replaced the iPhone 5 with the new iPhone 5s and the Xperia Z with the Xperia Z1. We've also thrown the LG G2 and Nokia Lumia 925 into the mix just for fun.

Today's best buy: iD Mobile from iD Mobile (£0.00)


Let's start with a quick overview of the 6 contestants:

Apple iPhone 5s
The iPhone 5s. It's such a nice phone. It's the fastest, the most beautiful, has arguably the best OS and one of the best cameras. But in some areas Apple is still playing catch-up, which is why the almost unbelievable price tag makes us think twice before fully endorsing it.
  HTC One
HTC's all-metal 4G Android flagship. Featuring a 1080p display, UltraPixel camera and a quadcore processor.
The LG G2 is a supercharged superphone, but the limited onboard memory and lack of a memory card slot could be a deal-breaker.
  Nokia Lumia 925
The Nokia Lumia 925 is the first Windows Phone 8 superphone, with an 8.7 megapixel PureView camera, a HD+ AMOLED display, and a premium design aluminium body.
Samsung Galaxy S4
A 5 inch 1080p screen, quad-core power, eye-control and touchless interface are just a few of the S4's highlights.
  Sony Xperia Z1
The Sony Xperia Z1 is a serious candidate for the best smartphone in the world. It's big and expensive, but offers a 1080p HD screen, 20 megapixel camera, blazingly fast processor and exceptional battery life.


Let's look at the details next.

Hardware, looks & design

iPhone 5s Available in a choice of gold, silver or space grey, no one would doubt the stunning, restrained elegance of the 5s. We'd rate it as the most beautiful phone in the world. It's also the most compact device here, with an astonishingly slim 7.6mm body. 100%
HTC One HTC has crafted the One from aluminium. Weighing in at 143g, it's no lightweight, and it's the thickest of the six. However, the curved, tapered edges are superslim, so it feels a lot thinner when you hold it. It's most definitely a looker. 90%
LG G2 LG has embraced a minimalist design aesthetic for the G2. With a "near-zero" bezel around the screen and no physical buttons on the front or sides, this is a very sleek phone. Not everyone will like the buttons on the back however. 85%
Lumia 925 The Lumia 925 is a superstrong, slim and lightweight phone that looks and feels premium thanks to its aluminium body. It's slim and the curved edges make it look and feel even thinner. 90%
Galaxy S4 Made of plastic, the S4 has little to boast about when it comes to materials, but it's still solidly built, while being superslim and lightweight. 80%
Xperia Z1 The Sony is another beautiful phone, constructed from two parallel plates of strong tempered glass. A metallic band around the edge looks good and makes the ergonomics of the phone so much better than the Xperia Z. It's a heavy phone, but waterproof! 90%

Screen size & quality

iPhone 5s Measuring 4 inches diagonally, the iPhone 5s has the smallest screen here by a long way. The Retina display isn't even HD. 60%
HTC One The One has a 4.7 inch screen with full 1080p HD resolution. 90%
LG G2 The LG offers the biggest screen here. It's a 5.2 inch display with full 1080p HD resolution. The IPS screen isn't as eye-poppingly bright as the Super AMOLED screen of the Samsung Galaxy S4, but it gives truer colours and nice, wide viewing angles. 95%
Lumia 925 This 4.5 inch screen sits midway between the iPhone and the others. It's a bright Super AMOLED display with 720p HD resolution and a pixel density of 334ppi  80%
Galaxy S4 The AMOLED screen of the S4 measures 5 inches, with full HD resolution. That gives a pixel density of 441 pixels per inch, well ahead of the iPhone's 326 ppi. There's no doubt about it - this is an astonishing screen and one of the device's biggest selling points. 100%
Xperia Z1 The Xperia Z1 has an enormous 5 inch full HD screen. The OptiContrast panel eliminates an air layer, making it the best that can be achieved from LCD technology, but it's not quite as good as the S4. 95%

Operating system

iPhone 5s iOS 7 is arguably the best operating system. Easy to use, with the most apps, it runs flawlessly on the 5s. However, it lacks the customisation options of Android. 95%
HTC One The HTC One now runs Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean with the benefits of HTC Sense 5 and BlinkFeed. 90%
LG G2 The G2 runs the latest release of Jelly Bean 4.2.2. 85%
Lumia 925 The only phone here to run Windows Phone 8, the Lumia has a fun, clean, easy to use OS with a ton of powerful pre-installed apps like Microsoft Office. Third-party apps are thin on the ground however. 80%
Galaxy S4 The S4 ships with Android 4.2 plus a ton of extra features such as eye control and air gesture. 90%
Xperia Z1 The Z1 runs Android 4.2.2 out of the box with some additional apps from Sony. 90%

Hardware specs

iPhone 5s The iPhone's 64 bit A7 chip is the fastest on any smartphone and the built-in memory is 16GB, 32GB or 64GB. The fingerprint sensor is a cool security/novelty feature. 100%
HTC One The HTC One uses a quad-core processor running at 1.7GHz. The built-in storage is either 32GB or 64GB. The twin speakers are an added bonus for music lovers. 90%
LG G2 The G2 is powered by the crazily fast quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor running at 2.26GHz. It just lags behind the iPhone. But the memory is limited to 16GB and there's no expansion slot. 85%
Lumia 925 The Lumia is the slowest phone here, with a dual-core processor making it feel dated. RAM is limited to 1GB. You get 32GB of memory but no memory card slot. 65%
Galaxy S4 The S4 is fast, with a quad-core processor clocked at 1.9GHz. The built-in memory is limited to 16GB but you also get a microSD memory card slot (up to 64GB). 90%
Xperia Z1 The Xperia Z1 also has a quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor running at 2.2GHz. The phone has 16GB built-in with the option of adding a microSD card for up to 64GB more. 95%


iPhone 5s An 8 megapixel camera with touch autofocus, "True Tone"  flash and low light capability, plus a HD front-facing camera. High quality optics make for great shots. 95%
HTC One HTC's UltraPixel camera has excellent low-light performance, but the 4 megapixel resolution can't capture fine details. We like the Zoe moving images though. 85%
LG G2 The G2 has a 13 megapixel camera with a large BSI sensor and optical image stabilisation. 90%
Lumia 925 With an 8.7 megapixel PureView camera and Carl Zeiss Tessar lens, the Nokia captures truly outstanding photos. 1080p video recording and a front HD camera complete the package. 100%
Galaxy S4 The S4 has an excellent 13 megapixel camera with power LED flash, autofocus, face detection, smile shot, digital zoom and full 1080p HD video recording. 95%
Xperia Z1 Sony's Exmos RS sensor has a incredible 20.7 million pixel count, plus HDR (High Dynamic Range) to handle a wider dynamic range of light and shadow. 100%


iPhone 5s You'll be spending £40+/month for the 16GB version, or close to £60/month for the 64GB version! 60%
HTC One Available for £32/month or just under £500 sim free. 90%
LG G2 Available free on contract for £32/month or close to £450 sim free. 90%
Lumia 925 Free on contract for as little as £25/month or £400 sim free. 100%
Galaxy S4 The S4 is available for just over £30/month or £550 sim free. 90%
Xperia Z1 The Sony will cost you £37/month on a free contract, or around £550 sim free. 80%


So, here are the scores:

The winner this time is the Sony Xperia Z1, thanks to its stunning looks, superfast processor and incredible 20.7 megapixel camera. Knocked into second by just one point is the monster-selling Samsung Galaxy S4, thanks to its incredible screen and hardware. The HTC One comes in a close third, benefiting from its stylish looks and strong all-round performance. The LG G2 performs well and is just in 4th place.

Bringing up the rear are the Nokia Lumia 925, which offers exceptional value for money and a top quality camera, but just can't keep up with the Android pack. In last place comes the iPhone 5s, which despite its gorgeous looks and simply stunning hardware, is phenomenally expensive and just doesn't offer the same kind of screen that its competitors deliver.

But remember - there's no such thing as the perfect phone. What's right for one person will be wrong for another. Use our handy guide to choose the phone that's best for you, but be sure to read our detailed reviews and user reviews before buying - a superphone is an expensive purchase!

By the way, both the HTC One and the iPhone 5s have been rated at 5 stars by our users, so go figure!

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Comment by Bob from Scotland on 9th Feb 2014
What a surprise you ranked the iPhone last. Absolutely no one saw that coming.

Comment by ACB from Nigeria on 5th Jan 2014
It is well when you come with these comparisons. I have been in love with HTC but since my sons found out about Sony, you have made me a reluctant convert. Thanks though.

Comment by Dabs from USA on 29th Dec 2013
Well now I am really undecided.. Might as well wait until March/April to see what what new options are released on these super phones if any.. Right now I think the HTC ONE or the Samsung 4S could be the best one for me?? Dabs...

Comment by WinChu from Saudi Arabia on 24th Nov 2013
I was not an LG fan but now yes I am, since I own LG G2.

Comment by Qtp from India on 22nd Oct 2013
Thanks s21. I am of to buy Sony Xperia Z1 !! Cheers :-)

Comment by Bobby L from England on 21st Oct 2013
Im glad the Z1 was first! I was stuck between the LG G2 and the Xperia Z1 but, thanks to you guys again, i now know which is the best choice not only out of those two, but out of all the main competitores!!

Reply by S21 from UK on 22nd Oct 2013
Bobby, the real purpose of the comparison is not to rank the phones in order, but to show the differences between the phones. The Z1 isn't necessarily the best for everyone - it depends what you're looking for in a phone.

Comment by Kevin from United Kingdom on 21st Oct 2013
The Xperia Z1 shouldn't of been included, the normal Z should of been seeing as that was Sony's flagship for this year!

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