5 Fab Phones That Rocked our Socks in 2013

You've got to hand it to 2013. This year was chock-full of phones that brought new ideas to the mobile game, including some that fell short of the mark and some that rocketed way past it.

By Evan Dashevsky
Fri, December 13, 2013

IDG News Service — You've got to hand it to 2013. This year was chock-full of phones that brought new ideas to the mobile game, including some that fell short of the mark and some that rocketed way past it.

We saw phones that could breatheunderwater, phones that were curved like potatochips, and a whole bunch of supersized phones that pushed the boundaries of screen dimensions (and possibly good taste).

Aside from the noble experiments and freakish extremes that debuted over the past 12 months, a number of standouts managed to shine brightly among the many,A manyalso-rans.

Here are five of our faves of the year.

Samsung Galaxy S4

The Samsung Galaxy S4 made its public debut with just a pinch of old-school sexism. Thankfully, the phone itself turned out to be a lot more forward-thinking than its introductory party.

While the display on the Galaxy S4 is only slightly larger than that of its predecessor (5 inches versus 4.8), the phone comes packed with beefy, upgraded specs, including a 1.9GHz quad-core Snapdragon 600 processor, 2GB of RAM, and an impressive pixel density of 326 ppi.

Aside from the phone's oh-so-juicy innards, Samsung tossed in all sorts of proprietary bells and whistles, such as the fitness-tracking S Health app and an embedded IR blaster that allows the phone to act as a universal remote. The touch-free Air Gestures functionality allows users to interact with their phone by waving their hand above the screen, all Sorcerer's Apprenticestyle.A

In addition to moving a whole lot of handsets, the hit phone has helped to enshrine the Galaxy brand name, which Samsung has used as a launching point for devices to fillA everyA nichein the market--no matter how completely unnecessary.

HTC One

Following a delayed entry into the United States and Europe, theA HTC One failed to make as large of an impact as the Taiwanese manufacturer's execs may have hoped for. Disappointing sales aside, the HTC One is undoubtedly one of the best Android devices on the market.

The phone's aluminum-encased design makes it one of the sleekest handsets around. But beyond the One's superficial qualities--as impressive as they may be--the phone packs in some powerful specs, such as a 4.7-inch, 468-ppi display and two large front-facing stereo speakers, which make the device the ideal mobile venue for games and video.

Although the One's 4-megapixel camera may not sound impressive, that spec is somewhat deceiving. HTC staked its shooter reputation on its UltraPixel technology, which employs larger pixels on the camera's sensor to capture more light. The result: the ability to capture rich images in low light (without flash), reduced motion blur, and minimal compression.

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