12 best Android phones to gift for Christmas 2013: Android phone gift buyer’s guide

Galaxy Note 3 vs Xperia Z1 thumb thumb160 - 12 best Android phones to gift for Christmas 2013: Android phone gift buyer's guideBuying a smartphone for someone can be tricky. A phone is about the most personal piece of tech anyone can use, and you need to take into consideration the network that person uses, the platform of their current handset and so on. If the person for whom you are buying is – for instance – a BlackBerry or iPhone user, they may have apps and media tied into those platforms. Moving to Android could cost them money – are you sure it is an Android phone they want? Also, remember that Android is a very fragmented market. Not all Androids are made equal, and different phones have different versions of the operating system.

Here then, in no particular order, are 12 Android phones worth considering this Christmas.

1.Huawei Ascend Y300
Quite simple a budget smartphone that performs everything at the £100 inc VAT price point. It does the basics well with Android 4.1 software with usable battery life at an incredibly low price. For the money, it’s one of the best budget smartphone choices around.

2.ZTE Blade 3
Drop down to £79 and you can pick up this stylish and well-built handset for a true budget price. The Huawei offers better performance, but costs more. Your choice.

3.Motorola MotoSmart
Our final budget smartphone choice is the MotoSmart. It also costs £100 and gets the basics right. We’d probably pick the Huawei given a straight choice, but the Motorola will be a good Christmas gift for any first-time smartphone owners.

4.Samsung Galaxy S4
The Galaxy S4 is a great phone with outstanding hardware and performance. At £500 it’s far from cheap, but those who like it love it.

5.Sony Xperia Z
The £520 Xperia Z is the first smartphone which Sony has really nailed. We love the stylish, desirable and rugged design. The combination of excellent performance, a stunning screen and great cameras make the Xperia Z a force to be reckoned with. There is very little to say about this phone that is negative.

6.Samsung Galaxy Note 3
We’re not sure you need all the extra features that Samsung packs in to this £599 handset, and we could live without the S Pen. And not everyone needs or wants a smartphone with a 6in display. Neither is the camera all that great. But be in no doubt about it, the Galaxy Note 3 is a high-quality portable device, offering the best performance we’ve ever seen, a stunning screen and nice build quality.

7.HTC One
Spend £449 and you can get this handset. The HTC One is up there with the very best smartphones on the market today. It has superb performance, and excellent build quality spoiled only slightly by running hot in use. You can’t fault the feature set, and it matches the other high-end products in terms of price. In terms of audio and visual output it is unsurpassed. The interface might be an acquired taste for some, and we weren’t overly impressed with the camera.

8.Sony Xperia Z1
Or shell out £599 for the Z1. Sony has upgraded its fantastic Xperia Z. The Xperia Z1 feels nicer but is unfortunately bigger and heavier. It’s a powerhouse with an all-round impressive specification. Easily one of the best Android handsets around but the high price tag taints this slightly.

9.LG G2
LG G2 in hand - 12 best Android phones to gift for Christmas 2013: Android phone gift buyer's guideLG G2LG has trumped the competition with the G2, at £349 our current Best Buy. The phone offers a combination of value for money with high-end features which we haven’t seen from rival flagship devices. A great specification combined with impressive design and handy software features mean there’s very little to dislike about this handset – only really the lack of a microSD card slot.

10. HTC One X+
With a newer version of Android, fixed build quality issues and significantly increased battery life, the £450 One X+ is a polished and honed version of its predecessor. It’s now an even better all-round quality smartphone with a reasonable price tag.

11. Huawei Ascend P6
Huawei Ascend P6 black thumb - 12 best Android phones to gift for Christmas 2013: Android phone gift buyer's guideHUAWEI Ascend P6The £309 Huawei Ascend P6 is a fantastic and desirable smartphone, whether it’s an iPhone copy or not. It provides real value for money even if it is lacking NFC and 4G support. We particularly like the cameras and the customisable user interface.

12. HTC One mini
The £379 HTC One mini isn’t as good as the HTC One. Its performance is decent but not spectacular, and the addition of a layer of plastic has removed some of the original’s chic. But this is a very strong handset at a decent price. Well worth a look.

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