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iPhone 5S colours (mock-up)

The summer might still be with us, but the battle for the affection of smartphone users ahead of the busy Christmas period is already hotting up.

LG’s already shown its hand, with other key players all set to do the same over the next couple of months.

So, what are the hottest handsets you should save your pocket money for? Read on and we’ll reveal our pick of the five best.

1 iPhone 5C

iphone 5s dickson

We all know the iPhone 5S is going to lead the line for Apple.

But surely the budget iPhone 5C, heavily rumoured and spotted in a string of spy shots, is more exciting.

It’ll be the first Apple device specifically tailored for the budget(ish) end of the market and Cook and co will be hoping it can lift ailing iPhone sales and bring iOS usage numbers back up.

The iPhone 5C should be getting the official nod at a special Apple event on September 10th.

##2 Samsung Galaxy Note 3

samsung galaxy note 3 sketch 1

Surely the most anticipated of the Android bunch, the Galaxy Note is due to be launched at Samsung’s Unpacked event in Berlin on September 4th.

That’s just a couple of days ahead of the annual IFA gadget fest in the German capital.

The device is expected to pack a massive 5.7-inch display, the latest Android 4.3 software and a slew of Note-optimised apps that’ll work with Sammy’s S-Pen stylus.

Whether there’ll be a Google Play Edition remains to be seen.

3 HTC One Max

HTC One Max press shot leak

It’s appeared in endless blurry shots and now it’s tipped up as an official rendering.

In fact, pretty much everything there is to know about HTC’s beefed-up version of its stunning One flagship phone is already out there.

We’re looking at a Full HD, 5.9-inch screen, the newest edition of HTC Sense over Android Jelly Bean and a quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor.

It’s due to appear at IFA as well, although it’s in danger of being eclipsed by Samsung’s efforts.

4 LG G2

lg g2 slanted

Already official, LG’s new top-end blower is a stunner.

It has a more than ample 5.2-inch display, with a special button configuration which places the volume and power keys round the back instead of one the side.

That makes the screen a more natty edge-to-edge affair. The skinned Android handset will be up for grabs on Three soon.

5 Google Nexus 5

lg nexus 4 large back

Google’s next Nexus remains something of a mystery.

While some suggested the LG G2 would be used as the basis for the next top-end stock Android device, LG has distanced itself from the project and denied working on a follow up to its much loved Nexus 4.

With Google-owned Motorola mooted as its manufacturer, newly released concepts have this week suggested Sony is actually the company behind the Big G’s new phone.

Whoever makes it expect next-gen Android Key Lime Pie and a budget price.

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