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Apple has ended a year of mixed fortunes on a high, claiming three of the top five best-selling smartphones in November.

The gold edition of the tech giant’s iPhone 5S finished top of uSwitch Tech’s Mobile Tracker for the second consecutive month, helping temper the disapointment of lukewarm reviews for its running mate, the iPhone 5C, and Apple's 9% fall in profits last month.

In at second place in the chart, which measures sales and searches through uSwitch’s sister site Omio’s network of partner sites, was the ageing, but clearly still desirable iPhone 5.

The left Apple’s deadliest rival Samsung trailing at third place with its much newer flagship handset, the Galaxy S4. And nestled at number-four was another Samsung Galaxy effort - the smartphone-tablet half-way house that is the Galaxy Note 3.

iphone 5s gold large

Completing Apple’s top-five takedown was the iPhone 5C, albeit the white variant which has supplanted the green edition in the Mobile Tracker as the colourway of choice for smartphone fanciers.

Ernest Doku, telecoms expert at uSwitch.com, said: “In the run up to Christmas it’s a two-horse race between Apple and Samsung. And each manufacturer will be looking to its flagship device - the iPhone 5S and the Galaxy S4 - to decide who comes out on top.

“Everyone was thinking it, but the market has shown that the price gap between the 5C and the 5 just isn’t wide enough to earn the 5C ‘budget’ nametag.

Doku added: “The status attached to the iPhone 5 and 5S has not translated to their polycarbonate sibling. And with the green iPhone 5C being replaced by the white version, Apple should now be getting the message that its garish colours might not have been a hit with consumers.”

Other handsets to place in the top ten were: 6) iPhone 4 8GB model 7) iPhone 4S 8) Samsung Galaxy S3 16GB 9) Sonx Xperia Z1 10) Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini.

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