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Top 5 iPhone 5S alternatives

Top 5 iPhone 5S alternatives

There’s an awful a lot to love about the iPhone 5S. But there’s a lot that people aren’t so keen on too.

Problems with iMessage and a divisive new version of Apple's operating system mean that for every person who loves iOS 7, there’s one who preferred iOS 6.

Look no further than our poll to see just how much His Iveness’s meisterwerk has split opinion.

Add to that glitches with gyroscope and compass levels, random reboots, reports that up to 25% of iOS users experience motion sickness due to the software’s whizzy animations and issues with logouts and it’s fair to say not everything is rosy in iPhone 5S land.

The good news is that you’re ready to leave the walled-garden of the iPhone and take a walk on the wilder, less restricted shores of Android and Windows Phone, there are plenty of cool smartphones to choose from.

We’ve corralled the pick of the year’s handset objets de desir right here to help you make your mind up.

1 Google Nexus 5

google nexus 5 large

Google’s range of own-branded Nexus phones are the handsets of choice for connoisseurs. That’s partly because tech heads appreciate that Nexus kits run a stripped-down, vanilla version of Android and aren’t weighed down with novelty features.

But perhaps the main reason Nexus phones score so highly with the tech-savvy fraternity is that they always get new versions of Android first. As if to underline that, the Nexus 5 runs Android 4.4, KitKat, from the get-go, making it the first Android phone to showcase the latest software.

As with the Nexus 4 before it, the fresh addition to the Nexus range is also a whole lot of handset for the money.

For £295 if you buy it contract-free from Google Play or free at £21 per month from Carphone Warehouse, you get a spec sheet that’d grace a top-end smartphone.

Highlights are an eight-megapixel rear-facing camera with a way cool 360-degree panorama mode and a 4.95-inch Full HD IPS 1920×1080 display with 445 ppi that means it’s a huge upgrade from its predecessor in the resolution stakes.

Unlike the Nexus 4, it’s also 4G capable so you can surf the web at superfast speeds and enjoy lightning-fast downloads and buffer-free streaming if you sign up for a 4G contract from the likes of EE, O2, Vodafone or Three.

2 Samsung Galaxy Note 3

samsung galaxy note 3 multi-view

The Note range's big USP is its S-Pen stylus, which has always been handy for scribbling notes and jotting down ideas on the fly.

This time around, though, it’s got a few extra handy functions, including the Scrapbook app that lets you save images, text or videos just by drawing a box around it.

Elsewhere, you get a 5.7-inch Full HD display that means what the Note 3 loses in pocketability it makes up for in media smarts.

The 13-megapixel camera impresses too and shoots video in 4K - that's four times the resolution of standard high definition.

Our hard-to-please testers also singled out the powerful 2.3Ghz quad-core processor, noting that it “shrugs off anything you can throw at it”, whether that’s games, HD video or multi-tasking.

The leatherette finish of the phone’s backplate makes a refreshing change from the plastic and metal materials that dominate the industry. And unlike some other Samsung handsets, it makes what’s a premium phone on the inside looks like a premium phone from the outside.

3 Sony Xperia Z1

sony xperia z1 review 1

The Xperia Z was Sony’s best received phone for ages, hoovering-up rave notices in the tech press like the dog-end years of the company’s ill-fated partnership with Ericsson never happened.

To prove it wasn’t a flash in the pan, the Z1 was even better. Excellent attention to design details, curved edges and an aluminium finish mean this is up there with the HTC One and Jonny Ive’s iPhone vision when it comes to looks.

The 20-megapixel camera, which genuinely rivals the Nokia Lumia 1020’s 41-megapixel snapper, knocked us for six too.

We loved that it’s easy to get good results, with an interface lifted directly from Sony’s SLRs, and the suite of ace photo effects to choose from.

The downside? That'll be the fact that the Xperia Z1 runs Android 4.2 out of the box, which might disappoint the Android hardcore.

But that’s ameliorated by the fact that 4.3 appears to be imminent, as well as the sheer range of apps and games up for grabs at the Android Market and via Sony’s PlayStation and Video Unlimited services.

4 Samsung Galaxy S4

Samsung Galaxy S4 Super AMOLED display

The Samsung Galaxy S4 dropped back in March. That’s six months ago, which is a long time in smartphone years.

Happily for Samsung, though, the S4’s powerhouse spec-sheet (think: five-inch full HD 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution screen, 13-megapixel camera and Snapdragon 600 quad-core processor) means it’s future-proofed for a long time yet.

Less beefy by some distance is the plastic construction, which we don’t mind, but some tech fans found flimsy and cheap-feeling for what’s otherwise every inch a high-end device.

Conversely, the pay-off for using plastic is that it weighs in at just 130g. That’s super-svelte for a phone this size and with the S4’s massive screen.

5 Nokia Lumia 1020

nokia lumia 1020 tri

The Lumia 1020’s undoubted major selling point is its 41-megapixel camera. Its vast sensor, which captures much more light than most snappers manage, teams with manual camera controls and Nokia’s patented PureView tech for switchblade-sharp images. It's the best camera on a smartphone bar none.

So what's the catch? Well, because the Lumia 1020 runs Windows Phone, the trove of apps and games you can choose from isn’t anything like as wide as it is with Android smartphones or the iPhone.

But if you fancy a change from those platforms, the Lumia 1020’s cool live tiles and ability to serve up a constant stream of information to your homescreen make it well worth a look.

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