The top five best-selling smartphones [Updated]

by , Technology Researcher Phones 19/11/2013
Nokia Lumia 1020

Sometimes only the best phone will do when you’re looking to upgrade your mobile, but which one should you pick? Apple’s iPhone 5s is the best-selling handset on the market, having shifted millions of units in its first week of sale.

With contracts for the iPhone 5s starting from around £42 per month, there are several excellent mobile alternatives. From the Samsung Galaxy S4 to the Google Nexus 5, we list the top five flagship phones and how much they cost on contract.

How to buy the best mobile phone – our expert guide

HTC One – free from £29 per month


With a powerful quad-core processor and 2GB of Ram, the HTC One Android handset packs in more than enough power to handle any smartphone task you can imagine. Its aluminium casing gives it a premium feel – especially when compared to those phones with a plastic finish - and its 4.7-inch Full HD screen makes it a great choice for watching movies on the go.

The HTC One runs on the Android OS, though HTC has overlaid it with its own Sense 5 interface. This includes its BlinkFeed feature that collates the news from all your favourite websites, Facebook and Twitter into one convenient homescreen stream.

HTC One review – read our verdict on the slick aluminium handset

Samsung Galaxy S4 – free from £32 per month

Samsung Galaxy S4

An update of last year’s Galaxy S3, the 4G-capable Galaxy S4 has a huge 5-inch, full-HD screen, an improved 13-megapixel camera, a higher capacity battery and a faster processor. Despite this, it all fits into as slim a case as its predecessor.

The phone runs on the latest version of Google’s Android operating system but has lots of clever features you won’t find on other Android phones. ‘Smart Pause’ stops videos when you look away from your phone’s screen and resumes the clip when you look back for example; while eye-tracking gesture control lets you scroll through content by tilting the handset up and down.

Samsung Galaxy S4 review – find out how it compares to the iPhone 5s

Google Nexus 5 – free from £21 per month

Google Nexus 5

Google’s flagship collaboration with LG is a steal at £299 for the 16GB Sim-free model. Featuring a dazzling 4.95-inch touchscreen, 2.3 GHz processor and 2GB Ram, the Nexus 5 is well-equipped to handle the latest apps.

Unlike similar phones from Samsung and HTC, the Nexus 5 runs a pure version of Android straight from Google. This means you get to use the latest KitKat operating system before anyone else and also avoid any so-called ‘bloatware’ – non-essential software that manufacturers are often guilty of loading onto their handsets.

Although the Nexus 5 isn’t quite as powerful as the other handsets mentioned here, it sure is a lot cheaper.

Google Nexus 5 – our first look preview

Apple iPhone 5s – free from £42 per month

iPhone 5s

The iPhone 5s is the successor to last year’s iPhone 5, featuring an all-new fingerprint scanner and processor – in fact it’s the fastest phone we’ve ever tested. Aside from these headline changes, there’s not much different about Apple’s latest mobile.

Its slimline aluminium aluminium design is still stunning to look at, but being 7.6 mm thin does have its drawbacks. The iPhone 5s ranked behind its top Android competitors in our recent mobile battery life round-up. Still, with its dual-LED flash for better low light photography and comprehensive App Store, this remains an attractive handset.

Apple iPhone 5s review – see how the phone fared in our tough lab tests.

Nokia Lumia 1020 – free from £33 per month

Nokia Lumia 1020

You’ll have no doubt heard about the Nokia Lumia 1020’s key selling point: its 41-megapixel camera. This means it has over five times the megapixels of the iPhone 5s. More importantly still the 1020 makes these improvements count and is capable of capturing some truly superb snaps.

Elsewhere, this Windows Phone isn’t quite as outstanding. Its 1.5GHz processor and 2000 mAh battery are fine when it comes to using current apps, but the handset feels outpaced when compared to its rivals. The Windows Phone Store also isn’t blessed with the same abundance or quality of apps as Apple’s App Store or the Google Play Store.

Nokia Lumia 1020 – our hands-on first look with the flagship phone

More like this

Fastest phone – iPhone 5s emerges the winner
How to buy the best phone – our expert guide
Complete guide to 4G – everything you need to know


Add your comments



Please include the sim-free price as well as the on contract price.



I am a big Apple fan, but happy to point out they didn’t sell 9million 5s’ in the first weekend. 9 million was combination of 5s and 5c.



I see you updated the text. Thanks.



“free from £33 per month”

Any idea – how stupid this phrase looks on a “consumer website”

£33 per month is not free!



It means you don’t have to pay up front for the phone



I fully agree with Mobilista’s comment.
“free from £33 per month”.

And how many months, pray? Or don’t women care?


R Fromm

Which phones are capable of detecting fingernail control, I thought it was Nokia and Samsung – is this still the only makes that can accept fingernail control?



The iPhone 5S has fingerprint technology on it


R Fromm

there is a difference between fingernail and fingerprint.
If you have long nails you cannot use fingerprint, without dislocating your finger first!
I have tried a few phones out belonging to friend, the Nokia seem to be the only ones that can cope with fingernail control.



please would you review the crowd funded Fairphone both the one currently in productions and, when available, the model planned for next year.

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