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Smartphones from 2013 that are still awesome two years later

Updated Dec 19th, 2018 9:08PM EST
2013 Best Smartphones iPhone 5s Nexus 5 HTC One M7

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It’s one thing to recommend a new phone to someone — but what do you say to someone who doesn’t want to pay top dollar and is willing to buy an older phone? Looking back on it, 2013 was an unusually good year for smartphones that have held up over time, which is why we’ve decided to make a list of three phones that came out two years ago but are still great to use two years later.

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iPhone 5s

Even though iPhones never feature top-of-the-line hardware, they still hold up remarkably well over time. The iPhone 5s, which was the first iPhone to feature a Touch ID fingerprint sensor, is still a terrific device for anyone who doesn’t need a phone with a large display. Even though the 5s may seem outdated in terms of specs, it still takes great photos, it has a first-rate hardware design and it runs as smooth as butter.

HTC One M7

This device was HTC at its peak and it features a beautiful aluminum unibody design, a bright eye-catching display and a pair of front-facing smartphone speakers that are the best you’ll ever hear on a smartphone. This was my primary device for two years before I bought an iPhone 6s this fall and I would still recommend it to anyone looking for a first-rate Android phone. The only major downsides are that its camera is subpar even compared to other 2013 flagship phones and I was never a fan of the HTC Sense overlay. Other than that, it’s still a terrific phone.

Nexus 5

For many Android fans, this was the perfect Android phone. It runs on stock Android and isn’t weighed down by carrier or OEM bloatware. It features an elegant design and its perfectly sized to fit in your hands and pockets. And best of all, it was originally sold at a shockingly low price point given its overall specs. In short, it’s a fantastic jack-of-all-trades phone that showcases the best Android has to offer. Google sadly stopped selling this phone earlier this year but if you’re in the market for a used device and you see the Nexus 5 for sale on eBay, it’s definitely worthy of your consideration.

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.


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