Best 2013 Android phone for camera & battery life?

ozaz

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Feb 27, 2011
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I've been using a Moto G for a couple of months to give Android a try. I've decided I'm very happy with Android, but now really want a good camera.

I don't want to pay the high price for a just released or upcoming flagship (e.g. Galaxy S5, HTC One (M8)), so would rather get a phone that has been out for a few months (probably ebay purchase).

Hence my question, what is the best 2013 Android phone for the combination of camera and battery life? (these are the top two features for me; I'm not too bothered about processor, screen quality, styling, weight)

Also, I don't want a phone with a screen bigger than 5".

I'm willing to try skinned Android.

Thanks for any advice you can give.
 

mKTank

macrumors 68000
Jul 2, 2010
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LG G2 if you're willing to compromise on the screen restriction by a tiny bit.
 

ozaz

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LG G2 if you're willing to compromise on the screen restriction by a tiny bit.
LG G2 would be ok size-wise - I've decided I'm ok up to a 70 mm handset width (which is the width of lg g2), but don't want to go any bigger.
 

Menneisyys2

macrumors 603
Jun 7, 2011
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G2 or, if you also need

1, 4K video recording and
2, proper (hi-res) panoramas

in addition to the already-existing camera goodies of the G2, LG Pro 2.

I, personally, would wait for the Pro 2.
 

tbayrgs

macrumors 604
Jul 5, 2009
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I think I'd concur with previous recommendations for the G2 as best combo of camera and battery life from a 2013 model.

Thinking just a bit out of the box, would you consider the Xperia Z1 Compact? It has an exceptional camera and reviews show it also getting great battery life, especially considering its 2300 mAh battery. I only suggest it as it's actually a touch smaller than the Moto G in case you like the smaller footprint with top end hardware. Don't quote me, but I think it's going for less than larger flagship prices. Just a thought.
 

ozaz

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Feb 27, 2011
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I think I'd concur with previous recommendations for the G2 as best combo of camera and battery life from a 2013 model.

Thinking just a bit out of the box, would you consider the Xperia Z1 Compact? It has an exceptional camera and reviews show it also getting great battery life, especially considering its 2300 mAh battery. I only suggest it as it's actually a touch smaller than the Moto G in case you like the smaller footprint with top end hardware. Don't quote me, but I think it's going for less than larger flagship prices. Just a thought.
Before using the Moto G to try Android, I was already in a mindset that if I had a good experience with it, I'd get the Z1 compact due to its near-iphone screen size. But I've been surprised at how happy I've been with the slightly larger screen on the moto g.

I haven't ruled out the Z1 compact, but now I'd be much more tempted by it if it had slightly smaller bezels and a 4.5-4.7" screen.
 

ozaz

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Thanks everyone for the suggestions yesterday. Seems G2 and GS4 are the two to choose from.

It was 5-2 in favour of G2 from the suggestions above. I've just a read of a few comparisons online this morning and it does seem the reviews generally give G2 a slight nod on the camera due to inclusion of OIS and a bit better low light performance (although I note GS4 camera was always highly praised as well).

On battery life, it's a bit unclear to me if one is significantly better than the other. I've seen comparisons that go either way. Can anyone comment?

To the two that suggested GS4. Any particular reason you suggested this over G2?

Although not primary factors for me (not related to camera or battery life), there are a few other things I feel I may prefer with the GS4: micro SD card, slightly smaller & lighter, more standard button placement.
 

MRU

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To the two that suggested GS4. Any particular reason you suggested this over G2?

Although not primary factors for me (not related to camera or battery life), there are a few other things I feel I may prefer with the GS4: micro SD card, slightly smaller & lighter, more standard button placement.
I said GS4 GE, because it gives you the raw fast android experience as google intended with one of the best cameras on a smartphone of last year, and one that still holds up strong.

With the GS4 GE you can be sure that you will be getting future updates directly from Google for a decent length of time and you wont have to go through the horrible waiting game of getting updates on a manufacturers skinned handset.

GE devices have been running KitKat for months and yet many LG G2 users are still waiting, and when 4.5 drops - could be waiting more and more months again.

The GS4 GE gets updates around same time as Nexus Devices but has the benefit over the Nexus 5 because of replaceable battery, micro SD card and far better camera.

For a stock Google Experience its the best handset until the GS5 GE inevitably surfaces.
 

ozaz

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Feb 27, 2011
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I said GS4 GE, because it gives you the raw fast android experience as google intended with one of the best cameras on a smartphone of last year, and one that still holds up strong.

With the GS4 GE you can be sure that you will be getting future updates directly from Google for a decent length of time and you wont have to go through the horrible waiting game of getting updates on a manufacturers skinned handset.

GE devices have been running KitKat for months and yet many LG G2 users are still waiting, and when 4.5 drops - could be waiting more and more months again.

The GS4 GE gets updates around same time as Nexus Devices but has the benefit over the Nexus 5 because of replaceable battery, micro SD card and far better camera.

For a stock Google Experience its the best handset until the GS5 GE inevitably surfaces.
Thanks. Does SD card writing work the GPE devices? I see there was a problem at some point last year.
 

JC17

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Oct 8, 2013
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On battery life, it's a bit unclear to me if one is significantly better than the other. I've seen comparisons that go either way. Can anyone comment?

To the two that suggested GS4. Any particular reason you suggested this over G2?

Although not primary factors for me (not related to camera or battery life), there are a few other things I feel I may prefer with the GS4: micro SD card, slightly smaller & lighter, more standard button placement.
http://www.anandtech.com/show/7251/lg-g2-and-msm8974-snapdragon-800-a-quick-look/3

Scroll down and there's a wifi comparison, the GE S4 doesn;t actually make it into any other comparisons there from what I can see. These may be a bit off because of updates but my G2 is no worse on 4.4 than it was on 4.2

The G2 has more screen for a very similar size to the S4, but I can agree on the MicroSD slot, it'd be nice to have my music stored locally rather than have the use Google Music (Not that it's a bad service!)

I was initially undecided on the button placement, but with things like knock on it's not often I find myself using the buttons. They're different but I got used to them quickly and I wouldn't be put off by how strange they appear!

Only advantage I can see with the S4GPE is the timely updates, if that's a key factor for you then personally I'd get a Nexus 5. My G2 was fine with 4.2 and 4.4 is just a bit slicker, if 4.4 had never came I really wouldn't have been bothered, but that's just my opinion. Some people care a lot about having the latest and greatest!
 

ozaz

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http://www.anandtech.com/show/7251/lg-g2-and-msm8974-snapdragon-800-a-quick-look/3

Scroll down and there's a wifi comparison, the GE S4 doesn;t actually make it into any other comparisons there from what I can see. These may be a bit off because of updates but my G2 is no worse on 4.4 than it was on 4.2

The G2 has more screen for a very similar size to the S4, but I can agree on the MicroSD slot, it'd be nice to have my music stored locally rather than have the use Google Music (Not that it's a bad service!)

I was initially undecided on the button placement, but with things like knock on it's not often I find myself using the buttons. They're different but I got used to them quickly and I wouldn't be put off by how strange they appear!

Only advantage I can see with the S4GPE is the timely updates, if that's a key factor for you then personally I'd get a Nexus 5. My G2 was fine with 4.2 and 4.4 is just a bit slicker, if 4.4 had never came I really wouldn't have been bothered, but that's just my opinion. Some people care a lot about having the latest and greatest!
Thanks. Anandtech is one of the tests I saw that does favour the G2. On the other hand, GSMA slightly favours the GS4 with their overall endurance measure:

http://blog.gsmarena.com/samsung-i9505-galaxy-s4-battery-tests-update-battery-life-improved/

http://blog.gsmarena.com/lg-g2-battery-tests-are-done-here-are-the-results/

Battery is important for me (top 2 with camera), so I think I should avoid Nexus 5?

Regarding Google play edition. Although I would go stock Android it if I had a straight choice, I'm not sure I'm bothered enough about it (and instant OS updates) to make it a deciding factor. I live in the UK so its not so easy for me to get hold of the GS4 GPE as far as I can tell.
 

MRU

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Thanks. Does SD card writing work the GPE devices? I see there was a problem at some point last year.
I haven't had any trouble, I mostly store music & photos on my external SD

----------

Regarding Google play edition. Although I would go stock Android it if I had a straight choice, I'm not sure I'm bothered enough about it (and instant OS updates) to make it a deciding factor. I live in the UK so its not so easy for me to get hold of the GS4 GPE as far as I can tell.
GE version for me has been vastly more pleasurable than my old Touchwiz GS4, but yeah you are right it's very difficult to get them. I struck lucky and found one on adverts (an Irish selling site) but otherwise they are very elusive.
 

JC17

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Oct 8, 2013
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Thanks. Anandtech is one of the tests I saw that does favour the G2. On the other hand, GSMA slightly favours the GS4 with their overall endurance measure:

http://blog.gsmarena.com/samsung-i9505-galaxy-s4-battery-tests-update-battery-life-improved/

http://blog.gsmarena.com/lg-g2-battery-tests-are-done-here-are-the-results/

Battery is important for me (top 2 with camera), so I think I should avoid Nexus 5?

Regarding Google play edition. Although I would go stock Android it if I had a straight choice, I'm not sure I'm bothered enough about it (and instant OS updates) to make it a deciding factor. I live in the UK so its not so easy for me to get hold of the GS4 GPE as far as I can tell.
Even those numbers don't beat Anandtech numbers for the G2 though ;)

The G2 is the better phone overall imo but comes with a lack of update confidence and the unusual button placement, there's no SD slot but whether or not that affects you is another thing entirely.
The camera is great and it's incredibly smooth with 4.4.

If you're not buying on contract it's also pretty damn cheap now too!
 

Sensamic

macrumors 68030
Mar 26, 2010
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G2.

It comes with 32GB storage if you can find one. On eBay there are a lot of them selling for 450€ unlocked. Or you can unlock it for just 8€.

The GE SGS4 camera isn't as good as the one in the TouchWiz version I think, because it doesn't have the Samsung optimizations. It's just a theory though.

I would also hate the hardware home button. Makes no sense using stock Android.

The G2 also has a better processor, knock on, do not disturb feature, OIS, 1080P 60fps, private or kids mode, on screen buttons (a personal favorite), etc.
 

Stooby Mcdoobie

macrumors 6502a
Jun 26, 2012
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I would also hate the hardware home button. Makes no sense using stock Android.
I'm not a fan of hardware buttons either, but I don't understand this statement. When hardware buttons are present, the on screen buttons are disabled by default (you can enable them by editing the build.prop file).
 
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iosuser

macrumors 6502a
Mar 12, 2012
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Another vote for the LG G2. I just got one from AT&T (free!). It's physically the same size as the Galaxy S4 and S5 but houses a larger 5.2" screen. Great battery life and performance, absolutely no lag. Honestly, even if the S5 is also free, I'd still have opted for the G2. I like all the LG add ons and highly prefer it over stock Android and especially Touchwiz. I sold my Nexus 7 bought a LG G Pad couple months ago, so I'm not new to the nameless LG skin and simply just having a rush with a new gadget.

Oh if you like to take smooth videos with the camera, you'll love that the G2 records 1080/60fps videos with optical stabilizer.
 

ozaz

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I would vote Moto X for Battery, and my HTC One has one of the best cameras out of any phone I've ever owned.
Everything I've read on Moto X suggests the battery is fairly mediocre, especially when compared to the two most recommended phones earlier in this thread (G2 & S4). Furthermore moto X also seems to have a mediocre camera.

At the moment, I'm not strongly considering the HTC One because, from the reviews I have read, the battery does not seem to be as good as G2 or S4.

I had a chance to have a play with G2 & S4 in store yesterday. I'm leaning towards the G2 mainly because of the software interface. In particular, I like that the settings interface is closer to stock on the G2 when compared to S4.
 

The Game 161

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well the bigger the screen the better battery life you will get really. Note 3 has one of the best battery lifes on any phone around.
 

iosuser

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Mar 12, 2012
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The G2 is now my primary phone (coming from iPhone 5s). I love it. Battery life is phenomenal, which is a bit of a surprise as I've had several other Android phones prior, none were nearly as smooth and battery life were about half of the G2.

I really love the LG addons and customization. Quick example was when I was sending a text yesterday. I had to type some info from a browser page, so I opened message in QSlide, overlaid on top of the browser so I was able to copy the info from the browser.

It's a shame though that the G2 will never gain the attention it deserves.