PhoneArena Awards 2013: Best product designs

PhoneArena Awards 2013: Best product designs
Designing a high-quality device, be it a smartphone, a tablet, or anything you can think of that goes beep, is a process more sophisticated than it seems. That's because coming up with a product that is truly good-looking, well-built, and easy to use at the same time usually takes quite a lot of research and experience. Yet ultimately, the effort invested in product design does pay off. After all, a gadget that has been designed well has a much higher chance at becoming a best-seller in its class. This brings us to today's category in the PhoneArena awards of 2013, honoring the smartphones and tablets that managed to stand out and receive the attention they deserve with their design. Are your favorites on the list? Let us know in the comments!


The mobile landscape is filled with smartphones that look ordinary, boring, even generic as the case is with some devices. The HTC One, however, easily stands out above the rest with its award-winning design, build quality, and construction. Simply put, it is different. Made of machine-milled aluminum, the HTC One is a gorgeous-looking slender device that lays in the hand almost organically. It is ergonomic and even though it is a phone of above average size, it is comfortable to hold and operate. But above all, the HTC One is a smartphone that feels unique as soon as it is picked up, which makes it well worthy of being on this list. 

iPad Air

If there's a tablet that can make us go "Wow!" with its design (and believe us when we say that we're pretty hard to impress), that would be the iPad Air. Its very existence is a technological achievement worthy of applause – all the power of a full-sized iPad has been packed, as if by magic, into a body that is super slim and almost unbelievably light. In other words, the iPad Air is a tablet well worthy of its name, being the lightest full-sized tablet on the market. Furthermore, Apple's slate is put together really well, which is why the device is a pleasure to use and admire. Every inch of it has been designed and constructed with extreme attention to detail, as is typical for all of the company's products. 

iPhone 5s

Yes, the iPhone 5s is being honored today as well. Sure, it looks and feels almost exactly like its predecessor, the iPhone 5, but that doesn't make it any less worthy of being awarded for its iconic design. As many would agree, the iPhone 5s is a gorgeous, well-built phone loved by millions worldwide for its outstanding looks, premium feel, and flawless build quality. Then there's its ease of use – while smartphones in general are getting bigger and bigger, many are still quite fond of the iPhone's compact form factor. And last but not least, how many high-end smartphones available in gold color can you think of?

Story timeline



101. mattmattmatt92

Posts: 3; Member since: Dec 07, 2013

I'd up the new sony experia z1 for best designed phone. Feel is better then both iphone and htc one. Yes bezels are bigger then most phones but damn if its not one sexy phone.

100. ammarnadim93

Posts: 13; Member since: Aug 12, 2013

Design revolution ? how abt the back mounted keys of LG g2 ? accept for non expandable storeage and a touchwiz fail UI. i guess its the perfect phone

99. Andrewtst

Posts: 697; Member since: Jan 25, 2009

Best design one of it is iPhone 5s? Come on! That is repeating design. How best is it? Don't talk it over small size screen.

98. rebretz

Posts: 117; Member since: Dec 26, 2011

The iPhone shouldn't be on here. It's not a new design. It's exactly the same as everyone iPhone ever released. It's a plain rectangle. The Moto X should of made the list. Gently curved to fit comfortable into your hand.

91. giri.1131

Posts: 22; Member since: Feb 21, 2012


89. werthedroids

Posts: 60; Member since: Sep 15, 2013

2 FAIL Apple devices. Nice going, iPhoneArena. Choose the stale iJunk designs over the fresh and innovative ones. What about The actually innovative Moto x? And the XPeria Z Ultra or the tablet z? The Surface 2 also has a great look to it. The NVidia Shield has a certain charm to it as well. Even the Oppo n1 is pretty sleek. However, I must agree with you about the HTC One. It is King of the Hill design-wise

88. SlowPoison77

Posts: 28; Member since: Nov 30, 2013

i own HTC one and i m proud of it ;)

79. Remmy

Posts: 191; Member since: Jul 31, 2012

I think PA should make a separate list for the ones with the most innovative design which would show how the products evolved starting from the first generation to the latest. Pretty sure the iPhone wouldn't grab the first position. Agree with most people that Xperias should haveve made it on the list especially the Z1.

77. Diezparda

Posts: 941; Member since: Oct 23, 2013

Definitely iPad Air 4 me, very slim profile thin bezel and at least a redesign since the iPad 2. If the interface also count then i wish the iOS 7 for iPad a little bit more polished (it look like a blown up iPod an unfinished redesign and with the larger screen at least they could done some relayout)

76. CradleVindicated

Posts: 11; Member since: Sep 26, 2013

I'm not really fan of Samsung, Sony or HTC. But I really observe that something is being cooked here. PA really are Apple fans. Admit it! iPhone 5s is being bashed a lot with no innovation on design and now you will say it has the best design. Common Baby you earned a lot being bribed by Apple.

75. yudi.nemesis unregistered

I was very impressed with phonearena ability, in creating a controversy that could attract the attention of its readers.

74. kaikuheadhunterz

Posts: 1157; Member since: Jul 18, 2013

On a (somewhat) unrelated note, I still think the Nokia N9 (and to a lesser extent, the Lumia 900) has a great design. One of the cleanest designs I have ever seen

70. darkkjedii

Posts: 31805; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

The list is accurate, but the g2, and note 3 shoulda made it too.

78. yudi.nemesis unregistered

Yeah “the list is accurate because” because your beloved products is on the list. Please tell me what make you think that htc one, ipad air, and iphone 5s design is much more superior than other products. And i know PA can pick what ever they want. But i'm sure many people can accept their dicision, if they are able to appoint a plausible reason why those products deserve the best design award. for example something like this! “Iphone 5s is not only look and feel premium but also it has the best screen to bezels/body ratio, and IP58 Certification protect iphone 5s from dust and water damage. iphone 5s also very thin even with massive battery, large image sensor + ois, but the best of all iphone 5s is very easy to repair”. so there you go guys... Premium, Compactness (the most compact 4" phone out there), Durability (IP58 + Solid built quality), and easy to repair is just few reason why iphone 5s deserve to recieve best design award.

80. darkkjedii

Posts: 31805; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Dude, I'm not even going there. Based on what you posted, it makes no sense to even engage you. It's not that serious to me.

87. yudi.nemesis unregistered

I know there's nothing serious about this article, and i'm sure PA wrote this article just to attract the attention of its readers. Everything I say is just a response to the things that you said in your post #70 and #71. Iphone 5s, ipad air, and htc one is a product with an attractive design but not good enough to get the best design award, that's why so many people are complaining PA.

83. Diezparda

Posts: 941; Member since: Oct 23, 2013

i owned a Note 3, it has a very nice touch leather like plastic (yes it's plastic but it's not feels cheap unlike the previous Note 2), but to compare it with the iPhone 5S it's not even in same league. If it's all about specs and performance than i gladly vote for Note 3. LG G2 is kinda weird especially with the back button but those super thiiiin bezel is extraordinary. Maybe the Xperia Z1 should be considered.

67. JulianGT

Posts: 89; Member since: Oct 15, 2012

This is wrong ipad air = ipad mini design (2012) iphone 5s = iphone 5 (2012) and simlar to iphone 4 (2010)

71. darkkjedii

Posts: 31805; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

How about you start your own awards dude. PA can pick whatever they want, and they've made their picks. Right or wrong, love em or hate em, it's now academic.

97. CradleVindicated

Posts: 11; Member since: Sep 26, 2013

Note 3 is the BEST!

65. Astoni

Posts: 649; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

Ehm... Z1 anyone?. HTC one. Z1. Iphone 5s. and LG G2 IMO. Since LG g2's design is very special. (still needs premium materials :/) HTC one's is timeless and they could use it again with a minor improvment. Z1's is also timeless. But needs to improve on the size (smaller that is) Iphone 5s had a good design but it's not as rugged as the other phones since it can bend if kept in pokets often and leaves very ugly blemishes. (so ruggedness or atleast improve the design to make it more durable) But all these phones has good build and looks splendid. But Phonearena is still IphoneArena...

61. maccess

Posts: 742; Member since: Jan 16, 2013

for me : htc one , oppo find 5 , lumia 925/xperia z ( yess i prefer the z design over z1 )

60. Immolate

Posts: 310; Member since: Jun 17, 2011

I don't hate the iPhone design, but it's fragile, has too small a screen, and it's stale. By enabling Apple's lack of design ingenuity, sites like phonearena allow them to continue to take the low-risk path unpunished. I can understand the religious iPhanatics indefinitely slathering splittle upon the alter of the glass puck, but you guys are supposed to maintain some objectivity. Call them out. Agitate. Journalize or something.

59. N.Reynolds

Posts: 257; Member since: Feb 15, 2011

HTC One. Yes. iPad Air is a bigger iPad Mini from last year. iPhone 5S is also last year's design. (And that's being generous) I am not saying these aren't nicely designed products but they aren't this years designs. Just make me shake my head...

56. twens

Posts: 1191; Member since: Feb 25, 2012

You guys make it look like what PA says or write is final. This awards are based on normal people working in PA. It doesn't hold any value. We can all give out awards on our personal judgment if we run our own tech sites.

51. androiphone20

Posts: 1654; Member since: Jul 10, 2013

I do hope that sometimes that people base their judgement on something they've had their experience with. Some say Xperia Z1 should've been on the list well simply because YOUR judgement is only based on your experience with the Z1. I can't agree more with the list...

57. emadshiny

Posts: 1144; Member since: Dec 05, 2012

I wonder how would you comment under this article if there was no Apple product in the list.

48. Whateverman

Posts: 3295; Member since: May 17, 2009

Com'on PA. You knock every Samsung device for have the same design (which I agree with) but the iphone hasn't changed in 4 years. Meanwhile Nokia, LG, Sony, and Motorola have all put out devices that should get at least 2 or 3. You guys are ready earning that iphonearena nickname this week. I love you guys, but I call em like I see em, even with my favorite tech site.


Posts: 225; Member since: Oct 10, 2013

Why iphone 5s ?

63. Whateverman

Posts: 3295; Member since: May 17, 2009

Yep! Don't get me wrong, the gold phone is an absolute WINNER, that thing is beautiful! But it's still the exact same phone as it was last year. It just seems to me that no matter what Apple does, PA will always give them a pass whether it's making the same phone year after year, or making a candy-coated UI. Apple makes a great product, but so many other OEMs, and I just think these guys should get recognized for their and arguably superior devices before we recognize the same old phone from 2009 or 2010

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.
FCC OKs Cingular's purchase of AT&T Wireless