There shouldn't be any new major smartphone announcements until the Mobile World Congress in February so for anyone wanting to buy the latest model this selection is the pick of what is out there right now.
The selection covers iOS7, Android and Windows platforms which ensures any existing smartphone owners shouldn't feel left out or marginalised, and while some very capable models have been left out, anyone who owns any of these models should be very happy with their purchase.
Apple iPhone 5s
The iPhone's status as everyone's favourite smartphone has been challenged by the launch of many capable performers. However, the new iPhone 5s is probably the pick of the bunch.
The iPhone 5s has the same form factor as the iPhone 5, with an improved 64-bit A7 processor and the addition of a fingerprint-enabled Touch ID central home button that makes it convenient to unlock and purchase apps from the App Store. The iPhone camera is one of the most popular cameras in use today and the iPhone 5s sees an updated camera appear to make the experience even better.
iOS 7 launched with the iPhone 5s and the control centre, updated notifications, improved Siri integration, and multitasking reminiscent of webOS have proved welcome and popular.
The iPhone 5s feels expensive in the hand, and it is, but the fact that most new apps and services first launch on iOS is a major reason to purchase one and why it remains the top smartphone. Thanks to Apple's strict control over the hardware, developers are able to roll out apps knowing they will perform consistently.
The HTC One is the pick of most gadget geeks who are not too bothered about the camera function. The camera is fine for many situations, but there is very little "depth" in photos so details you find from other 8 megapixel or greater phone cameras are not there. If the camera is fine for you, then the HTC One may be the device to consider with fantastic hardware, Android 4.3 and the promise that 4.4 is coming, and a premium piece of hardware.
The HTC One hardware is fantastic and unmatched by any other smartphone. The metal body feels great in your hand and looks incredible. HTC's Super LCD displays have led the industry over the past year and manufacturers are still trying to match their awesome 1080p 4.7 inch Super LCD 3. It is powered by a quad-core 1.7 GHz processor and 2GB of RAM. While there is no microSD slot, there are internal memory options of 32GB and 64GB so that should be plenty for most people. You will also find dual mics, front facing stereo speakers, an ultra pixel camera with optical image stabilisation (OIS).
In addition to top class hardware, HTC continues to offer a great user experience with Sense 5 updates and 5.5 coming soon.
Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Samsung throws everything, but the kitchen sink, in the Galaxy Note 3 which makes the experience both rewarding and frustrating.
The hardware is better than the Note II and the software is optimised for the S Pen experience. Samsung softened TouchWiz and many owners appreciate the additional value-added services and apps provided by Samsung.
The Galaxy Note 3 has it all and is the most powerful and capable Android device available today. You will find a 1.6 GHz quad-core Samsung Exynos processor, a whopping 3GB of RAM, 5.7-inch Super AMOLED HD display, 13 megapixel rear camera, 1.9 megapixel front-facing camera, 16GB internal memory with microSD storage for up to 64GB more storage, huge 3,200 mAh removable battery so you can go a long time without charging, Bluetooth 4.0, LTE, NFC, and more.
This is definitely a device to consider, especially for someone who wants the ability to swap batteries and expand storage capacity on the go.
Nokia Lumia 1020
Windows Phone continues to slowly gain market share and the best device they have at the moment is the Nokia Lumia 1020. The 1520 is on its way and offers a larger display, faster processor, and lower resolution camera.
The Lumia 1020 is the phone to purchase if taking photos is one of your primary uses for your smartphone. Most top apps are available for Windows Phone, but there are still limitations on connectivity to accessories such as smartwatches and life activity trackers.
Nokia provides a number of services and apps on their Lumia devices. These include HERE Maps turn-by-turn voice navigation, Nokia Music+, advanced camera lenses and camera software, and many other Nokia exclusive apps.
Sony Xperia Z1
Sony's Honami phone, aka the Xperia Z1, was long rumoured and desired by smartphone enthusiasts. It is now available as a SIM unlocked variant directly from Sony. The Xperia Z1's claim to fame is the waterproof and dust resistant casing with a high-powered camera. Unfortunately, Sony still has some work to do on their smartphone displays before smartphone aficionados will switch over. The Xperia Z1 includes a Snapdragon 800 2.2 GHz quad-core processor, 2GB RAM, 16GB internal storage with a microSD card slot, 20.7 megapixel camera, and five-inch HD display.