It's not too often we can legitimately say a device is in a league of its own, yet that's the only way we can describe Nokia's new low-end smartphone, the Lumia 1320. With a 6-inch screen, it arrives at the same time as more expensive Lumia 1520, which shares the same screen size and battery, but is exponentially better in every other category. There's nothing else quite like the 1320 on the market at the moment; we've seen plenty of large-screened Android phones already, but few of them have price tags as low as the $340 that the 1320 commands. Not only that, this is also the very first low-end Windows Phone with copious amounts of screen space.

The fact that this is the first of its kind doesn't make the 1320 an instant hit, though. While the cost is lower than most phones its size, it's still a high asking price for many people in emerging markets. A 6-inch size worked for the Lumia 1520, but does it make sense to come out with a stripped-down version for half the price?

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Fun fact: Engadget reviewed 176 products in 2013, and that's not even counting the umpteen times we got hands-on with stuff at tradeshows and press events.

In general, we try to review just the top-tier gadgets, but even then, some of it ends up being forgettable. (Can you name-check everything we tested from memory? We can't.) So, as the year draws to a close, we're taking a look back at the last 12 months of reviews, and this time, we're including only the products you'd have no trouble remembering. Across every category, we've noted the flagships everyone coveted -- along with the duds that could've been so much better. Oh, and you might notice that we included some numbered scores throughout. That's right; Engadget is bringing back numerical ratings, and they'll follow the same format as the critic score gdgt has already been using for years. Which is to say, each rating takes into account various criteria for a given product category -- things like battery life and portability. Wanna see how your favorite gadgets did? Meet us after the break for a walk down memory lane.

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We've long pondered the possibility of an e-ink phone. One that offers enough battery life to get us to the end of the day, or maybe even the End of Days, simply by being less reliant on the power-draining frivolity of an LCD or AMOLED panel. What we didn't envision, though, was that the first mass-produced attempt at such an idea would come from a Russian company we'd never heard of, or that it would take the particularly unusual form of the YotaPhone -- a device that does many things differently, not least in having a curved E Ink panel on its rear side. As you're about to see, a lot of these two-faced ideas have potential, but some of them need some work -- a lot of work, in fact -- before they're ready for prime time.

And then there's the price tag, which may come as something of a surprise in its own right given the YotaPhone's mid-range specs. It costs €499 in Europe, which equates to around $675 in the US (although the handset isn't currently available there). That means you could actually buy the Yota's two halves separately for a more affordable sum; for example, by getting a Nexus 5 and a Kindle. Nevertheless, the ability to buy the two-in-one YotaPhone is something we didn't have a year ago, and something that isn't offered by any other company, and so it's worth bearing that in mind as we proceed to lay out its many flaws.

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LG G Flex review: a promising phone, but not one you should buy right now

It's not too often we get to review a product with a completely new form factor, but we relish the opportunity when we do. This time, we're taking a closer look at the LG G Flex, one of two curved smartphones that have come out of Korea over the last two months. The idea of a curved device is enough to pique anyone's interest, but there's one thing holding it back from mainstream acceptance: the price. Retailing for the US equivalent of $940, this unique handset isn't for the budget-conscious, and it isn't going to make your every dream come true either. To most potential buyers, the return on investment is pretty low; it's high-end, sure, but is it worth paying a $200 or $300 premium just for the shape? We believe you already know the answer to that, but keep on reading to find out if we agree with you.

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Moto G review: an affordable smartphone, done right

Since Motorola was acquired by a certain tech giant last year, its new owner hasn't had a particularly strong impact on the way it does business. Not too long ago, in fact, Motorola dealt another brag-hand of Droids, but there was something distinct about the Moto X that followed them. The first evidence of a change in direction, perhaps. In the same vein, the recently announced Moto G feels very much like a Google phone, and it makes a ton of sense.

If the Nexus 5 is for smartphone aficionados, and the Moto X is for upgraders who can't resist the offer of a custom handset, then the Moto G is for those who want a functional device at a reasonable price. At $179 or £135 unlocked, the Moto G slots into the low-cost niche Samsung and others have been steadily cashing in on. That price tag, however, includes an unwritten disclaimer: Sacrifices were made. It's certainly true with the Moto G, but with expectations in check, it's hard to not be impressed with what Motorola has managed to achieve.

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Oppo R819 review: a slim, long-lasting smartphone that faces tough odds

It's easy to think that Chinese smartphone makers are thriving solely on sales of ultra-cheap devices, but that's only partly true. In many cases, they're striking careful balances between features and pricing -- handsets like the Vivo X3 tout sleek designs and big screens, but their modest processing power keeps costs in check. Oppo wants to bring that high-value philosophy to the rest of the world through the international version of the R819. For $349, it's an exceptionally thin phone with perks you don't always get at this price, including dual SIM slots and better support for custom firmware. However, it faces stiff competition from new rivals like the Moto G and Nexus 5. Is the R819 still worth buying when it's not the fastest or cheapest in the pack? That's what we're here to find out.

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Nokia Lumia 2520 review: a good Windows tablet, not the best for typing

The Lumia 2520 is Nokia's first Windows tablet -- and it may well be its last. By the time Nokia is ready to design a follow-up product, the Finnish firm might officially be a part of Microsoft. For now, though, the Lumia 2520 is about to go on sale worldwide under the Nokia brand, and will compete directly with Microsoft's Surface 2, the only other Windows RT tablet available right now. Like the Surface, it's a flagship-caliber device, with a 1080p screen and top-of-the-line processor. But whereas Microsoft sees the Surface as kind of a laptop/tablet hybrid -- a real productivity device -- the 2520 is, at its heart, just a tablet. The 2520 has no kickstand, no full-sized USB port -- not unless you buy the optional keyboard cover, anyway.

Nokia also brought its A-game imaging wise, installing the same camera used on the Lumia 720 (hey, for a tablet that's actually unprecedented). Additionally, there's one other thing the 2520 has that the Surface 2 doesn't: LTE. In fact, you can't even get the 2520 as a WiFi-only device; you can either buy it unsubsidized for $499, or you can purchase it here in the US for $400 on-contract. So it definitely looks good on paper (and in press photos), but what's it like to use? Turns out, it's pretty nice.

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Nokia Lumia 1520 review: the best Windows Phone device yet

Windows Phone has never looked this good. The latest update to Microsoft's mobile operating system, known as Update 3, added support for 1080p displays, large smartphone screens and state-of-the-art processors. And now, these features are finally showing up on actual hardware. The first device to tick off all these boxes is the Nokia Lumia 1520, a 6-inch flagship with all of the trimmings we've been waiting to see on a Windows Phone device for three years now.

Because high-end Windows Phones have been limited to whatever specs Microsoft officially supports, we've felt that Nokia's flagships didn't differ enough in specs from the lowest-end Lumias to justify the enormous price difference. At least, they didn't until now. The Lumia 1520 is the first top-of-the-line Windows Phone device that brings the best possible components. So, what's WP8 like on hardware that isn't behind the times? Let's find out.

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Vivo Xplay review

A review of a smartphone that's primarily sold in China? Yes, that's exactly what this is, and with good reason. The Vivo Xplay merits attention because of the components it contains -- some of which are exotic, like its "HiFi grade" audio chips, and some of which are straightforward but desirable, like its huge, 5.7-inch 1080p display and Snapdragon 600 processor. The handset also helps to set a benchmark for what smartphone hardware is actually worth, since its $480 street price puts it closer to the smaller, Google-sponsored Nexus 5 ($350) than typical big-phones like the Galaxy Note 3 or HTC One Max, which fetch around $800 unlocked. Although US customers can import the Xplay for $520, it lacks the right bands for proper 3G support in North America and is actually more suitable for HSPA+ networks in the UK, where it costs £495. So, let's find out what China can deliver for that sort of money.

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DNP Nexus 5 review

When you're shopping for a smartphone, what do you expect to get for less than $400 without a contract? Certainly not a top-of-the-line device, right? Until recently, that kind of price has been reserved for devices that were mid-range at best, or entry-level at worst. Ever since the gorgeous and powerful Nexus 4 came out last year for $300 on the Play Store, however, it's been clear Google is trying to give the high-end, $600-plus Android flagships a run for their money. Now the company's back with the Nexus 5, a power user's dream that sells for $350 and features some of the same specs you'd expect to see in a top-shelf device.

That is, if you can even get your hands on one. The device sold out in less than two hours, and new orders won't get fulfilled for at least a few weeks. But what's so intriguing about the Nexus 5 that it's causing such a ruckus on the Play Store? It's a $350 flagship phone with the serenity of a pure Android experience and all the trimmings, that's what. The question is, can you survive the estimated three to five week waiting time?

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DNP Tesco Hudl review Can a supermarket chain put out a decent tablet

One may seem like a paragon of modernity compared to its 94-year-old rival, but the UK's two biggest retailers have a lot in common. For starters, both Amazon and Tesco succeeded far beyond their original missions (bookseller and greengrocer, respectively) to become retail giants. Both understand the value of consumer data and exploit that information mercilessly. Finally, both sell dirt-cheap Android tablets in the hopes of maintaining a foothold in our living rooms, hearts, minds and, most importantly, wallets.

In the UK, there are around 50 million people who don't own a tablet or any other mobile computing device. That's the group of people that Tesco is going after with the Hudl, an Android slate that tech snobs, obsessed with blistering benchmarks, would turn their noses up at. Priced at £119 ($191), but available for £60 ($91) if you redeem Clubcard vouchers, it's not a surprise that the company sold 35,000 units after launch. So, is it better than the Kindle Fire that it seeks to emulate? And when all is said and done, is this the device for which we'll be stuck doing technical support when the in-laws inevitably purchase it?

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Sony SmartWatch 2 review a fair effort that still hasn't cracked it

Cast your mind back to the period between August and October 2012, and there was barely a whisper about a smartwatch round these parts. Pebble was funded and well underway, and we discovered a curious Google patent -- but that was pretty much it. In that same period one year later, you'll find nearly 40 news stories on Engadget alone. There's definitely been a climate change.

One player in this year's wrist-based technology battle is Sony's SmartWatch 2. That number appended to the end of its name lets you know that this isn't the company's first foray into this area (it's technically its third). Because it's a tech giant, then, and also one of the more established players in this market, our expectations were rather high. So, can Sony show the competition how it's done.

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Samsung's Galaxy S4 Zoom leaked for AT&T

Itching for a better smartphone camera, but can't afford to buy an unlocked device? You're in luck: Samsung's Galaxy S4 Zoom appears to be coming to AT&T. Images of the AT&T branded smart camera (complete with carrier identification and official apps) appeared on Twitter today, hinting that a AT&T subsidized version of the device could be forthcoming. The 16-megapixel Zoom is an intriguing mash up between the Galaxy Camera and the Galaxy S4 Mini, but unless Ma Bell has made some major tweaks to the device, we wouldn't run out to your local AT&T store: the original was kind of a mess.



HTC One Max review

The debate around giant smartphones is over. Manufacturers like Samsung, Sony and LG have amply demonstrated that it's possible to build a pocketable, phone-like device with a screen bigger than five inches. Now it's HTC's turn. But instead of re-imagining the much-praised One for this new category of device, HTC's designers have mostly just cloned it, while adding a drop of Miracle-Gro to produce a 1080p panel that measures 5.9 inches diagonally, versus the One's 4.7 inches.

The result is the One Max, a product that carries over some good things from the One while also finding room for a few notable extras like a fingerprint scanner and expandable storage. At the same time, it also introduces some major snags -- not least of which are the its intimidating size and weight. The job ahead of us is to somehow find the upper body strength to weigh it all up.

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DNP BlackBerry Z30 review

Let's be honest: it's not a great time to be BlackBerry right now. Each morning brings yet more news stories that hint -- no, scream -- at the company's rapid unraveling. In the nine days following the announcement of the Z30, the company halted its BBM rollout and announced plans to fire 4,500 employees. Meanwhile, T-Mobile withdrew retail support, Motorola started sniffing around BlackBerry's top talent and its manufacturing partner looked for an exit. Finally, BlackBerry entered into a sale agreement, and the company had to concede that it lost a billion dollars on unsold Z10 handsets. So, what does all of this make the Z30?

There had been plenty of rumors ahead of time that suggested BlackBerry would launch a phablet. The 5-inch Z30, however, isn't big enough to warrant that name, and the company itself has positioned the device as the flagship for the holiday season. That means the handset dodges comparisons with devices like the Galaxy Note, but instead stands in the line of fire between the iPhone 5s, Galaxy S 4, HTC One and Lumia 1020. Unlike those other devices, however, the Z30 isn't packing any flashy, headline-grabbing specs, nor does it offer bleeding-edge internals that will excite performance nuts. There's also the looming question of whether this hardware will make it over to the US in a timely fashion, as BlackBerry has only confirmed that it'll launch in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the UK (priced at £500 off-contract).

It's almost redundant to ask if this is the device that will save BlackBerry. After all, with the uncertainty surrounding the platform's future, we wouldn't be surprised if corporate buyers waited for the dust to settle before making more orders. Instead, let's ask if this handset, when judged on its own merits, is worth your cash. Is it the first step on a road to rejuvenation, or is the Z30 destined to become a footnote in technology history?

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