1. Samsung Galaxy S4
Samsung's Galaxy S4 will come out later this spring on every major U.S. carrier. The new Samsung flagship has a 5-inch, 1080p screen, a 1.9GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor, 2GB of RAM, a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera, and a 2-megapixel front-facing shooter. The most important element of it, though, is all of Samsung's new software, from a whole bunch of new camera modes to the S Health pedometer.
The most beautiful new phone I've seen this year, the HTC One is a solid piece of aluminum with a next-generation processor and the densest, most colorful screen I've ever seen. It has incredible low-light camera performance. It turns your photos into videos. It boots into something that looks like Flipboard. It runs hundreds of thousands of apps, and it'll be available on several major U.S. carriers. This phone is HTC's best chance to wrest mindshare away from Samsung and Apple, and I think it'll outshine the much-awaited Galaxy S4 in some ways.
3. BlackBerry Q10
I've left the BlackBerry Z10 off this list, because the Q10 is the BlackBerry that BlackBerry fans will really want. Almost nobody's serving the QWERTY-keyboard market any more, but the Q10 will deliver a beautiful hardware keyboard along with a 3.1-inch, 720-by-720 screen and the fast new BlackBerry 10 OS. If your killer app is tapping out messages all day, the BlackBerry Q10 will be your best friend in 2013. It'll probably come out in April or May on multiple carriers.
4. LG Optimus G Pro
I've been cold on phablets and 8-inch tablets because I don't like wide devices. But the 5.5-inch, 1080p-screen Optimus G Pro is 3 inches wide compared with the Samsung Galaxy Note II's 3.2 inches, and for me that little change makes all the difference; this phone is significantly more comfortable to hold in one hand. The specs are epic, of course: a super-bright 1080p Super IPS LCD screen, a 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor, a 13-megapixel camera, and a removable 3140mAh battery. This phablet can also multitask three apps at once on the same screen. I'm hoping it'll come to Verizon Wireless.
5. LG Optimus F7
This mid-to-high-end LG phone could be a real workhorse in any carrier's lineup. The specs are quite respectable, with a smooth but well-crafted plastic body, a sharp 4.7-inch 720p IPS LCD screen, and a 1.5GHz dual-core processor—nothing out of place in today's midrange phones. But it has two things that set it apart: an unusually capacious 2540mAh battery and the QSlide multitasking ability. That battery is about the same size as the Motorola Droid RAZR HD's, and larger than most competitors'. Long battery life plus multitasking could equal a great Android experience.
6. Sony Xperia ZL
We may not be getting the flagship Sony Xperia Z here in the U.S., but we're getting the Xperia ZL. It's unusually small and slim for a phone with a 5-inch 1080p display, and it includes an IR blaster to control your home entertainment devices. It'll make a good alternative to the juggernaut Samsung Galaxy S4 for folks who like a more restrained aesthetic.
One of our favorite phones from CES is coming to the US by the end of the year. The Yotaphone is a well-designed Android phone with a 4.3-inch e-ink screen on the back. You can 'throw' images onto the back screen to turn it into a custom case; you can also use it to show the time and date, weather, RSS feeds, or other useful information. This is genuinely useful rather than a gimmick, and it's genuinely new, too.