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Best high-end smartphones for the holidays

The holidays are coming up fast, which means that the smartphone battle is getting fierce. Let CNET guide you on the top handsets available today.

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Jessica Dolcourt
Jessica Dolcourt is a passionate content strategist and veteran leader of CNET coverage. As Senior Director of Commerce & Content Operations, she leads a number of teams, including Commerce, How-To and Performance Optimization. Her CNET career began in 2006, testing desktop and mobile software for Download.com and CNET, including the first iPhone and Android apps and operating systems. She continued to review, report on and write a wide range of commentary and analysis on all things phones, with an emphasis on iPhone and Samsung. Jessica was one of the first people in the world to test, review and report on foldable phones and 5G wireless speeds. Jessica began leading CNET's How-To section for tips and FAQs in 2019, guiding coverage of topics ranging from personal finance to phones and home. She holds an MA with Distinction from the University of Warwick (UK).
Jessica Dolcourt
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1 of 7 Josh Miller/CNET

Nokia Lumia 920 (AT&T)

The prelude to the busy holiday season means one thing: companies are sending out their biggest, baddest smartphones all at once. Here's CNET's guide to the best phones we've reviewed. Keep checking back; we'll add more favorites as they come in for review.

At just $99, the Nokia Lumia 920 is the most advanced Windows Phone yet, and a steal. It has a gorgeous display, a speedy dual-core processor, and its 8.7-megapixel camera masters low-light shots. In addition, it integrates voice navigation and wireless charging, not to mention a music service that saves music offline for free.

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2 of 7 CBS Interactive

iPhone 5 (AT&T, Sprint, Verizon)

The iPhone 5 brings Apple's popular OS to a taller, larger device that's also faster in every way. LTE compatibility means the iPhone can speed along on any network, the camera is top of class, and the build quality -- in typical Apple fashion -- is among the best money can buy. Luckily, you have your choice of three storage capacities for as low as $200.

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3 of 7 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 (AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, U.S. Cellular, Verizon)

Samsung's second installment of its mega-phone, the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, essentially adds another operating system on top of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. The "phablet" lets you command a huge swath of screen real estate, while also employing fancy pen techniques to do more than just take notes and draw.

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4 of 7 Josh Miller/CNET

Samsung Galaxy S3 (AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, U.S. Cellular, Verizon)

Samsung's Galaxy S3 has a huge, vibrant HD screen, a large battery, an awesome camera, and a boatload of software extras -- the best lets you tap two like phones together to share photos and video. A fast dual-core Qualcomm processor and 4G LTE make it a compelling Android 4.0 package. You'll have your choice of 16GB or 32GB versions, which also store up to 64GB of your movies and e-books on a microSD card.
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5 of 7 Sarah Tew/CNET

HTC Droid DNA (Verizon)

HTC's Droid DNA is for those of you who love the large size of a phablet, but don't want to mess with a stylus. Its 5-inch screen looks terrific, and the $199 price tag nets you some seriously high-end features.

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6 of 7 Josh Miller/CNET

LG Optimus G (AT&T, Sprint)

If nothing can move you like quad-core processing action, LG's Optimus G will strike the right chords. The Android 4.0 device is the first-ever to feature Qualcomm's 1.5Ghz quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro chipset. Beyond that, it also packs in LTE, an 8-megapixel camera, and a brilliant 4.7-inch screen.

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7 of 7 Sarah Tew/CNET

Motorola Droid Razr Maxx HD (Verizon)

Motorola's Droid Razr Maxx HD Motorola's Droid Razr Maxx may not have the absolute best 8-megapixel camera, but for many, its Android 4.1 operating system and 3,300mAh battery are all the slice of heaven you need.

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