You want the best smartphone, right? We’ve whittled our constantly updated selection down to the 10 best handsets you can get your hands on right now – but after you’ve checked out number one, we’ve still got plenty of other options to feast your eyes on.
We’ve all got at least one mobile phone each, right? We’ve probably got about three or four nowadays, and that counts giving your old Nokia 3310 to your Mum a few years ago.
But while you used to be able to just bank on the new Nokia or always get the next Sony Ericsson because it had a half-decent camera, there are now so many great options out there from loads of manufacturers.
Number 10: Motorola Moto G
Motorola Moto G Smartphone Key Features :
- 4.5 inches Capacitive Corning Gorilla glass 3 display
- Affordable price smartphone
- Android 4.3 (JellyBean) OS
- 1.2GHz Quad core Snapdragon 400 processor
- Dual Camera : 5MP Rear with LED Flash and video recording, 1.3MP Front for video calling
- 3G, Wi-Fi enabled
- Removable back and Flip covers in 7 colors , Grip Shells in 5 colors
Number 9. HTC One
It’s quite a tumble from the top spot for the HTC One, especially given it was our top smartphone for so long. However unless you’re desperate to pay a little less per month, the newer One M8 does everything the original did, but so much better.
It’s nothing to do with the quality of the One – which is still one of the outstanding phones on the market – but more the fact that if you like Boomsound, and Ultrapixel camera, a sharp and bright screen or a powerful processor, the M8 has improved in every way there.
But let’s not forget what made this phone so great: the supreme aluminium chassis, the Full HD screen and the simplified version of Sense 5.0 sitting now on top of Android KitKat means it’s still a pleasure to use and recommend this handset – but again, only if price is your main driver and you simply must have a One.
The innovations are also more than just marketing gimmicks; Zoe functionality allows the creation of delightful video highlight reels, and the Ultrapixel camera means you’ve got a much wider range of shots available thanks to being stunning in low light – and none of that is diminished with time.
With power, poise and beauty all combined in this innovative phone, HTC has proved it can more than still cut it with the big boys when it comes to bringing out a lust-worthy flagship smartphone – and the One deserves to stay in the top ten.
However, remember that this has one year fewer in terms of HTC promising to keep it upgraded, so if you pick it up now you might not get the newer versions of the software in 12 months time. The battery is also not as strong as on the One M8 – but it’s still got a lot to offer.
Number 8. iPhone 5S
Did you see this one coming? The iPhone 5S behind lots of other Android phones in our rankings? Some think it should be higher, some think lower – it depends on your level of Apple love.
Never has a company polarised opinion in the smartphone world like Apple – and with the iPhone 5S, so many are quick to decry it while others know it to be the smartphone they’ve been waiting for.
And let’s make no bones about it: this is a stunning phone, with a gorgeous two-tone finish, a high-res screen with good colour reproduction, a 64-bit chip and that all-powerful TouchID sensor that lets you unlock your phone with a simple fingerprint.
The iOS 7 update is one that we sorely, sorely needed and does bring a lot more power and control – as shown by the impressive and pervasive Control Center.
We really like TouchID, the 64-bit processor might be a little useless now but definitely brings a touch more zip to things, and the M7 chip gives developers something to play with in terms of fitness, with the likes of FitBit taking advantage already.
The issue of price is starting to diminish somewhat – but many vendors are still charging the same for this older phone as the likes of the HTC One M8 despite being a few months older.
Let’s not beat around the bush here: the iPhone 5S is still one of the great smartphones in the world thanks to a great package of technology, design and UI intuition.
iOS 7 is the update we’ve needed for a while, and does a lot to help keep Apple current at the sharp end of the market – but we still can’t wait to see what the iPhone 6 will bring, as essentially this is still the same phone as the iPhone 5 but with a better engine under the hood.
Number 7. Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
Hey Sony…what’s this? A phone without a 1080p screen? A smaller battery? Are you MAD?
Wait, we get it. This is the mildly-nonplussing Xperia Z1 shoved into a smaller frame, with almost nothing compromised (the above two points aside).
With a 4.3-inch screen it’s one of the most easy to use devices in the hand, coming in next to the iPhone 5S, but it does it with a much lower cost and a great battery life to boot.
On top of that it’s waterproof and has expandable memory, plus a superb screen. It’s been usurped in some ways by the Xperia Z2 insofar that if you want that Bravia-powered IPS screen, the G Lens camera or just general access to Sony’s tight band of media apps, this is no longer the best Sony phone on the market and has dropped a few places as a result.
However, if you’re more about size then this is still the best of the mid-range players… check it out if you want to save a bit of cash over the bigger brother flagship too.
Want a great phone that’s just a little bit smaller without losing all the power? If so, then we’ve found your ideal device. Strong CPU, great battery and expandable memory are traits we love to see.
It’s not got the same screen sharpness as some of the others on show here, and the camera can oddly throw in a little noise here and there, but these are minor gripes indeed.
It’s been launched with a palatable price tag as well – so head on down to your local emporium and throw it in some water. Because it’s waterproof too, not because you’re a vandal.
Number 6. Google Nexus 5
So we’ve updated our review with the new phone software, and thankfully things are a lot better now. The battery is improved, the camera a little more stable, and the low cost is still in place.
You already know we like Android 4.4, the clever implementation and the £299 price tag. We love the high power CPU, the quality screen; even the rubberised outer shell.
You can get the LG G2 for around the same price now though, and that offers a far superior camera, better battery life and a huge slew of extra features – it really depends if you’re a fan of the stripped-down experience.
We’re glad to put this smartphone higher up in the rankings, as it’s one of the cheapest out there in terms of bang for buck.
It’s a great phone that hits the marks well – it lacks something in terms of innovation, but that’s not a problem for those that want to be able to run all manner of apps and games at a decent price. It doesn’t come in at the same price point as previous Nexii, but it’s still jolly cheap.
Number 5. LG G2
Wait, an LG phone in the top rankings? Believe it people; LG has made a phone that not only impressed us but ran the HTC One very, very close for the top spot in 2013 – and holds a strong place into 2014 too.
We don’t know where to start in terms of extolling the virtues of this new handset from the South Korean firm: it’s got an insanely good screen, quality camera, the best audio pumping out from its speakers and headphone jack… the list goes on.
We even came to tolerate, then love, the power and volume buttons being placed on the rear. These aren’t ideal, but the ability to knock on the screen makes it really easy to interact with this impressive device.
The LG G3 is here now, and is going to blow this out of the water in terms of price and power (it’s even got a next-gen QHD screen) but given the lower cost the G2 is still an excellent choice.
There’s so much on offer here that we can’t help but recommend it to anyone looking for a cheaper smartphone powerhouse.
The only things that we dislike are the cluttered UI (pull down the notifications bar and you’ll see why) and the plastic casing, which drops the premium feel of the phone a lot, especially compared to the handset that sits one place above.
But launching at £400 on PAYG (and even cheaper with a few third party retailers), along with comparable contracts older phones, is a really nice touch from LG, and we reckon it’s going to pay dividends.
Number 4. Samsung Galaxy S5
2014 is turning out to be a stellar year for the prospective smartphone user, as the HTC One (M8) was joined by the Samsung Galaxy S5 in our ‘best smartphone’ list, and now the Xperia Z2 enters the fray too.
There was a lot of hype around the new Galaxy, and rightly so: it’s by far the best phone Samsung has ever produced, with a blazing fast core, a strong result in the benchmarks and a larger 5.1-inch screen.
Then there’s the fact that with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 CPU the Galaxy S5 is one of the best phones on the market when it comes to battery life, besting the already impressive One M8 in the power stakes.
Samsung has also dropped the ‘innovation’ of the air gestures from last year (well, they are in there but not the main focus) and improved the hardware with a better camera, fingerprint scanner and heart rate monitor too.
The last addition is pretty pointless… but hey, it’s fun for down the pub.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 is a good phone, apart from the design. It’s something that needs to be updated sorely, and while it doesn’t have to be an all-metal shell, it needs to evolve.
The next generation of smartphones is a cut above last year’s models – that said, the LG G2 still impresses even with a few miles on the clock – and if you’re looking for a new phone, you should check out one of the top four first.
The S5 has a clear UI, powerful innards and is also waterproof… the rivals might edge it slightly overall, but it’s very, very tight at the top and whichever handset you end up with won’t disappoint.
Number 3. OnePlus One
You’ve probably never heard of OnePlus… but if you have, you’ll know why this unknown brand is suddenly sitting at number three of our list of best smartphones in the world.
The reason is simple: it’s a phone that has all the power, specs and functionality of the top dogs, adds in super-customisable software and does it at nearly half the price. We’re talking big savings on cost (£229 for the 16GB version and £269 for the 64GB variant) without much in the way of compromise.
In fact, the only things it’s really missing are a microSD slot and removable battery, and those are elements more for the purists that absolutely necessary.
If we’re being super picky, it’s not got the greatest camera set up and the design is a bit… efficient, but at this price point it really doesn’t matter. And given the target audience is those that care about raw power over style, it makes sense that this is where the costs could be saved.
We love the fact that a new contender can come in at number three in the ranking of the best phones in the world – it means that it’s not just a case of ‘big budget means best phone’.
We were debating whether the OnePlus could even have gone higher, but there’s one big problem that you’ll have if you want to get your hands on one: they’re pretty scarce. Numbers won’t ramp up for a while, and probably never to the level of availability of the better-known names.
But if you want a phone that offers supreme power at a really low cost: the OnePlus One is it. It’s what the Nexus range used to be, and if Google ditches that program, then thankfully the likes of OnePlus have shown there will be brands to pick up the slack.
Number 2. Sony Xperia Z2
Sony Xperia Z2 Features:
- Display : 5.2-inch Full HD touchscreen
- Camera : 20.7 MP with Exmor RS , 4K video recording
- Connectivity : Wi-Fi/3G/4G
- Processor : 2.3 GHz Quad Core
- OS : Android v4.4 Kitkat
- USP : Premium built , Waterproof , Best camera
Number 1. HTC One M8
HTC One M8 smartphone Key Features :
- 5 inches Full HD display with IPS technology
- Android v4.4 (KitKat) OS with HTC Sense 6.0
- Powered by Quad core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor
- 4G LTE , 3G HSPA+ connectivity
- Wi-Fi 802.11ac support
- Ultrapixel rear camera and 5MP front camera
So which you want to buy ?