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Top 10 Best Android Smartphones Buyers Guide: May 2014 Edition

May 18, 2014 - Written By Tom Dawson

It’s that time of year again as we wait for the next wave of 2014’s devices to hit shelves, which means things are mostly staying the same for a little while. The HTC One Mini 2 has just been announced by HTC, but it’s not got a US release date and we’re still waiting for what’s going to be the the most powerful smartphone, the G3, to launch towards the end of May and hopefully shake things up in June.

10. Motorola Moto G

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The Moto G now has a 4G option that will be available soon, but even without that it’s an excellent device and is in fact Motorola’s best-selling smartphone in the company’s history. It feels well built, has a good display and runs Android 4.4 KitKat very well, indeed. The Snapdragon 400 doesn’t make this a powerhouse, but for an unlocked device at this price, the Moto G is arguably the best value for money out there and the 4.5-inch 720p display doesn’t hurt either. You can read our review right here.

The Moto G is available – unlocked of course – from Amazon.

09. Sony Xperia Z1s

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The Xperia Z2 has finally gone on sale throughout Europe and the rest of the world, but here in the US, it’s not even available from Sony’s own store. Thus making the Xperia Z1S the best viable option for those looking for a Sony device. Available through T-Mobile, we liked the Xperia Z1S when we reviewed it and the Snapdragon 800, 2GB of RAM and Full HD display are still fairly comparable specs. If you want the absolute best that Sony has to offer though, wait for the Z2.

08. Motorola Moto X

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As time moves on, the specs used in the Moto X – with that 720p display and dual-core CPU – keep on looking more and more dated. However, this is not a device to be looked down upon. It’s not the best out there, but it runs Android 4.4.2 KitKat like all the rest and you can create whatever smartphone you like with the Moto Maker. Not only that, but it’s a great device for drivers thanks to the excellent voice controls and such. If specs are second to a great overall experience in your mind, the Moto X won’t disappoint, although the Moto X+1 is definitely looming on the horizon.

Motorola’s Moto X can be found on Amazon, and through Moto Maker.

07. Samsung Galaxy S4

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The Galaxy S4 might look like a bargain-basement proposition right now, but it’s well worth considering if you’re on a tighter budget. Samsung is one of the better companies to support their devices and Samsung will continue to sell the Galaxy S4 for quite some time, and in fact for a lot of people it could present a very good deal on contract right about now. The 5-inch Full HD Super AMOLED display is similar to the Galaxy S5’s and while it can’t display the same sort of performance or party tricks as the Galaxy S5, this is still a decent smartphone.

06. HTC One (M7)

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With Sense 6.0 updates trickling down to HTC’s golden child of last year, the M7 is still chugging along just fine. While HTC were great with the update to Android 4.4.2 KitKat, that might not continue as the device gets a little older. Still, the 4.7-inch 1080p display, Snapdragon 600 and UltraPixel camera aren’t to be ignored and for the right price, the HTC One is a good buy, especially if the latest specs don’t bother you too much.

The HTC One (M7) is still available from Amazon.

05. LG G2

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The G3 is coming and soon. Where does that leave the G2? The G2 is still the unsung hero of 2013, with a Snapdragon 800, amazing battery life and an excellent camera. It’s a shame about the glossy, slick backpanel, but overall the device is well built and to say it’s a 5.2-inch it keeps the physical size down. The G3 is coming yes, but the G2 is still a good buy if you get a good price and as we found out in our review, it will certainly surprise all those LG naysayers out there.

The G2 is still available from Amazon.

04. Google Nexus 5

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Sharing common DNA with the G2 is perhaps the best thing about the Nexus 5 and one of the bigger things keeping it relevant. Despite the excellent value for money, the Nexus 5 still has a good display, a Snapdragon 800, 2GB of RAM and a fairly good camera. I’ve been using a Nexus 5 for months now and the camera is certainly a lot better than people say it is – as I found out in my review –  but issues like a pretty poor speaker can be galling. Running the latest and greatest version of Android as it’s released is obviously one of its strongest points, and perhaps reason enough to buy one.

The Nexus 5 is available directly from Google’s Play Store.

03. Samsung Galaxy Note 3

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A quality device through and through, the Galaxy Note 3 is one of Samsung’s best triumphs. The S-Pen keeps on getting better and better and the display size, while a turn off for some, offers users a lot to work with. The Snapdragon 800 and 3GB of RAM obviously put this above the vast majority of devices out there, and it should be supported well, as is any other Samsung smartphone. The older version of TouchWiz found on the Note 3 is a little more galling than the build on the Galaxy S5, but shouldn’t turn people off entirely. When we reviewed the Note 3, we certainly liked it and a lot of people out there will too.

Joint-First: HTC One (M8) and Galaxy S5

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We declared that the HTC One (M8) and Galaxy S5 were the best Android smartphones out in the market and well, that’s still true today. The Galaxy Note 3 does have an edge over these guys thanks to an extra gigabyte of RAM, but we’d like to think that these two appeal more to the masses than the 5.7-inch Galaxy Note 3. Really, the HTC One over the Galaxy S5 comes down to choice. Want a better built device that looks nice? Get the HTC One. Want a device with the absolute latest specs and some cool party tricks? Get the Galaxy S5. Both have great cameras, both have great screens and both are available on pretty much any carrier or network you like.