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Top 10 Best Android Smartphones Buyers Guide: August 2014 Edition

September 1, 2014 - Written By Tom Dawson

With IFA approaching fast, it’s beginning to get pretty exciting to see just who is going to announcing what. Obviously, it’s a pretty safe bet that Samsung is to announce their new Galaxy Note 3 and Sony, HTC, Huawei and some others all have events scheduled for the beginning for the beginning of next month. What about now though? Well, if you’re looking to upgrade with a good deal to close out your summer, then the below list is of the absolute best smartphones that you can pick up in North America right now.

10. Motorola Moto G

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In what has to be one of the more surprising releases over the last year or so, Motorola’s little phone that could continues to be one of the best valued smartphones available. It’s built well, has a good screen, doesn’t cost too much and runs the latest version of Android. What more could you want for a device like this? If you were looking for a 4G, Motorola released a version with 4G and a microSD card to go along with the 4.5-inch 720p display earlier on in the year. The Moto G is available on pretty much every carrier there is as well.

Available from Amazon, the Moto G is pretty affordable.

09. Motorola Moto X

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Specs play a big part when it comes to smartphones these days and sadly, the Moto X doesn’t quite match up against its competitors. There’s a replacement rumored to be coming along soon, but if you’re happy with a 4.7-inch 720p display, decent performance, excellent voice control and up-to-date Android software, then you’ll be happy with the Moto X. I keep on saying that the Moto X is a good device to live with, and if that’s what you’re after, the Moto X won’t disappointment.

You can pick up the Moto X on Amazon, but the real fun is with the Moto Maker.

08. LG G Flex

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Nothing says “different” than a device with a 6-inch display that’s curved from top-to-bottom. What’s perhaps more impressive here is that the G Flex is actually flexible, you can press on the device and it will flex with no issues and there’s even a little self-healing scratch removal voodoo going on around the rear. However, for how cool it is, the G Flex is a device that features a 720p display, a Snapdragon 800 and some interesting software choices on LG’s part. With an update to the G3’s skin, the G Flex would be a much better device, but as it stands it’s still a cool piece of hardware, but perhaps not the device you’d want to live with.

Looking for a curvy device? Take a look on Amazon.

07. LG G2

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LG’s G2 might be getting on a bit now, but it can still hold its own. The Snapdragon 800 and 5.2-inch Full HD display are both great here, and the overall performance is excellent. Battery life here is pretty darn impressive as well, and if you can pick one of these up in a good deal, then you’ll be fairly happy with your purchase. Compared to the G3 however, well, the extra money on their latest and greatest really goes a long way. The extra build quality and larger, more dense display are really worth taking a look at.

Still thinking about a G2? Try Amazon.

06. Sony Xperia Z2

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Sony keep on trying the Xperia Z format over and over, and the Xperia Z2 is easily the best attempt on their part. It’s got a great-looking 5.2-inch Full HD IPS display, a big improvement over the Z1 and it’s powered by a Snapdragon 801 and 3GB of RAM. With its 20.7-megapixel camera that performs excellently, there’s a lot going for the Xperia Z2. So, where’s the problem? Well, for a 5.2-inch device, the Xperia Z2 is just too big, those big beszels make for a device that’s a little more unwieldy than it should be and then there’s getting your hands on one, which for Sony is not easy in the US.

05. OnePlus One

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Ignoring the controversy and completely skipping over the hype, the OnePlus One is a good phone. We found out as much in our review of the device, and it’s a great option if you like larger devices thanks to the 5.5-inch 1080p display, even doubly so if you’re a fan of CyanogenMod. Over the last few weeks, the OnePlus One has been given a stock Android ROM from Google (if CyanogenMod isn’t your kind of thing) and in general, the OnePlus One could be that larger Nexus you’ve been looking for, only with a lot more character than say a Nexus device. Still, problems do keep on appearing and the company has yet to prove itself as someone that can take good care of their customers.

04. Google Nexus 5

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Right now, the Nexus 5 is the device to own if you’re looking forward to getting your hands on Android L when it releases this Fall. Otherwise, the Nexus 5 is just a great, simple and flexible device. Sure, the camera isn’t great, but as someone that has a vested interest in photography I can really tell you it’s not that bad at all (of course, if you’re really going to take some good photos then you won’t be using your smartphone in the first place). The 5-inch 1080p display is good, the Snapdragon 800 holds up okay and while it’s hardware is uninspiring it doesn’t feel cheap at all. A great device for those that like stock Android and want great value in a smartphone.

You can find the Nexus 5 in Google’s Play Store.

02. Samsung Galaxy Note 3

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Is the Galaxy Note 3 the perfect large-screen smartphone? Well, we’re sure that Samsung is about to tell us why it no longer is next month, but for right now I’d say so. One of the few devices that makes effective use of its larger display, the 5.7-inch 1080p Galaxy Note 3 works great with the S-Pen and it’s packed with a Snapdragon 800 and 3GB of RAM for multitasking. If you’re looking for a device from a reputable name that has a large display, allows you to get more done and actually looks somewhat classy, then the Galaxy Note 3 will see you right.

Available from Amazon, the Galaxy Note 3 is one for the powerusers.

02. HTC One (M8) and Samsung Galaxy S5

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Two sides of the same coin, HTC’s One M8 and Samsung’s Galaxy S5 are a show of what Android 4.4 KitKat can do with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 801 chip. They’re both 5-inch, 1080p affairs with the same beating heart and it would be a little unfair to call one better than the other. Sure, the M8 is built better and has much better-sounding speakers, but the Galaxy S5 has added features like a fingerprint sensor and if you spill beer on this guy, you’re fine. Both have software that focus on similar things with comparable performance, rather than which is best, this is more a case of which is best for you. 

01. LG G3

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LG’s G3 is a technical marvel, it’s packed with a 5.5-inch 2560 x 1440 display and yet the device doesn’t seem that larger than the G2 did a year ago, it’s powered by a Snapdragon 801 and users lasers to focus that 13-megapixel camera. What’s more impressive here however, is that LG have finally managed to match that technical prowess with smart software design. No longer does LG’s touch on Android seem amateurish, instead it’s a professional and easy-to-use approach to make Android more friendly to the everyman. In many aspects, the G3 is the best device to ever roll out from an LG factory, and if you want the absolute best, the G3 is perhaps the best compromise out there.

On Amazon, the G3 is available from SprintAT&T and Verizon.