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Holiday Gift Guide 2014-2015: Top 10 Best Smartphones

December 11, 2014 - Written By Tom Dawson

So, you know someone that needs a new smartphone, and they’re not content with some budget offering and instead want something with the best specs available? Our list of Top 10 smartphones to buy during this Holiday Season should have something for everyone no matter what sort of features they need.

HTC One (M8)

HTC-One-M8 (71)

The HTC One (M8) was launched pretty early into 2014 and what a phone it was. With a 5-inch Full HD display and stunning speakers for a smartphone, the One (M8) was a brilliant sequel to last year’s model. Designed for those that like a better built phone with realistic features that you’re actually likely to use, the One (M8) is great for taking photos, listening to music wherever and whenever and it’s built of metal to look great.

HTC One M8, Gunmetal Grey 32GB (Verizon Wireless)HTC One M8, Gunmetal Grey 32GB (AT&T)

Motorola Moto X (2014)

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What do you get when you take last year’s surprise hit, the Moto X and make it even better? Well, you get this year’s 5.2-inch refinement. It’ looks nice, thanks to the silver-colored aluminum frame and there are now stereo speakers along with advanced voice control. It’s available on whichever carrier you want, and desn’t cost all that much unlocked. Our device page for the Moto X (2014) (which we’ve linked to for all these devices) has links to our review and more.

Motorola Moto X – 2nd Generation, Black Resin 16GB (Verizon Wireless)Motorola Moto X – 2nd Generation, Black Resin 16GB (AT&T)

Samsung Galaxy S5

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Samsung’s Galaxy S5 wasn’t what a lot of people wanted, but it’s a solid device nonetheless and the Super AMOLED display still shines nice and brightly. Powered by the same Snapdragon 801 as many other top-tier devices, Samsung packed in a fingerprint sensor as well as a hear rate monitor for good measure and the result was one of the best specced devices of this year. If you love Samsung and aren’t too keen on the Galaxy Note line, this is one for you – or someone as a gift, of course.

Samsung Galaxy S5, Black 16GB (Verizon Wireless)

Sony Xperia Z3

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Sony’s Xperia Z3 is an incremental improvement on the Xperia Z2 and while it doesn’t perhaps go quite far enough, it’s a solid device and has some excellent tricks up its sleeve. Like for instance, the ability to spend time playing PS4 games on your Xperia Z3 and one of the best cameras to ever grace a smartphone. It’s a 5.2-inch device and while it’s Full HD like many other devices out there, it does feature 3GB of RAM to help things run a little smoother. A great device all round, this is a nice alternative if you’re looking for a different path. For those on Verizon, you can get your hands on the Xperia Z3v.

You can purchase the Z3 directly from Sony, just as you can with the Xperia Z3v.

Google Nexus 6

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It’s not all that easy to get hold of, but if you can get a Nexus 6 for one of your friends or family – first off, lucky them! – we’re sure they’ll be extremely happy with the latest from Google and Motorola. At 5.9-inches, this is a big phone, no doubt about it, but as we discovered in our review it doesn’t feel quite as big as it really is. It’s super-quick, has the latest version of Android, 5.0 Lollipop and it’s available on every carrier pretty much, which is a big change from Nexus devices of old. So if you want a Nexus 6 to give this Holiday Season it’s worth taking a look at the Google Play Store.

Motorola DROID Turbo

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Let’s say you a Verizon user who just can’t bare to swap to another network, that’s understandable, and you want to make sure they get the best smartphone they can. Well, the DROID Turbo comes pretty close to that. The specs on this guy are amazing, with a 5.2-inch QuadHD display, this isn’t too big of a device yet it has all the pixels you could want. It’s powered by a Snapdragon 805, one of the few devices that are on this list, and it’s exclusive to Verizon. That means you’ll be getting everything great about their network as well as one of the best devices available today. It’s got amazing battery life as well.

LG G3

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Easily one of the best devices to have launched throughout 2014, the LG G3 is a large 5.5-inch device with some great battery life and one of the best-looking displays available in any smartphone today. Available on all carriers, with a Lollipop update coming very soon, the G3 is a great gift as well as an excellent choice for yourself. The Snapdragon 801 and unique button placement help this stand apart from the others out there and it really does look the part as well.

LG G3, Metallic Black 32GB (AT&T)LG G3, Metallic Black 32GB (Verizon Wireless)LG G3 D855 16GB Metallic Black Factory Unlocked 4G 3G 2G 2G GSM 850/900/1800/1900 & 850(B5)/ 900(B8)/ 1900(B2)/ 2100(B1) & LTE 800(B20)/ 1800(B3)/ 2600(B7) (International Version no warranty)

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

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The follow-up to last year’s very good Galaxy Note 3, the Galaxy Note 4 improves on everything great from last year’s model to make it one of the best devices of 2014. It’s big, it still has the S-Pen and it largely follows in the footsteps of the Galaxy Note 3. Still, if you know someone that missed out on last year’s update, then the Galaxy Note 4 is a good gift. Especially if that person simply can’t give up the S-Pen and really likes Samsung devices.

Samsung Galaxy Note 4, Charcoal Black 32GB (Verizon Wireless)Samsung Galaxy Note 4, Charcoal Black 32GB (AT&T)

Sony Xperia Z3 Compact

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For those that simply don’t want a large phone, yet want all the latest specs and features, Sony’s Xperia Z3 Compact is basically the only way to go. It’s powered by a Snapdragon 801, has a 20-megapixel camera and it looks good in a variety of colors. Its real selling point is the 4.6-inch display that makes this a smaller, yet no less powerful device. Great for those upgrading from an iPhone or a smaller device from a couple of years ago, this is the only option as far as quality smaller handsets are concerned. It’s best to pick this guy up directly from Sony.

OnePlus One

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Whomever you buy the OnePlus One for might be more impressed with the fact that you managed to get one in the first place, but it’s no less a great device. For those looking for a larger display, the 5.5-inch OnePlus One has all the standard high-end specs without the price tag. It’s also running CyanogenMod and it’s a great device for hackers and enthusiasts alike, it’s just a shame that it’s not more readily available.