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Top 10 Best Android Smartphones Buyers Guide: May 2015 Edition

April 29, 2015 - Written By Tom Dawson

Things are starting to get more exciting in the Android smartphone world these days. LG have just launched the new G4 and while it won’t be featured in this list until it hits shelves, it’ll certainly make an impact later this year. As for May however, well there are still some excellent options out there no matter what sort of Android smartphone you’re looking for, and the flagships of 2015 are here, ready and waiting for you to pick them up at your local carrier store or from Amazon. This list is of the device available in North America right now, and next month’s list should be very interesting, indeed.

10. OnePlus One

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What was once some sort of big movement in the smartphone industry, the OnePlus One is just another Android smartphone. In that it’s now easier than ever to get a hold of, and as things with Cyanogen didn’t go down too well, it won’t have the Cyanogen branding too much longer. The device is a 5.5-inch 1080p affair powered by a Snapdragon 801 and while the hardware is still pretty solid, it’s becoming harder to stay a loyal fan of the OnePlus One what with recent delays in their new Oxygen OS, but for enthusiasts and those looking for a different route, the OnePlus One won’t disappoint.

09. Sony Xperia Z3

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While the Xperia Z3 is an excellent device, it’s fairly tough to get hold of in the US – unless you’re a T-Mobile customer – and compared to other devices from the second half of 2014, the Xperia Z3 didn’t go quite as far as it could have. It stuck with the Snapdragon 801, 3GB of RAM and 5.2-inch display that the Xperia Z2 launched with this time last year, and it didn’t change much at all from the overall experience. Still, if you want a Sony device, the Xperia Z3 has nice, fairly untouched software (complete with a recent upgrade to Lollipop) and it’s a well-built smartphone. The Xperia Z3 has recently just been “relaunched” on T-Mobile at a lower price point, and now makes for attractive smartphone purchase.

08. Motorola Moto X (2014)

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The Moto X (2014) is an excellent smartphone, and if you’re just looking for something that looks nice and has down to Earth software on it, then look no further. After the recent launch of the G4, Motorola was keen to remind everyone that they’ve been doing leather for a lot longer, and they don’t just offer leather, they also offer bamboo and other wood options, too. However, if you want a better camera experience, some more exciting software features and a better display, then there are other options out there. With Moto Maker though, you can choose from wood, leather and a myriad of color options, so if you want a great smartphone to live with that doesn’t try too hard to be anything more than it is, the Moto X (2014) will be just what you’re looking for.

07. LG G Flex 2

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LG’s G Flex 2 was one of the first devices to be announced in 2015, and also one of the first with a Snapdragon 810. In a fetching new red color, the 5.5-inch curvy smartphone looks great, however it’s not quite the smartphone we were hoping it to be. Following in the footsteps of the original G Flex, which offered a phone that you could genuinely flex and had a curved display from top-to-bottom, the Plastic OLED flexible panel just doesn’t do enough to feel worth it right now. The Snapdragon 810 inside the G Flex 2 doesn’t perform as we’d like and it’s sadly not what we were expecting from LG this time around. Our review can be found here.

06. Motorola DROID Turbo

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The DROID Turbo is a classic case of that carrier exclusive smartphone you wish was available elsewhere. Not only does the DROID Turbo look great, but the 5.2-inch Quad HD display, Snapdragon 805 and a massive 3,900 mAh make this a smartphone to admire. It’s exclusive to Verizon’s network, which may or may not be the deal breaker for you here, but if their network has never let you down and you’re happy paying a little extra, then this could be the best device available on Verizon. For a lot of people, the DROID Turbo has all the specs the Moto X should have launched with, and for those on Verizon, you can tap into those specs.

05. LG G3

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LG just recently announced the G4, and while it bests the G3 in pretty much every major way, the G3 was already a tough phone to beat. It might feature a 5.5-inch Quad HD display, but the device is physically quite small thanks to some wizardry on LG’s part. The curved back and rear-mounted buttons help make the G3 feel good in the hand and while the Snapdragon 801 is arguably not as well suited to a Quad HD display as the Snapdragon 805, there’s more than enough grunt in the G3 for the majority of users. Even in the face of 1080p displays though, the LG G3’s Quad HD display was never all that nice to look at outside of all those pixels. Still, it’s led LG to some of their best quarters in company history, so it’s clearly done the job!

04. HTC One M9

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The HTC One M9 was recently released, and as we discovered in our review there isn’t all that much to write home about. This is when we’re talking about the HTC One M8 of course, but the M9 is a Snapdragon 810 powered device with 3GB of RAM and a 5.0-inch 1080p display and it’s just as good-looking as last year’s model. The camera is the biggest change this year with a 20.7-megapixel sensor instead of an UltraPixel sensor. The camera is a high point here, as is the excellent build quality, but if you were hoping for something a little newer, then there are other options to consider.

03. Google Nexus 6

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As massive smartphones go, the Nexus 6 is one of the better built and more fully featured out there, it’s a great device that shows off what stock Android is capable of, but it is a little pricey. With a Snapdragon 805, 3GB of RAM and a Quad HD display, this holds up as one of the most powerful devices available, even in the face of the Snapdragon 810. With stock Android onboard you’re assured speedy updates and it’s a good phone for those looking to tinker and mess around with Android as well. The Nexus 6 is also the only smartphone that can enjoy Google’s vision for what a wireless network could be, Project Fi, so it recently gained one more string to its bow. It might be pricey, but if you’re interested in a powerful, well built Android smartphone the Nexus 6 is a great way to go.

02. Samsung Galaxy Note 4

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One of the few devices available that takes a stylus and turns it into an exceptionally useful tool, the Galaxy Note 4 is one hell of a smartphone, especially if you want something with a larger display. The 5.7-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED display is bright, colorful and the Snapdragon 805 under the hood works great, too. A device for those needing to get something done, the Galaxy Note 4 is an excellent follow-up to the Galaxy Note 3.

01. Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge

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Samsung have outdone themselves this year with the launch of the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge. Yes, there’s no longer a removable battery or microSD card slot, but what you gain is a metal build that feels excellent in the hand. Plus, this is the one device that will buck the trend this year of using a Snapdragon processor and instead uses Samsung’s Exynos 7420 with great results. It looks good, the color options are great and the camera is vastly improved upon. The Galaxy S6 Edge is essentially the same phone with sloped edges either side. As of right now, these don’t do too much but over time, developers will harness this new hardware for all sorts of new features. The Galaxy S6 duo are the best smartphones that Samsung have ever made and the fact that they eschew the Snapdragon 810 which is rare misstep for Qualcomm makes the Galaxy S6 one of the devices to buy in 2015. Our review of this duo can be found here.