In the past few weeks, some interesting things have happened and Google’s launch of the Nexus 6, Nexus 9 and looming rollout of Android 5.0 definitely had a lot to do with it. We now have two new excellent smartphones from Motorola, and they’re both being produced for parties other than Motorola themselves, leaving the Moto X in a curious position. Still, there’s no better time of year to buy a smartphone than these next couple of months, with the best every one has to offer already available (or available very soon) and deals sure to roll in any moment, this is as good as it gets.
10. Google Nexus 5
It’s not that the Nexus 5 is a bad phone, nor is it about the device being a year old. The Nexus 5 finds itself in last place this month for a couple of key reasons; the Snapdragon 800 is an aging chip compared to mostly everything else on this list and as design goes there isn’t much of it with the Nexus 5. Now, that’s not to say the Nexus 5 isn’t a bad phone, I had one for much of this past year and loved it. The Snapdragon 800 is still quick, and if you’re happy to forego bells and whistles for the latest version of Android, then the Nexus 5 is a great option for you. However, if you’re looking for something with a little more flare and better specs, then keep on reading.
09. OnePlus One
After another rocky sales tactic for the OnePlus team this past week, it’s pretty clear that the company has a long, long way to go when it comes to actually selling devices. Still, when it comes to making them, OnePlus have done a stellar job with the One, well their One anyway. It might be a little big for some at 5.5-inches, but with some good hardware, minimal design and an excellent texture to the backing of the phone, the OnePlus One is a great phone. The 1080p display and Snapdragon 801 are also great and the camera isn’t too bad at all. Our review should help you out in deciding that though.
08. Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
If large phones aren’t your thing, then sadly, the Xperia Z3 Compact is your only real option if you also want the best specs available. We say sadly, because we wish there were more phones like this. Being waterproof and featuring the same Snapdragon 801 as many other high-end flagships, and a killer 20.7-megapixel camera, which is one of the best out there, the Xperia Z3 Compact is mightier than it seems. If you’re in the market for a smaller smartphone, this is the only option you need think about.
07. HTC One (M8) and Samsung Galaxy S5
Even as 2014 draws to a close, choosing between these two is like choosing between a full-spec Honda or a full-spec Ford, it comes down to what you’re comfortable with, familiar with and which is going to be best for you. The Samsung Galaxy S5 has a lot more whistles with the fingerprint sensor, water resistance and a heart-rate monitor, but the HTC One (M8) has great BoomSound speakers and a much better build. Under the hood though, we’re looking at two devices with 5-inch 1080p displays (each with their own pros and cons), the same Snapdragon 801 and 2GB of RAM. Whichever you choose though, you’re going to have a good experience.
06. Sony Xperia Z3
With the Xperia Z3, Sony didn’t really change much – if anything apart from the exterior – of the Xperia Z2, which is a shame as this is a good-looking, high-end smartphone. However, with the same Snapdragon 801, same 20.7-megapixel camera, and the same 5.2-inch 1080p display, it’s safe to say that T-Mobile didn’t go far enough with this. We guess that’s the trouble with Sony’s 6-month release cycle though. Having said all that, this is finally available on a US carrier in a relatively timely fashion and can be had from T-Mobile, with Verizon fans looking at the Xperia Z3v.
05. Motorola Moto X 2014
For their 2014 flagship, what Motorola did is they built on top of everything that made the Moto X great, and the Moto X (2014) is better in pretty much every way. It’s slightly bigger at 5.2-inches, there are new materials for Moto Maker and it’s powered by a Snapdragon 801 CPU and has a better camera this time around as well. We reviewed this a little while ago and thought it was a great device from a company that’s trying their best to work their way back to the top. A great all-rounder, this is a device for those that want to live with a great phone, rather than having to make compromises for the phone.
04. Motorola DROID Turbo
Yesterday, Motorola and Verizon announced the DROID Turbo and what a device it is, complete with a Snapdragon 805 CPU, 2GB of RAM, a 5.2-inch Quad HD display and a 48-hour battery life – the list is nearly endless. It’s something of a stunner as well, available in black or red, this is easily the best-looking DROID that Verizon has ever released. Running the ame sort of software we’ve come to expect from Motorola as well, this is a thoughtful device that is more about useful features than it is showing off, despite the fact it does that just fine. Sadly, it’s only available on Verizon, but if you’re a Big Red customer that’s happy with their service, then this is definitely a device to look into.
03. LG G3
So you don’t mind large displays, and you want some of the absolute best specs avaailable on the market? Then you want LG’s G3. It’s a 5.5-inch 2560 x 1440 packing device loaded with features, and a classier build that feels good in the hand. That display is front and center with barely any bezel either side or top and bottom and it’s got some cool button action around the back. With an excellent camera that has some of the best autofocus in a smartphone, this is a great device to capture every moment and thanks to some excellent battery life you’ll be able to do just that, all day and then some. The only thing that let’s the G3 down is the Snapdragon 801 inside it, it’s a powerful chip, but compared to the Galaxy Note 4 it isn’t quite geared up to make the most of that super-dense display.
02. Google Nexus 6
What happens when you take the 2014 model of the Moto X and make the absolute best device you can make with the latest version of Android? You get the giant, 5.9-inch Quad HD Nexus 6, complete with Snapdragon 805 and Android 5.0 Lollipop. With some exclusive features that are carried over from the Moto X, this is easily the best Nexus smartphone there’s ever been, and while it’s a shame about the giant screen, for some people this is just what they’ve been looking for in a smartphone. The latest version of Android doesn’t hurt either and the build is significantly better than previous devices, too. All-in-all, a smartphone that’s great for large screen lovers, the Nexus 6 finally offers stock Android in a giant footprint, too.
01. Samsung Galaxy Note 4
Last year’s Samsung Galaxy Note 3 was one of the best devices Samsung ever produced, and it’s arguably more of a flagship than the Galaxy S5 was, but this year’s Galaxy Note 4 takes things even further. Packed with all sorts of specs, the Galaxy Note 4 has a Snapdragon 805 with 3GB of RAM under the hood, and a 2560 x 1440 5.7-inch display to boot. With the S-Pen, you can get all sorts of things done on the move, even if that’s just playing your favorite games like a boss. If you want a single device to do everything all day long, then the Galaxy Note 4 is that device, and thanks to the aluminium frame used here, it’ll last a lot longer this time around as well.