Android phones

It’s time fo​r another look at the best Android handsets out there

It’s been a busy three months since we brought you our last roundup of the best Android phones on the market. In that time we’ve witnessed the launch of important devices like the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, LG G2 and Nexus 5, along with the new Android 4.4 KitKat — and important updates for existing phones. The Android smartphone landscape has altered considerably, with the established flagship phones released in earlier months facing new challengers as we approach the end of the year.

So it’s time to take a fresh look at things as 2013 draws to a close. Just about everything that’s going to land in Q4 has done so, and so the current selection of Android phones will be sticking around until the first wave of 2014 handsets arrives in early Spring.

Join us after the break, where we’ll crown the best Android phone overall, the best oversized phone and the best value phone — and look at a few runners-up and honorable mentions.

The best Android phone you can buy ​— the Moto X

Moto X

It’s an imperfect phone, but it’s one that lives up to the cliché of the sum being greater than the parts

Welcome back, Motorola. Not that the company was ever really gone, but things had grown a bit stale with Droid after Droid after Droid. Then came the Moto X. It’s an imperfect phone, to be sure. But it’s one that lives up to the cliché of the sum being greater than the parts.

You’ve got a phone with a display the same size as the Nexus 4 (4.7 inches), but in a smaller, more attractive body. It might only sport a 720p display, but few will fret the lower resolution, and instead appreciate the greater battery life. The camera is adequate — not great — and it’s gotten a little better with software updates. Automatic enhancements from the sharing services make that a little easier to swallow as well.

The internal hardware isn’t quite bleeding edge, but it’s so well optimized that you’ll not notice, and it takes advantage of a couple low-power cores. Toss in the fact that the Moto X has been updated to the most recent version of Android — before some of Google’s own Nexus devices, even — and you’ll be hard-pressed to find something better. The “always-listening” Touchless Control and Active Display are just icing on an already pretty sweet cake. The on-contract pricing is low, and $549 for an unlocked developer version isn’t out of reach for those who need that sort of phone. Plus, you’ve got the customization of Motomaker.

We talk about “solid” phones, and the Moto X really does meet that definition better than just about anything out there. Fast where it should be. Feels great in the hand, and with battery life that doesn’t make you want to look for a charger around lunchtime.

Runners-up — the HT​C One, LG G2, Sony Xperia Z1 and Nexus 5

We’ve got a lot of runners-up this time around, but the truth is these are all fantastic phones that are worthy of consideration. Let’s dig in ...

HTC On​e


The HTC One is the oldest phone in our lineup but it’s still a fantastic purchase, made better by the Sense 5.5 update that’s rolling out now in some countries. While many manufacturers are getting better at producing great-feeling soft-touch plastic phones, it’s tough to beat the sumptuous brushed aluminum unibody of the HTC One.

HTC buyers can also enjoy one of our favorite custom UIs for Android. The current version of HTC Sense is speedy — arguably more so than the stock Android-based Google Play edition HTC One — with features that add real value for regular users. Zoe photos and video highlights are a delightful way to turn a stream of stills and video into something enjoyable and easily shareable. And HTC BlinkFeed has matured into a great productivity and social tool in Sense 5.5 with the addition of RSS, search, Instagram, Google+ and other customizations.

HTC’s flagship has held its own better than any of its contemporaries

Others have the One beaten in terms of battery life and camera quality for sure, but HTC remains the manufacturer to beat in some key areas. It's got a thunderous pair of BoomSound speakers, the best on any phone, and an equally impressive 1080p SuperLCD 3 display. It’s approaching nine months since the HTC One first launched in Europe and Asia, which is a long time in the smartphone world. Nevertheless HTC’s flagship has held its own better than any of its contemporaries, and it’s still worth your cash today.

M​ore: HTC One review; HTC One, two-months on

LG G2​​


A somewhat underappreciated phone, LG’s current flagship misses out on the top spot due to its quirky rear-mounted button setup, plasticky exterior and overblown, in-your-face software — but regardless, there’s a lot to like about this device. That gorgeous 5.2-inch 1080p IPS display, packed into a chassis barely any larger than the 4.7-inch competition, is one significant reason. LG has done a great job of simply placing a screen in the user’s hand, free from bezels and other distractions — and it’s done so in a way that’s also easy on your hand and pocket.

The camera is among the best on the market, with a 13-megapixel BSI sensor and optical image stabilization to compensate for hand motion. And the 3000mAh battery and GRAM technology gives the device the kind of longevity lacking from many others in our lineup. The G2 also ranks near the top in terms of performance — with a Snapdragon 800 CPU inside it absolutely flies, and is sure to handle all the apps and games you’ll throw at it for the foreseeable future, even if the device’s OS upgrade prospects remain uncertain.

More: AT&T LG G2 review; Verizon LG G2 review

Sony Xperi​a Z1

Sony Xperia Z1

At the time of writing the Xperia Z1 is only available off-contract in the U.S. But it’s easier to get hold of internationally, and well worth your money if you live outside the states or are buying SIM-free. Sony’s latest is a substantial improvement on the OG Xperia Z, with a better display, enhanced build quality and superior performance. It’s still a bit of a brick, with hefty bezels and a squarish shape, meaning it’s nowhere near as ergonomic as much of the competition. However it makes up for that with a beautiful design and incredibly solid feeling chassis, most notably the aluminum trim that extends around its sides and the clean, glass panel adorning its rear.

Sony has finally gotten battery life and performance right

The Z1 also has a handful of unique hardware capabilities going for it. It’s water resistant (with its ports closed) for up to 30 minutes. And it boasts the highest megapixel count of any Android smartphone, carrying a 20.7-megapixel Exmor RS sensor that shoots great-looking oversampled 8MP photos with an array of useful scene modes.

Elsewhere the Sony flagship suffers from poor display viewing angles, an unfortunate family trait for the Japanese manufacturer’s phones. But at least Sony has finally gotten battery life and performance right — there’s a Snapdragon 800 CPU inside, and the Z1’s 3,000mAh battery easily gets through a full working day (and then some, if you enable Sony’s battery stamina mode.)

More: Sony Xperia Z1 review

Nexus 5​

Nexus 5

If you absolutely must be on the bleeding edge of Android, this is where it’s at

The new Nexus smartphone from LG and Google isn’t the best Android handset around, but it does excel in a few important areas. Aside from its ridiculously low SIM-free price, which we’ll get to later in this article, the Nexus 5 packs an impressive 1080p IPS display, a top-level Snapdragon 800 CPU and appealing, if understated design.

But the star of the show is really the new Android 4.4 KitKat — a brighter, lighter Android boasting closer integration with Google services. Caller ID by Google lets you see who’s calling, based on phone records in Google’s business directory. The new home screen launcher makes it easier than ever to get to Google Now and voice actions two of Android’s most useful features. And it’s also blazingly fast.

What’s not so great? Well, the Nexus 5’s battery life is probably its greatest weakness — it delivers fewer hours between charges than the G2 and Xperia Z1. And while the camera can take great shots, the finicky autofocus and slow capture speeds will be a source of frustration. There are still a few bugs in the brand-new software. It’s another compromise, as Nexus handsets always tend to be. But if you absolutely must be on the bleeding edge of Android, this, for the moment, is where it’s at.

More: Nexus 5 review

Best oversized phone: Samsung​ Galaxy Note 3

Galaxy Note 3

No-one makes big phones like Samsung

No-one makes big phones like Samsung. The Galaxy Note 3 is the third iteration of the original half phone/half tablet handset, and it’s comfortably the best large form factor phone available. It’s deceptively light for a 5.7-incher, with a face-meltingly bright Full HD SuperAMOLED screen. And Samsung hasn’t skimped on internals — there’s a Snapdragon 800 CPU inside with a whopping 3GB of RAM, the 13-megapixel camera from the Galaxy S4 and 32 or 64GB of storage, expandable via microSD. Equally important is the external hardware. Samsung has ditched the shiny plastic and gone with matte or soft-touch plastic on the Note 3, depending the color option, making for a much improved, less slippery feel.

Galaxy Note 3Samsung smartphones are renowned for their vast array of features, and Samsung has packed even more software tricks into the Note 3, most notably around the S Pen stylus. The new Air Command menu lets you quickly jump to stylus-controlled features like action memo, which lets you write out addresses or contact info. Samsung’s TouchWiz UI is still somewhat of a multicolored mess, but there’s no other manufacturer offering anywhere near this volume of features.

The most impressive thing about the Galaxy Note 3 isn’t necessarily its high-end hardware or wealth of software features, but the fact that for a 5.7-inch phone it feels smaller and easier to manage than ever before. While we really struggled to hold onto last year’s Note 2 with one hand, the same isn’t true of the Note 3. And given how many bulky, unwieldy large smartphones we’ve seen this year, that’s an achievement worth underscoring.

More: Samsung Galaxy Note 3 review

Best value: ​Tie — the Nexus 5 and Moto G

Moto G + Nexus 5

Both Google phones at heart, the Nexus 5 and Moto G are excellent value for money, and the choice between the two comes down to which specific price point you’re looking at.

In the entry-level space, the Moto G offers unequaled hardware for your $179-$199 — great build quality, inspired by the look and feel of the Moto X, a quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor and a 720p LCD display that puts many more expensive rivals to shame. The energy-efficient processor and large battery capacity (for this kind of phone, anyway) make the Moto G able to boast considerable longevity. On the software side it’s a fairly barebones Android 4.3-based experience for the time being, though an update to KitKat is promised by the end of January. And you get Motorola’s trusted Bluetooth features and Motorola Assist to help out with silencing and automatically replying to messages when you’re asleep or in a meeting.

Nexus 5Moto G

Notable compromises include the camera — a pretty basic 5-megapixel affair — and data connectivity, as you’ll max out at 21Mbps HSPA+ on the Moto G.

The Nexus 5, on the other hand, is a high-end phone at a mid-range price point. Your $350-$400 gets you the fastest Android phone out there, with one of the best-looking displays and a thin, light chassis that feels great. You’ll also get LTE connectivity, something lacking from previous Nexus handsets, and the bragging rights that come from having the latest and greatest version of Android, 4.4 KitKat, and speedy updates to future versions. As we’ve already discussed, the N5’s main weakness is its battery life — curiously, one of the Moto G’s strengths — and as mentioned above, camera software can present challenges at times. But neither of these things are necessarily deal-breakers considering the combined hardware and software package you’re getting for your $350.

More: Nexus 5 review; Moto G review

Honorable m​entions

Samsung Galaxy S4

Galaxy S4While many of the contenders on this list have the Samsung Galaxy S4 beaten in individual areas, Samsung’s current mainstream high-ender is still very much worth a look. The Korean manufacturer has done a great job packing a 5-inch 1080p display into a thin, light chassis, and delivering camera and battery performance that stacks up well next to the late-2013 competition.

It’s also available on just about every carrier on the planet, has recently been updated to Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, and boasts a wider array of software features than most Android phones, even if we do question the usefulness of some of them.

Verizon Motorola Droid Max​x

Droid MaxxThe Droid Maxx is essentially a Moto X with a giant battery and a larger screen, wrapped in a more industrial-looking design. And it's that gargantuan 3,500mAh battery that’s landed the Maxx an honorable mention, despite it only being available on one U.S. carrier.

If you’re on Verizon, the Maxx is definitely worth considering alongside the Moto X — it delivers much of what’s great about that device, with extended battery life to boot. (Of course it’s also worth considering that the Maxx still runs Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, whereas the the Verizon Moto X is right up to date on 4.4 KitKat.)

The past year has seen more high-quality Android hardware than ever before, and any of the phones on our list should serve you well over the course of a two-year contract. As tick follows tock, we’re sure to see ever more advanced hardware as the next generation approaches. Screens will continue to get larger — we’ve already seen hints of 5.25-inch 1440p panels being readied for future Samsung phones, for instance. Qualcomm’s 4K-capable Snapdragon 805 chipset and its contemporaries will surely feature prominently in the Android phones of 2014, too. It’ll also be interesting to see how less quantifiable hardware traits like battery life and build quality evolve over the coming year.

For the moment, though, Android buyers are already spoiled for choice, with a the wealth of high-quality hardware from which to take their pick. So which one have you chosen? Share your thoughts down in the comments!


Reader comments

The best Android phone you can buy


Maxx is only on 4.2.2 and not 4.3. But i love my Maxx. Cant wait for KitKat!

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I took AC's advice and switched from a Galaxy Note 3 to the Moto X and am glad I did. Active Notifications are this phone's greatest feature.

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Sony is not compared nor competitive neither beatable it's a giant brand and will remains till end i love you Sony ummaaaaah!you rocks

Not that it actually makes any significant difference to the average user. Either way, The Max will get its update soon enough.

Posted via Android Central App on my daily driver, the Droid MAX

"Either way, The Max will get its update soon enough."
Will it? It's already behind the Moto X, even the Verizon version. I'm sure it will get an update eventually (probably) but I wouldn't count on it any time soon. I wonder if these phones had the sales numbers for VZW to bother with updating them.

Per Motorola, it will. No timeframe given. Motorola has never gone back on their word with regards to updates for Verizon phones.

I'm sure it will, really, but the fact that it hasn't been yet negates the 'soon enough' part of the prior poster's comment. It still doesn't even have 4.3. Personally I'm inclined to lay that on VZW,, but that's just conjecture.

It's not conjecture, its flat out wrong. It was Moto's decision to skip 4.3, but this wouldn't be AC if people weren't blaming Verizon for anything and everything that they feel has gone wrong.

If you can't prove that it wasn't their fault, then it's their fault, lol.

Posted via my "Gift from God" Nexus 5

The 2013 Droids will be updated probably sooner than most think. They've stated they're going to update the 2012 Droids to kk too, which is pretty damn awesome.

Yes the Maxx is getting KitKat as are the Maxx HD, Razr HD, and even Razr M according to Moto.

Right there with you on the Maxx loving! I love not having to worry about my battery like I used to with the S4. The crappy radio that phone had would suck my battery dry in 6 hours. You would think I worked in a subterranean steel box!

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This kind of list does not make all that much sense especially mentioning the Note3.

If you want the kind of features the Note3 brings with its stylus none of these other phones are even an option. So the best phone you can buy is the note3.

If you don't want or care for those features then this list makes more sense. As for the rest of the phones I haven't used the Moto X so can't speak on it much. I have played with the S4 and One but passed on both love my G2 best phone for me by a mile.

So you assume everyone wants those features. This list is spot on BECAUSE everyone does not want or need those features.


The Note3 will outsell Moto X by a mile. So its kind of extremely hard to try and say that its the best phone as of now. Clearly more people want the Note3 features then anything moto X has to offer. Moto X won't even outsell any of the other phones mentioned so once again I don't see how it can possibly be the 'best' its not better in terms of hardware or software.

It will outsell the Moto X because Samsung knows great marketing sells phones not great phones.

Posted via Android Central App

Exactly. The iPhone will outsell the Note 3, I wonder if the earlier poster would agree that makes the Noite 3 inferior to the iPhone...

Winter is coming. She's quite the screamer.

Eh well great marketing yes does sell a phone to an extent, if people didnt want the Note 3 they simply wouldnt buy it marketing or otherwise so sales figures DO suggest that yes the Note 3 is the most popular on this list. Many dont want rhe features hmm so argument less features=best all round device? That is just a general question folks. My opinion yes Samsung does load with them features and yes they sell buy huge numbers FACT the reason being is that despite if these features get used many like to have them just incase that moment arises and they become really usefull. I find many of the features useful and others not so much but they are there and most certainly dont get in my way and can also be turned off.

The Moto Cant really be stated as best phone as its market is America and it aint sold anywhere else so is there logic in that desicion hmm Americans would say yes the rest will laugh in amusement lol

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@LegacyEvoAce, sales have nothing to do with what equals the best especially in smartphones. If that were the case then AC can just shut down and declare the iPhone the best as it will always outsell anything on the Android platform including Sammy. The N3 is as good as it can be but the fact remains, that size device is just too large for many people to consider.

But... isn't that true of specific features of EVERY phone on this list? They each have different points and features that separate them from the others — its all about the combination and total package that we rank these on.

While I agree with you and your list, the differences in the 4.7-5" phones are minuscule. Sure they each have this and that, but at the core they all have the same stuff. With the Note the core is the s-pen and larger screen. It is in a class but itself, and you classified it that way.

Again, I agree with your rankings for the most part, and $ for $ the X is the best phone out there.

The oversized phone category also include the HTC One Max and Sony Xperia Z Ultra. They don't have the S-pen but they are both significantly larger than the other phones listed.

Absolutely, the Note 3 is the king. And it has it's own camera, not the one from the S4 as incorrectly mentioned in the article, the S4 had a totally different, 12mpx unit.

not surprised, moto X is the best smartphone out there.
you have to use this phone to understand how awesome it is

+1 and 4.4 makes it even sweeter to me! Not sure why I am such a Google Wallet junkie but I am and now with my Moto X!

The Moto X does grow on you as you use it. It gets better with use. Most people do make the same comment. I think Motorola is finally back in the game after a long dry spell.

This is precisely it. The more I use the Moto X the more I like the Moto X. This is precisely the opposite of what I felt about my previous phones. The deficiencies in the S3 and the Galaxy Nexus bugged me more and more as I used them. The only other phone that gave me a similar feeling to the Moto X was the Nexus One.

Posted via Android Central App

Just sent her an email with this screenshot. Sorry, Jerry.

In other news, how do YOU like the Nexus 5 and LG G2 compared to Moto X? A few sentences of your opinion would be awesome.

Hey Jerry I saw you at the Moto X after launch party in NYC during the summer. I'm really happy to see Motorola changing and now listing to the people for once. I hope it keeps up! I'll see you at the next launch whenever its NYC.

Jerry, your staunch adoration to the Moto X played a HUGE role in me making the decision to pick one up. I am a loyal iOS user but recently purchased a Nexus 7 and have fallen in love with Android. While considering all my options for a new phone, I kept coming back to this phone based on your comments in the podcasts and articles you wrote. Thanks for the help, I have had this phone for a week and a day and love it. I can't stop talking to people about it, which I am sure they just LOVE...

P.S. I also enjoy how you don't take crap from trolls, just because you are an editor and contributor shouldn't mean you have to eat crap being served to you. Great job and thanks again

+1 ... Always come back to Moto X after using HTC One, Nexus 5. I would carry nexus 5 full time if it has trusted devices feature like moto x.

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You guys nailed it this time around. The average user will find the moto x to be the most used friendly and efficient Android device. IMO


The best phone... is the one that works best for you. For me personally, the Nexus 5 is the best phone. For someone else, it is going to be the Moto X, or maybe the GS4.

Oddly enough I'm plenty happy with the battery life on my N5. Could it be better? Sure it could always be better, but it's better than the battery life on my old S3, which was also "good enough", so it feels like an upgrade. In addition now I can have a bunch of (very affordable) Nokia wireless chargers all over the place and recharge if need be. My main complaint at this point is the speaker, it's borderline awful at times.

I am getting 3 days battery life out of my Nexus 5, in a usage cycle that gave me 24 hours on the 3 yr. Old device I just retired.
Do not turn on "Backup my data" though, as that feature drained the battery in 1 day.

I disagree with the statement that the LG software is overblown and in your face. I have owned 2 Nexus devices so I understand what the vanilla Android experience is all about.

Posted via Android Central App on a Nexus 10

Maybe you're missing the fact that most of the notification tray can be customized or turned off if you want it to be. LG has done it right with more customization options that let YOU choose what you want to see.

I wouldn't say "never go back," but it's definitely difficult to go back, once you get used to how lean the UI is, how cheap the hardware is, and how "quick" the updates come.

Posted via Android Central App

For many those are negatives. Myself, I ditched the Nexus 7 (and never looked back) primarily due to the minimal UI and frequent updates that more often than not left me feeling like a beta tester for Google.

Even putting those issues aside, a Nexus phone is out due to the lack of hardware options such as a user-replaceable battery or SD card.

He's deciding between the Moto X and Nexus 5 and you're discussing SD cards?

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I can't use a phone with only 12 GB of usable storage on the Moto X. Absolutely stupid in todays world. 32 GB internal and a 32 GB SD card. Thinking about changing that to a 64 GB SD card.

I don't use the cloud for my music. If I don't have a connection then I still have my music. Granted, it's rare but it does happen.

I also put portions of movies to preview for people on my phone. The Note 3 is fantastic for all this. Love it!

And that stylus pen...beautiful.

Before the Moto X, I agreed 110%. My next phone will be the Moto X though.

Winter is coming. She's quite the screamer.

I did the opposite. I picked up a Nexus 5 (coming from a Nexus 4), and then traded it out for a Moto X and I couldn't be happier. The Nexus 5 is a great phone, no doubt, but the unique features on the Moto X are absolute game changers for me.

I agree. Went from the Droid Incredible....LOVED that device, to the GNex, which I loved and a Note 2 because of battery life.

I don't get why battery life in the Nexus line cannot be optimized when running vanilla android...

So not true.... I've had a nexus and it Will probably be my last ever... I like features oems bring to android... And so does Google that's why they steal em in the next nexus thereafter

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Better hardware lol. My N5 screen died after 15 days. Had to send it back for full refund from Google. Went right back to my Moto X and not getting another N5. I have had every Nexus device but that N5 screen dying pissed me right off.

Can't agree here. While I really liked my GalNex, the hardware (of course) and software (suprisingly) are much more desirable to me on my new Galaxy Note 3. Sure, Touchwiz has a few cosmetic warts (lag aint one of them here), but the features literally blow "stock Android" out of the water IMO. Had this thing a month and am literally digesting all the new features in pieces.

I'm trying to decide to between the 2 phones. My contract is up in January, and both these phones do everything that I need them to do. I think I'll be choosing N5, cause it's newer and faster.

I totally agree with this list Alex. Moto X is definitely the phone of the year. They made me a believer. I can't wait to see what they have in store for 2014.

The only trouble with the Moto X for me is its not available in the UK! What would be Alex's recommendation bearing this in mind?

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Moto x a great phone but only available in the US so not great list for International users and z1 over a s4, the z1 should be in the oversized category at the least as that phone has bezels to share.even though it's a 5''device it's more closer to the size of a note 3 than a phone.

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Thinking about trading in the Note 3 for the Moto X....My only hang up is battery life. Will it last me from the time I wake up to the time I plug it in to go night night?

I don't know about the N3, but after 4 days, my dad's MotoX's battery stats are about 14 hours with 3hrs screen on time at 40% left. GPS and NFC on, wifi on for about 3-4 hours. NYC so 4g signal is pretty strong. These numbers come close enough to my MAXX HD where I'm considering swapping it for one.

I didn't carry the X long but it will hang within 25% of the note. All day for sure depending on usage.

My problem now when I swap phones with friends is going backwards in screen size. That is an obstacle I am not sure I can overcome.

So where is the competition for the Note 3? Oh right there isn't any...

I've never held a moto X but I've moved up to the note 3 and I'm in love. I have large hands and feel so comfortable with it. I wondered if I'd be willing to go with the mega if it had the same specs as the note 3? Any who's, I'm sure of guys have your reasons to like the x but the note is the top choice for me over all.

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Same here. It's a bit large, but my gosh my laptop and iPad are the obsolete notice list. That screen is sick. SPen is awesome. Love this phone.

I concur with Alex. I own the moto x, nexus 5 & htc one. Always end up back on the Moto X.

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I test drove those 3 phones and I miss the One the most. MOTO X was forgettable to me. Nexus 5 was well a nexus.

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I also have these three phones, and I think I am going to get rid of N5. Moto X is the phone for me, and I am keeping the One just because of the front speakers. N5 has nothing that I already don't have on my X.

Why? Ive never used the X. Like the form factor, but exactly why is it so superior as "a unit" rather than the "sum of parts"?
One things I disliked about "stock android" on my Gal Nex was all the lost display area that the soft buttons consume. Sure, when you play a movie etc you'll get it back, but tons of other apps could use that space. Took my GalNex down from a 4.65" inch display to like a 4.2 or 4.3.
I like the X, just interested in the reasons why superior.

Moto X, hands down deserves to be #1.

Motorola has won me back as a customer once they went on their word on delivering KitKat soon and only 3 weeks after launch. They are replacing the Nexus devices as the go-to phones for fast updates to be honest. The fact they are also upgrading their 2012 and 2013 Droids also make them above the other OEMs and show how much they care for the user experience with their phones.

Now the rest of the phones on the list. All Garbage except maybe the Xperia Z1.

Which Verizon phone did Motorola officially promise an update for that they had to pull back?

You're right. Motorola one promised that certain phones would jump from gingerbread to ice cream sandwich, but they went back on that and those phones continue to suffer on gingerbread

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"They are replacing the Nexus devices as the go-to phones for fast updates to be honest"

Whoa lets dial back the moto love just a bit. Yes its fantastic they have updated the moto x to kit kat, but you can't honestly say this with a straight face as the Verizon Motorola Droid Max​x, a phone released the same time as the moto x and practically the same internally mind you, is still stuck on 4.2.2.

And to call the rest of these phones on the list "garbage" just goes to prove your inability to form a respectable opinion. I bid you good day!

My thought on this is that since it's the standard Verizon crap, it's not similar enough to the X. I'd wager that Verizon has to control the bootloader and firmware due to the Droid branding, for example, and that's gotta put a damper on updating it.

How are they replacing Nexus devices, even in terms of updates? Nexus devices still receive updates faster, and previous devices also get updates (such as the Nexus 4 and 1st-gen Nexus 7; meanwhile, the Moto X was the only Motorola phone to get 4.4 quickly). And besides, not all versions of the Moto X got the update quickly; it was really only the Verizon and AT&T versions.

The Note line will continue to win the "oversized phone" category until an OEM can be as innovative as the S Pen.

If it doesn't have anything innovative like special S Pen-line stylus control, it won't. It'll just be an oversized phone in a sea of oversized phones.

And honestly the first one or three that enter into the s-pen area will be so far behind it will take several generations to catch up.

Right now, I have an OG Note and I don't use the S-Pen that much. That may change when/if I get a Note 3, but I doubt it. I'd be much more interested in having the software stuff Motorola puts on their phones, while still having the larger form factor for movies, web browsing and games. I know there are some that love the S-Pen, but it doesn't matter to me.

It's dlfficult to refute the fact that the Note series has S-pen and better Exchange integration. Those two features alone beat every other feature (by any manufacturer) on the market, IMHO.

Once you go S-pen it's hard to go back.

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Total agreement. I'm not really big on Samsung (strong dislike for Touchwiz), but nobody has put out a phablet style device that competes with the sheer productivity of the Note series. Everything else has been big just for the sake of being big. The Note line has a purpose and enhanced functionality for the size increase. Very impressive.

I like my Life's Good G2. I had the Note 3 for ten days of dropped calls. I listen to a great deal of music. I stopped plugging the N3 into the car system because the sound lacked fidelity. The sound was atrocious. It is likely that my particular phone was defective. It was that bad. The phone was cluttered with "S this" and "S that". My Note 3 experience was not positive.
The controls on the back of the G2 are something that I became use to in about five minutes. Controls on the top or side now feel anachronistic, something belonging to the past, or obsolete. IMO, Knock on and off is something I will always want on a phone.
The G2 sounds fantastic. The battery life is as good as any. The camera, with OSI, takes pictures that are phenomenal. The UI is no better or significantly different than most any other, except Nexus of course.
All of these phones are exceptional devices. Certain features will determine which you prefer. For example, I had no use for the S Pen other than to play with it. Others cold really make use of it.
I feel LG should have included mSD support. Especially since the phone has it in the South Korean version.

I completely agree with this list. The MotoX is the very definition of being greater than the sum of its parts. And I agree with people who say you really need to use the phone to really appreciate it. I just bought one for my dad and I think I'll buy one off contract to replace my MAXX HD (would have preferred the MAXX but the X fits in my hand much better). Amazingly balanced phone that does everything I want a phone to do.

I really wish there was a version of the Moto X that was the size of the Note 3. It would be perfect in my book.

Considering on the focus of the Moto X to be designed well to fit in your hand and be used by "normal" people, I'd be surprised if they really stepped up much larger. Even the new Droid Ultra/Maxx with 5-inch screens are plenty manageable.

Well they can still have the moto x successor that fits for "normal" people and have a bigger phone for the phablet market. It's good to have choices.

I personally would like my Note 3 with a 5-5.2" ff instead of the 5.7". Absolutely love the Note 3 and S-pen. But, I have smallish hands and it is definitely a 2 hand phone and pushes comfortable limits of the pocket.
S-Pen on a S4, N5, or G2 size device would have a definite market IMO.

When it comes to price, the LG G2 is only $49.99 on a new contract with AT&T.
To me, that represents the absolute best value of any phone on your list (provided you get one on contract).

I went to the websites for AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon right now and compared the two-year contract prices -

AT&T -
G2: $49.99
Moto X: $49.99

Sprint -
G2: $99.99
Moto X: $0.00

Verizon -
G2: $149.99
Moto X: $99.99

upgrade if I remember the Sprint prices right. I am shopping around because my son is thinking of going over to the dark side....fortunately he has my daughters as a role model and that is not going well at all...

IPhone, sprint rocks around here

So where is the competition for the Note 3? Oh right there isn't any...

And if you're buying a phone on contract, you aren't getting good value.

Winter is coming. She's quite the screamer.

Why's that? Vzw doesn't give any price breaks for buying full retail. I've got unlimited, but I'm honestly considering giving it up and buying the x on contract.

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Yeah, but you can give up unlimited data and drop down to the 2GB data plan. New customers have to choose from a "Share Everything" plan. So, it's not the best deal, for some, to purchase the X on contract.

Posted via my "Gift from God" Nexus 5

Depends on what "value" means. Better data traveling the South in the sticks is definitely more value than Sprint where I would not get access 1/2 the time.

I got the Nexus 5, but damn if I didn't come close to getting the X.

Most of the "Flagship's" are terrific devices. There's something for everyone.

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I picked up a G2 for $50 at BB. So far its been a great phone. Battery life is outstanding.

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Screen size and resolution, battery, 800 chip, and great freaking camera make the LG G2 the best phone for me and I love it! The buttons on the back doesn't show this phone down at all, took a week or less to get use too.

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Odd list.
I wouldn't have given the X the top spot.
"Meh" hardware. "Meh" performance.

I'd score the LG G2 higher.
I like the Nexus 5 and the Xperia Z1.

The HTC Once is nice. But lacks a large battery.

The S4 is nice hardware now crippled by Samsung with the introduction of KNOX, etc.
The specs are good, the battery life is good. Samsung has crippled the phone with draconian measure boot loaders and voiding warranties.

I disagree with a lot on your list but calling KNOX "crippling" is not realistic. Yes it is a change from the past, but it is there to start to crack into the business arena and take whats left of BlackBerry.

You can still get around it, and the bootloader. It may void your warranty, but that is the same with EVERY phone without Nexus as a name.

You have your opinions and that is great, but lets leave the hyperbole out of this

I own the moto x, htc one & nexus 5. The moto x hauls. Super smooth. I also consider it the best phone hands down.

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Always been an Android guy, but it hurts everytime when a decision is to be made what will be the next phone...

I need an exchangable battery and sdcard support - while I could live with a fixed battery, no sdcard is a big, big no no for me. This pretty much leaves me with Samsung and Sony.

This is for you, HTC & LG: stop whining about your current market share - you know how easy it would be to gain ground: implement exchangable batteries & sdcards, done ! Both the One X and the G2 are damn nice phones, but for me (and many others) no choice if the above isn't available.

I was concerned about no interchangable battery on the G2, but the battery is a "beast" and will last much more than 24 hours on a charge.
It also has 32 GBS of storage.

Yeah, I know about the battery of the G2 - that's why I said I could live without exchangable ones... But 32GB and no SDCard ? Seriously ?

That will not change their fortunes. If you think removable batteries and microSD cards are their market share issues, you don't know what you're talking about.

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While it is a worthwhile read, this statement is just false: "There's nothing inherently wrong with the use of microSD as an external storage option, but by and large that ship has sailed. Manufacturers tend to make design decisions around what they believe will sell, and for many the requirement for removable storage just isn't high up on the list." The total sales of android phones with SD Card slots is much much much greater than of those without, at least in 2013. This just strikes me as part of the groupthink among the tech journalist crowd while having no idea what sells phones in real life (poo-pooing the original Note while thinking the Moto X has any real shot as a mainstream device).

That's true, but the largest and most successful Android manufacturer continues to put SD Card slots in their flagship phones. I trust the market research division at Samsung to know what matters to most users more than I trust tech journalists.

You also have to factor in that Samsung is a marketing juggernaut. It's not hard to see commericals for Samsung's latest and greatest, whereas I ahrdly ever see commercials for HTC or LG devices. And Samsung isn't advertising the SD card slot in the commericals, they're highlighting Air Gestures, S-Pen tricks, and other, more user facing features. I know we geeks have our own boxes to check, but if you provide the aqverage user enough memory for their music, games, and camera, they generally won't care whether it's onboard storage or expandable.

And to further counter your point: Apple doesn't support an SD card slot in any of their devices, and they are doing just fine. The difference between Apple and Android manufacturers is you can go into any carrier store and pick up an iPhone with however much storage you need and feel like paying for. Meanwhile, I'm starting to question whether or not a 64gb T-Mobile Note 3 exists or not. I rememember there being a forum thread when the Note 3 was first announced (or maybe when it was released...) that joked the hidden feature in the Note 3 is the smallest storage size is 32gb, because the carrier stores will not stock anything except for the base model.

I don't disagree with what you're saying, but the corollary to what the anandtech article is sayin is that having an SD card slot (with the compromises that would come with) would make other manufacturers sell less phones, and I am unaware of any data that would support that statement beyond the pontifications of the tech elite.

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I think Samsung would sell just as many phones if they didn't have sd card slots. Of the several people I know who have Sammy phones, only a couple even use it...

@maro72, Market share has nothing to do with having a removable battery or SD slot. Apple has always dominated without either option. Samsung's domination has nothing to do with those and everything to do with marketing.

Also what in the world are you carrying on your phone that 32gb won't hold?

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Some people forget that smart phones are 'mobile' devices and expect them to hold every file they own, regardless of whether they ever use them.

Winter is coming. She's quite the screamer.

32 is the minimum for me, I have said that all along so I am happy with where things are right now.

As for what I carry around, which is why I am replying, I don't trust cloud storage all the time so I carry 10GB of music, and 10GB of work files. That is a rough rounding, but you get the idea.

I use my phone like a flash drive most of the time..

I know I am not the typical user, but it is what it is.

I would argue that much of Samsung's success is related to being the anti-Apple, and having an SD card slot is one differentiator along those lines. My Mom, sister and cousin are not at all tech enthusiasts, but they all had a viscerally negative reaction when I suggested that an iPhone would be the simplest smartphone for them to learn. They all love their Galaxy S devices and do use their SD cards for photos, videos, and music (well, not my Mom...) I use a 64 GB card for videos of my kids since each minute of HD video is around 100 MB. While I do not need every picture, song and video I own every day, who wants to swap files on and off their phone for when they need it or rely on cloud storage particularly when traveling?

So the HTC One is still the top outside the US then. Impressive, I should have bought this phone when it came out but it's too late now, already have a beautiful Nexus 5 in my hand.

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Is it really? Does the order of the honorable mentions matter?

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"Best Android Smartphone" is up to someone's personal tastes, opinions and needs. You can't have the 1 best Android phone.

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Or recommendations from folks who try every device to hit the market.

Winter is coming. She's quite the screamer.

Strange that the resident Brit should anoint a phone that isn't available in his home country or most of the rest of the world?

It would be nice to have another 'best' - the best phone you can get if you don't live in a Moto X market.

After owning a DNA and getting an LG G2, I won't go back to a non 1080p screen. Also upgraded my wife's Note2 to a Note3 during glitch, what a difference. One daughter has an HTC One on Tmobile, other just got White LG G2 to replace her S3 and my son is the only one without a 1080p screen on his N4. And man can you tell a difference, we all look at videos and picture sites all day. He'll soon get his N4 replaced, specially since he now has Chromecast in his room to watch his YouTube vids. You can keep your 720p screen.

I actually just made this decision too... I was choosing between the Moto X, HTC One, and somewhat the LG G2. I ended up picking up an AT&T HTC One from BestBuy last night for $1 (purposely chose best buy for price and the return policy if the battery life was unbearable). My decision was made over the Moto X primarily because: a) LCD screen instead of AMOLED; b) FM Radio; c) Price (32gb for $1, vs 32gb for $149). The deciding factor was the realization that I can download the Google Play edition files for the HTC One and make it essentially stock Android (which WAS and advantage of the MotoX).

I've only had it one day, but I have liked it better than any Android phone that I have tried. I have traditionally been an iPhone user, but only because I haven't found a phone that I like better (I'm not a loyalist to any OS). The HTC One shows promise.

[For those that are interested: The battery life wasn't bad on the first day; just slightly worse than my iPhone 5, but only slightly. but i hadn't updated to 4.3 yet...]

Lol @S4 getting an honorable mention. Glad to see AC being honest. Samsung needs to step it up with S5. Loved my S4 when I had it but after moving to the One I'll never look back.

Posted via Android Central App on the AT&T HTC One.

This was a tweener year in my opinion, I would rather call it the SGS3s. The S5 had better come through or Motorola will steam roll them next year.

Samsung really ruled 2012 with the S3, it's understandable that they just made that phone better, but it jus wasn't good enough to compete with the One.

I've played with the MOTO X and it's not for me. Not dogging on it at all. I'm sure that it's a good phone. I upgraded from the GS3 to the Note3 and whoa. I'm not sure why it's not the best Android phone. Even with all of the gimmiky Samsung features turned off I'm still in love with the phone. I never thought I would love a phone this size but after having it since it first came out it feels so natural. Now when I hold one of the smaller phones it makes me feel like I'm holding an Iphone. In other words they fell tiny.

I owned the Moto x and it's definitely not for me either. The display is pretty bad compared to the other ones but everything else is good or great.

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Yeah. I don't think any of the phones mentioned can match the Note 3's battery life and the screen is so bright and beautiful. I mean to each his own but for me I can't imagine owning any of the above phones instead of the Note

Actually the battery on the G2 outlasts the Note 3 and the display on the G2 is awesome also.

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Not even close. I tried to post a link from gsmarena comparing the g2, n3 and z1.

Note 3 beat them like a drum

So where is the competition for the Note 3? Oh right there isn't any...

All great and so many to choose from. I love my note 3. I love the Nexus and the rest of the little green android running toys. :-)

Mean while on the Apple forum.....

The phone of the year award goes too?......The iphone! Yea! So many choices its crazy. You can have a blue one. A gold one...And the the difference screen sizes.....oh wait.

Just joking Apple...chill dude....chill ;-) don't sue for the love of god don't sue...Again. :-)

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You messed up

Apple Phone of the year: the GOLD iPhone 5s
Honorable mention: Space Grey and Silver iPhone 5s

Best Budget Phone iPhone 5c

Wait i just noticed something.

In the past month edition, the moto X already was there, and the HTC One won that one. (wow that phrase is tricky to say).

So what made you change your opinion?

Did you not read the article? They mentioned that updates were a part of the consideration since a major Android update was just released.

with KitKat , price drop and having all moto apps on playstore(faster app bug fix and feature without carrier) I am sure it is the best at this time

Since our last iteration of this list, the Moto X has received price drops, has Moto Maker available for all four big carriers in the U.S., and has been updated to improve the camera and get KitKat. All things that help the Moto X to the top.

I actually agree with this. the moto x is a great device. the LG G2 would be on top of it got updates

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My phone is not listed here but I'm really happy with my LG Optimus G pro on T-Mobile. Phone always gets overlooked like the G2 does. I prefer the pro (side buttons, removable battery and as card). Now waiting for some KitKat luv.....

The Optimus G is still on 4.1.2 so I would not be holding my breath for any updates from LG. They have proven to be the worst among mainstream phones manufacturers.

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This list being a good discussion point is all that it serves as its based on ones opinion and that will vary from person to person.

The one part that no one can argue or really debate on is the budget and value for money goes to the Nexus 5 and the Moto G

The Note 3 has the specs and features that outclasses any device on the market at this point-from the snapdragon 800cpu, 3gb ram, andreno 330gpu, 13mp camera, S-Pen, great battery life, full hd ect ect but bare in mind this is just my short opinion.

There will be many posts im sure saying htc one is better or the Note 3 like myself or the xperia z1 and no doupt many agreeing that moto x is indeed the best.

Its subjective to ones personal likes and dislikes.

So this article is almost pointless although i can agree that the writers atleast have used all devices listed and have that experiance to conclude in their opinion the Moto X is the best android device of 2013.

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Aside from the RAM, how does the Note 3 outclass the G2 specs wise? Clearly a significant majority of phone buyers couldn't care less about a stylus and screen size is also based on preference.

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All pretty sweet devices. This year has turned out to be a phenomenal year for Android phones.

Arrgh.... So many cool Android phones and so little money :-( guess my S3 running CM 10.2 will have to do for now. If I had the cash the Moto X would be my choice. I've had 4 Samsung devices now but I'm getting tired of touchwiz and all of them have had so so battery life without tweaking the crap out of them.

Sent via the DeathStar with my CM 10.2 S3

AND the Moto X is assembled in Texas! Reason enough to own one! I have recommended this phone many times, but I still see very few out in the wild. I also think they are pushing motomaker too much and should be pushing the features more.

++1. Really need to effectively cover the features where folks would quickly see what a great phone this is.

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++1. Really need to effectively cover the features where folks would quickly see what a great phone this is.

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This year has produced great android devices and Next year is going to prove to be exeptional for android what with the flex, wrap-around, better battery, wearables ect. Meanwhile Apple instead of focusing on tech like they used to keep on sueing the shit out of companies namely samsung and hell whynot its working and making them money so Apple is no longer about the iphone its more about the I-Sue lol

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What about the best android tablet even though it would obviously be the N7 2013

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very pleased that the Moto X gets this recognition. I researched it found the feature set, size, shape, build quality, and Motorola radio were a great fit for me. I have not regretted that decision one bit.

Note to self, Android central bias is horrible.. Do not use their recommendations. Nexus 5 beats the Motorola x in almost every aspect (save one), yet somehow only ties with the g? Really?
I want Motorola to succeed too but their latest phones are still at the bottom of the list of phones to recommend.

I'm an unabashed Nexus fan, but the Moto X does everything the N5 does and then some. The N5 has slightly better specs, but the Moto X has better features and the battery life is amazing.

Winter is coming. She's quite the screamer.

It's all about the complete package. Not taking the off-contract price into consideration, the Moto X offers a lot of great features and can appeal to the widest range of consumers out there looking for a great phone. Performance between the two is completely comparable, but the Moto X just has a few key features — touchless control, active display, trusted bluetooth and yes, Moto Maker — that put it ahead of the Nexus 5 overall. The Moto X's battery life is undeniably better than the Nexus 5 as well.

Now of course is price is a factor, the Nexus 5 blows the Moto X away by $200 offering much the same experience. I personally still use a Nexus 5, but I have no issue at all saying the Moto X is the best overall.

Does the Motorola x have inductive charging? 1080p screen? Two huge hardware features that many people find very important.

I don't like touchless control. I love voice command but only want it active with physical interaction first.

Active display is interesting, but doesn't offer much more usefulness than a notification led does.

Customized colors is stupid. Get a colored case instead.

Nope no Qi charging or 1080p, but I can't say either one of those is a deal breaker. Not enough people care about Qi at this point (although if you like it, you probably love it) and 1080p at 4.7-inches just isn't a requirement. Sure 1080p displays from other OEMs look better, but the Moto X's display is hardly a detriment to the device's appeal.

Remember that just because you don't like touchless control doens't mean that it doesn't appeal to a wide range of people — I didn't really use it much either, but that doens't mean it's a bad feature to have. I found active display, trusted Bluetooth and Moto Assist — along with great battery life — to be the biggest pillars of my liking the Moto X. Those are the real selling points to folks out there.

Trusted Bluetooth? Really? You really think that's important to anyone? Whatever man, you'll be hard pressed to find someone who knows what that is.

I know what that is.

This is basically one site's opinion of what the top phones are in the market. Not fact, just opinion. Just like your opinion on the matter isn't fact.

However, I would agree that the Moto X is the best phone available. I currently have the Droid DNA, a 5" 1080p wireless charging phone that I love. What I don't love is the lack of updates (even though one is coming... eventually),the battery life, and the size of the phone (little big for me). As much as I love the wireless charging, I'm willing to give that up for a device that looks to be getting good support and has awesome battery life. The trusted bluetooth is nice because I hate having a lock on my phone and this will make a minor annoyance go away with my Pebble.

TL;DR It's only opinions, but I agree with where the Moto X is rated.

It doenst have to be opinion. It can be based upon cold hard facts, with commentary, and then opinion after the fact.
The cold hard facts are that the nexus 5 has better specs for a better price. Both have excellent patch support, but even here, n5 still wins. Battery life is one aspect, but the n5 still wins outright.

So much wrongness! It absolutely is opinion. There's no way around it being opinion. In my opinion, specs don't mean anything. Experience means everything. To some people specs mean everything. So it can't possibly be a fact that "better" specs make a better phone. And what specs are "better" anyway? If screen size is the only spec that maters to me, and I want a phone that is less than 4.5", then in my opinion the specs of a Droid mini are better than the specs of a nexus 5 because to me, it has the "better" spec. If battery life is the only spec that is important, than the Droid Maxx is far far "better" than the Nexus 5.
You can list facts as to what specs each phone has, but it will 100% come down to opinion on which phone is "better"

Your opinion of me being wrong is your opinion.
1080p is better than 720p.
Adreno 330 is better than 320.
Quad-core Krait at 2.2ghz is better than dual core Krait at 1.7ghz.
Qi charging is better than no Qi charging.
OIS is better than no OIS.
Direct updates from Google is better than from Motorola (although Moto is almost as good now).
$400 is better than $550.

Everything else is pretty much a wash.

1080p is a better screen than 720p, but is more of a drain on battery life and more expensive. And the difference in screen quality is really pretty minor.
Qi charging is a very nice option to have, but it's hardly a deal breaker, and Qi charging costs money, do you want to pay for a feature you don't use?
There are no clear cut and dry 'facts' as to what makes one phone better than another. Every feature is a tradeoff in one way or another, some day you'll realize that.

Winter is coming. She's quite the screamer.

Wvga is also less battery consuming than 720p. We should stay there.

Partially active oled is more expensive. I don't want to pay for it either.

I'm fine with you disagreeing, but don't talk down to me with your some day you'll realize that crap. I'm well aware of engineering trade-offs.

I love the active display. Is really handy to be able to pull my phone out of my pocket and know the time/my notifications without doing more than looking at it.

As far as the screen on the moto phones not being 1080p, I don't care. I don't hold my phone close enough to my face to really notice a difference. If you like to shove your phone right up there to count pixels, good for you. But most people will only care about 1080p as something to brag about.

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Do you seriously not see what you're doing here?

You're listing features that YOU and others find important and saying that they matter.

Then you're listing features that many others find important and saying that they don't matter.

Why should the features that YOU find important matter more?

There are no facts here other than different people rate different features more than others, and the editors of Android Central have found that the Moto X comes out on top when weighing the different features and different phones against one another.

What is wrong with that? Does your Nexus 5 shrivel up and die now because they didn't list it as the best phone? Does it cease to work at all for you? No? If not, then I think you might need to get over it.

It's called media bias. Passing over the cold hard facts (hardware specs and software features) and using personal opinions to make recommendations or proclamations of best is piss poor journalism. I don't read AC for opinions, I read it for news and information. If they don't provide that, they fail in my mind. And that's what I'm accusing them of. I'll go elsewhere for serious research.

We will see, I just started in on that article and when i saw an opinion that lacked quantitative substance, it was really easy to scroll through the article and see no numbers. I can go to the bus stop if I wanna hear fan boys. This site appears to be Google funded or perhaps I am the only person that notices that my device doesn't work for me. I mean c'mon, Are you people really stoked about getting more services onto the ratchety-ass cloud? You gotta be a stupid, like stoopid idiot to outsource all the information processing do you get? You will be left with an interactive display and whatever google decides to give you. Maybe I'm a little stung b/c they totally had me fooled with their "DON'T BE EVIL" Motto. I believed them. Now, I am watching collusion and disruption of services for non compliance at a level MICROSOFT never dared to approach, but do now under the Google umbrella. I am disgusted to be a human when I see how we treat each other always hell bent on control. Who are they to control my life? I am shut out of forum to speak my voice because it is "negative" 'scuse me from not putting some sunshine and phallic forms to pack your anus so it will be ready for .......OH THIS JUST IN>>>terrorIST SUSPECT caught at LAX for a crime that may have been derailed last week when an old dood just chillin.

If updates are a consideration so should price. I have not seen many Nexus 5 or even Nexus 4 articles that do not mention the value. If price was not consideration not many phones outdo the S4 GPE not even the HTC One...which despite the endless kudos from AC has just never really benefitted from mass appeal.

Price is most certainly a consideration for many when buying off-contract, and that's why we importantly point out that the Nexus 5 and Moto G, depending on your budget, offer the best value.

Thing is, that for a vast majority of folks buying the US, a Moto X can be had for about $49-$99 on-contract right now. That's a low price too. Even the $549 off-contract isn't astronomical.

But remember this isn't "The best Android phone for your money," it's "The best Android phone you can buy." We always have a "best bang for your buck" or "value" choice in here because its important, but thats not the whole list.

Got it. Just trying figure the angles for the recommendations. I say that as someone who bought a Moto X and Nexus 5. I lucked out and bought the Moto X off of Motomaker (32GB) the day the price was reduced by $100 so I certainly think the Moto X is worth the off contract price of $574.

Are you joking? This place has always been Nexus #1, Everyone else #2, Samsung #98765. You cannot take a leak without hitting 20 Nexus posts in most threads.

And Motorola deserves the praise. They have kicked butt in the last 2-3 months.

Objectively, the N5 suffers from mediocre battery life, a Barebones OS (IE more features with a stock experience on the X) and a crappy camera.

It is lucky it isn't further down the list

Since when is barebones os a negative? I don't want all of the bs on my phone. Less junk to disable right away.

The camera is just fine. Battery life is just fine. Everything else is pure awesome.

Camera consistently ranks at the bottom, battery is middling at best.

Barebones is always a negative. Take the camera on the N4, N5 for example. The software is the least they can get away with and still have it function, and it shows. I do not want to hunt things down to make my user experience great right out of the box.

You have 2 extremes here. Nexus which does the bare minimum, and Touchwiz that does too much.

The best of both. Near stock with added bells and whistles that enhance the user experience. The camera still isn't quite right but at least they moved it out to the play store so that it can be updated separately and not have to wait for an update to the whole OS.

The reviews of the camera I've read say the camera is good, but not amazing. The pictures I've taken have been pretty damn impressive compared to my wife's HTC one (minus field of view).

What software features are missing from the camera app? I find it perfectly fine as is. The CM camera doenst add much... So apparently the CM team is ok with the vanilla app too?

You need to Google nexus 5 camera review. It is universally panned as being way below average. When you compare it to the X or the One it is average. Put it next to the sgs4 or g2 and it is crap

So where is the competition for the Note 3? Oh right there isn't any...

We will see if RAW imaging will help the camera on the Nexus devices. Either way, the cameras on any of these phones are perfectly fine. My Galaxy Nexus took some amazing photos and now the Nexus 4 is even better. After seeing the crap photos people post to Facebook (most of them by iPhone which have the best cameras), camera phone quality is now more than sufficient.

Posted via Android Central App

Battery life and camera may be fine for you, while I'd agree on the camera, the battery life I would disagree with. The speakers are also janked.

Winter is coming. She's quite the screamer.

It's funny how AC is consistently "biased" towards a different manufacturer each month. High praise for Nexus... Biased. High praise for HTC One biased. Now high praise for Moto X... Biased. Doesn't quite make sense now does it.


After reading the nexus 5 vs Moto x review they did and then this, I say they just love their Moto x over anything. Which is great. But they have failed to explain why. All I keep hearing is sum of parts. That n5 has too many (or too few) features. They ignore the n5's huge hardware advantage and then praise the Moto x's quick software updates (vs a nexus device, really?)
And then they say the Moto x is better. That's a bias in my books.

They've given plenty of reasons, go back and read Jerry's comparison and he has been the biggest Nexus fanboi around. Examples, battery life (moto x blows it away). The N5 camera is still poor compared to every other major device on the market. The touch less controls and active notifications are great, unburdensome features. The N5's speakers are awful.

Winter is coming. She's quite the screamer.

Theyre unburdonsome until it thinks you said OK Google while in your pocket.

Battery life isn't stellar with n5, agreed. It's also not bad.

The speaker seems fine to me! Same with camera (compared to my wife's HTC one, save for wide angle) I counter your subjective opinion with mine.

The "Ok Google" while in your pocket thing has literally never happened to me and I'm not aware of anyone else having an issue with it, so I'm not sure what "cold hard facts" that conclusion is based on.

As I said above. Google it, it isn't one opinion that says it is below par, it is most.

That being said, if you find it acceptable then great. To a majority of users and reviewers it isnt

So where is the competition for the Note 3? Oh right there isn't any...

Hardware specs don't mean as much as they use to, this year has proved this. There have been plenty of Android handsets that have had better specs than the iPhone yet iOS ran smoother than Android. This year Google and Motorola did just that. They made a phone that has lesser hardware than the compition but a smoother experience. The Moto X shows that optimization is just as or more important than bleeding edge hardware. The Moto X can do just about anything as well as any other phone on the market with smaller hardware specs and save battery by doing so.

For people that actually spend time using the devices the list is spot on. As someone who used and loved the Moto X and has moved on to the Nexus 5 I can say the Moto X is overall best. I would recommend it over the N5 to 95 percent of users based on its features, battery life and price. I went with the N5 for the ability to tinker and flash roms but for most everyone that isn't into that, the Moto X brings a user experience that is second to none.

Wow, I completely disagree that the Moto X beats the Nexus 5. I've had the Nexus 5 since release and just got the Moto X the other day. The Moto X wasn't nearly as exciting as the Nexus 5. The screen was no where as big or nice, and even with kit Kat on moto x, it wasn't nearly as nice. And the active notifications that every one talks about wasn't what it's cracked up to be. Anyways, I sent that sucker back and have renewed respect for my Nexus 5.

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I have the Nexus 5 right now. I am strongly considering the moto x. Is there anything about the moto x better than the nexus 5 in your opinion? My main drawback is the lack of development for the moto x. I have a feeling that like you, I would return the moto x after a few days. All this hype about the moto x is crazy, makes me want one.

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The only thing that the Moto X has over the Nexus 5 is where you can say, "OK Google Now" and it responds. That was pretty neat, but that is it. I knew after the first couple of hours that I was going to send it back. I had both phones on my desk and after playing around with the Moto X I would grab the Nexus 5 and man, the screen, the fluidity , the newness of Kit kat, was so much nicer than it is on the Moto X. And I really like the new larger sized icons on the Nexus 5, surprisingly. They didn't implement every new Kit Kat feature on the Moto X, which sucked real quick. The extra screen size on the Nexus 5 seems much better than the Moto X as well. And the "active notifications" thing---I don't get what all the fuss is about. I have my Nexus 5 setup with an app called "Notifier Pro" that wakes the screen and shows the actual message when i receive one, including Twitter notifications. This, in conjunction with the notification L.E.D. on the Nexus 5 is way better that a message icon fading in and out on the screen that doesn't show me pertinent information unless I reach over and physically hold my finger on the screen to read it. I could go on, but I won't. In my opinion, I think the Nexus 5 easily trumps the Moto X.

I don't mind the speaker at all and the battery life is great running a custom rom. I had a galaxy s4 before my nexus 5, and the nexus 5 battery lasts just as long or longer than the s4. I know I won't use the active notifications at all or the touchless controls, so I might as well keep my nexus 5 and be happy. This hype will be over soon.

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This review isn't of custom ROMs, it is of stock experience.

Winter is coming. She's quite the screamer.

The nexus 5 is made to tinker with. Being able to flash different roms on my phone is a big deciding factor in my purchase. I asked the fellow about his reasoning in sending the moto x back and he gave me his honest opinion. This review is about the best phone, not the best stock experience.

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Actually, yes it is about stock experience. Do you see the review mentioning custom ROMs? Battery saver APS? No. It's about stock.

Winter is coming. She's quite the screamer.

It doesn't mention that the user is not allowed to install any mods either. This article is very hard to believe, the moto x screen is sub par and the internals are sub par. The only thing this phone has over the nexus 5 are active notifications and touchless control from a sleeping state, both of which I will never use. I never asked for your input anyway, I asked @dataquest#IM for his opinion and he was kind enough to give it to me. It shouldn't make you a bit of difference which phone I choose.

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I have the N5 and haven't played with Moto X. Nonetheless, I am intrigued by the Moto X's features. It looks very enticing and may end up giving in an getting one. I installed the Dynamic Notifications app with premium features on the N5, which is a knockoff of Motorola's Active Notification. So far, the battery life hasn't taken a big hit despite that the N5 screen isn't AMOLED. It works quite well. I like the LED notification lights on the N5, as I can quickly see if there's a notification when my phone is some ways from me. There are some other apps on the Play store similar to Trusted Devices, but I haven't tried any out yet. I don't think I would use the Touchless control though.

Had T-Mobile offered the Moto X in store I would have bought one at the time instead of my G2. I really like the Moto X, being assembled here in the states, Moto Maker and fast updates.

Having the G2 though now I don't think I'd give it up for a Moto X. My G2 does everything I want it to pretty damn great. I'd actually really miss the remote control and knock knock. The screen is ridiculously great and the camera is really able to get great shots for a phone. It's fast, plays games easily and had they kept the SD card found in the Korean version I think would have won over a bunch of Samsung fans.

I would welcome the slightly smaller footprint of the X along with the better feel in hand. I wouldn't have had to tweak an X much to get the look I want on my phone either as I like the stock Android look. I do have my G2 looking exactly how I like though now, just took a lil work.

I'm keeping a close eye on a Moto X2 though for sure.

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To be fair, we do not really know if the Moto X fast updates will be sustained. Moto skipped 4.3 to get 4.4 out quickly. Will this be the pattern? What if they had updated to 4.3, would we already have 4.4? I say this as a Moto x owner who is very much in Moto's corner!

What is AleX smokin'!!!!! Did he really put every current high end device behind the Moto X??? If you going to make every 2013 high end device runner up to something, it should be the Note 3. With Samsung's arsenal of features, it's easily the best device on the market. I expect a lot less bias from an AC editor.

If there's one thing we've learned from Samsung (and LG to a lesser extent), it's that more features doesn't always equal a better experience.

Bingo. Especially silly features you'll never use or that don't work well.

Winter is coming. She's quite the screamer.

I sound like someone that uses a hell of a lot of phones and realizes that more often than not people don't use all of these crazy features that they think are selling points.

Make a phone do a few things and make it do them really, really well. That's what's important to end users.

The key is to offer as more features without taking away from the key ones. Not to not offer them and claim it does fewer things better as a selling point.

At some point there are diminishing returns to adding additional features, and that point comes a lot sooner than you may think. Ask anyone who's using a modern smartphone for about 6 months what features on their phone they're actually using on a consistent (daily) basis, I have a feeling its a short list. Having all of the other superfluous crap on a phone just gets in the way.

And even that assumes that all of the features in a given device actually work as advertised, and we know that isn't the case.

I use all of the features. Maybe not all the time but I sure do want to option. The N5 is missing removable battery and ir blaster. Moto x is missing a lot after that.

This isn't an article about what's the best phone for only the features that the author personally thinks are important or not important. Or maybe it is, in which case this site sure has gone downhill.

An exception doesn't prove the rule. There's not a single person out there today that is actively taking advantage of and enjoying using the buckets and buckets of features on the Note 3. I don't disagree that there are great software advantages to be had there, and many that do get used regularly (or daily, multiple times per day), but saying that it's a mass-market device worthy of the top spot here is just crazy.

This is an article, as the title states, indicating the best Android phone you can buy right now. Full stop. And we wouldn't have published the list as-is unless we were confident in that opinion. Saying that a phone (like the Note 3) isn't the best Android available doesn't mean that it's a bad device.

I never said note 3 was the best. I think n5 is better than the X. Not sure n5 is the best either, I'm calling AC out for favoring the X without merit other than personal preference.

The note 3 is too big and expensive for the majority. That said, I'll take it over the Moto x because it has more features and is faster.

While I understand that this site is intended for tech enthusiasts and the recommendations are made accordingly, I think having a bit more understanding of why "average" people buy what they buy would help inform you more about greater market trends. I think Phil predicted that the Moto X would be a big seller and it isn't - why is that? Phones are toys, and "features" are fun to explore - most people only have 1 phone over at least a 2 year period, unlike you all who carry multiple phones at once. While many like to customize, I don't think most people have the knowledge/time/energy to build all of Touchwiz using apps from the Play Store on top of vanilla Android.

I think you're making my point more than you're fighting it here. My point is that people don't want to build up their phones and deal with lots of things they won't use. They want their phone to work and work really well for the things they want to do with it. Maybe "exploring" features is fun for the first weekend you have a phone, but then when all of that cruft doesn't get out of the way and your average consumer doesn't know how to use the most basic features of their phone because the software is so terrible, you've gone too far.

Yes we carry a lot of phones and use for a shorter amount of time even more devices, and when it comes down to it we all come back to a familiar set of devices that are the best ones in our opinions. Using more devices and see what ones we come back to as our personal choices is one of the best indicators we have for the "best" phones out there.