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

HTC One

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​​

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 GS4 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!

 
There are 439 comments

Lithoss says:

I have yet to see any of Samsung or HTCs software impede the basic functions. I've had a few people ask me what something does, but never how to remove it because it's preventing them from dialing or calling or texting or checking email, etc. They all just ignore what they don't use. It's a far better situation than not having a feature they want available because the manufacturer considered it cruft.

atishc says:

I'm not arguing with your opinion of what is best, and I am not arguing with this list at all - it is well thought out and well-written. I am arguing with your extrapolating what you and your colleagues think is "best" to "what people want". I am really not sure that the following is a true statement: "your average consumer doesn't know how to use the most basic features of their phone because the software is so terrible" without data to support it. I am not claiming any special knowledge along these lines either, but it is an interesting topic to explore moving forward.

brendilon says:

Lithoss - really? Samsung features have never been burdensome? Because the S4 launched with more lag than than any new device I have ever seen. They fixed it eventually, but that puts your 'never' claim in the realm of pure fantasy.

Winter is coming. She's quite the screamer.

Lithoss says:

Funny, I've "never" read reviews of the s4 lagging due to features. I've also "never" experienced it when using one.

I also never used never in my previous post.

My S4 lagged like mad. Also, you argue that lack of gimmicks and features is what makes the Nexus so much better, but now you're saying that adding bunches of gimmicks and features is the way to go and is why Samsung is better. Why the flip flopping? Do you just really hate Motorola? I mean, don't get me wrong, you're entitled to your opinions, but you seem to be arguing two completely different standpoints, almost as if you're just trying to play devils advocate against the Moto phones.

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Lithoss says:

No I like Motorola, they were going down the wrong path but Google seems to have corrected that nicely.

When I say features I mean hardware like Qi charging. Phones need more of these. What phones need less of is bloat, and that's where the nexus is unrivaled.

Stuff like trusted Bluetooth is so easily added with apps like tasker. If anyone really wants it...

NoNexus says:

As a pretty consistent Samsung user, the s4 did lag.

Was the because of features? We don't know. It could have been as simple as a bad video driver.

You cannot blame, or not blame, the features.

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

benhmadison says:

Andrew,you are right on point with all of your comments. Until I really discovered stock android, the first day of owning a new device would be nothing but turning off crap I don't need. I would have to root and start freezing all of the crap that not only was ugly, but served absolutely no purpose other than to kill battery and make it harder to use the basic everyday features.

With stock type android, it does a masterful job of giving you everything you need for the basic functions of the device, and anything else you are missing can easily be had from the Play Store.

polarimetric says:

The sales of the Moto X haven't been spectacular, but I don't think it's for that reason. The people that I know who buy Samsung phones mostly fit into two categories: one, people who specifically want the device with the highest specs and the most features at any given time, and two, people who have bought it just on the name/advertising. In fact, most people I know are discovering Galaxy phone features they never knew about all the time, so they couldn't have researched the features ahead of time and bought it for that reason.

Although I respect Google's desire to avoid offending other Android OEMs, I really think their obsession with not favoring Motorola makes it really difficult for Motorola to succeed. For all intents and purposes, the Moto X feels like a Nexus device. It's stock Android with some additions, and all of the additions are fully enclosed apps housed in the Play Store rather than baked-in OS modifications. It has gotten updates fast up to this point. The only thing it lacks is ROM customizability, but for me (I haven't been a root guy since Ice Cream Sandwich; I like stock Android enough not to bother) that's irrelevant. However, they haven't marketed it like a Nexus device to avoid stepping on the toes of the Nexus 5, despite the fact that that could be a huge selling point. This isn't scientific, but look at how many people in this comment section have said "I was close to buying the Moto X but went with Nexus 5" or the other way around--the Nexus 5 and Moto X are two phones competing for the same niche market and I believe they're crowding each other out. It just doesn't make sense to have a Nexus-branded phone made by a non-Google company and a phone made by a Google company that walks and talks like a Nexus but isn't called one launch around the same time and compete. I really hope Motorola makes the next Nexus, because yeah, other OEMs might be offended, but I think a more successful Motorola is worth that potential cost.

You sound like a Samsung fanboy.

|❌_❌|

Lithoss says:

Haven't owned a Samsung since the gnex

Then you must be very conflicted.

atishc says:

If there's one thing you should have learned from Samsung (and LG to a lesser extent), it is how the market works and how to make $$$$ in the mobile space.

This is the list of "The best Android phone you can buy," not "The phone that sold the most units." I think I have a pretty solid grasp on how well LG and Samsung phones are selling, that doesn't mean I don't get to say that I think other phones provide a better user experience.

atishc says:

On a somewhat related note, marketing for the Moto X has been a giant fail so far. If Google/Motorola want to convince consumers that they do provide a better user experience, can't they come up with a 30 second ad that captures these advantages in a way that is compelling to the buying public? Focusing their early advertising on customizability when this was an ATT exclusive seemed incredibly dumb even at the time. (Right now the most compelling device to me is the LG G2 because I primarily use my phone to read, listen to music/podcasts, and take pictures and videos of my kids, so the highest quality screen, sound and camera would probably fit my needs best - design decisions in the UX are low on my priority list, as are features that can easily be turned off. The quick setting toggles taking up the entire notification shade and the rear buttons immediately adjacent to the lens bother me, though, so I hope Samsung comes out with a better solution in the Spring.)

hadwilmon says:

What in particular made the Moto X leapfrog the HTC One? In the last roundup just a few months ago the HTC One was judged to be the better of the two.

Duncan1982 says:

Well andrew the best phone i can buy and indeed purchased was the Note 3 so therefor its the winner in my opinion. As i said this article serves no purpose other than another debate on what phone is really the best. Sales figures would say that the moto x isnt the winner and its an Anerican thing as its not sold here in the UK so therefor it is biast. And not judged on the basis on which you comnent. And like me with the Note 3 i like it alot but i cant speak for everyone and as speculative as it is in your wording andrew neither can you.

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droidhead_1 says:

LG G2's features are useful. Knock knock and slide aside are outstanding.

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brendilon says:

You mean arsenal of bloatware? Not to mention that to most folks the phone is just too damn big?

Winter is coming. She's quite the screamer.

NoNexus says:

You keep leaving out the 'for you' part. It is fine for a daily driver, for me. Arsenal of useful features are another.

One man's trash and all that. I use a lot of those features everyday, and if I remember right, smart scroll is the only one I have turned off. I just went to a custom rom so I might be a bit off...

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

Chocoburger says:

My choice was easily the Nexus 5, the best value for power users who want a current generation phone. My first smartphone was a Samsung Droid Charge, after feeling so burned by it, I learned my lesson and went with Nexus, now I have no desire to ever look back.

No price gouging (or at least significantly less of it), best software support. Nexus 5 for me!

STiK says:

Have the Nexus 5.. Gave my Nexus 4 to my Brother in Law... I'd still rank the Moto X at the top.

doug51884 says:

Just wanted to get this out there, I got a custom moto x on moto maker, and got to keep my Verizon unlimited plan by clicking the "keep old contract" button during checkout... Just thought someone might be interested to know that

slackerjack says:

Way to midrange and tiny for me... Plus it's shitty old amoled tech...bleh.

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Amir47 says:

But it doesn't use any power for black screens. Pros and cons man

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slackerjack says:

If it was using this years tech it'd be fine... But this panel and it's resolution are very 2012

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tdizzel says:

So is your attitude about what makes a phone "midrange"

UJ95x says:

What makes it midrange? It performs just as good if not better than every other phone listed. Size doesn't make it a bad phone

Posted via Android Central App

rudyy50 says:

Hogwash. The Moto X lacks everything the best phones demand: metal bodies, full HD displays, stereo speakers.
KitKat? Arriving now.
Stop picking second best, or worse.

Posted from my HTC One GPe via Android Central App

tdizzel says:

As long as the phone is sturdy, durable and feels good in my hand, it doesn't matter what material its made out of. full HD on a 5" display is as useful as tits on a bull.
So, no, the best phones don't demand those.

So much this.

Posted via Android Central App

NoNexus says:

Full Metal bodies. No.

Not saying I wouldn't buy a One but the rest of the phone would have to be best of the best. I prefer soft touch, but I will even take the sgs3 plastic over metal. Heck I would take n4 glass over it.

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

brendilon says:

Riiiight... Of course, there's also that craptacular 4mp camera on the ONE GPE... minor flaw there.

Winter is coming. She's quite the screamer.

race4life says:

Had both the nexus 5 and the moto X, returned the nexus and very happy with my decision to keep the X

Posted via Android Central App

What made you decide to keep the X?

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dirtyjudo says:

If the developer edition of the Moto X had a five inch screen and was priced the same as the Nexus 5 then I would agree with this article.

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dirtyjudo says:

I like the Android Central guys but they have a strong bias against large screen phones. Not much diversity in preference. Ironically its the older guys who don't like the larger screens the most. Using the Galaxy Note 2 and loving it, I look forward to "downsizing" to the N5.

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mik straz says:

I see what you mean.. I am also going to nex5 from note2.. My only concern is the battery life

VAVA Mk2 says:

I LOVE my Nexus 5 and for my use get decent battery. Had I not gotten a Nexus 5, though, it would be Moto X. Read so many good things about them.

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sting7k says:

I was hoping getting a Nexus 7 would eliminate my burning desire for a Moto X or Nexus 5. Now I want a Moto X even more.

zdn1042 says:

Wow, surprised to see Moto X as the best overall for this month. Interesting, I would have gone with Nexus 5 or Note 3.

Xperia shouldnt even be mentioned since I'm sure a majority of viewers dont have it here. (Sorry to my European friends for saying that) But it still stands to reason that the LG G2 is probably higher on this list than the HTC one and the xperia since more people prolly own the G2. Moto X ...you all have such a short memory at how droid after droid after droid phones by moto sucked and sucked and SUCKED compared to the competition. Moto finally makes a good phone and you all think its the most amazing thing since sliced bread. This really disappoints me from what I've always came to this website for. Unbiased reviews of android phones...the moto x really doesnt have the battery to cut it...sorry my "old" GS3 has the same size battery and it dies so fast if I have anything useful turned on (i.e. 4G LTE)...I'm just not convinced even with all the people paid by moto to come post here that the moto x is worth it...

ultravisitor says:

Wait.

We're supposed to be getting paid?

WHERE'S MY MONEY?

benhmadison says:

LOL @Scott Capodice, by using your gs3 battery size comparison you are clearly telling us that you've never actually used the Moto X. If you had, you would realize that the battery life has nothing to do with the battery size. It is optimized with a custom processor and active notifications. It seriously gets battery life on par with the Note 2.

I have carried most of the 2013 flagships for a period of time and the X is by far the best overall user experience and I am not a homer, I don't even own an x, I use a Nexus 5.

LordAdam5 says:

You mean the best Android phone I *cant* buy. I'm not American, so Motorola won't sell me anything at all.

mrdugan2123 says:

How come the 'always listening' on the Moto X gets mentioned, but all I have to say is anything remotely similar to 'Galaxy' and my Note3 turns on asking me what I want to do? Is this overlooked by everyone?

brendilon says:

Battery. The Galaxy tool is a battery drain, while the Moto X has been optimized to barely even sip.
Jerry alluded to this in his review.

Winter is coming. She's quite the screamer.

Note 3 features are mostly niche and thus are irrelevant when compared to the industry standards.

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Mpearce25 says:

LG g2 or htc one?

Posted via nexus 5

droidhead_1 says:

G2 if screen quality, battery & camera matter to you.

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hadwilmon says:

HTC One has the best and brightest screen on the market. Also by far the fastest camera. Best build quality.

bmoresbest55 says:

I know the battery life is not great on the the HTC One but with a simple battery saver app(Easy Battery Saver) I can literally go all day with this phone on my normal use. The camera is great despite what people may say and with all the features of the camera and gallery I don't see how other phones could beat HTC One. Just the humble opinion of an android user. Another funny note is I had the DROID X then the DROID RAZR HD and switched to HTC One as Moto comes out with their best phone yet.

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brendilon says:

If you need to use a battery saver app, that does not mean you have good battery life. They're talking stock experience.

Winter is coming. She's quite the screamer.

imcaius says:

I'll be buying the Nexus 5 soon, but I'm pretty disappointed. I live in Australia and I currently have the Nexus 4, the only reason I'm upgrading is for 4G. The more I see of the Moto X/Droid Maxx, the more I want them. But of course, Australia doesn't get it. Can't even get one sent over because the LTE bands are different.

Melinium says:

GS4 et GNote3 for me, sometime i am unfaithful to my GS4 and i get out with my Blackberry Z10.

durtyrandy says:

In the end, these phones all manage to do the exact same things. Some are just bigger. And some are a bit faster.

ashrock32 says:

The s4 is so much better than the one or the x, the only thing that moto has is moto maker which is pure crap when 90% of people who get or have one will cover it up with a case....but money talks....

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Beg to differ. I fell for the gimmicks of Samsung and regretted it. The S4 had such a terrible radio for reception that my battery would die in 6 hours with me barely using it. The cell standby battery usage was ALWAYS over 50%. I would constantly drop calls, not receive text messages, etc. The horrible battery/reception problems on top of the lagging and stuttering was just too much. I went for the Droid Maxx because if nothing else, Motorola has always had great radios. Now I never have to worry about my battery and cell standby usage is never above 4%. The best thing about my phone is that I can use it as a phone.

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ashrock32 says:

Oh one more plus for the moto x, an absolutely crappy camera..just like the gnex 5

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fuzzylumpkin says:

Anyone else amused that the article was written by a Brit, but the winning phone isn't available outside the US? :p

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ki11ak3nn says:

I'm loving my Galaxy Note 3!! Can't wait to see what the Note 4 brings to the table.

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hmmm says:

I love my new Nexus. Wouldn't trade it for any of these phones. The only thing the Moto X has over it is the active notifications which I don't care about since the N5 has a notification light which serves the same purpose for me with an app like Lightflow. Every other spec on the N5 is better, including the price of the phone itself. It is much more future proof.

Battery life has been great for me. I get over 3 hours of screen on time and only have to charge over night, wireless I might add, while I sleep. Couldn't be happier with this phone.

cerebasan says:

OK. I get it. I traded my week old HTC One in for the Moto X. Liking it so far....

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clietreo says:

Why does androidcentral have a bias toward phones with screens larger than 5"? Also, the Note3 is not an oversized phone; it's a large phone. The best there is!

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+10000000

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brendilon says:

It's oversized. Look at what is generally on the market, the Note 3 is significantly larger than what most people are buying or want.

Winter is coming. She's quite the screamer.

polarimetric says:

I don't think "oversized" is intended to be used pejoratively. I think it more just means that the Note and other phones like it are much bigger than what most people would consider to be a "phone" in strict terms. I hate the term "phablet" because it sounds silly but it's really accurate; the Note is for people who want a screen big enough to perform tablet-like functions AND telephony in the same device. That's a niche market (not a small one, but still a niche) so I think "oversized phone" is a fair term. I'd never buy a Note because the size just isn't what I'm looking for.

jedah says:

When the phone was announced, and after all the criticism about the specs, not many (myself included) would've considered this phone the best against the likes of the One and N5. After using this and the N5, I sold the N5, and kept the X. No diff in performance, but big diff in ergonomics and battery life.

davidnc says:

Moto X Rulz !!

CarbonOak says:

Waiting patiently for the wood backs. Ebony wood with black trim is sure going to look awesome.

I wud pick Nexus 5 just for the AWESOME Google Experience Launcher which sadly Google did not give to my Nexus 7

Posted via Android Central App from Nexus 7 2013

mroddriguez says:

Moto X? Come on!!

Posted via Android Central App

Notaisheep says:

This site should be called we smoke crack central. The moto x should be at the bottom of this list. How can you belittle another cell phones looks when the moto x looks and feels like a toy for kindergartner. I have owned all the phones on this list except the moto and the Sony. I know everyone has there own tastes but the moto is just a color customizable mid pac cell. The G2 is the cell for me. So I guess you should thank Motorola for supplying the crack.

Posted via Android Central App

jian9007 says:

As always, it's a matter of opinion, people. My opinion is the Moto X isn't fit to lick the taint of some of the other phones on the list. Not that it's a terrible phone, but it's not the best you can buy in my opinion (not that anyone cares and that's ok, as I'll be here stroking my Note 3 and calling it "My Precious" anyway).

Who cares?
We are arguing over phones.
Yes this is a phone site dedicated to Android.
People will debate which phone is better, etc.

Would be great if AC had a phone comparison feature like phonescoop.

Choices. We are given choices.
Forgetting stock vs custom roms, etc.

Say I am new to android.
Or I am new to cell phones in general.
I don't have a carrier yet.
I go to a sprint store, an att store and verizon.
First thing I would ask is why do certain carriers have phones others don't and why is the moto x available on all the carriers?

My co-worker has the X on Att
Another has the One on Sprint
My boss and I both have Note 2's on Verizon.
Another has the iphone 4 on Verizon
Another is getting the LG G2.

It's about finding the right device for you.
If I was going to get a new device without even knowing about this site, it probably would be the X.

Most people do not visit cell phone sites, etc.
They look at the Sunday paper or what is on TV and make their decisions that way.

What is good for the goose is not always good for the gander.....

Happy Thanksgiving!

Synycalwon says:

"Would be great if AC had a phone comparison feature like phonescoop."

Yup, or like Phonearena (http://www.phonearena.com/phones). Such a feature would be much more useful IMO than these "Best" articles, which are way too subjective.

Cubfan says:

If people didn't care and didn't want to argue, this site wouldn't exist.

bergeronjc says:

I agree 100%. Due to the nature of my job I'm able to test out every phone that comes out and I've found that Google's way of Android is the best. The implementation of I it with the Moto X is simply superb.
However if you are just a giant fan of Touchwiz or Sense or LG's thing then you probably won't lie the Moto X.

Me personally I will never go back to one of those bloated launcher phones. I found it all gimmicky and never used a single thing Samsung or HTC added.

Posted via Android Central App

s2weden2000 says:

my phone is the bEst...you know why? because I chose it

Notaisheep says:

Absolute garbage! I've been an android user for years and this is the most ridiculous example of payola for praise I have ever seen. I can understand why people could consider any of the these cells considered the top cell except the moto x. It is inferior in just about every aspect to any one of the other cells. I was interested in this site for insite, tips, news etc, but now it will be deleted from my g2.

Posted via Android Central App

benhmadison says:

LOL so because AC didn't pick your phone, you are deleting the app? You stated in a previous post that you have never used the Moto X so you really have no business talking crap about it until you actually use it.

Cubfan says:

Best comment in the thread. Well, make that the funniest. Buh-bye.

maxfrix says:

My wife bought the Note 3 and added the unlimited data pack to her plan. She loves her note 2 so much, she decided I needed it. I told her not to because I was getting the Moto X when it was available on Republic Wireless. So I used the note for about a month and a half before getting my X. The note stays in the backpack a lot. The X is hard to let go of, I have it on the $10/mo plan and I am totally digging this thing. I can see how the X gets overall win, it is just sooooooo nice. Note is so nice too, but I am still watching YouTube videos to learn how to operate all of Sammies features, plus it really needs a backpack or purse to carry it around.

robsawalker says:

Alex, the irony is not lost on me that indeed, the Moto X is the best phone that I cannot buy here in the UK! Wish we could, although I love my HTC one.

Posted via Android Central App

Edwill86 says:

Moto x ftw

Posted via Android Central App

gamefreak715 says:

Definitely loving my droid maxx! Its very high end and completely worth the extra 100 bucks at the time

Posted via Android Central App

rookie83 says:

The HTC ONE is still the better phone it held top spot much longer than the Moto X will. Even though verizon had to swallow hard that they F*&&^% up by not getting this phone on release day.

deeb215 says:

Opinions are like buttholes, everybody has one. Sometimes they stink, whether you like it or not. I respect Alex's butthole(opinion) doesn't mean I have to like it. I can't say that I want to buy any of the devices mentioned, but I can say I'm watching Moto a lot closer these days. If I HAD to get a phone now it would probably be something that doesn't have 4.4 kit-kat at least until it get's a point bump with some of those bugs killed.

Wobblin30 says:

Damn, this comments section is getting ugly.

Posted via Android Central App

MERCDROID says:

This surprises you, why?

Posted via Android Central App

Wobblin30 says:

No it does not suprise me at all but it's rediculous to bash over phones. The article is meant as a guide not "Be all" "End all" on what phones people must buy.

Habiib says:

After seeing the fallout when the HTC One was declared the best at that time, I've learned to accept the responses here. They do provide some entertainment value..lol

Posted via Android Central App

nasellok says:

If your like me, the full smartphone experience/phenomenon has waned a bit..........apps no longer really make a difference to me - Ive downloaded apps upon apps, upon apps, only to realize that I never use any of them. If I really need to edit a photo, im going to load it up on my computer, and use real software....I really only use my phone for a few things........Phone, Messaging, Email, Camera, Facebooking, and the occasional game. Out of those (6) things I actually use my phone for, only (1) is technologically differently specified in any of the devices listed, and that would be the Camera. Now, all of the phones listed are a decent step above my current phone (The Galaxy Nexus), the all inheritably run Android, which I have come to loathe over the past 5 years, and (3) phones. My OG Droid, was amazing when I got it, same as Droid X, and Galaxy nexus........but after tinkering, and rooting, and flashing roms, all so I can customize to my hearts content, they all had 1 thing in common.........they were all LAGTASTIC. I see it in my friends GS4, and G2 Note2 phones all the time, the press the home button, nothing happens, the things crash all the time. So, ive come to a line in the road, my contract is up, and what do I do.....do I give Android 1 more shot....or do I try something different. I have realized that the Camera is most important, so I am going to give a trial run to one of those new Nokia Windows phones........maybe ill be back, maybe it will stick...but im just sort of fed up with my phone, and would have threw the thing into oncoming traffic If it weren't for the stupid contracts. Anyone else have any similar experiences?

YES! The Moto X definitely deserves the top spot hands down. It has been to this day the best thought out phone EVER that money can buy. Active Notifications,touchless control BATTERY LIFE, size, KIT KAT, and customization make this the best phone of 2013 for me without a doubt. This is coming from someone who has used a HTC ONE, NOTE 2, and Nexus 5 this year. For the first time in a while I am very happy with my mobile device. I don't know how I lived without active notifications for so long. LOL. Can't wait to see what the sequel will bring.

MarkSeven says:

Google sent me a defective Nexus 5.. I'm so pissed about it. Their replacement policy is stupid. I gotta have a whole other $399+ in my account just so they can run my card again and order a new one, instead of them just sending me a new one with a return label for me to send them the defective unit. This left a bad taste in my mouth.. My first Nexus. I should've just waited for the Moto G..

Sorry for ranting I'm just upset. As far as this list I think it's a good one.

benhmadison says:

I understand where you are coming from. You basically have to pay twice then wait for a refund for something that wasn't your fault. On the flip side though, I can see why Google doesn't just send out 400 devices based on your word that it is defective. Can you imagine how many people would try to scam a free phone out of them?

ryanidcomm says:

Glad to see the maxx on here ... since the moto x won and the maxx is the moto x but cheaper.. outright anyway ..

since its only on big red i understand why it didnt win .. but should have been up there with the X

I still can not understand all of the Moto X hype. It is inferior in every way possible to every high end android phone released in this quarter or possibly this year. I have never used one but that should not matter, this phone's specs absolutely suck. If specs don't matter, then why does the Nexus 5 have the latest processor and the highest pixel screen? I know the reviewers say that it is a smooth experience, but why is every other company including the Nexus moving forward while Motorola is moving backwards, could someone explain this? Please understand that I am not bashing the moto x, this is just how I feel.

Posted via Android Central App

jlczl says:

I somewhat agree. If it is so awesome with its older specs wouldn't it be even better with up to date specs?

Posted via Android Central App

polarimetric says:

Well, a couple things:

One, I really think the processor choice was just a function of Motorola's customization. The "X8 Computing System" is mostly marketing, but Moto did put some work into dedicating those cores to specific functions. That work probably started before the Snapdragon 600/800 were released, so then it's a judgment call--delay the phone and redo all that work on a Snapdragon 600 or 800, or just put it out with an older processor. As it is, they swapped out the cores to make it comparable to a Snapdragon 600, so the Moto X's processor is really less far behind than people say it is, but it certainly falls behind the Snapdragon 800.

Secondly, it's way exaggerated and dramatized to say the specs "suck." We're at a point where pretty much every smartphone available on the market does everything a smartphone can do, and does it well. I remember the upgrade from my OG Droid to a Droid Incredible was like night and day--the Droid was really choking and showing its age (I remember trying to load an early Firefox for Android alpha on it and it took a solid 1-2 minutes to open the app the first time) and the Incredible was on a whole new level. Now, the differences are much more nuanced, and the subjective measures of what makes a phone "good" are infinitely more significant than cold specs. If you personally think a 1080p screen, the latest processor, etc. are too important to sacrifice, then the Moto X isn't for you, but understand that those differences are objectively small. That doesn't mean they don't matter to you, but it's unfair to say the X's specs "suck." I chose one over every other flagship available just because Active Notifications, Touchless Control, and the other great features Motorola added to Android are much more important to me than specs. A phone that "sucks" is one that can't do what you want it to do, and I'm willing to wager that it's pretty much impossible to find anything the Moto X can't do, especially since the most relevant spec to the user experience (the GPU) is the one where the Moto X shines.

Of course, if they offered me a Moto X with better specs and everything else the same, I'd take it (although 4.7 inches on the screen is my absolute maximum) because it'd be silly not to. It's just that I don't feel like I'm losing anything by not having those specs. I never look at my phone and think "man, I wish this scored higher on benchmarks."

jlczl says:

A Moto X with a G2 screen, an HTC One body, a MAXX battery, Note 3 internals, and worldwide compatibility/availability would be amazing.

Posted via Android Central App

Cubfan says:

This year I have owned the Note 2, the S4, the Note 3, the HTC One, the Nexus 5, and the Moto X... yeah, EBay and Craigslist are fun. Best phone by a decent margin is the Moto X. Could not figure out the raves about the Nexus 5, which is easily the worst of the bunch I owned this year in overall experience. HTC One is second place, followed by most of the others at a distance.

Posted via Android Central App

Which carrier Moto X do you have, or is it the dev edition? My main concern is the development on xda as I love to flash roms and tinker with my phone. Do you like to flash roms or are you happy with stock?

Posted via Android Central App

Cubfan says:

It's worth it to pay the small extra price and get the Developer version, IMO.

beng8686 says:

Nice to see you guys giving the Maxx some love... Most underrated phone of the year by far. It may be a month or so behind with updates compared to the X, but I think its worth it with the bigger screen and massive invincible battery.

random_dent says:

"You’ll also get LTE connectivity, something lacking from previous Nexus handsets."

Lacking from some previous Nexus models (One, S, and 4), but not all previous versions. However flawed it was, the Galaxy Nexus had LTE.

The proper statement would be, "You'll also get the return of LTE connectivity, something the previous Nexus handset lacked." Simple edit, huge factual improvement.

willizen says:

the galaxy nexus did not have LTE, at least not the one sold through Google

Gerii says:

My "Android"-phone is the BlackBerry Z10 and soon the Z30 and the Jolla phone.

Posted via Android Central App

sabres0909 says:

Just do yourselfs a favor and buy an HTC one

Posted via Android Central App

This is dumb. Nexus 5 bests the Moto X in every category. Never mind the fact that you're comparing only phones from Q3 even though the S4 out sold all of them combined practically. You can't call a phone the phone of the year just because it's the newest and leave Q1 phones ie. S4 HTC one behind cause they are older. That's not a real comparison

The moto x is practically a bust that's why the price is dropping so fast.

Posted via Android Central App

I agree Droid Maxx probably is the most underrated also.

Posted via Android Central App

If you pull down your NOTIFICATION shade and can only see two notifications because two thirds of the shade is overrun with various toggles and gizmos... I would call that overblown and in your face.http://www.zopophoneshop.com/zopo-zp980-c2.html

hadwilmon says:

These kinds of articles from AC are rather suspect. The writers opinions seem to kind of blow with the wind. For instance, in the last roundup the HTC One was rated the best even over the Moto X. What happened to the Moto X in the last couple of months to suddenly make it a better device? All of the phones mentioned are excellent.

What is with the Moto X mania here? It has zero advantage over the Nexus 5 and the author seems to have some grudge against the N5 too. Better hardware and software: how is it not better?

wildnorth says:

Xperia over GS4?!!

LOL?

Posted via Android Central App

davidnc says:

Moto X was best phone for me performance wise out of all the ones mentioned.
The moto apps being added to the playstore was icing.
The fast update to 4.4 was icing.
The battery life has been the best on any android phone I owned so far those being the : HTC original Droid Incredible,Moto DX, Samsung Galaxy Nexus,Samsung Galaxy S3.

Kolten Nay says:

Happy with my S4 though I'm quite sure that these phones are awesome. I'd love to try out the HTC one, but unfortunately I'm under 2 year contract.

Posted via Android Central App

Kolten Nay says:

Happy with my s4.

Posted via Android Central App

Daniel Clary says:

Why does the MOTO X beat the HTC One now? The One had the top spot over MOTO X back in August.

Posted via Android Central App

Deathshead says:

The WHITE Verizon LG G2 looks like will not only be unveiled on Monday Dec 2nd,
It will also be FREE on Contract!! - This (I hope) means a sweet discount for full retail for us unlimited guys.

This Combined with the AWESOME dev support hands down make it the best Android Device on the market right now.

Deathshead says:

The WHITE Verizon LG G2 looks like will not only be unveiled on Monday Dec 2nd,
It will also be FREE on Contract!! - This (I hope) means a sweet discount for full retail for us unlimited guys.

This Combined with the AWESOME dev support hands down make it the best Android Device on the market right now.

maxfrix says:

My wife bought the Note 3 and added the unlimited data pack to her plan. She loves her note 2 so much, she decided I needed it. I told her not to because I was getting the Moto X when it was available on Republic Wireless. So I used the note for about a month and a half before getting my X. The note stays in the backpack a lot. The X is hard to let go of, I have it on the $10/mo plan and I am totally digging this thing. I can see how the X gets overall win, it is just sooooooo nice. Note is so nice too, but I am still watching YouTube videos to learn how to operate all of Sammies features, plus it really needs a backpack or purse to carry it around.

Nexus 5 definitely, most bang for the buck and nexus 5 has got hardware powerful enough to last for 2-3 years at least

Nexus 5 definitely, most bang for the buck and nexus 5 has got hardware powerful enough to last for 2-3 years at least.

nieuwiefan says:

After comparing all the offerings through Sprint I chose the HTC One a couple of weeks ago. What sold me was the Boom Speakers, the endless gap design, Blink Feed, and Zoe. The other thing I really appreciated is the One has been out for 8 months, with a chip set that is not first in class, but the overall everyday performance and customer satisfaction is there. If you are waiting for the perfect phone, you will always be waiting. The best thing to prioritize what is the most important things in the phone, and go for the one that best satisfies those priorities. I love my phone, by far the best HTC offering ever. I thought going into the shopping experience the S4 was going to be the new phone, but at the end of the day it wasn't even in my top 3. I went with the One with honorable mention to the G2 and Nexus 5 for second and third choice.

jcg5862 says:

Moto X all the way. Love mine.

Posted via Android Central App

Andi Haidar says:

Moto X the best...!!!
for the power and cheap smartphone just bored with to many samsung devices..

Wasim_memon says:

i think htc one is best choice for new phone.
it super, fast and cool looking phone.

oplix says:

I just got my moms Christmas gift moto x in and I've used it for a few days. I'm already in love. Updated to 4.4 KitKat, installed GEL and its beautiful. I can't wait to get my own in the mail. Battery life is rock solid (easily bests iphone 5 even on ios 6) and camera is a lot better with touch exposure. Takes excellent pictures. KitKat is very easy to get used to if you are coming from an iPhone like I am. Screen is amazing quality amoled with correct saturation. Very pleasant to the eyes unlike some Samsung phones. Phone feels great in the hand and very solid. One thing is that I did notice this screen has input lag compared to my iPhone 5 in games that have a joystick.However I have not removed the plastic screen that it comes with. Android is easily the better OS at this point.

Who buys a high end smartphone at the moment with an 'adequate camera' and the old 720p screen? People on a budget who really aren't interested in 'best tech'.

davidnc says:

wrong again ! :)

khirsh says:

I bought a Moto X based on this post. Very disappointed. I got the Verizon version. Battery life was terrible. The software seems kludgey and annoying. I might have gotten a lemon, of course. I just got a Droid MAXX... very happy. My rank order of some recent phones:

S4 Google Play edition on AT&T (unfortunately I prefer Verizon, but other than that this is the best for me)
Droid MAXX on Verizon
S4 on Verizon
Moto X on Verizon

S4 (AT&T) and Droid MAXX are close to tied. S4 on Verizon is a ways back from those two. Moto X on Verizon is the worst by far, but, again, I might have gotten a lemon.

Phazenine says:

Nexus 5 is my choice considering Nexus devices carry the most Dev. support.

In canvas accessories, Micromax canvas turbo is also a nice phone.

umughal147 says:

I am using HTC and i usually go for it. I would like to buy new HTC gold as soon as possible.

davidnc says:

Moto X rulz !!

Bill Pan says:

LG G2 is the clear, undisputed leader when it comes to Camera, Battery, Screen and Power. Yes, some Motorolas do have better battery but obviously the camera is nowhere near as good as the G2's 13 MP OIS Camera. And then there's that gorgeous 5.2" FHD LCD IPS display and the Snapdragon 800 Krait 400 2.26 Quad-Core Chip + Adreno 330. I don't care about the build quality, I'm going to get a case anyway...

Bill Pan says:

LG G2 is the clear, undisputed leader when it comes to Camera, Battery, Screen and Power. Yes, some Motorolas do have better battery but obviously the camera is nowhere near as good as the G2's 13 MP OIS Camera. And then there's that gorgeous 5.2" FHD LCD IPS display and the Snapdragon 800 Krait 400 2.26 Quad-Core Chip + Adreno 330. I don't care about the build quality, I'm going to get a case anyway...

spencerdl says:

I disagree. During my vast RESEARCH, I found that not only is the Samsung Galaxy Note3 the best "oversized" phone, Its the BEST smartphone on the market.

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