The best Android phones

You can't go wrong with any of our picks, but we've still managed to suss out the best Android phones around

It's tempting to say there is no "best" Android smartphone. Good lord, it's tempting. And it might even be true. We've reached the point where every flagship from every manufacturer has a leg up in one area but falls just a tad short in another. If you're willing to spend the money for a top-shelf phone, chances are you're going to come out OK and have an excellent experience.

So we could tell you that there's currently no "best" Android smartphone. But that's the easy way out. We've got to make the call.

We're halfway through 2014. We've experienced the newest phones from Samsung, HTC, LG and others. We've tested. We've reviewed. And, most important, we've used them like we would our own personal phones. And in many cases they've become our daily drivers.

We might not all agree on what the best Android phone is, and that's OK, because you really can't go wrong with anything on our list. But we've made the tough decisions.

And here, now, is how things stand at the midpoint of 2014. These are the best Android phones.


Reader comments

The best Android phones


WHat the hell is up with all the page clicks? What is it about the new "format" that prevents you from having one cohesive article???

Where have you been? It's not new and has nothing to do with the new header. Thanks for reading though! :)

Now let's get back to arguing over which phone is best. :p

I agree. Gotta change this formatting. You guys like polls....take a poll asking the readers what they think of this new design. I'm guessing the majority will indicate that it's a step back.

Agreed. It's like sites that do top xx lists and stupidly put each image on a different freaking page.
We don't do that on planet earth. Please conform AC.

GUYS... its alll about the AD CLICKS!! Every time you change the page, so does the ads. Its AC going corporate greed on us. "deal with this UN-USABLE crappy layout and make us more money"... however, AT LEAST they were nice enoough to give us back (after they took it away once already) the all pages button so you can get back to the old layout... kinda.

Agreed. More hits at the expense of annoying the readers. Disjointedly linking to multiple pages to convey a cohesive article is so 1996.


I simply add any site that switches to this format to my s*** list and delete 'em from my favorites list and continue on. Smug, condescending bloggers just add to the ire. Anandtech and Ars remain the paradigm of how to run a professional tech site, with Kellen and DL coming in tops for mobile-specific coverage.

Just because it isn't new doesn't mean it's good. Not only has the format changed requiring much more clicking and loading pages, but I have noticed that AC has been doing a lot more of these "top apps" or "top phones" or "top accessories" type articles lately. I'm assuming to take advantage of this new format and garner more clicks for ad revenue? I want you guys to make money because you deserve it (you guys work hard and put out great content). But please give us the option to view as a full page. AC has always been basically my sole source for android news, but that may change soon...although I really hope not.

No, most likely the "top" pages are funded by the ones they are pimping out? Sure you get the "phones, other items" to try out but you have to get paid too, or else you'd go belly up.

The new format does suck. The HTC phone is nice, but with a company that is barely hanging on by a thread, this is just a one off in my opinion. HTC will be bought/consumed by either Sammy or Googs soon.

I had the Note 2, just got the Nexus 5, fast, smooth and minimalistic. Bloat and Carrier ware sucks!

i think its pretty obvious they either a: dont have control of it (corporate entitiy that owns them conrols it maybe) or they just dont care.

You all deserve to get paid, but find another way cause this one SUCKS. AC has always been my choice for mobile news, but gonna have to go somewhere else if this doesnt stop.

I have to be honest, I really don't like the way you dismiss your readers. I wouldn't have a damn job if I treated people the way you sometimes do in comments. i mean we do have choices you know, this isn't the only source of Android news in the world.

Not that they care, but it's because of that attitude I have rotated AC out of my most often visited sites. Phil especially comes across as over the top arrogant.

100 percent agree. That plus the weird half laugh giggle on the podcast drives me nuts. Then there is the "from the editor" posts where Phil makes sure to mention that he's the boss. Plus the anti samsung bias in every post that involves Samsung... I have stopped listening to the podcast completely and am about to delete android central from my chrome bookmarks. You really only get Phills opinion on everything here. I'm sure he's a nice guy but there are better news pages out there like android police and just plain Google News.

I hate mobile optimized pages..and there are a lot of add popups here too.

Not really here to comment on the other stuff, but, as for the "anti-Samsung bias" must either not read AC frequently enough, or have not been around long enough, but the more common complaint is that AC is "being paid by Samsung". They can't win either way; damned if they say they like a company's phone, damned if they say they don't like a company's phone.

Again, not here to step on any toes, but, I felt it should be pointed out that more often than not they have to listen to commenters going batshit crazy claiming they are biased TOWARDS Samsung.

I agree, most of them do. Jerry as well. They get to this point that the articles become almost 2nd thought. I like the doofuses who wear the Giggle glasses and think they are hip! ;) Jerry

+1 My sentiments exactly! Thank you! It's this dismissive attitude lately, in particular about the site re-design, that has really soured me to coming here much anymore. It's an attitude of screw you, we're doing what we want, so just suck it up and deal with it. I'm about done with this site between this attitude and the site re-design. I'll get my Android news somewhere else, thank you very much!

You people act as if they had a choice about the design. I'm sure they hate it also... {Really. what color is that banner? Looks like blue and green blew chunks. If there was ever a color that could take the place of a sleeping pill,. that'd be it. } The people who write the checks pick the design. {Maybe the owners mistress is into web design this week}

We who visit the site actually write the checks, if you think about it, and they don't care what we think.

It's all about ads, ads, ads. Each page click shows you yet another page full of ads to click on, and generated more money for AC. Readability and easy navigation are unimportant compared to ad revenue.

Sorry...but this layout/format is so horrid, its difficult to give a crap about what you're writing about. Pretty close to unreadable.

In the app, this problem goes away. Is annoying on the desktop or in a mobile browser, though.

It would be easier to read if I could just continue reading it. I don't need to take 7 breaks when reading each article.

Everything here is opinion. I actually agree with most of the points made but I still have to go with the gs5 over the others. It fits a bigger screen in the same space as the one and the water resistance is the best. I live in Florida and build swimming pools for a living. Plus everyday off is in the water with the kids. None of these other phones could survive what I've already put gs5 through and it's still perfect.

Posted via Android Central App

Phil, I like you, and love reading your stuff, but you're being disingenuous here.

It's about more clicks and better ad revenue. That's fine, I understand, you have to make a buck. But please don't treat us like fools and try to present it as a usability improvement. Android Central is better than that.

I really suggest that if you want to do long-form journalism that you do what Ars Technica does and have that section label be a drop-down/table of content. Otherwise the revisitability of the article is severely reduced.

BAM... just like that. 100 posts about how much EVERYONE HATES the design swept under the rug. thats a big middle finger to all you that actually visit the site.

Wow, I just ...never even saw that button there, but sure enough. Wish there was a "Thanks" deserve it for pointing it out!

Still wish it were the default, much gnashing of teeth over the "changed" layout.

I missed it first time around too. And Phil really should have pointed that out to the first couple people complaining about all the clicks. Unless he didn't notice it either.

I do like the one large article. I've a scroll wheel on my mouse. It works well.

it was there when they FIRST went to this format, then they took it away. but this is the first article i have noticed it back on

I don't see the "ALL" button anywhere. Chrome or Firefox. (Edit: It showed up after I left this comment. Weird.)
AC is going to lose a coveted spot on my bookmarks bar if I see more articles in this format.

+ another 1. Single page view would be fantastic for times when the site is running ridiculously slow. Like now - currently taking me ~30 seconds to click through each page on a 100 Mb/100Mb business connection. Gave up after page 3. Guess I'll check back later.

I don't even click the next page when an article is like this. I find articles laid out like this are lacking content and are set up by click-bait websites (which this site is clearly not). I enjoy this website, it is my go-to site for all Android related news, but can we PLEASE have all articles laid out in single page format? You already interject smart breaks in your articles by using bold subtitles and even photos to break up the content.

Yes, that's exactly why they do it. But don't mention that out loud! Go back to arguing about phones!

God, the misdirection is so ostentatious it's nauseating.

Yes because God forbid people talk about stuff that they actually care about. Lord knows we don't have enough pointless arguments about phones. Sorry it sickens you.

I'm feeling your frustration.
Also, the new layout loads horribly slow.
I get the need for them to make money with ads, but I'm almost to the point where I am going to have to start blocking them.

It's because website analytics are based on click throughs and it's how you attract ads. Its a way to make it appear as though there is more activity on your website than having people read one page. It's a greasy move that's super annoying. You hurt the loyal readers for a cheap statistic grab.

I get the Format isn't "reader friendly". However if you consider that the format is what PAYS to allow us to have access to reliable news, well written articles, a forum full of helpful tips, and the occasional chance to win free tech then the trade off seems acceptable to me.

I disagree with all if them. :-). Great stuff as always. I go with Nexus to avoid bloat.

Posted via Android Central App

I like GPE but the price. I'm sure silver will be the next thing. Pick the phone you like and no bloat.

Posted via Android Central App

This makes ZERO sense. If it were the case, they wouldnt have spent all of that time redesigning it. they wouldve just left it as-is.

it was an attempt to improve it (the exact opposite of what your comment states), but i think it missed the mark a bit. sometimes the wheel doesnt need re-invented, AC! :)

(and obviously ad revenue plays a part, but cant hate on someone trying to make more money...)

It doesn't suck, I actually like the design changes they're doing.

I bet it's the loud minority we keep hearing b*tching.. the silent majority quite likes the design or they're just indifferent... I guess.

yeah good point... it's not like you're gonig to have someone come troll on an article about the new G3 laser camera and ONLY post the comment "hey guys, love the new site layout!" lol

I used to be on the "anti-bloat" bandwagon too. My M8 is the first phone that I haven't rooted. Sure there's some light carrier stuff pre-installed from T-Mo, but now that they're disabled I'm good. I love the N5, but using the side by side it just can't compete with the M8.

It really does depend on the carrier and the maker. I had a Samsung note 3 and the phone could walk itself around the desk with all the bloat on it. I could not get away with it. The phone was awesome. But way to busy for me. Got a N5 and all good. Just Google goodness.

I love the look of the M8 and would take one in a flash. If true that the bloat is to a minimum I would revisit that option. :-)

Posted via Android Central App

I've got the M7 and will be getting the M8 that comes standard with 4.4.4 in the coming months. Tested it out though and it is not bloated at all... it's unbelievably fast!!! HTC have kept things to a minimum and lucky for me the network I use in the UK does not install crap before shipping phones out, they come manufacturer standard

Camera just kills it for me. Nice design, but the camera is mediocre at best.

Out of top 3, only one I'm curious about is G3. Size could be limiter, but camera looks much better than M8.

Anyone who used the camera for a long periods of time will tell you the camera is great.

Posted via Android Central App

I have a M8, and the camera is average. It's fast which i love, the flash is also very good, but the auto mode under anything but ideal conditions is very hit or miss. Came from a Lumia 920 and the low light compared to that is awful.

I've used the camera in a Verizon store and used it to take the same exact pictures under the same conditions as the GS5 right next to it. The GS5 destroyed it.

Meh. 4mp camera and it wins best android phone? I guess everyone has their opinion. Oh and the M8 has got to be the worst phone ever to handle. It's goofy tall and slippery.

Posted via Android Central App

I owned one for 10 days. Ended up taking it back and getting the S5, and that was one of the main reasons. I constantly felt like I was going to drop it, and I've never dropped a smart phone ever. The S5 has a bigger screen and feels so much better in the hand. Don't get me wrong the M8 is awesome and I loved a lot about it. My first Android was the Droid incredible, and I really wanted to go back to HTC. Just to mix it up after the Samsung G Nexus, S3, S4. But it just wasn't for me. And the camera was very hit and miss.

If you constantly felt like you were going to drop in mine wash your hands. The screen. In the S5 is 5.1 inches. That's barely even difference. And doubt you can notice it. and the M8 feels better in the hand. Anyone that think otherwise is fanboy.

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The look and feel of the cold metal just seems to get some people...ahem...all worked up, so to speak. Meanwhile, in spite of the practical advantages, the "lol cheap plastic phones suck" meme persists. Don't look for logic in it. I think part of it is that having a metal unibody phone salves a baseless inferiority complex some Android users have about the build quality of our phones being inferior to that of the iPhone.

lol, +1. And the build quality of some Android phones definitely is inferior to that of the iPhone, but it's more of a manufacturing issue than a materials issue. I wish/hope Samsung sort of sticks to their guns regarding plastic, but it would be nice if they dropped the faux chrome and faux leather from their design aesthetic. Either use the authentic materials or choose some other material that is authentic because things like the chrome-painted plastic do not wear as well.

The build quality of my S4 was terrible. I used to think it was due to the plastic construction, but when I switched to the moto x I realized that you can build a sturdy plastic phone if it's put together right.

Posted via Android Central App

Plastic is an insulator. Metal is a conductor by nature thus allowing for ...again, a 'natural' heat sink for its internals. Over time, throttling is seen in plastic devices LONG before 'metal/aluminum' constructed shells. In many cases (not a pun), aluminum enclosures have shown NO Throttling. At least in extensive 10, 15, & 30 minute 'run times' on graphic and computational intensive games, productivity apps/spreadsheet conversion and media manipulation; audio, visual (most demanding of both on the SoC) or still post processing with batch files and encoding/transcoding media.
Aluminum may feel 'cold' to the touch when you first grab it but quickly adapts to its immediate surroundings' (hand, pocket, or 'room temp') temperatures. As well as using the piece tends to bring it almost immediately to a very comfortable temp
*** I'm a cross-dressing, ambidextrous 'enjoyer' of both iOS & Android. I've owned at least a dozen of each and currently using a Note 3 (my business ...a family run, three generation air service in Alaska) and the iPhone 5s as my personal phone. Love them both and they're incredible doing what 'they do' for me. Between the two (I also enjoy OS X and Windows --7&8.1:) - I know, one of few), I've not tried Windows' phones yet, but the SPIII is intriguing ...we've got a bright future! That said, I think for the 'Note' & especially the Note, an aluminum enclosure strengthen with titanium alloies would be spectacular. The horsepower alone in these guys ...quad cores running at 2.5GHz and sporting 3GB of RAM with a qHD display is 'better' than a consumer laptop sold just two or three years ago! The limitation internally of 32GB sucks though, as Google advances its OS, will further restrictions to SD storage get worse? Fast, high capacity internal NAND & a nice least aluminum 'rear panel' that pops on 'n off easily and is a bit flexible would be the TWO improvements to the Note series I'm waiting to lose my N3 for. This one looks gorgeous but we've seen the 'hits' on energy taken on others, with exceptional battery life on, yet, other qHD phones.
Time will tell, but even with the ability to swap out, I don't need to. My Note 3 a year later Flat Flies ALL day and easily has 45-60% at the end of the day.
Three was a charm. I had the original and damn near swore the phone off. The 3 grabbed me though and it's a night and day difference.

Looking forward to the benchmarks on battery life is all. It's going to haul ass. That's a given. Graphics will kick some too with the 420 (vs. 330 on other HiDPI displays), memory a non issue and TouchWiz refinements carrying over from the S4/Note3/S5 evolution is a good thing. Even with the added health and security hardware it's no longer a hundred different gimmicks all working ½ way.
They're doing well with TW these days and the SPen functionality continues to improve. Note 3 and its styli have changed a LOT in my profession, and with an iPad mini as my kneeboard, ADS-B, Flight planning and fuel, weather and traffic, updated Jep charts and plates (to the day), it's an amaxing combination. 1/10 the price for 10x the accuracy with an attached GPS/GLONASS Rx/Tx. Amazing today's revolutionary technology...that we have to argue whether or not it will fit in your pocket. Lol. Dad got his EE with a slide rule, me with a TI98. What a different world engineering campus would be today (I studied aeronautical engineering and mastered in aviation management).
Sorry for the diatribe but in testing and real world thought I'd share my comments on aluminum and internal storage capacity (especially with the ability to shoot 4k!)

I wouldn't say that's accurate. However there are 2 ways to look at it:
1 - A phone is something that's relatively expensive and you interact with quite a bit. Having something made out of more premium materials adds appeal.
2 - People put their phone straight into a case so design doesn't even matter, so make the bezels and phone as thin as possible so with a case its not overly bulky.

I think Samsung has taken 2, looks good in commercials and in store, but toss a case on and all you care about is screen.

That "4mp camera" shoots better than any other smartphone cam I've got my hands on to this day. Megapixels are a gimmick apparently because that 4.3mp camera shoots stunning images in any lighting.

I really disliked cropping/zooming with the m7. And I was worried it'd be the same on the m8. Its still not as good as a higher mp shooter, but it is much better than the m7. And I'm pleased by that.

Posted via Android Central App

Call me old fashioned but I've never been one to use a digital zoom. I crop by moving my feet. If you pretend you're using a prime lens it makes taking the picture more enjoyable. The same can be said with any camera.

Thats my only knock on the camera.. I too think its too tall but imo its the best Android experience hands down.. I used the GS5 over and over... Its still sloppy.. It makes me want an iPhone... Then i pick an M8 or M7 and its back to a well put together product...

Posted via Android Central App

You must not have used, or used properly, the LG G2 camera... Best camera on a smartphone out right now, in my opinion. I'm sure the same will go for the camera on the LG G3

Posted via Android Central App

I agree. Great phones coming out this year, but none of them make my G2 feel inferior. Still very happy with that phone.

It's all relative. I'm a fan of all things Galaxy Note. Other devices have failed to capture my attention. But that's just me.

Same here, with the Note 3 I haven't cared at all about any other phone to come out this year

Posted via Android Central App

If there's not a "note" followed by a number then I'm not interested. I really don't see any other smartphone being as amazing as the note 3. It's funny how even though the s5...m8 and 3g came out not too long ago I don't get not even one bit excited or interested. Also the size of these new smartphones compared to the notes is not that far off but with the note you get so much more bang for your buck, the pen's amazing and should be standard with big screen phones which is what the New phones are...big. I guess I've turned into a note fanboy. Sooo Excited about the note 4 :-D.

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Really surprised with the feel of the LG G3, it doesn't feel like it's a 5.5 at all. The big phone is dead, long live the big phone!

Via a cool AC App on a great Nexus 4

I still love the size and feel of the Moto X, but I completely agree with you on the G3. It's big, but doesn't feel quite as big as it is.

I don't understand how a phone with such a terrible camera and is extremely difficult to handle due to the awkward power button is the best android phone.

Posted via Android Central App

The point is that a camera that often overexposes in daylight is going to be a deal-breaker for a lot of people. Add that to the fact that many people will be turned off by its size - and it still has a noticeably smaller screen when you factor in the room the buttons take. These are all important things to a lot of people - not necessarily myself - and are reasons the one m8 will be vastly outsold by the g3 and s5.

Posted via Android Central App

No, the reason the G5 outsells the M8 is due to marketing. Samsung made it a priority to make the Galaxy brand a household name and it has succeeded.
People can argue until they're blue in the face about megapixels but it doesn't mean a 13MP camera will take better pictures than a 4MP camera. My M8 overexposes when i'm focusing on the wrong thing. Once I nail it down it's solid. I'm not sure why people continue to hark on it.

Whatever. You like your phone and I will like mine. But stop pretending you know why people choose their phones.

I find it interesting that for the better part of 3 years the majority of people who have nearly unlimited access to most major phones tend to prefer htc phones by at least a plurality.

Posted via Android Central App

"You read the other words about it, right?" -- lmao! Best comment by Phil for this article. Or, this article page 43908324. :-P

I can't believe I had to scroll so far before seeing this comment

Posted from the Avengers: Age of Droid Ultra

I have been. I'm trying to migrate back to Android. I'm just waiting for a worthy tablet to replace my Verizon iPad Mini. Hopefully, the second half of the year won't disappoint.

I know right! Its the same thing every year with HTCs phones its like you already know they're gonna put any HTC phone at the top with its shitty 4mp camera (excuse me but I love to zoom in and crop my images) its slippery design and horrific logo/buttons placemente. Come on AC I want to see something different one year.

The camera is not shittty you just don't how to use it properly the phone is the best designed by a mile. Also it is not slippery. Who ever started this slippery lie doesn't know how to properly hold phones. Also the htc logo is where every OEM puts it. You are a twat

Posted via Android Central App

I really wonder if the people who bash the one so much have used it...I take great snaps with the camera. The size of the phone is a bit cumbersome, but it makes up for it for being extremely functional. The gesture unlocking has become a natural thing now and works great.

Posted via Android Central App

I know what you mean. They're mad that Phil didn't rate their phone #1 and bash the rest. I love the way the One feels without a case.

You don't even need to use it for that, actually. The G3's Knock On feature pretty much eliminates the need to touch the power button except for when you're powering the phone on/off.

They could say is the best phone in the galaxy but still an article like this won't fool must people. Grant it, we can't judge a phone just because it has a not so good camera but they are overlooking so many other things wrong with the phone. Problem is these guys have a huge hard on for htc ones and its "amazing design" 99 % of people put a case on the their phone.

Posted via Android Central App

You just took that 99% if people put a case on out of your ass because that is not true.

Posted via Android Central App

It has the best design, best sound, best (or now maybe 2nd best screen) fastest and cleanest ui. Most people who have the chance to use it will tell you that the height is a small price to pay for the speakers and that the camera is excellent so long as you don't zoom or crop. Opinions vary, and that's fine, but let's stop pretending it isn't the obvious choice.

Posted via Android Central App

I agree with the pick... I literally tried to go back to Samsung because i was upset about the 4mp camera... But i couldn't just not feeling Samsung anymore... so i continued on to the M8... No regrets!! The camera is good enough for what i need and i wish it kept the same M7 size but its still the best Android available
Posted via Android Central App

Let's stop talking about getting back to arguing about phones, and let's actually get back to arguing about phones.

Posted via Android Central App

lg g3 all the way... reasons:
-z2: to bulky for screensize
-s5: i dont like samsung...
-m8: hell it gotta be one of the ugliest phones of the year...

(personal opinions..)

M8 is ugly as hell. There's a reason why the majority of pictures on the Internet show the back of the phone instead of the front. The more you look at the front the uglier it becomes.

I think it looks great. Even if you don't like the look of it, I don't see how it would even be considered "Ugly."

just look at the front... (my personal opinion) its just so ugly with those bezels on top and bot...

But the bezels on the s5 are even bigger especialy the side bezels which make the phone unnecessarily wide.

Posted via Android Central App

I could understand if you prefer LG G3, but calling M8 as the ugliest phone of the year.. Well let just say I will not trust your design opinion in other area. You clearly have no sense of art..

Calling the M8 one of the ugliest phones of the year proves you are a troll. It is the most gregoeous phone of the year

Posted via Android Central App

2 things:
first; i'm the troll? says the one commenting 4 times on my comment...
second: i did just state my personal opinion (as i stated multiple times), what you did is useless fanboy trash. have fun adoring your m8

I think these articles need a bit more mention of two issues that everyone seems to gloss over:

1. Some of the phones are bootloader locked, and others can be easily unlocked. I'd think that this is significant to many android central readers.

2. You don't seem to put much emphasis on using the device with smaller hands. My wife HATES my HTC One M8 because she can't "reach" the entire screen. For many people, the current generation of phones are all "bad" because of this. (She's at her reach limit with a LG G2 - thanks to the tiny bezels, it's usable for her.)

I don't know. Do you? ;) I'm only offering a suggestion on improving your articles. For many people, the current generation of flagships is a cruel tease. Wonderful technology, but too big for their hands.

My wife's Moto X arrives tomorrow in large part due to the size. My last phone had a lot of bells and whistles that I never used, so went Nexus this time. Looking for this to be the first phone that I'm not ripping my hair out over after 18 months.

Posted from my Nexus 5 via Android Central App

You won't be, barring any software updates that screw things up. The hardware is not far behind current flagships, and although I've had mine since launch, it's held up better than any phone I've ever had in terms of general performance and usability.

I second this, My Moto X is plenty fast. And even though it doesn't have the biggest battery I can go a long time between charges. Once I went 37 hours and still had over 20% battery life. This was with light usage of course but for my experience that is really good.

I would agree that in the race to bigger and bigger screen sizes, manufacturers are missing out on group of buyers who would like a flagship quality phone in 4.5 inch screen range. The "mini" phones of flagships all have downgraded specs to some degree.

Would like to see someone take up this challenge.

I think the majority of people want 5" or even bigger phones. There isn't a big market for phones under 4.7". The only reason the iphone sells is because its purchased by people who are tech illiterate, if it was 7" they would buy and when the iphone 6 is 5" they will buy that.

My wife is 4 feet 11. She uses the M7 and doesn't know why our iPhone friends think it's too big. She doesn't. She also doesn't think the M8 is huge either.

Also, in this day and age rooting isn't even necessary anymore like it was in the past. My M8 is the first phone i've owned that isn't going to be modded; It doesn't need it.

The vast majority of people simply do not care about a locked bootloader. If that is your primary concern then these articles aren't for you, there are a ton of articles and forums that beat the bootloader information to death, it's pretty obvious AC is trying to reach a broader more mainstream audience.

Posted via Android Central App

HTC Mate: Too big of bezel, too many cameras
LG G3: Back buttons
GS5: ugly as sin
Z2: not available

Hopefully the next round will be better.

I agree with the M8 having a big bezel , the S5 being ugly, and the Z2 having limited availability. But, I wouldn't count the G3's back buttons as a con: it's a feature that just takes some getting used to.

I just realized that ironically enough, given their power button placements, the M8 would benefit way, way more from Knock-On than the G3 does.

The back buttons are a huge plus for the G3 not a negative and if you thought the bezels were big on the M8te wait until you hold the Z2

When is the G3 going to launch in US, T-Mo specifically? GS5, just could not get behind a larger phone with basically same size screen as the GS4. M8....honestly my daughter has a M7 and I just do not like Sense.

Oh I didnt know that they changed the title from Best Smartphone to Best "good looking" phone. Hmm...

Posted via Android Central App

Should looks not factor in at all? That'd be kinda difficult, considering nowadays we treat our phones as fashion accessories as much as tools.

i'm function over form all day. but that's me. i wouldnt care if it had a pic of a shirtless David Hasselholf engraved on the back. if it's the best phone that i can have to take pics of the rest of the Baywatch cast on the beach, i'll take it.

The physical design of my Vivid grated on me after a while. I didn't think it was going to be a big deal, but I was wrong. It just wasn't that comfortable to hold. So yes it does matter.

Posted from my Nexus 5 via Android Central App

Looks are definitely part of the experience of a phone. Combine that with Sense 6 which is honestly amazing this year (from someone who only used stock Android before) and the only real downside is the camera. And, honestly, I've yet to have any major issues with that aspect. If I want to take serious shots, I bring my DSLR, but my M8 is perfectly fine for everyday spontaneous shots.

From my Moto X+1 running Android 5.0 in the world's worst dummy case

Looks are important. If I'm shopping for something that I'm going to spend over an hour looking at every day, especially if I'm planning on paying $600+ for it, I don't think it's at all unreasonable for me to expect looking at it to be a pleasant experience.

Also, we're approaching hardware parity among flagship devices. Since these devices all have pretty comparable internals, design becomes an increasingly important differentiating factor.

There's something about opening the box for the first time, taking the phone out, holding it in your hand, and thinking to your self that the phone feels like it's worth $600.

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I'm not surprised to see the One at the top. Although the G3 is a great looking device, the display is causing more issues than benefits. I don't have any beefs with the S5, but there's nothing really special about it. This list shouldn't be a surprise to anyone.

What screen issues are you talking about on the g3? From what I read the display is bright and crisp and has no effect on battery life in fact the battery seems to hold up better then the m8 and s5 even with its QHD display.

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Agree.....I love my N5, and the only real down side is the battery. The camera is just OK, certainly miles ahead of the M7, perhaps slightly worse than the GS4.

This is a pretty worthless article, to be frank. The M8 taking the #1 spot was as predictable as the sun rising in the morning to anybody who's read AC's endless slobbering over the M8 (and the M7 before it). But beyond that I think just about every major release since last summer is included in this article, with the notable exception of the Verizon-exclusive Motorola Droid family. "Bet you can't guess what we think the best Android phone is! Oh...actually, yeah, you guessed it. But here's every other major Android phone released in the past year, just in case you had forgotten they exist, they are also very nice. Wasn't this helpful and insightful?"

If all we'd done was put out an ordered list, I'd say you're right.

Fortunately for us, we put a little more thought into it than that and try to give folks something to think about.

Maybe if HTC made a shit phone, then they wouldn't be number one...why are you butthurt over the fact that HTC made an excellent phone and its being recognized by it?

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Well, to be fair, the opening did say that you couldn't go wrong with any of them......after all, in 2014 we are blessed with a LOT of excellent hardware and good to great software. i think two areas of differentiation are really camera and battery life. They all look like smartphones, some folks like metal, some plastic. They all have great screens. They all are comparably spec'ed. The reall difference is now in how the camera works overall (not just in "daylight" or "low light"), including cropping. And battery life (and also if the battery is removable) is a big deal as well.

Good lord, you're a whiny shit. Yes, screw AC for putting together a list of the best and most popular phones of the first half of the year and listing their pros and cons in one easily-referenced article. Can you really not see why that would be useful for the many people who consult sites like this before buying phone?

What even is this post? The only reason it's predictable is because of how great the M8 is to begin with. And these articles are wonderful for people who have yet to purchase a 2014 flagship and are in the market. Ranking the phones and describing why they're the best in certain areas is invaluable for a lot of people.

From my Moto X+1 running Android 5.0 in the world's worst dummy case

I actually really appreciate articles like this. I kind of intentionally try to ignore the "latest happenings" in Android world until it's getting close to time for me to upgrade. When that time comes, I like to hit up AC for this exact type of article. It lets me know the major contenders, the strengths and weaknesses of each, and then gives me links to read up on the specific phones I'm most interested in to determine which is the best fit for me. I suspect a lot of people Google "Best Android phone 2014" when they're in the market for a new phone, but don't follow all of the latest developments in Android the rest of the year, so this is a very useful article for them, too.

What did you expect? This site is run by geeks for geeks. For me the only saving grace here is that AC is also good at getting android info out there quickly.

I love my Note 3. Big screen. Not to big for me even with a case so it does not slip in my hands. I needed the big screen at 71 my eyes are what they are. I put on a different case and the first thing it did was slip of my hands and my daughters, so even though I would love and M8, slipping out of my hands would kill it for me, numb and tingly hands...Keep playing Android Central.

I'm still using my nexus 4, and though it's getting a bit outdated, I still haven't seen it drop in performance at all. I've been hooked on Nexus ever since, and I'm really looking forward to Google's next phone release.

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Loved that phone. The only problem I had with it was that it didn't charge nearly as quickly on Qi as the N5 does.

Of course, I'm fortunate to live in an area with fabulous HSPA+ coverage. Had that not been the case, the lack of LTE may have stung as well.

Still enjoying my N4, but that camera, man. Oof. So I'm looking to upgrade. Love the idea of a Moto X+1 if it has a decent camera; else the G3 is probably in my future.

Totally feel the same way. The camera (mostly the bad syncing of the flash and photo being taken, resulting in a million pictures in a row as dark as a bats asshole) is my biggest gripe. The G3 is a lot of things I want, but the integration of their version of google now just puts me off totally. Do you have the same camera woes as I do?

Lol, no, I don't think my flash sync is off. It's just that most shots in decent but not bright light come out a little blurry, which is getting old.

Tried to go with another phone besides M8 (after my contract was up, and ready to upgrade from EVO LTE 4G). Tried the S5. Considered waiting on the G3. But I love my M8 (HK). The camera hasn't let me down yet. It feels great in the hand. Is very quick. Great points on most/all phones, and I happily agree with Phil and company on this one.

But, I do not agree with Phil on the story layout as of late. I see the rationale (for this article) - 8 page views vs. 1 (or 2). That makes the overall page view number start to look very good. While I am not a fan, it could be much worse (i.e. Bleacher Report).

Now come on HTC, sell more Ones! Its sad that HTC makes such a great device, yet people just say I want the new iPhone or Samsung galaxy.
I wanna punch some people in the face when they ask if my m8 is the new galaxy 5. Yes, galaxy 5, not s5. That pisses me off more.
People really can be sucked into a certain manufacturers products.

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You have nobody to blame but HTC themselves. Their marketing is dreadful and has been for years. Last year we had Robert Downey Jr. in stupid ads all about how nobody knows what the acronym HTC stands for, that practically ignored the phone entirely. This year we have Gary Oldman (who, while a great actor, is not instantly recognizable or a household name) telling us to "ask the internet."

HTC makes very nice devices but they (and/or their ad agency, who they should fire) are terrible at making people aware of their products and explaining why they should choose them over the competition.

People on these tech sites always find this hard to believe but marketing is far from the only reason HTC is failing. There are plenty of other reasons that I'm just too lazy to list here. I'm sure someone will list them down the line here.

You know what, I have had an instance where someone asked if it was the 5S and I said no, its not an iPhone...they're like no the galaxy phone. I said you mean the Samsung galaxy S5. They said yeah whatever. -_- and that's when I wanna start swingin...
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Whilst I agree that the M8 is a good phone, the order is somewhat flawed and perhaps biased lol

I would have it that the Z2 is the Android phone of the year, followed by the M8 and the G3 third and an honorable mention goes to the S5.

The S5 is shit bloody fingerprint reader and heartrate monitor that how many will use more than once, then it becomes a show and tell lol oh and how many S5's are up for sale?

The Z2 is focused and does everything well (just my opinion).

Obviously Phil disagrees, but to any level headed tech writer you can't have the S5 above the Z2 dam the fingerprint reader doesn't work half of the time and there are apps for heartrate monitors and wrist bands which are more functional.

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It seems the main reason the z2 isn't higher is because of availability. Which I don't agree with either.
I have never used one but anytime I've seen people who own it talk about it, there's no bashing it. I agree it should be ahead of the s5.

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The problem for Phil is that he's been am HTC fanboy for as long as i can remember. That's not a bad thing it just means that for whatever reason he prefers HTC. The problem arises whenever he has to judge the S5. Is easy for him to say what he feels about the M8 because that's his opinion, but when it comes to the S5 there are a lot of people who love it and would be turned off if he actually told the people what he really thought of it. There's a delicate balance to be played. Can you imagine the outrage if he had the S5 dead last?

Looks to me like they took the opinions from most of the writers, not just Phil, to come to this conclusion. Writers can have favorites and after we read their articles for years we definitely pick up on that, but it's certainly not catastrophic.

Yeah, I agree with the M8 being the best, but the G3 and Z2 are very close behind it. I would probably put the Z2 second and the G3 3rd. I would probably also put the Note 3 ahead of the S5 as far as my personal preferences, though because of the newer tech the S5 should be ahead of the Note.

Overall, I would have to agree here. The M8 takes the crown. I also believe that the camera arguments have been blown way out of proportion.

I agree, I feel like a lot of the hate comes from people that haven't actually used the phone or the camera extensively. I recently had insurance replace my DNA with an M7 and so far I've been nothing but impressed. I'll probably end up replacing my M7 with an M9 next year.

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I love the M8. I am interested in the G3 but haven't had a chance to see/use one. My only concern is the reviews are stating the screen is somewhat dim. The M8 is the first phone I've used the last couple years I can actually read in sunlight.

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I'm still hanging on to my HTC M7, updated and with ScreenWakeUp. New design just doesn't do it for me. Oh, female here with normal-sized hands.

Wait until the M9, when FINALLY they will have NO choice but to put in a really good 13( or more)MP camera...2 years in a row now, the writers and impartial users have been complaining about the Ultra-Pixel camera...HTC has already started putting a 13 MP camera on their Asian version of the M8 and the DNA butterfly 2 ( or whatever they call that phone)...

The G3 is slightly better than the M8, in my opinion. The build quality on both is very exceptional, but I don't enjoy the curvature on the M8. I also like the LG's UI better.

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What the? The HTC One M8?

Man, HTC does you so wrong with that phone. Look at how awful they are:

1. Gorgeous aluminum unibody design that beats all other smartphones on the market hands down.
2. High resolution 1080p display that has 441ppi.
3. 32 GB of onboard storage as "low end" in U.S.
4. 128GB SD card slot.
5. Big, amazing Boom Sound speakers on the front of the phone that are second to none.
6. Sense 6, probably the least bloated launcher that comes from a company as opposed to a downloaded app.
7. Free screen replacement for first 6 months.
8. 2 year guarantee to have software support for latest versions of Android.
9. An amazing rear camera that takes super fast, phenomenal pictures, but the weak side is that you can't crop an entire tree in a picture taken from 60 feet away to get a crisp shot of the ant walking on a single leaf.
10. A 5MP front facing camera.
11. A 2600mAh battery that runs the whole day with moderate to heavy usage thanks to a superbly optimized Sense 6 launcher.
12. A Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad core processor.

I agree, HTC stinks. They obviously make terrible phones.

Anyway, not that anyone is going to agree with me, but I can say that my HTC One M8 is the best Android phone I have ever owned. HTC has set the bar on design for both the hardware and software sides of Android phones.

I see no need to get worked up over the editors' opinions. They've had extensive hands-on with all devices, so they had enough time to form a solid opinion.

Also, if the main gripe against the M8, is the camera, then I'd personally say that it's other functional attributes are excellent. The M8 is more than just a well built and well designed (in my opinion) device.

Also, the "best" phone is the one that you're holding in your hand.

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There is no "best phone". It depends on your needs.

The phones on this list are all amazing. Can't go wrong with either one of them.

Even though the LG G2 is nearly a year old, and I'm sure no one would run out to buy it at this point... it truly is one of the best phones I've ever had. And, as the article said... it's still worth considering. Great size; beautiful screen; great camera and unbelievably fast processing. Just a great phone all around.

I guess I'm out of the "norm" as I just picked up the G2 last month. Could've gotten the M8 or the GS5 and tried them both at the store. To me the G2 just seemed better to me. The GS5 was nice but I wanted to move away from Samsung because I don't want a KNOX enabled device. My Wife's always preferred HTC and although the M8 is a thing of beauty for it's build quality, I didn't like the tallness of it. Plus I don't stream music or watch movies so the speakers are a moot point for me. So far the G2 has been fabulous for me. Love the display and the size is just about the max that I can comfortably use daily. Rooting was easy and I find the UI a refreshing change from Sammys TW. The rear buttons are a "non issue" I was used to them after two days.

Let's hope LG doesn't leave us G2 users in the dust as far as updates go. I will add that LG needs to get some advertising out there so people know more about their stuff.

From the Death Star using my LG G2

With the way phones have been getting bigger and bigger, I think it is time to take the Note 3 and put it in the same category as all the other flagships. In that case, the Note 3 should be 1st, and then you can go in any order you want.

The Mega, Max and things like that are the new Phablet category...

Yeah but if you take a feature like that and say it should be in its own category because of it, then you need to do the same with the M8 because no one else has dual front speakers. It is a slippery slope if you start to put phones in different categories because of unique features.

That's definitely debatable, I'll give you that one, especially with the G3 and OnePlus One having almost the same screen size as the Note 3.

I agree completely. I imported a Z1 Compact and use it on ST and absolutely love it. I use it as my 2nd phone and it is great to pick up and take outside to the pool with the kids. Good size, great camera, wireless charging, fantastic battery life and you don't have to worry about it getting wet or dirty. Why no Z2 in the US Sony? I'm waiting for you to take my money.

I'll be sticking with the Nexus 5! The M8, S5, Sony are too expensive. Not enough that is better for almost twice the price. I like a phone that is < 5inches. I'd buy a Moto X if a Nexus wasn't available!

I agree with the number one spot, I love boomsound, video highlights are awesome, the camera is not as bad as every spec junkie says (at least for me) and the screen is nice and big. My one con is the power button placement, why HTC why?

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That's my one design gripe about the M8. I don't care about the bezel at all, but putting the power button on top of a phone that's that large and is just begging for people to drop it while shimmying it around in their hands.

I downloaded an app called screen off. It places a widget on the screen to turn the phone off instead of needing to hit the power button. It works well.

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My wife picked up her M8 after selling her Note 3 cause of the size.. i haven't really used it much but from what i've seen it's pretty good.. The camera is NOT BAD.. but my wife's overall factor was the size and how it was better for her to use then the S5...

The UI on the HTC M8 is ugly in my opinion... the font they chose, the GREEN, and all the icons looks like they were squished together.. even the nav bar icons have been zapped down in size.. i guess it does fit the robotic look they are going for but i think it;s pretty ugly....

i sold my Note 3 waiting for the G3 .. i'm dying here waiting for it.. but we will see how it compares... what it comes down for me is that i miss my Note 3's screen size... i sold it thinking i would be happy with the N5 and Oneplus.. but the N5 was too small and who friggin knows when the Oneplus will be available...

so it's a race between the G3 and Oneplus to determine which one i will buy..

Funny thing is you can change the icon style and the colors on the M8.
But I agree it may not be enough if you don't like the overall look.

Why isn't the OnePlus One up there? Say what you want about their marketing or the invite system, but people are buying them. It's better dealer than the Nexus 5.

i guess this article is a guide for people trying to find a new phone and since 1+ uses an invite system, this would offer little help.

I agree, it's right up there. Might even take over the top spot at some point. We'll see. (BoomSound still makes a really big difference in the experience.)

on a shipping dock somewhere? waiting on software? coming soon? waiting on an invite? looking for a contest winner?

It is exactly where it should be. Not on the list.

Lmfao. I can only laugh at this. After all of the delays and bs, I'm done defending that damn non-existent phone.