Android phones

Read Android Central's reviews of top Android devices

With Christmas a slowly fading memory, we're beginning to enter the post-holiday shopping season. And in the days ahead, many outlets will be offering discounts on some of the top Android devices of the moment. So what's worth buying and what should you leave on the shelf?

We've got links to all the information you could possibly need after the break.

Essential reading: The best Android phone you can buy

In our semi-regular look at the best Android handsets around, we've rounded up the finest phones on the market and brought you a rundown of the top contenders. We'll also reveal the best oversized Android phone, as well as some honorable mentions.

Read more: The best Android phone you can buy in late 2013

Android Central's big review grid

Moto X

Moto X review

Motorola's new flagship boasts near-stock Android and touchless controls.

GS4

Samsung Galaxy S4 review

Samsung's 5-inch smartphone offers a 1080p screen and a wealth of software features.

Note 3

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 review

The third-generation Galaxy Note handset is the best big-screen phone out there.

HTC One

HTC One review

HTC's aluminum-clad beast is one of the most impressive smartphones of 2013.

HTC One Mini

HTC One Mini review

With a 4.3-inch 720p display, the One Mini downsizes without scrimping on hardware.

GS4 Mini

Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini review

Samsung packs many of the GS4's software features into a smaller chassis.

HTC One Max

HTC One Max review

HTC's largest handset yet boasts impressive battery life and a gianormous screen.

Nexus 5

Nexus 5 review

The second LG-built Nexus phone represents the cutting edge of Android.

Moto G

Moto G review

Motorola's budget smartphone is the best phone you can buy for $179.

G2

LG G2 review

The 5.2-inch LG G2 introduces a 13MP OIS camera and a 5.2-inch display.

Nexus 7

Nexus 7 review

The second-gen Nexus 7 boosts its performance and screen resolution.

G Pad 8.3

LG G Pad 8.3 review

LG returns to the Android tablet space with a "just right" form factor.

Galaxy Gear

Samsung Galaxy Gear review

Samsung's first smartwatch shows promise, but falls short in terms of functionality.

Galaxy Note 10.1

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 — 2014 Edition review

The Galaxy Note 10.1 returns with faster internals and a sharp new screen.

Xperia Z1

Sony Xperia Z1 review

Sony's latest boasts a metal-framed design and 20.7-megapixel camera.

More: Android Central reviews portal

 

Reader comments

Buying an Android device over the holidays? Check out our reviews!

78 Comments

Let me be the FIRST to say, if you didnt get a Note 3, you are really missing out

-----------------------------------------
Happy Holiday's from my phone to yours...

Unless none of the 'unique' features or the stylus appeal to you in any way then you are really just missing out on an oversized screen. I want a Note, but the 10.1 is the size that appeals to me.

ಠ益ಠ

Nah it is great for media viewing and it is a powerful phone

-----------------------------------------
Happy Holiday's from my phone to yours...

But their are other choices that fit that description as well. I'm sorry I just don't think the Note 3 is much an upgrade from the 2. Not like the original was to the 2.

ಠ益ಠ

Yea, as much as I've tried, I just can't find any justification for buying a phablet. As sacrilegious as this may be, I just ordered a Surface Pro. Having "real" pen capabilities and being able to use them in "real" applications like Photoshop, Sketchbook, Illustrator, ZBrush, etc. sold me.

Love Android on my Phone, but Android on a phablet/tablet does nothing for me personally.

With the Note 3, at the very least you can use sketchbook. I haven't tried the others

-----------------------------------------
Happy Holiday's from my phone to yours...

Yea, I know, I have sketchbook on my phone and love it, but it's inherently limited when compared to the desktop version, let alone the other programs I mentioned. I'm not knocking Android at all, or even tablets, just for me they don't offer much beyond what my phone is already capable of.

Gotcha, no worries. Phones/tablets are inherently limited compared to desktops.
Never used the surface for more than a few hours. For what I use a tablet for, I cannot justify the cost

-----------------------------------------
Happy Holiday's from my phone to yours...

Spoken like a true Note 3 user. I wonder if those 5.7 inch screens are trying to compensate for something...

Posted via Android Central App

Nope, we are just used to handling big things skillfully.

-----------------------------------------
Happy Holiday's from my phone to yours...

I'm not missing out. I just happen to be someone who doesn't think a huge screen, TouchWiz, and a fancy stylus are worth paying twice what I can get a Nexus 5 for. I think the Note 3 is a great phone, but its just not for me.

Posted via the awesome Android Central App

I cannot live with the camera and battery or the Nexus would be an option so I hear you. It is about preference sometimes.

I upgraded to a G2 for free at Best Buy. It wasn't worth forking out $350 for the N3 to Sprint. My work flips the monthly bill and there was nothing worth that money on the Note and I'm completely happy with my G2.

Posted via Android Central App

G2 is a solid device, and you could do worse.

I know that 350 is the asking price, but you can do better than that. Especially at best buy. Still cannot beat free... Lol

-----------------------------------------
Happy Holiday's from my phone to yours...

Hear, hear! I have owned numerous smartphones over the ages but the Note 3 is the only one that had me selling off my 7" tablets (HTC EVO View 4G and Nexus 7) because I don't use them any more. The Note 3 is smooth as silk and beautiful to boot and the stylus is precious. It has exceeded my expectations by far. If you don't like the Samsung add-ons, you don't have to use them.

All I can say is that when I whip out my white Note 3 with white view cover in public, all your wimmens is mine.

If your using the app, it is off the screen. Slide to left...

-----------------------------------------
Happy Holiday's from my phone to yours...

I assume they are using a table so it isn't the app so much as the coding of the page

-----------------------------------------
Happy Holiday's from my phone to yours...

Moto X= one of the best phones in the past couple years.

Posted Via VZW Moto X on the Android Central App

The precursor of "one of the best..." saves it. If you said the best, the comparison cannot be done

-----------------------------------------
Happy Holiday's from my phone to yours...

No Motorola Droid Maxx? It should easily make the list of top phones. I understand it is Verizon exclusive, but Verizon is one of the biggest markets. AC needs to step up their game to keep up with android police.

He has a point to up to the 'keep up with' statement.

-----------------------------------------
Happy Holiday's from my phone to yours...

Power user - Note 3
Developer/Timely updates - Nexus 5
Ergonomics/Wallet friendly - Moto X
Speakers and Build quality - HTC One

Season Greetings!

I would have gone with "bang for the buck" for the Moto X and I am not impressed with the One build quality, but it is a great summary....

Does a lot of notes, heavy usage, and lots of media. Needs every feature and all the high end specs.

Posted Via VZW Moto X on the Android Central App

I use it all day everyday. I use it for work, entertainment and play. For work, I use it for more than just email. I take notes, write code, access my network, etc.

Lots of things my SGS3 couldnt do.

What you were missing from above, is that it is not a minor upgrade (sgs3 to SGS4) everything in it was upgraded over the previous one significantly.

Oh the S4. If only you locked away your battery. Lost your SD card slot. Came with way less features, and a used a toned down version of touchwiz that resembled stock android so you could shave .5 seconds off your load times. Maybe then you would have gotten more respect and not compared to the one in every single review every done about you ever.
Sorry for the rant guys, I respect all OEMS and UIs, and yes the one was arguably the best of 2013. But looking at the s4 and cursing it for what it isn't, upset me. After trying both The One and moto x and returning them, I realize how useful tw is and how it enhances android. How ppl forget that S voice IS touchless controls.. really hope the S5 can impress the android community more than the S4 did.

Posted from my Galaxy S4

I honestly love the s4 for having a removable battery. With an S4 running CyanogenMod, it'll be speedier than ever before just like my s3 became after all the bloatware was removed.

Posted via Android Central App

Is this the samsung trolls convention ?! To say that faux leather and a booring design is the best phone out there is an abomination !!! It is one of the highest specd phones...but that's it...unless u two are students...and that explains it..

You know how I know you never used one for more than 5 minutes?

-----------------------------------------
Happy Holiday's from my phone to yours...

Picked up a Lumia 925 to check out on ATT. Gonna commit to a month with it to see how it works out with my computer etc. Got 27 GB in skydive to check out. Still got my Moto X and Nexus 5!

Bought my daughter a Moto X with the $150 off promotion!

Good luck :)
I think you will need Android phones from time to time. Quality of apps ... Bad.

Posted via Android Central App

Oh man...I had to start keeping a list of reasons I hate WP so I would stop lusting after the beautiful Nokia phones. I really want to like WP...but...

Gmail/Google Apps support is poor.
YouTube...not so good.
Starbucks - you have to trust your info to a 3rd party.
Stock keyboard in WP is good. Not as good Android options.
Google Voice apps suck.
No Simple Bank app.
No Fitbit
No Uber
On and on and on...

I do love the hardware though.

I hear you! Kept resisting. Found a mint one in swappa for what I thought was a great deal. If it fails as a phone I could keep it as a nice WiFi camera...

Sent from my Moto X!

Love all of these phones. I've got the moto x, nexus 5 & HTC one.

Posted via Android Central App

Lol love the comments about the Note 3, we just bought two and love them. Don't think I would call myself a power user by any stretch but the screen size is good for those who are middle aged.... lol

On another NOTE (get it :-) ) ok ok I'm lame but seriously has anyone found a good way without root to have game saves sync among devices? IMHO this should be Googles next big feat. I have a rooted TF700T, Nexus 7 (2013) (not rooted), and Note 3 (not rooted) and really don't care to root the last two but am so annoyed every time I want to play a game on a different device that I'm just doing stuff I've already done. I've looked everywhere for a simple answer for this but it appears the only thing I ever come up with is to root the devices.

I Just got a Note 3 after 4 successive iPhones. Very impressive screen and hardware. Recommended highly.
Now all they need is to make something as seamless as airplay and AirPrint and I may even give up my ipad.

Posted via Android Central App