10 Best Smartphone Reviews For 2014

10. Nokia Lumia 1020

 

 Key features:

  • 5.7-inch 1080p Full HD screen
  • 13-megapixel main camera with LED flash
  • Best stylus experience on a phone
  • 32GB of storage with microSD card support

 

Description:

It might not be the best all round smartphone, but if you are looking for a great cameraphone the Nokia Lumia 1020 definitely fits the bill.

The 4.5-inch, Windows 8-running 1020 piles in some impressive photo-grabbing specs including a 41-megapixel PureView camera and a Xenon flash with LED focus light. Image results can compete with compact system cameras in the right conditions and can be viewed back on a punchy, colourful 1,280×768 resolution screen.

It’s only dual-core and does still suffer from a poor selection of Windows apps. But if you really want camera quality photos, then the Lumia 1020 is the handset to snap up.

Price: $544

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9. LG G2

Key features:

  • 5.2-inch Full HD 1080p display
  • 13-megapixel main camera
  • Strong battery life
  • Rear physical buttons on the back

 

Description:

The smartphone with the buttons on the back, the LG G2 sees the South Korean company make an impressive return to smartphone prominence.

The 5.2-inch G2 features a full HD IPS edge-to-edge display, a 13-megapixel OIS (optical image stabilization) camera and a speedy Snapdragon 800 quad-core CPU.

Moving the buttons to the rear and reducing the screen bezel frees up the extra screen estate to make the most of HD movie and video watching. The camera is good, but doesn’t deliver Z1 or Lumia 1020-like images.

The G2 delivers a strong overall package making it a great alternative to the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S4.

Price: $470

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8. Sony Xperia Z1

 

Key features:

  • 5-inch Full HD 1080p screen
  • 20.7-megapixel main camera with 1/2.3-inch sensor
  • 16GB of onboard storage
  • Impressive battery performance

Description:

Addressing the key issues with the Xperia Z, the Sony Xperia Z1 is one of the most powerful smartphones to currently get your hands on.

The 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor delivers one of the slickest overall performances we’ve seen and the 3,000mAh battery gives the Z1 real staying power.

A slightly curvier design makes the 5-inch smartphone more comfortable to hold and the added camera button makes it easier to take photos and video underwater. The improved 20.7-megapixel camera didn’t blow us away but is still one of the best smartphone snappers around.

Look out Samsung and HTC, Sony is starting to get a hang of this smartphone-making business…

Review price
: $528


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7. Samsung Galaxy Note 3

 

Key features:

  • 5.7-inch 1080p Full HD screen
  • 13-megapixel main camera with LED flash
  • Best stylus experience on a phone
  • 32GB of storage with microSD card support

 

Description:

King of the big phones, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is once again equipped with the excellent S-Pen stylus.

Featuring a 5.7-inch 1080p Super AMOLED screen, the Note 3 is powered by a Snapdragon 800 2.3GHz CPU and has 32GB and 3GB of RAM to take care of multitasking.

The key design change from the Note 2 is the leather-effect battery cover which is more cosmetic than adding anything in terms of comfort. There’s a 13-megapixel main camera to shoot photos on par with the S4, but the S Pen stylus is once again the star of the show and has more apps to utilize its stylus powers.

If you are after a big screen phone to get creative with, this is the best to go for.

Review price: $579

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6. Samsung Galaxy S4

 

 

Key features:

  • Stunning 5-inch Full HD screen
  • 13-megapixel camera takes solid pictures
  • Powerful overall performance
  • New features like Air View, Smart Pause and Infra Red remote

 

Description:

The Galaxy S series has come to be seen as the pinnacle of Android, and with good reason. The Samsung Galaxy S4 is a superb phone.

It has a 13-megapixel camera, giant 1080p 5-inch display and quad-core processor (the 8-core version is not available in the UK.) In Samsung style, it has masses of extra software features including a fitness tracker, translator and eye tracking software that lets you scroll books and articles with just a gesture.

Quite simply the Samsung Galaxy S4 is still one of the best Android phones to buy.

Review price: $471

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5. HTC One

 HTC One

 

Key features:

  • Superb 4.7-inch full HD display
  • Excellent aluminium chassis
  • Great overall performance
  • Runs on Android 4.3 with HTC Sense 5.5

Description:

One of the most desirable phone of the year so far is the HTC One. And, yes, that includes the Samsung Galaxy S4.

It has a sleek aluminium body that makes the top-end competition feel a little bit cheap. The HTC One also has a few other new HTC features. Top of the list are the UltraPixel camera and Blinkfeed, the star of the show of the new Sense UI. It’s sleeker and more stylish than the HTC Sense of old and – in our experience – it works better too.What’s not to like?

The 4-megapixel camera doesn’t reap as detail-packed shots as its top rivals in bright sunlight, but it’ll win out in dim situations. Until the HTC One Two turns up, this is still wins our vote as the top high end Android smartphone.

Review price: $499


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4. Google Nexus 5

 

 

Key features:

  • 5-inch full HD 1080p screen
  • 8-megapixel camera with decent low-light camera performance
  • Runs on Android 4.4 KitKat
  • Powerful enough to run apps smoothly

Description:

If this was a round-up of the best value smartphones, the Nexus 5 would win hands down. At £300 for the 16GB version, the Nexus 5 is far better value than the iPhone 5S and Galaxy S4, or any other rival we can think of.

Its Snapdragon 800 processor means it’s a match for the iPhone’s A7 processor, and it’s actually faster than the S4 and HTC One by dint of having the latest version of Qualcomm’s top-end processor.

Elsewhere, we love the understated and practical design, the screen and the pure Android 4.4 experience with its improved interface.

Where it falls down is in the battery life and camera departments. Neither are bad, but they don’t quite match up to the iPhone 5S, which is why it’s only a narrow (but still excellent) second overall.

Review price: $395

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3. Sony Xperia Z1 Compact

 

 Best 4-inch smartphone

Key features:

  • Great 4.3-inch 720p HD screen
  • Water and dust-proof
  • Solid battery life

Description:

The new king of the mini smartphones, the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact doesn’t make the same performance compromises as the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini and the HTC One Mini and as a result is a fantastic 4.3-inch Android smartphone.

The single aluminium frame gives it a construction similar to the iPhone 4S and despite the drop down in screen resolution, is still a sharp and colourful place to watch high resolution video. In the power department, it uses the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 CPU as the Xperia Z1 so expect a similarly slick performance and it also manages an all-day battery life.

Packing the same 20.7-megapixel camera as the Z1 the Compact produces good but not Nokia Lumia 1020-rivalling photos. If you are looking for a classy mini that comfortably sits in the pocket this is the best out there.

Review price
: $524


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2. iPhone 5S

 

Key features:

  • 4-inch retina display
  • New Touch ID fingerprint unlocking
  • Powerful, 64-bit A7 dual-core processor
  • 8-megapixel camera with True-Tone LED flash

Description:

The iPhone 5S continues Apple’s benchmark setting trend, though the gap between it and its rivals is as narrow as narrow can be.

Keeping the same 4-inch Retina display found on the iPhone 5 and its replacement the iPhone 5C, the high grade aluminium phone is now available in gold and ‘space grey’ colours.

The most radical design change is the Touch ID fingerprint sensor situated in the home button to add an extra layer of security and convenience.

The super-fast A7 processor is great, too, but it’s the camera that clinches things for the 5S. The new True-Tone LED flash leads to better shots with the flash enabled, while the infinite burst mode, slow-mo video, speedy app and outstanding HDR mode make using the iPhone 5S camera a joy.

Review price
: $702

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1. Moto G

 

Key features:

  • Great 4.5-inch 720p IPS screen
  • Runs on Android 4.3 Jelly Bean
  • Available with 8/16Gb of internal storage
  • Amazing value for money

 

Description:

Currently the only phone on this list to get a full 10 out of 10 score, the Motorola Moto G is a truly a game-changer.

At 143g and 11.6mm thick it’s not the slimmest or lightest phone but it’s but it’s still a nice-looking handset for the price. It’s the first time we’ve seen a 720p screen on a phone this cheap and it serves up good, sharp image quality with a Gorilla Glass screen adding a layer of durability.

The Moto G runs on Android 4.3 Jelly Bean and the Snapdragon 400 CPU with 1GB of RAM ensures it handles most everday tasks like browsing, and playing games well. The 5-megapixel camera delivers decent image quality, while the 720P HD video shooting is on par with other similar phones.

Whether you go for the 8GB version at £135 or the 16GB version at £160, the Moto G offers far better specs than any other big-name phone you can buy for £150 and is the cheap smartphone to beat as it stands.

Price: $200

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