There is plenty to be excited about if you’re looking to upgrade your smartphone. Manufacturers are kicking into gear and building some genuinely brilliant handsets at the moment – 2015 really is the year of excellence.
Below are 10 of the best phones on the market right now. If you’re looking for a buying guide, this is it.
Be sure to click on the reviews and comparisons littered throughout the article for a more in-depth opinion on each device.
I’ll update this list every few months as and when new handsets are released.
Display: 5.5-inch 2k
Battery size: 3000 mAh with quick charging
Camera: 16MP (rear) 8MP (front)
Platform: Android with LG UI
Features: 2k display, high-grade camera, 3000mAh removable battery, microSD
The LG G4 is a serious contender for ‘best Android smartphone of 2015’. That’s not hyperbole, there are some genuinely compelling reasons to award it the prestigious title.
Firstly, the 16MP camera with an f/1.8 aperture captures well detailed, colour accurate photos and is a challenger to the Samsung Galaxy S6’s excellent snapper.
Secondly, the bright, powerful quad-HD display, which has a 538 pixel density, is a triumph in screen technology. The addition of a microSD slot and removable battery – both unfortunate rarities in modern smartphones – are a welcome practical addition. To top it off, the G4 takes a leaf out of the G Flex 2’s book by adding a slight curve to the design, which makes it a joy to hold.
Some, however, may be put off by the leather rear cover and prefer an all-metal or all glass option. Also, the G4 doesn’t run Qualcomm’s latest, most powerful, chipset – the Snapdragon 810. Although slight, there is a clear difference in the speed between the G4 and something like the Galaxy S6.
HTC One M9
Display: 5-inch 1080p
Battery size: 2840 mAh with quick charging
Camera: 20.7MP (rear) 4MP (front)
Platform: Android with Sense 7
Features: dual-tone finish and all metal chassis, improved camera, quick charging, improved Sense overlay.
HTC’s new One M9 caused a bit of a stir when it was released last month. Why? Because of how strikingly similar it is to the M8. On first glance, that’s a fair criticism, they do look almost identical. But on closer inspection, there are some clear distinctions between the two, not to mention some handy upgrades.
For example, the improved dual-tone finish design with gold coloured front plating makes the M9 one of the best looking smartphones I’ve ever used. A clear improvement on the already attractive M8: the M9 is a truly remarkable looking smartphone that stands in-between technology and jewelery.
There are also some other notable adjustments and upgrades worth mentioning. HTC focussed on the providing HTC users with well-honed experiences rather than gimmicky features. Aside from the new Snapdragon 810 processor and 3GB of RAM that makes the M9 lightning quick, there’s also improved audio playback that plays high-quality tracks, and impressive external Boom Sound speakers that are louder than any other smartphone.
HTC will also bundle in a pair of high-end headphones to properly experience the improved audio playback.
The battery size has been increased to 2840mAh over the M8’s 2600mAh. But, bafflingly, the M9’s doesn’t seem to last as long as the M8. In fact, the poor battery life – and the average camera – are the handset’s biggest drawbacks and prevents it from being the complete smartphone
iPhone 6 And iPhone 6 Plus
Also read: iPhone 11 vs. iPhone 11 Pro
Price: From $649 for the iPhone 6 and $749 for the iPhone 6 Plus
Display: 720p 4.7-inch iPhone 6. 1080p 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus
Battery size: 1810 mAh (iPhone 6) 2915 (iPhone 6 Plus) with quick charging
Camera: 8MP (rear) 1.2MP (front)
the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus reviews here
The improved size, faster charging, Apple Pay, slick design and new iOS features combined is what makes the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus excellent. But, for me, the camera is the stand-out feature. The amount of quality Apple has managed to eek out of the 8MP sensor is impressive, and, until the Samsung Galaxy S6 and LG G4 were released, completely unrivalled.
Despite being largely similar phones, there are some differences that set them apart. The larger iPhone has a bigger battery, optical image stabilization (OIS) and a 1080p display. The smaller iPhone has a smaller battery, no OIS and a 720p display, although the pixel density isn’t too dissimilar between both because of the smaller display size on the iPhone 6.
Apple set the standard (and broke some records) in terms of making a smartphone that’s popular for the majority. Users are willing to overlook the average battery life on the iPhone 6 and seemingly endless software issues in favour of a better overall experience – plus a few extras like Apple Pay.
You should see more of the phone with this links on the name
Price: from $499
Display: 5.96-inch AMOLED quad-HD display
Battery size: 3220mAh with quick charging
Camera: 13MP (rear) 2MP(front)
Features: stock Android, active display, wireless charging, large battery
Read the Nexus 6 review here
Motorola and Google’s Nexus 6 shifted philosophy from previous devices. Where the Nexus 4 and 5 proudly carried the ‘affordable flagship’ name-badge, the Nexus 6 is a much pricier device.
And there’s reason for that. The Nexus 6 comes with some serious specifications, including; a AMOLED quad-HD display, quick charging, a giant 3200 mAh battery that’ll last two days, and a decent 13MP camera. The Nexus 6 also carries on the simplicity of previous Nexus handsets by being a powerful smartphone – with no gimmicks – and clean stock Android running it.
The large 5.96-inch display puts this in the phablet range, which might not be for everyone. There’s no escaping the fact that the Nexus 6 pushes the limits of how large a smartphone can reasonably be. If you’re thinking about buying it, you’ll need to try it first to get an idea of just how large it is.
Display: 5.2-inch, 1080p IPS
Battery size: 2900mAh
Camera: 20.7MP (rear) 5MP (front)
Platform: Android with Sony overlay
Features: waterproof, micro SD, PS4 remote play, long battery life and very bright display.
Read the Sony Xperia Z3 review here
Sony has refreshed its Xperia Z3 flagship with the Z3+. It’s largely the same but it has some key improvements that set it apart from its sibling.
Sony has slimmed the Z3+ down, making it slightly lighter and thinner than the Z3:
Xperia Z3+ – 146.3mm x 71.9mm x 6.9mm 144g weight
Xperia Z3 – 146mm x 72 x 7.3mm 152g weight
Other upgrades include an improved 5MP front facing camera for more detailed selfies, a capless USB port and the inclusion of Qualcomm’s powerful Snapdragon 810 processor.
As with the Xperia Z3, the plus also includes Sony’s reasonably decent 20.7MP rear facing camera, waterproof casing and long lasting battery (despite the smaller battery size, which is thanks to the more efficient processor).
The best bit? PS4 remote play. You can play your PS4 on the Xperia Z3 plus with the exclusive Remote Play app.
There are a few snags, however. The large top and bottom bezels make the phone larger than it needs to be, which has been a consistent theme throughout Sony’s Xperia range.
Price: From $600 (Verizon only)
Display: 5.2-inch Super AMOLED quad-HD
Battery size: 3900mAh with quick charging
Camera: 21MP (rear) 2MP (front)
Features: stock Android, active display, large battery, wireless charging
Read why you should buy the Motorola Droid Turbo
Motorola’s Droid Turbo was quietly one of the best Android handsets of 2014. It sports a list of specifications that reads like an all-star cast of a blockbuster movie.
Here goes: a 5.2-inch Super AMOLED quad-HD display, 21MP camera, whopping 3900mAh battery, quick charge (60% in 30 minutes), 3GB of RAM and Motorola’s active display. It also supports wireless charging and runs on stock Android. It’s a true all-rounder.
The slick design and thin frame is deceptive given how large the battery is and everything else that’s packed into Turbo. It’s 5.2-inch display feels just right, and plastic casing means it’s not as slippery as all-metal handsets.
The only downside – and it’s a big one – is that it’s exclusively available on Verizon, which means it comes pre-loaded with a LOT of Verizon-related bloatware.
Price: From £749 for the S6 and $949 for the Edge
Display: 5.1-inch Super Amoled quad-HD
Battery size: 2600mAh (Edge) 2550 mAh (S6) with quick charging
Camera: 16MP (rear) front (5MP)
Platform: Android with TouchWiz
Features: Samsung Pay, wireless charging, heart rate monitor, powerful camera and curved screen for the edge variant.
Samsung’s new pair of flagships have been stealing headlines since they were announced last month – for both good and bad reasons.
Read Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge review here, and the Galaxy S6 hands-on here
The updated 64-bit architecture makes both devices incredibly fast, beating the competition hands down in tests. The improved Super AMOLED quad-HD display betters Samsung’s already excellent Galaxy S5 and Galaxy Note 4 counterparts, which is quite an achievement. Colours are vibrant and the devices can reach an extraordinary level of brightness.
But, perhaps, the 16MP rear camera with a new f1.9 lens is the standout feature. The Note 4 had the best Android camera at the time, but it looks as if the S6 and S6 Edge may have overtaken it. It even competes comfortably with Apple’s iPhone 6 (a comparison Samsung was keen to make at the official launch event) in detail and low-light photography.
The main differences between the two devices come in the form of design and battery size. The S6 Edge, as you’d guess, has a dual-curved screen that provides little extra functionality, it also has a larger 2600mAh battery. The less curvy Galaxy S6 has a smaller 2550mAh battery.
Alas, it’s not all good news. Samsung’s strive for physical perfection meant that popular features like the replaceable battery and microSD slot were sacrificed in favour of a slimmer – premium- design. The battery size has also slimmed down, which means the S6 and S6 edge – despite improvements in power efficiency – won’t come close to the two days of battery life on offer from the likes of Sony’s Xperia Z3.
Samsung Galaxy Note 4Price: From $729
Display: 5.7-inch quad-HD Super AMOLED
Battery size: 3220mAh
Camera: 16MP (rear) 3.7MP (front)
Platform: Android with TouchWiz
Features: microSD, removable rear cover and replaceable battery, stylus pen included, Samsung productivity apps, long battery life and one of the best Android cameras on the market.
Read the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 review here
The Note 4 represents the best that Samsung can offer. The radical redesign of the S6 and S6 Edge will divide some, particularly because of the omission of popular stalwarts like a removable battery and microSD slot.
The Note 4 has both, not to mention a Super AMOLED QHD display and the same 16MP camera as the S6 and S6 Edge (albeit without the f1.9 lens). Before the S6, S6 Edge and LG G4 were released, the Note 4 was the best Android camera hands-down. It’s now second third, but still very capable.
The phablet also includes a stylus pen that can recognise hand-written text and provide more dexterity when editing pictures, or anything else that requires intricacy.
It’s a powerful all-rounder that will give you hours of battery life and offer plenty of functionality. It does, however, also mean you have to deal with Samsung’s old, garish, TouchWiz. As well as Samsung’s policy of pre-loading smartphones with a shocking amount of bloatware that makes your app drawer look crowded before you’ve downloaded your first app.
The recently released Huawei P8 is also turning heads. For a relatively budget handset, it comes very nicely designed, packs a decent camera and has a powerful selfie cam…if that’s your thing.
It’d also be impossible to compile a list of the best smartphones on the planet without mentioning the OnePlus One. It’s the definition of value for money with it’s $349 price-point and impressive list of specifications, which include a full HD display, Snapdragon 801 processor with 3GB of RAM and a large 3100mAh battery. Despite its cheap price tag, the design and attention to detail – at the very least – mimic something from the high-end.
5 Reasons Why You Should Buy The One Plus One
There’s also a notable mention for Motorola’s Moto E (2015) and Moto G (second generation), both of which are very affordable and impressive in what they bring to the table in terms of performance. Forbes’ Gordon Kelly labeled the former as “Android’s best cheap smartphone”.
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