2014 is a great year to be a smartphone lover, actually it may even be the best year ever. All the major manufacturers have been working hard lately to provide us with brand new devices to feast our eyes upon and we’re certainly thankful for that. However, while we would all love to own several of these great handset, most of us can rarely afford more than one. But which one should you pick? In order to help you answer that very question we have compiled a list of the 10 best smartphones of 2014. We’re only taking into consideration devices that have been launched this year and they must already be available for purchase at least in one country.
There are a few more good smartphones scheduled to launch later this year, but we won’t put those on our list as it’s hard to say for certain how good they are before we take a good look at them. We’ll be taking several aspect into consideration for the purposes of our top 10 such as price, specs, design, innovation and more. We tried to include all the great 2014 smartphones here, but there were most than 10 great releases this year so we might have misses a few and we apologies in advance if your favorite device didn’t make the cut. One last thing, the list includes both regular sized smartphones as well as big ones, also known as phablets. With that out of the way, let’s take a look at our picks for the top 10 best smartphones of 2014.
10. Nokia Lumia 930
The only Windows Phone device on our list, Nokia Lumia 930 is the company’s flagship smartphone for 2014. It may also be its last seeing as how the Nokia brand will soon disappear and be replaced with Microsoft branding. Still, the company had a very good run and has released a plethora of good phones over the year, with the Nokia Lumia 930 arguably being the best one ever. The device features the same recognizable design we all know and love on Lumia smartphones and offers a pretty good bang for your buck. Its best feature is undoubtedly the 20 MP rear-facing Pure View camera with Carl Zeiss optics, OIS and dual-LED flash. The other specs are not bad either, but it’s hard to recommend it over the other devices on this list based on hardware alone, especially since it only features 32 GB of storage and no microSD card slot. You’ll definitely want to check out this smartphone if you like the Windows Phone operating system and/or if you need a good camera on your phone. Otherwise, take a look at the other devices on our top 10 smartphones of 2014 before making a decision. Price: ~$600.
9. Moto X (2014)
Not to be confused with last year’s Moto X, the Moto X (2014) or second generation Moto X was only launched last month. This is an all around great device that features a great set of specs and is surprisingly cheap for what it offers. However, it didn’t rank higher on our top 10 list because it’s only average in terms of hardware when compared to some of the others. Also, just like the Nokia Lumia 930, the Moto X (2014) doesn’t feature a microSD card slot and only comes in 16GB and 32 GB versions. Last but not least, the hardware was improved over last year’s model, but the battery size is almost the same. This means that you’ll be reaching for the charger more often than you’d like. Aside from that, the Moto X (2014) has a lot going on for itself and you can customize it to your liking with the Moto Maker, which is definitely a great feature to have. Moreover, you can always rest assured that you’ll be among the first to receive all the new Android updates if you own this smartphone. Price: $500-$550 depending on model (gets more expensive if you further customize it via the Moto Maker).
8. Oppo Find 7
This is perhaps the least known device on our top 10 best smartphones of 2014 list, but it’s definitely one of the best in terms of hardware. The Oppo Find 7 comes equipped with a 5.5-inch display with 1440 x 2560 resolution, Snapdragon 801 quad-core @ 2.5 GHz, 3 GB of RAM, 32 GB of storage (microSD up to 128 GB) and 3,000 mAh battery. Pretty good, right? One the other hand, it does have a few drawbacks that are likely to turn some potential customers away. First off, the Oppo Find 7 has a very bland design and a rather mediocre camera. Interestingly enough, there is no swiveling camera on this Oppo smartphone, which is a signature feature on other devices manufactured by the company. Also, the device still runs on the Android 4.3 Jelly Bean operating system and features the ColorOS ‘not exactly user-friendly’ user interface. Aside from that though, the Oppo Find 7 is a fine piece of technology that sports a beautiful QHD display so it’s definitely worth taking a look at. Price: ~$600.
7. Sony Xperia Z3
Next up on our top 10 best smartphones of 2014 list is the Sony Xperia Z3, a device that’s surprisingly similar to its predecessor, the Sony Xperia Z2. Still, there are a couple of improvements over the previous model such as the slimmer bezels and rounded edges. Its 20.7 MP camera is still the main selling point here and Sony added a few new tricks to it in order to make it even more impressive. The Sony Xperia Z3 also features a faster Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor clocked at 2.5 GHz, a 3,1oo mAh battery with STAMINA power saving mode and better waterproof certification. That being said, there hasn’t really been a lot of innovation so we can only recommend the Sony Xperia Z3 if you don’t already own a Sony Xperia Z2. Also, the device is pretty expensive compared to some of the others on our list, which is why we couldn’t rank it higher. Price: ~$800.
6. iPhone 6 Plus
Apple finally decided to launch its own phablet and it turns out that this is arguably the best iPhone ever released. The iPhone 6 Plus has a few advantages that allow it to stand out from the crowd such as the Apple A8 64-bit processor, iOS 8 operating system and shatter proof display. On the other hand, the highly sought after device only come equipped with 1 GB of RAM, mediocre camera and doesn’t have the rumored sapphire glass display. We didn’t rank it lower on our top 10 best smartphones of 2014 list because of that last part, but it would have definitely helped make it more unique. Also worth mentioning is the fact that several users have complained that the iPhone 6 Plus bends in their pockets, although Apple says that this problem is not very common. In any case, the iPhone 6 Plus is overall a good smartphone and pretty much a dream come true for any Apple fan. However, be prepared to empty your wallet if you plan on purchasing one because it’s very expensive. Price: $750-$950 depending on model.
5. Samsung Galaxy S5
Earlier this year, the Samsung Galaxy S5 was considered the best smartphone available on the market by many people. The device is still impressive almost six months since launch, but it was eclipsed a bit by some of the other devices that came out since then. This is a well rounded device with good performance and a great 5.1-inch display with Super AMOLED technology. Other strengths include great camera and battery life, water and dust resistance and plenty of storage memory. Its other specs are also good, but don’t particularly stand out anymore and the design is not very flattering either. Indeed, the plastic look makes it look a bit cheap and uninteresting at first glace. But while it doesn’t stand out from the crowd anymore, the Samsung Galaxy S5 certainly deserves its place on this top 10 best smartphones of 2014 list because it’s still one of the best handsets of the year all things considered. Price: starting at ~$600.
4. HTC One M8
The HTC One M8 is similar to the Samsung Galaxy S5 in terms of hardware, but there are a few other key differences that allow it to stand out and rank higher than its main competitor. One of the main features here is the dual 4 MP camera with dual-LED flash on the back that can been seen as both an advantage and a disadvantage depending on your take on “UltraPixel” technology. Less controversial is the metallic design, which truly makes it feel like a premium flagship smartphone. The HTC One M8 has very few drawbacks to be honest, but its hardware and display are no longer jaw dropping when compared with some of the other devices on our top 10 best smartphones of 2014 list. However, this is the best regular sized handset of the year so it’s definitely worth checking out. Price: Starting at $650.
3. OnePlus One
The infamous “Flagship Killer” of 2014 deserves its place on our list because of a few very important reasons. First off, there isn’t any other smartphone out there that can offer a great bang for your back like the OnePlus One does. The device is in fact so ridiculously cheap that it costs less than many mid-range smartphones. Add to this the fact that you get a unique operating system in the form of the Android-based CyanogenMod as well as great specs and battery life. It’s easy to see why the OnePlus One is able to kill flagships, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. There is no microSD card slot so you’ll have to choose between the 16 GB and 64 GB storage options offered. The biggest problem however is availability. It is extremely difficult to get your hands on a OnePlus One at the moment due to its invite system. One the bright side, the flagship will switch to a pre-order system later this month, which means that availability should cease being a problem in the near future. Price: $300-$350 depending on model.
2. LG G3
Until recently this was the best smartphone out there and managed to put all the others to shame thanks to its incredible display. The LG G3 comes equipped with a 5.5-inch QHD screen complete with 1440 x 2560 resolution and 534 pixel density. There is little to complain about here as the device also features some overall great specs – not the best, but still very good – and an elegant metallic design. The device is surprisingly light for its huge size and it’s in no small part thanks to it’s lightweight chassis. While this is definitely an advantage, it also means that the LG G3 is not as sturdy as some of the other smartphones out there so be careful not to drop it. Price: Starting at ~$600.
1. Samsung Galaxy Note 4
We conclude out top 10 best smartphones of 2014 list with what we believe to be the best of the best this year. The recently launched Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is the biggest device on our list, but that’s not why it ranks at number one. We already mentioned the impressive display on the LG G3 and now we also have to add that it only falls short to that of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4. We’re looking at a 5.7-inch panel with 1440 x 2560 resolution, 515 ppi and Super AMOLED technology. Aside from that, the device also comes equipped with a Snapdragon 805 quad-core processor clocked at 2.7 GHz, 3 GB of RAM, 16 MP primary camera with OIS, 32 GB of storage (microSD up to 128GB) and 3,220 battery.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 doesn’t improve much in the design department and looks more or less similar to the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, but this isn’t much of a drawback if you liked how the previous phablet looked. Similar to the iPhone 6 Plus, The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 also received a few complaints from users, although in this case it was related to the gap between its display and the frame. Samsung said that this is in fact part of the design and not a flaw so users shouldn’t worry about it too much. The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 isn’t perfect, but we think that it’s the best smartphone out there and well worth its cost. Price: Starting at ~$700.
As mentioned before, there are other great smartphones out there, but there were only so many we could fit on our top 10 smartphones of 2014 list. There are a few months until the year ends so we can still expect to see at least one or two great new devices in the near future. The Nexus 6 in particular seems promising, but we still have to wait until Google makes an official announcement before we can be certain. Do you agree or disagree with our list? Did we miss something? Let us know in the comments section below.