Buying Guide: 20 best mobile phones in the world today
techradar |7 days ago |Posted By: Anshuman Singh
Best mobile phone: 20-16
What’s the best mobile phone? Our verdict on the best smartphone/best phones – constantly updated
We’ve all got at least one mobile phone each, right? We’ve probably got about three or four nowadays, and that counts giving your old Nokia 3310 to your Mum a few years ago.
But while you used to be able to just bank on the new Nokia or always get the next Sony Ericsson because it had a half-decent camera, there are now so many great options out there from loads of manufacturers.
The trouble is, how do you decide which is the best one for you?
Well, this is where we make it easy. Because here we have our continually updated comparison of the top 20 best smartphones currently adorning phone emporiums up and down the UK.
The last update saw the HTC One maintain its place at the top of the charts, holding off multiple challenges from Nokia, Samsung, LG and Sony (namely the Galaxy S4) – showing the smartphone market still has a fair few players.
But the HTC One is nearly a year old. That’s an age in smartphone terms, and Apple’s in there too, doubling down by bringing out a phone at the same price (the iPhone 5C) and pulling no punches with the supercharged iPhone 5S, so where have both landed in our top 20?
But it’s by no means a ‘can Apple topple HTC’ kind of race – as HTC has created a cheaper version of the One (the HTC One Mini, of course), LG’s gone all out with the aptly named LG G2, and even Sony is continually pushing the smartphone envelope with the all new small-yet-powerful Sony Xperia Z1 Compact – so who knows who will be number one these days?
And now Google is playing fast and loose with consumers’ wallets, thanks to offering the ultra-cheap Nexus 5 and the even ultra-cheaper Moto G – could those be the phones for you?
If that still doesn’t help, well, there’s always our extensive mobile phone reviews pages as well – or check out our personally crafted smartphone buyer’s guide:
And when you’ve decided which new phone to buy (and checked out the best mobile phone deal), why not cash in your old one with our phone recycling price comparison service?
Here are our rankings for the best mobile phones around, currently available in the UK.
20. Samsung Galaxy S3
With the Samsung Galaxy S4 (and friends) now launched, the S3 has predictably fallen down the rankings thanks to there being a better phone to recommend.
But don’t worry: the S3 is still a strong phone: it’s got loads of features we want and more, and raised the bar once again in terms of what consumers should be expecting in terms of battery life, processor speed and media management.
Would we recommend you buy one if you’re hankering for a spot of Samsung? Yes, but only if you’re trying to save money, as the S4 is a much better version of this phone indeed.
Price isn’t the only reason the Samsung Galaxy S3 is worthy of consideration though. Smart Stay, Super AMOLED HD screen, up to 128GB storage, Music Hub, removable battery, quick camera; for the price, this phone still delivers in ways that many others on the market can’t.
If you’re after a decent slab of Samsung tech, the Galaxy S3 is an OK choice. It’s getting on a bit, hence the slip down the rankings.
Samsung faced an almost impossible task in trying to create a worthy sequel to the Galaxy S2, and while this is an older model, it’s still worth a look.
- Samsung Galaxy S3 review
- Compare the best Samsung Galaxy S3 deals
19. Samsung Galaxy Note 2
Many (including us, we admit) were not convinced when the original Samsung Galaxy Note launched. Who on earth would want something so big to make their calls and surf the internet, even with a glorified stylus? Cue awkward silence.
Millions of you, it would appear. The Galaxy Note sold by the bucketload, so how do you follow that up? With something better, of course – the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, which has shifted 20 million units worldwide, and now is the elder statesman thanks to the new Galaxy Note 3 appearing.
Still a strong and eye-catching device, the Galaxy Note 2 is well-connected, and thanks to that increased screen size (up to an eye-bulging 5.5-inches), is, among many things, a quality media player.
Samsung has achieved something special here, because it has made the Galaxy Note 2 bigger than the original, but pulls it off so that you don’t notice it too much and anyway, it’s the features that make it so amazing.
Air View, Multi-window, a dock that can turn it into a fully-fledged computer – it’s all here, people..
As a phone, it’s big, but once you get over that, if you can, it’s great. As a PMP, it really does excel, but there are better options on the market (Note 3 and Sony Xperia Z Ultra, for instance).
Ultimately, there’s no getting away from the fact that the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is a niche device. But it does almost everything it sets out to do perfectly, with grace, class and maximum functionality.
With a lower price, it’s still powerful enough to last for at least a year or two, so we have no qualms recommending it as a viable option for your next phone.
- Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review
- Compare the best Samsung Galaxy Note 2 deals
18. Samsung Galaxy S4 Active
Want the Samsung Galaxy S4 but are too worried about dropping it in the bath or flinging it into a sand dune? Well, you can either not do either of those things, or buy the Samsung Galaxy S4.
With a powerful IP67 water and dust proof case the Active is far more hardy than a lot of the top end devices currently on the market.
The only other handset which can match the rugged credentials of the S4 Active is the Sony Xperia Z, (and Z1 successor, of course) although those being covered in glass front and back makes them feel far more fragile.
While the 5-inch display may not sport the Super AMOLED technology of the S4, the full HD resolution still makes for an excellent visual experience which is only really bettered by its namesake, the LG G2 and the HTC One.
If you’re in the market for a super powerful smartphone which you can take on extreme activities, swimming and in the bath then sure the Galaxy S4 Active is the best around, although that’s a pretty limited market.
And hey, chuck it in a bucket of water and your mates will be seriously impressed (honest).
We’ve only got this phone so far down on the list as we don’t think huge amounts of users will be desperate to add the heft to an S4 to make it a bit more life proof, and that isn’t going to be something most people will worry about.
But if you want the security of a phone that can withstand a few knocks but doesn’t scrimp on the specs or usability, then you could do a lot worse than checking out the S4 Active.
- Samsung Galaxy S4 Active review
- See the best Samsung Galaxy S4 Active deals here
17. Nokia Lumia 925
What’s better than a top Windows Phone 7 handset? A Windows Phone 8 one, and we’ve got no qualms about telling you this is one the best high-end Windows Phones out there.
Simplicity is the key here, the Lumia 925 does the basics well, from contact integration and calling, to web browsing and messaging. The camera is market-leading, and offers excellent performance from low-light to jumpy videos.
The 8.7MP PureView camera on the back of the Lumia 925 is actually one of the best we’ve used, and for anyone looking to get a top end cameraphone: you need to seriously consider this Nokia, although a glut of handsets (Sony Xperia Z1 Compact, HTC One, LG G2 and iPhone 5S) have all stepped up their game significantly to offer strong camera experiences too.
The 4.5-inch display is also a good’un, crisp and clear it makes watching movies, surfing the web or Facebook stalking an enjoyable experience, thanks to the PureMotion HD technology on offer.
And you can even use it with gloves on… what more could you want? You’re right: hologram messages. But they don’t exist yet.
The Nokia Lumia 925 is a worthy ambassador for Windows Phone 8 and probably a strong part of the reason Microsoft decided to acquire the Finnish handset division.
It’s not got the clout to take on the likes of the HTC One and Galaxy S4 just yet, but it’s still a great choice if you’re not sold on Android or iOS but don’t want to give up a powerful phone.
- Nokia Lumia 925 review
- Compare the best Nokia Lumia 925 deals
16. iPhone 5C
What’s this? A new iPhone not making it into the top five? Wait… not even the top ten?
Well, you can’t really blame us. This isn’t a new iPhone – it’s last year’s device in brand new package with more colours to choose from.
There are more LTE bands to choose from too, which is important to UK buyers as it means it can give superfast speeds from all the networks.
It’s still a really rather good phone, with the Retina display still giving market-leading colour reproduction, a strong camera and the best App Store around.
We’ll be honest: this is the place the iPhone 5 would have occupied since it’s been usurped by the iPhone 5S.
This is, in our eyes, essentially the same phone with a new skin. There will be loads of people looking to buy it simply because the iPhone now comes in pink or green, and to those we say: look at the Lumia range. Nokia’s been doing the same thing for years and at a much, much cheaper price point.
The iPhone 5C is the same as a every phone from Apple: too expensive for what it is, but if you’re desperate for such a device from the Cupertino brand then this is still a strong handset to plump for.
- iPhone 5C review
- Compare the best iPhone 5C deals
Best Mobile phone: 15-11
15. Sony Xperia Z
The Sony Xperia Z is no longer the top dog for the Japanese firm since the Xperia Z1 (and now the Xperia Z1 Compact) has launched. But when it came out, the handset was definitely the most impressive the firm has launched either in its current guise or as Sony Ericsson.
You can see the Sony influence throughout the handset as it oozes quality and build from the large screen, which fits close to the edges of the bezel, to the intelligent camera that allows you to snap some really premium photos without needing to fiddle about with the settings.
And it’s water and dust resistant too, which makes it excellent for general life business. There’s a certain freedom that comes from knowing that the heart-stopping moment of your phone falling in a pint of beer is gone for good.
It’s also packing a microSD card slot in an nicely-thin chassis, for which we laud the phone even higher. Add to that the Bravia Engine 2, (which is as much as you need – the Z1’s Triluminous technology doesn’t really further the message much further forward.)
It doesn’t run the Snapdragon 800 processor, but it does have a good spec list and uses them well – a crisper video experience, a more powerful camera, being waterproof, expandable memory are all great elements.
While it doesn’t quite pack the clout of the phones from HTC and Samsung, the Xperia Z is a phone that says Sony is definitely back at the sharp end of the smartphone game.
It’s a shame it hasn’t dropped in price much since its successor appeared, but there’s still a lot of decent tech in a phone that really pushed things forwards in terms of waterproofing.
- Sony Xperia Z1 review
- Compare the best Sony Xperia Z1 deals
14. Sony Xperia Z Ultra
The Xperia Z Ultra is the kind of phone we love to take out for a spin once in a while: it’s so packed with tech, and is so light and thin, that we can’t help but laud it.
The camera is powerful, the waterproof shell impressive and the Snapdragon 800 chip is really strong. On top of that the large 6.4-inch screen is full of good Sony tech, and the IPS addition means it looks so much better than the Z and Z1.
Then again, this is a massive phone… so big, it’s even winning awards as a tablet. It’s really, really big, and you’ll need to want it rather badly to shell out the large amount of cash you’ll need to in order to own one.
The Xperia Z Ultra is one of those devices that makes you gasp. Partly because of its beautiful design and partly because its specs are so great. It’s a phablet, but Sony wants you to also remember it’s a phone.
The market is increasingly getting competitive and the Galaxy Note 3 is a strong challenger. But if you need something bigger, the race is strictly between the Xperia Z Ultra and the Galaxy Mega. And this wipes Samsung’s offering off the table.
- Sony Xperia Z Ultra review
13. Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini
Samsung has created a mid-range handset, putting itself right against the 4G-toting Sony Xperia SP and Nokia Lumia 820 – but most importantly now in a war with the HTC One Mini too.
The Galaxy S4 Mini takes the design language of the full-fat S4, and does well to shrink it down without losing the same ‘atmosphere’.
A vibrant screen, bright and clear enough, added to the fact it’s only 4.3-inches large, mean the S4 Mini is a lot easier to hold in the hand, and the camera is as powerful as we’d expect on a phone of this size and price point.
What you get with the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini is a far better trade off of price and features than you got with the Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini, and a phone that sits very comfortably within the S4 range.
It’s got a lot of the S4 power at a lower price point, and while the S3 to S3 Mini divide was just too great in our eyes, the S4 Mini is a lot closer to its bigger brother.
It lacks the power of the main version, but strips out the right amount of stuff to still be desirable.
- Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini review
- Compare the best Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini deals
12. Nokia Lumia 1520
The Nokia Lumia 1520 is a trailblazing 6-inch smartphone that forges a path for Windows Phone 8 into true high-end territory. And what a swathe this oversized phablet cuts – it’s huge.
The Nokia Lumia 1520 is a well put together smartphone with Nokia’s typical build quality.
Its 6-inch 1080p display is a thing of beauty, and is a great way to watch videos and view photos on the go.
Nokia has produced another excellent camera phone here, learning lessons from the Nokia Lumia 1020 and the Nokia Lumia 925 to produce a very well balanced snapper.
However, there’s also no denying that this is a ridiculously large phone, and whipping one out in public will be as embarrassing as it is tricky to wield for those who appreciate a little subtly and mobility from their phones.
Then there’s that age old problem of the Windows Phone 8 ecosystem, which still lacks apps, not to mention a video store to fully capitalise on that cinematic screen
The Nokia Lumia 1520 is an absolute beast of a phone that we suspect only the large-handed and generous pocketed will be able to live with day to day.
Those who accept the challenge will find the most capable Windows Phone 8 device yet, with top-of-the-range specs that include a stunning 1080p display and a superb 20-megapixel camera.
It’s not quite the Windows Phone phablet we’re waiting for, but it’s a massive step forward.
- Nokia Lumia 1520 review
11. Sony Xperia Z1
The Sony Xperia Z1 is another powerhouse of a phone. With a 20.7MP camera with G Lens technology, the ability to withstand rain, snow and sand and a superfast Snapdragon 800 processor running the show, it’s clearly a great handset to have around.
It also comes in a variety of funky colours, has a pleasing build quality that helps justify the higher price to a degree and basically offers the best of the Sony brand in a smartphone.
We do have a few reservations insofar as the Z1 doesn’t really carry the mantle the Xperia Z created; it’s got a massively uprated camera and screen technology, but neither particularly wow.
Don’t think that this is anything less than a leading phone from Sony. It’s just that the added thickness to accommodate the camera doesn’t impress enough to plop it into the top five, nor the sub-par screen, and after the really great showing from the Xperia Z, we were a little disappointed.
However, the slick interface that make Android feel more simple, the fun Walkman and Movies app and the overall power and battery life make this a really nice phone that once again shows Sony knows how to make a smartphone.
- Sony Xperia Z1 review
- Compare the best Sony Xperia Z1 deals
Number 10: Nokia Lumia 520
10. Nokia Lumia 520
The Nokia Lumia 520, much like its big brother the Nokia Lumia 620, is a jack of all trades and a master of none – although it really manages to make a good fist of everything it tries, for the low, low price tag it carries.
It looks good, it’s got a decent screen both in terms of size and resolution, it rarely stutters or slows down, it’s great for calls and messaging, reasonable for media and okay for photos.
To achieve a lower price point the 520 has had to strip away a few things – there’s no NFC, compass, camera flash or front facing camera here.
But on the other hand it’s also got a bigger screen, a larger battery, a sleeker, slimmer, lighter build and the same processor and RAM as the Nokia Lumia 620, so in many ways it’s actually better.
Combine that with a lower price tag and we reckon that this just might be the best entry level Windows Phone 8 handset that you can buy and certainly the best value.
The Nokia Lumia 520 certainly isn’t an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy beater – but it’s a superb Windows Phone device that you can pick up for under £100. If you’re a fan of a simple interface with some quality add-ons, then you should definitely look at Nokia’s latest attempt to win over the smartphone naysayers.
- Nokia Lumia 520 review
- Compare the best Nokia Lumia 520 deals
Number 9: Samsung Galaxy Note 3
9. Samsung Galaxy Note 3
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is alive and kicking and breathes yet more life into a mobile form factor many thought would be dead on arrival, ramping up the specs and the size to give us a new monolith of mobile.
It may be big, but the 5.7-inch display is fantastic and the Full HD Super AMOLED technology makes everything pop from websites to movies.
You’re able to fit a lot more on screen at a time and that means less scrolling in messages, on websites and down your long contact list and that can only be a good thing.
What really impressed us with the Galaxy Note 3 though was its battery life and sheer speed under the finger. We’re used to a day at best when hardcore using the device, but we got far past that without breaking a sweat throughout our tests.
The speed of the Snapdragon 800 quad core processor, combined with 3GB of RAM, means this is the least-slouchy phone we’ve encountered in a while.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is a great phone and if you were to own one you wouldn’t be disappointed. It provides a great onscreen experience – as long as your hands are big enough to reach across it – and its stuffed so full of tech to almost warrant its lofty price tag.
Its size will be a real stumbling point for many and we’d recommend going into a store and just holding the Note 3 for a while to see if it’s something you can cope with – in short, we want all this but in a form that we can hold easily, at a lower price and without the S Pen.
So, essentially, we’re really looking forward to the Galaxy S5.
- Samsung Galaxy Note 3 review
- Compare the best Samsung Galaxy Note 3 deals
Number 8: HTC One Mini
8. HTC One Mini
If you hold both the One and the One Mini, you’ll struggle to tell the difference, apart from the fact one is smaller than the other (obviously). The aluminium build quality pervades, and it’s hard to believe that you’re not holding one of the premium devices on the market.
Even the polycarbonate band that runs around the edge of the phone is unobtrusive, which means you get a distinctive design that doesn’t impact on the way the One Mini sits in the hand.
We love that the functionality of the One Mini isn’t compromised from its larger relative, with the likes of UltraPixels and BoomSound all involved without being watered down.
HTC has been very clever in the design of this phone by bringing nearly every great element of the One to the smaller version, and packaging it in a way that still makes it very attractive.
In short, it’s a cheaper version of the larger phone that scales down the processor and drops the price. Good combo, HTC.
Would we recommend the HTC One Mini? Absolutely – the mid-range market renaissance is something we didn’t expect, but is an area that HTC is intent on winning – and we think it’s managed that with the One Mini.
We really love the aluminium shell, the UltraPixel camera and BoomSound on board, plus we get to play with the latest version of Android as well as all the cool apps like the Music Player, which show lyrics to songs as they’re playing. Actually, we’re just happy to have the headphone-boosting amplifier on board – as long as our songs are nicely audible, we don’t really care.
There’s a sub-class of phones around at the moment that try and replicate top-end features in the mid-range market, and while this isn’t the best phone in that class any more (we’ll serve that title to the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact) it’s still a cracking buy.
- HTC One Mini review
- Compare the best HTC One Mini deals
Number 7: Moto G
7. Moto G
Motorola’s back, and it’s kicking off its global smartphone revival with the keenly priced Moto G handset. A mid-range handset with a low-end price tag – we’re talking around £100 in some stores.
On paper the Moto G looks like an excellent handset for the price, and in practice it lives up to the billing.
As the Nexus 4 did with the mid-range market, the Moto G has turned the budget end on its head with features found on handsets double its cost.
It exceeds its rivals in several key areas, from the well defined 4.5-inch display to its 1.2GHz quad-core processor and guaranteed Android 4.4 KitKat update. There’s a lot to love about the Moto G for its price.
Motorola must have cut some corners to get the price of the Moto G so low, and the camera is one area which has seen the compromise, but that’s one of the only gripes.
So here’s the upshot: Motorola is back folks, it’s official. It may not be the return we would have predicted – there’s no flagship phone stuffed full of the latest tech – but arguably what the now Google-owned firm has done is even better.
The Moto G is a top notch, low cost smartphone and we wholeheartedly recommend this as the best budget mobile currently on the market.
- Moto G review
- See the best Moto G deals
Number 6: iPhone 5S
6. iPhone 5S
Did you see this one coming? The iPhone 5S behind five other Android phones in our rankings? Some think it should be higher, some think lower – it depends on your level of Apple love.
Never has a company polarised opinion in the smartphone world like Apple – and with the iPhone 5S, so many are quick to decry it while others know it to be the smartphone they’ve been waiting for.
And let’s make no bones about it: this is a stunning phone, with a gorgeous two-tone finish, a high-res screen with good colour reproduction, a 64-bit chip and that all-powerful TouchID sensor that lets you unlock your phone with a simple fingerprint.
The iOS 7 update is one that we sorely, sorely needed and does bring a lot more power and control – as shown by the impressive and pervasive Control Center.
We really like TouchID, the processor might be a little useless now but definitely brings a touch more zip to things, and the M7 chip for fitness apps will be very exciting in weeks and months to come as app developers get their paws on it.
The main problem we have with this phone, spec list aside, is the fact the iPhone 5S is STILL very expensive… we’re not sure how such sky high prices can be charged when equivalent smartphones are available on the market, plus it still has a small screen compared.
Let’s not beat around the bush here: the iPhone 5S is still one of the great smartphones in the world thanks to a great package of technology, design and UI intuition.
iOS 7 is the update we’ve needed for a while, and does a lot to help keep Apple current at the sharp end of the market – but we still can’t wait to see what the iPhone 6 will bring, as essentially this is still the same phone as the iPhone 5 but with a better engine under the hood.
- iPhone 5S review
- Compare the best iPhone 5S deals
Number 5: Samsung Galaxy S4
5. Samsung Galaxy S4
All change at the top! Samsung managed to hold off HTC at the top in 2012, but this year the supreme stylings of the HTC One proved too strong against a phone that’s a slightly-better-version of its predecessor.
Well, that’s not really fair – it’s only in looks that it’s too similar, and sadly that was one of the biggest issues most users had with the S3. It’s not the world’s biggest smartphone crime, but it’s enough to keep it from the top spot.
There’s a lot, a lot, to love with the Samsung Galaxy S4 though: whether it’s a powerful camera, a brilliant screen, a long-lasting battery or just a fluid experience, there’s everything you could want in a smartphone right here.
The cost is a tad higher than on other smartphones, but thankfully still cheaper than iPhone level and is descending as we wait for the imminent sequel. If only it was made out of something a little more premium…
LG has now taken its second spot too – here’s hoping the Samsung Galaxy S5 brings something that’s really rather special to halt its slide down the charts.
There’s no doubt that this is one of the best smartphones ever made – it’s clear, powerful and does everything we’d expect a flagship phone from Samsung to do.
It’s just a shame that the perceived ‘innovation’ doesn’t really add anything: motion gestures, smart scroll and it’s other non-contact bedfellows didn’t take smartphones to the next level, which is what we needed in the face of Ultrapixels and BoomSound.
Make no mistake though: you’ll love the Samsung Galaxy S4 if you choose to go for it, as it’s an amazing phone with some really cutting-edge features.
- Samsung Galaxy S4 review
- See the best Samsung Galaxy S4 deals
Number 4: Google Nexus 5
4. Google Nexus 5
So we’ve updated our review with the new phone software, and thankfully things are a lot better now. The battery is improved, the camera a little more stable, and the low cost is still in place.
You already know we like Android 4.4, the clever implementation and the £299 price tag. We love the high power CPU, the quality screen; even the rubberised outer shell.
You can get the LG G2 for £100 more though, and that offers a far superior camera, better battery life (it’s better, but not brilliant) and a huge slew of extra features – it really depends if you’re a fan of the stripped-down experience.
We’re glad to put this smartphone higher up in the rankings, as it’s one of the cheapest out there in terms of bang for buck.
It’s a great phone that hits the marks well – it lacks something in terms of innovation, but that’s not a problem for those that want to be able to run all manner of apps and games at a decent price. It doesn’t come in at the same price point as previous Nexii, but it’s still jolly cheap.
- Google Nexus 5 review
- See the best Nexus 5 deals
Number 3: Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
3. Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
Hey Sony, lovely to have you back near the top. What’s this? A phone without a 1080p screen? A smaller battery? Are you MAD?
Wait, we get it. This is the mildly-nonplussing Xperia Z1 shoved into a smaller frame, with almost nothing compromised (the above two points aside). With a 4.3-inch screen it’s one of the most easy to use devices in the hand, coming in next to the iPhone 5S, but it does it with a much lower cost and a great battery life to boot.
On top of that it’s waterproof and has expandable memory, plus a superb screen. Well played, Sony – we can’t wait to see what else you do in 2014.
Want a great phone that’s just a little bit smaller without losing all the power? If so, then we’ve found your ideal device. Strong CPU, great battery and expandable memory are traits we love to see.
It’s been launched with a palatable price tag as well – so head on down to your local emporium and throw it in some water. Because it’s waterproof too, not because you’re a vandal.
- Sony Xperia Z1 Compact review
- See the best Sony Xperia Z1 Compact deals
Number 2: LG G2
2. LG G2
Wait, an LG phone in at number two? Believe it people; LG has made a phone that not only impressed us but ran the HTC One very, very close for the top spot.
We don’t know where to start in terms of extolling the virtues of this new handset from the South Korean firm: it’s got an insanely good screen, quality camera, the best audio pumping out from its speakers and headphone jack… the list goes on.
We even came to tolerate, then love, the power and volume buttons being placed on the rear. These aren’t ideal, but the ability to knock on the screen makes it really easy to interact with this impressive device.
There’s so much on offer here that we can’t help but recommend it to anyone looking for the best smartphone powerhouse.
The only things that we dislike are the cluttered UI (pull down the notifications bar and you’ll see why) and the plastic casing, which drops the premium feel of the phone.
But launching at £400 on PAYG, along with comparable contracts to six month old phones, is a really nice touch from LG, and we reckon it’s going to pay dividends.
- LG G2 review
- See the best LG G2 deals
Number 1: HTC One
1. HTC One
Don’t fear HTC fans – your darling is still number one. As our only five star phone, its combination of impressive UI and stunning aluminium build means it was always safe in the number one
It’s nothing to do with the quality of the S4 or the LG G2 – outstanding phones in anyone’s book – but more the fact HTC has managed to bring out a smartphone that’s worthy of any user’s consideration.
The supreme aluminium chassis, the Full HD screen and the simplified version of Sense 5.0 sitting on top of Android Jelly Bean (plus KitKat any day now!) means it’s a pleasure to use and recommend this handset.
The new innovations are also pleasingly more than just marketing gimmicks; Zoe functionality allows the creation of delightful video highlight reels, and the Ultrapixel camera means you’ve got a much wider range of shots available thanks to being stunning in low light.
With power, poise and beauty all combined in this innovative phone, HTC has proved it can more than still cut it with the big boys when it comes to bringing out a lust-worthy flagship smartphone – and it’s also proved that it still knows how to beat the Samsungs and LGs of this world into third and second place with ease.
We’re now starting to wonder how long HTC can hold its place at the top, and with 2014’s best and brightest approaching, you might want to wait to see what’s coming up – but with that metallic frame, there’s no short supply of users ready to coo all over it the second it lands in their hand.
- HTC One review
- See the best HTC One deals
You might also like…
If a phone isn’t in the top 20 best phones in the world list, that doesn’t mean it’s not worth giving two hoots about.
Here’s a few handsets you might want to think about should none of the above tickle your fancy… although you’re clearly VERY hard to please:
Motorola Razr HD
A former top 20 resident the Motorola Razr HD is still a decent contender and has only dropped out of our best phones list due to newer handsets elbowing their way to the top.
While this phone lacks in some areas (let’s be honest: a dual-core processor doesn’t get anyone’s heart racing any more, despite being able to handle most tasks) it still has a clear screen, simple OS and a really strong battery at its heart.
Many will be taken by the almost stock Android platform it uses, and the fact it’s got an additional HDMI port means it’s easy to sync your phone up to a big screen – plus it doesn’t cost the earth.
Motorola Razr HD review
- Compare the best Motorola Razr HD deals
Huawei Ascend Y300
Fancy stepping into the smartphone market but don’t want a phone that’ll cost you the earth? Then why not check out the capable Huawei Ascend Y300, yours for just £100.
At that price you’re not going to get any breakthrough technology, but with Android Jelly Bean, a dual-core processor and a 5MP rear camera it offers plenty for the first time user.
You don’t get 4G, NFC or a shiny metal chassis, but the Y300 offers a solid build a reliable – if not slightly sluggish – interface.
Huawei Ascend Y300 review
Nokia Lumia 720
The Nokia Lumia 720 is a great smartphone and though some may be put off that it’s rocking Windows Phone 8 over Android, if you’re in the market for a mid-range mobile this is certainly worth considering.
If offers a bigger screen then the excellent, but small Lumia 520 and it won’t make a massive dent in your wallet if the Lumia 925 is out of your price range.
It is up against some tricky, and more established Android competition, but if you fancy taking the plunge for something new you can’t go wrong with the Lumia 720.
- Nokia Lumia 720 review
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Everyone is going touchscreen these days, BlackBerry’s even got the Z10 and Z30 now, but for those of you still reliant on a physical keyboard to type the Q10 is one of the few options available to you.
While the Q10 may struggle to match the top end Android and iOS handsets in terms of features, apps and value, it does offer the best physical typing experience on the market – and for some that’s all they need to hear.
- BlackBerry Q10 review
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Huawei Ascend P2
The Huawei Ascend P2 is a highly capable smartphone and offers a strong line up of features and a decent level of specs – it just doesn’t excel at anything, or wow us with amazing features.
If you fancy a powerful handset on a budget then the Ascend P2 is a decent shout with a quad-core processor, 4.7-inch HD display, 4G connectivity and a 13MP camera.
It’s not going to win any races against the likes of the HTC One or Galaxy S4, but you’ll be safe in the knowledge you got decent value for money.
- Huawei Ascend P2 review
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Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom
If you’re one of those people who plays by their own rules then you won’t be taken by any of the generic slabs of plastic and metal which are today’s smartphones – you’ll want something different, something out there, something a little bit off the wall. Meet the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom.
Is it a phone? Is it a camera? Well it’s kind of both. From the front it looks like another Samsung clone, but flip it over and there’s a whacking great optical zoom camera lens plastered on the back.
It’s big, brash and heavy and that will put a lot of people off, but it you want a device which can take some impressive pictures and make the odd phone call you may fall for the S4 Zoom’s… umm… charm?