They come in a variety of shapes and designs-- with touch screens and without. They run a variety of operating systems, yet they're the best tools among the smartphones we've reviewed to get the job done when it comes to email, web and document management.
iPhone 6Apple's mainstream phone is larger now at 4.7", but it's still hand and pocket friendly. The IPS display is stunningly colorful and sharp with great viewing angles, and the newest iPhone is fast thanks to the Apple A8 dual core 64 bit CPU. The iPhone 6 has an aluminum body finished in silver, space gray or gold, and it's available with 16, 64 or 128 gigs of storage. It has a very good rear 8MP camera with fast lens and the Touch ID fingerprint scanner that will work with Apple Pay for mobile payments. Editor's Choice 2014.
All major carriers
iPhone 6 PlusIt's Apple's first phablet, or really big smartphone if you hate that label. The iPhone 6 Plus has a 5.5" full HD IPS display that's one of the best, long battery life, a crazy slim design and as ever an attractive unibody aluminum design. The phone runs iOS 8 on Apple's dual core, 64 bit A8 processor with multi-core graphics and 1 gig of RAM. You can get it with up to 128 gigs of storage and in your choice of silver, space gray or gold. Is it a handful? Yes it is. Is it wonderful for watching videos and playing games? You bet! Editor's Choice 2014.
All major carriers
Samsung Galaxy S5The Samsung Galaxy S5 is the manufacturer's flagship mainstream size Android phone for 2014, and it sports a new fingerprint scanner and heart rate monitor. It has a best of breed 5.1" Super AMOLED HD display running at 1920 x 1080 and it runs on the new 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad core CPU with 2 gigs of DDR3 RAM. As you'd expect from Samsung, it's very slim yet it has a removable battery and a microSD card slot. The rear 16 megapixel camera is one of the better models on the market and it can even shoot decent 4K video. The GS5 runs Android 4.4 KitKat with Samsung's TouchWiz UI and software. It's available on all major and some regional carriers. Editor's Choice 2014.
All major carriers
Google Nexus 6This year Google is attacking the phablet market with their 6 inch Nexus 6. It's back to the high line too, with the device priced at $649 full retail and unlocked. The big 4 US carriers will also offer the Nexus 6, so you'll have payment and contract plan options. The Nexus 6 runs on the fastest CPU currently available in an Android smartphone, the quad core 2.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 with Adreno 420 graphics and 3 gigs of RAM. It's available in 32 and 64 gig capacities. It has 4G LTE on 12 bands, WiFi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.1, NFC and a GPS. Surprisingly for Google and Moto, who don't have the best track record with phone cameras, the Nexus 6 has a capable 13MP rear camera with a Sony sensor.
All major carriers, unlocked
LG G3The LG G3 is the company's flagship Android smartphone for 2014, and it's a big one, literally and figuratively. Actually, for a 5.5" phone, it's surprisingly compact, and it's not much larger than the smaller-screen HTC One M8 and Samsung Galaxy S5. The G3's biggest claim to fame is the impressively high 2560 x 1440 IPS display--that's the same resolution as high DPI Windows 8 laptops, but crammed into a 5.5" screen for 538 PPI density. Is that overkill? Sure it is, but it's great for marketing in a world where better than HD and 4k are big buzzwords. Editor's Choice 2014.
All major carriers
HTC One M8We liked the first HTC One quite a lot, and this year's model address many of its (sometimes small) shortcomings while bringing us one of the most gorgeous phone designs yet. The HTC One M8 is or will be available on all major carriers and it runs Android 4.4 KitKat with HTC Sense 6 for a tasteful and light customization of the OS. It's the first phone to ship with the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad core CPU for modest speed gains and it has 32 gigs of storage plus a microSD card slot. The 5" full HD LCD is sharp and bright, and the new 5 megapixel front camera will be a hit with the video chat crowd and selfie fans. Is it perfect? Not quite, but it's good enough to win our Editor's Choice award. Editor's Choice 2014.
All major carriers
Samsung Galaxy Note 4That fabulous phablet is back and better than ever. The Note 4 is the most stylish looking big phone from Samsung yet, thanks to metal sides and a refined design. The S Pen is here for precise writing and drawing, and the striking 5.7" Super AMOLED display runs at an impressive 2560 x 1440 resolution. The Note 4 runs on the new 2.7GHz Snapdragon 805 quad core CPU with Adreno 420 graphics and it has 3 gigs of RAM and 32 gigs of storage. Other goodies include a fingerprint scanner, health monitor, 4K video recording and a removable battery. Editor's Choice 2014.
all major carriers
Samsung Galaxy Note EdgeWe've seen phones that have curved glass simply to have curved glass. The Samsung Galaxy Note Edge, the curvy twin to the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, has a curved display with a purpose. Sure it takes the Note 4 design and makes it look cool and different, but that waterfall curve on the right side gives us a secondary 160 pixel display to interact with. The Samsung Galaxy Note Edge is otherwise the same as the excellent Note 4. It has a QHD 5.6" Super AMOLED main display (enhanced with curved Gorilla Glass 3 and a curved AMOLED panel underneath that adds the 160 x 2560 edge display), a removable faux leather back cover, metal sides and it runs on the Snapdragon 805 quad core 2.7GHz CPU with 3 gigs of RAM and 32 gigs of storage plus microSD card slot. The excellent 16MP rear camera with 4K video recording is here too.
AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon
Moto X (2nd gen) Once again Motorola mixes extreme fashion with a low price tag, but the 2014 Moto X amps up the specs to battle the flagship competition. The Moto X has a 5.2" AMOLED display, this time running at full HD 1080p resolution. It's wildly colorful with impressive contrast. The Android 4.4 KitKat phone will get the upgrade to Android L and it runs on the Snapdragon 801 quad core CPU clocked at 2.5GHz, just like other high end phones. You can order it with your choice of 25 different back colors, including 4 wood and 4 leather options, and it's one of the best looking smartphones money can buy. The Moto X is available as an unlocked GSM phone with LTE 4G and both AT&T and Verizon sell it too.
AT&T, Verizon and unlocked GSM
Sony Xperia Z3 CompactSony proves that good things come in small packages. The 4.6" Z3 Compact sports flagship specs and a striking design, yet it's one of the few small pocket and hands friendly Android phones. It's ever so slightly smaller than the iPhone 6 and Samsung Galaxy Alpha with which it competes and it weighs just 4.55 ounces. The phone is water resistant and it has a colorful and sharp Triluminos display. The Z3 Compact runs on the same 2.5GHz quad core Snapdragon 801 as the 5" and larger competition, and it has dual band WiFi ac, an excellent rear 20.7MP rear camera with large Exmor RS sensor, LTE 4G that works with AT&T and T-Mobile in the US and a big 2600 mAh battery. If you're hankering for a smaller phone and use a GSM carrier, be sure to check it out.
Motorola Droid Turbo The long-lived Droid line of Android smartphones on Verizon Wireless featured angular, masculine designs, raucous screeching robot startup sounds and industrial wallpapers. Moto has evolved, and the Droid Turbo is a more modern and less ominous phone. There's more to the Droid Turbo than updated looks and a cleaner OS: its specs outdo the 2014 Moto X and all flagship Android phones currently on the market except the Samsung Galaxy Note 4. The Droid Turbo runs on the latest, greatest Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 quad core CPU with Adreno 420 graphics, 3 gigs of RAM and 32 or 64 gigs of storage. It's called the Turbo because it comes with Moto's turbo charger in the box, and that's a charger that supports Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 for extreme quick charging. It has a 3900 mAh battery- impressive, as is the QHD AMOLED display.
Nokia Lumia 1020The Nokia Lumia 1020 is the latest, greatest Windows Phone 8 flagship smartphone, and it's got something very special: a 41 megapixel Nokia PureView camera that reinvents zoom. It's not as bulky as the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom and it looks much like the Lumia 920, complete with a curved polycarbonate unibody design, curved Gorilla Glass 3 display and 4.5" ClearBlack AMOLED display that's outdoor viewable and glove friendly. The Lumia 1020 is exclusive to AT&T in the US right now, and it's available in matte white, black and yellow. It has 4G LTE, dual band WiFi, Bluetooth, NFC and a GPS with GLONASS. The camera has a Xenon flash, Carl Zeiss Tessar f/2.2 6 element lens and a backside illuminated sensor. Does it steal the show? If you're a shutterbug, the answer is a definite "yes".