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5 of the best Android smartphones

These days, it seems like there's always a smarter, faster, and bigger Android phone on the horizon.

Google's mobile operating system has managed to capture a record 80 per cent share of the global smartphone OS market, according to research firm Strategy Analytics. That's thanks to Android's competitive licensing costs, a large and ever-growing app store, and numerous hardware partners including the likes of Samsung and HTC.

And that's one of the best things about Android: Choice. At any given time, there are a huge amount of Google OS-powered smartphones available across all the UK networks. But given this large selection, how do you pick the right Android handset?

With that in mind, we thought we’d compile this shortlist of the best five Android phones currently available. Of course, you may have your own favourite we haven't mentioned, so feel free to let us know about it in the comments section below.

So, here are our top Android picks – get any of these smartphones, and you won’t be disappointed. The prices quoted are sim-free, but you can of course pick these handsets up subsidised on contracts.

HTC One (£465)

The innovative, well-built, aluminium-clad HTC One is a classy handset with a superb display and a very capable CPU. Its strong design perspective won't be for everyone, especially Android purists, but it's a major step forward, and should satisfy those who think Samsung's plastic-based Galaxy phones look and feel a little chintzy.

For more details see our HTC One review.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (£505)

Samsung has refined its top-tier phablet with the 5.7in Galaxy Note 3, a powerful, full HD phone/tablet combo that may be the only mobile device you need. It’s lighter than its predecessor, not to mention faster, and it boasts a dizzying array of software enhancements. To read up on this phablet, see our full Galaxy Note 3 review.

Samsung Galaxy S4 (£390)

Again, this is a Samsung handset which is even better than its excellent predecessor. Indeed, the fully loaded and nippy Samsung Galaxy S4 is the ultimate kitchen-sink Android phone for 2013, with something for everyone. And the good thing is that now this smartphone is six months old, you can snag one for under £400 sim-free. Have a look at our full Galaxy S4 review here.

LG G2 (£420)

The latest superphone from LG offers a large display in an impressively compact handset, with its 5.2in screen fitting into a 138 x 71mm body. That display is a gorgeous piece of work, and the G2 also boasts a top notch processor, an impressive camera, and some smart user interface tweaks. There’s a hell of a lot to like here – read our LG G2 review for the full lowdown.

Google Nexus 5 (£299)

Google’s latest Nexus handset sports a 4.95in 1920 x 1080 display, a quad-core Snapdragon 800 running at 2.3GHz, along with 4G LTE and dual-band Wi-Fi all for the rather jaw-dropping sim-free price of £299. That has to be a tempting proposition for those who like their vanilla Android. If you want to see how much better this phone is compared to its predecessor, then check out our Nexus 5 versus Nexus 4 spec comparison. We’ll have a full review for you very shortly…