It’s a smartphone world, these days, with an ever-increasing range of handsets available as manufacturers pump out new models to tempt consumers. Indeed, the breadth of choice can be bewildering, but fortunately we’re here to help with this article in which we’ve picked out our top ten smartphones.
There's something for everyone here – we’ve looked at handsets featuring screen sizes from 4in to 5.7in, drawn from the three major mobile operating systems: Apple's iOS, Google's Android, and Microsoft's Windows Phone. Each of these has something to offer the smartphone buyer. iOS boasts the best selection of apps and a very user-friendly interface. Android is highly configurable and is no slouch when it comes to apps, and Windows Phone has an elegant layout and integrates well with Facebook, Xbox, and Microsoft Office.
Many of the phones here are, of course, quite pricey given that they boast the latest and greatest tech – being the best phones – but we’ve also got some slightly cheaper models, and one top notch offering from the bargain basement end of the spectrum for those who would prefer something much more wallet-friendly.
So let’s kick off our roundup of the ten best smartphones you can get today, starting with a little known effort from Cupertino…
Apple iPhone 5S (£549, iOS)
The iPhone 5S is all about potential: We haven't yet seen many apps that fully use the phone's 64-bit A7 processor (though we have seen some), M7 motion coprocessor, and Touch ID fingerprint sensor, and that's a good thing.
While the 5S keeps the iPhone's small form factor and still unparalleled app library, this phone has room to grow, making it the iPhone to buy if you're buying an iPhone. Read our iPhone 5S review if you want to know more.
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (£505, Android)
The king of the phablets extends its reign with a 5.7in 1080p display, a superfast processor, and a ton of new software to take advantage of the S Pen active stylus. There's a virtual scrapbook, Post-It note app, and even better multitasking support than before, plus a huge battery to let you take advantage of it all for as long as possible. For more details, read our Galaxy Note 3 review.
Samsung Galaxy S4 (£385, Android)
The world's best-selling Android phone is the Microsoft Office of smartphones: The S4 is so packed with features, there's something for everyone. Samsung hasn't forgotten the basics, either, with the best call quality in the industry, a removable battery and expandable memory so you can store as many 13-megapixel photos, and songs, as you like. And the great thing about the S4 is that now it’s six months old, the price has dropped considerably – you can pick it up for less than £400 sim-free. See our full review of the Galaxy S4 here.
HTC One (£465, Android)
The HTC One boasts the best build quality of any Android phone, being milled from a solid block of aluminium with a bright 1080p screen on the front. The "Ultrapixel" camera works well in low light, and HTC's Sense skin is a good bet for folks who don't want to configure their own Android widgets; it defaults to a Flipboard-like news and information feed. Check out our HTC One review for the full lowdown.
LG G2 (£420, Android)
LG's G2 squeezes a 5.2in screen into a one-handed smartphone by moving the power and volume keys to the back; you can also wake it up by tapping on the screen, so the rear power key isn't as annoying as it sounds. This superphone has a superfast processor, a superb screen, and impressive battery life – there’s a lot to like here, and the price is pitched nicely too. Read our full LG G2 review here.
Sony Xperia Z1 (£490, Android)
Sony’s Z1 is a 5in Android handset with a very smart design, and it’s a little different in being dust and water-resistant (to an IP58 rating). The Z1 sports a superb processor, a good camera, and a long battery life – and represents a great step forward for Sony’s Xperia range. For more details, have a gander at our Xperia Z1 review.
Huawei Ascend P2 (£290, Android)
Huawei is making some laudable progress with its smartphones, and the Ascend P2 is a great looking phone which is backed up by some nice tech specs. The P2 has an impressive display and a nippy enough CPU, and it delivers a smart 13-megapixel camera with a flash. This Android handset has a lot on board considering its price point now, which has dipped to just under £300. We’ve got a full review of the Ascend P2 here.
Google Nexus 5 (£299, Android)
Google’s freshly launched Nexus 5 boasts a very impressive set of specs. We’re talking a 4.95in full HD (1920 x 1080) display, driven by a quad-core Snapdragon 800 CPU running at 2.3GHz. It’s also slightly thinner than its predecessor, has a slightly bigger battery, and adds 4G LTE along with 802.11ac and dual-band Wi-Fi support for a slicker surfing experience all-round. At this price point, the Nexus 5 will be tempting many folks to take the plunge. For the full lowdown on what Google has improved since the last Nexus model, see our Nexus 4 versus Nexus 5 spec comparison. We’ll have a full review of this handset very shortly.
ZTE Blade 3 (£60, Android)
This one is the odd handset out here – as it hardly compares to the other higher-end pieces of technology we’ve recommended in this article. As we pointed out in our review, the Blade 3 has some slight issues (pertaining to the display and camera) – but we’ve included it because if you want a truly cheap but quality smartphone, this is your best bet. At its price of £60, this represents great value for money for those of you who don’t want to fork out hundreds of pounds for the latest tech.
Nokia Lumia 1020 (£560, Windows Phone)
The Lumia 1020 is the best camera phone in the world, with a 41-megapixel sensor that captures gorgeous images and allows for lossless digital zoom. If you want the elegant simplicity of Windows Phone – and you can put up with missing apps like Vine and Instagram – the amazing camera makes this Windows Phone's flagship model. Check out our full review of the Lumia 1020 for more details.