May has arrived and thoughts of summer vacation are already on the mind. The weather is heating up and so is the smartphone competition. A few newcomers made their debut in April shifting the balance of our rankings and forcing some of last month’s contenders to the sidelines. Read on to find out what Android phone is the one you will want to have poolside come Memorial Day.
5 — Nexus 5
The Nexus 5 might lack fancy features like fingerprint scanners, heart rate monitors, and waterproofing, but you can’t really argue with what is considered Google’s benchmark implementation of Android for developers and users alike. The Nexus line is in need of an update (and will reportedly be revamped as part of the Android Silver initiative) if it wants to stay competitive with phones like the HTC One M8 and Samsung Galaxy S5 in terms of hardware, but a direct pipeline to Android updates from Google has its own benefits. Attractive off-contract pricing continues to be a major draw of this phone designed for Android purists.
4 — LG G Pro 2
We get the sense that the G Pro 2 will quietly slide into irrelevancy, sandwiched between the launches of LG’s G2 and the G3, its upcoming followup, but for now it remains one of the best Android phones on the market, at least in terms of sheer device power and performance. A large display and powerful Snapdragon processing keep us lusting after the G Pro 2 even if hopes of a US release will likely vanish with the announcement of the G3.
3 — Sony Xperia Z2
For all the fanfare surrounding the Xperia Z2 at Mobile World Congress, the phones launch came and went rather quietly this month. Sony’s marketing and release strategy aside, the Xperia Z2 offers all the features you could want from a top-notch Android smartphone, including an excellent camera and crisp display, while bringing extras like waterproof construction. Package it in Sony’s stylish design and it’s enough to keep us begging the Japanese tech giant for a proper US release. Word on the street is that customers in the States will be able to pick up the device unlocked this summer.
2 — Samsung Galaxy S5
The most high profile launch of April is a no-brainer for our top five, but the Galaxy S5 didn’t show us enough to overtake the number one rank. A solid, if a bit iterative, upgrade over last year’s Galaxy S4, the S5 mixes a beautiful 5.1-inch Super AMOLED display with innovative features like a fingerprint scanner and heart rate monitor. IP67 certification for resistance to dust and water might just be the phone’s best feature, but Samsung’s bloated software drowns out many of these positives.
1 — HTC One M8
HTC has come a long way since the early days of Android and there is no bigger testament to this fact than the One M8. The latest flagship from HTC gets so many things right, from design and build quality to the subtly tweaked implementation of Sense 6.0 and Android KitKat. The release of the Galaxy S5, which threatened the One M8’s spot on our list, only solidifies our opinion that HTC’s offering is the Android smartphone to own.
- Samsung Galaxy Note 3 — The Galaxy S5 knocks it out of our main list, but for those in the market for a device in the phablet class, there really is no better than the Note 3.
- Moto X — Doesn’t pack quick enough punch to hang with the big boys that made our list this month, but the Moto X remains an intriguing Android handset thanks to its customization options and attractive pricing.
- LG G2 — The G3 is right around the corner and the G Pro 2 is a superior smartphone, but the LG G2 still makes for a solid choice, especially considering its wider availability.
- HTC One (2013) — The 2013 edition of the One deserves a victory lap as it rides off into the twilight.
- Samsung Galaxy S4 — Given the minor upgrade many consider the Galaxy S5 to be, the Galaxy S4 is worth consideration for those looking for an almost identical experience at a lower price.
Phones to look forward to
Oppo Find 7/Find 7a
This highly anticipated duo of Android smartphones will finally launch next month. The real question is whether or not buyers will take a gamble on the relatively unknown Oppo, a Chinese OEM lacking in international brand recognition. We found the Find 7a to be a strong device with impeccable hardware and bleeding-edge specs, but it’s hard to predict whether or not the phone will see it’s share of success.
Say what you will about the controversy surrounding OnePlus as a company, but their OnePlus One handset is an intriguing Android device for several reasons, the most notable of which is its top-notch hardware compliment that will sell for a disproportionally cheap $300. The OnePlus One promises to be one of the best deals on the market, but there is doubt as to whether or not the company will meet consumer expectations. The early outlook, however, is hopeful.
With Samsung and HTC seeing their flagship devices for 2014 already reaching the hands of consumers, LG is likely not far behind. A recently announced May 27th press event could feature the debut of the LG G3, a smartphone rumored to house some ridiculous specs, including a 5.5-inch display with an insane resolution of 2560 x 1440. That’s enough to get us mighty excited.
Motorola’s Moto X followup
Likewise, Motorola will be holding their own press event this month, leaving many industry observers wondering just what we will see. Scheduled for May 13th, Moto is promising a device that is “made to last” and “built for all.” This, of course, could be the anticipated followup to the Moto X, which is said to feature expanded customization options. It could be, however, that we see the low-priced Moto E instead.
Amazon Best Sellers
Check out Amazon’s full list of best sellers to see where the phones we chose above rank, but here are the top 10 that didn’t make our list for the month of April. These won’t necessarily provide you with the latest or greatest Android device, but there are still some deals to be had on slightly older yet still adequate smartphones.
- Samsung Galaxy Note 2
- Motorola Droid MAXX
- Samsung Galaxy Mega
- Casio Gz’One Commando
- Samsung Galaxy S4 Active
- HTC One Max
- Motorola Droid ULTRA
- LG G Flex
- Samsung Galaxy S3
- HTC Droid Incredible
What say you?
That’s our list, what about yours? The battle between the Galaxy S5 and the HTC One M8 is sure to stir up plenty of debate this month. Did we get the ranking right or would you have it differently? Let us know your pick for the top Android phone as of May 2014!