As June begins we enter a period of calm during the smartphone release cycle. Flagship handsets from HTC, LG, and Samsung have all been announced and released to some extent while little else remains on our radar. That could all change by the end of the month with Google’s annual I/O conference, but for now we present our picks for best Android phones as of June 2014.
5. Nexus 5
Will the Nexus 5 ever leave our list? It’s unlikely until the next great stock Android flagship comes along. With specs that still hold up despite the onslaught of recent competition — Snapdragon 800 quad-core processing, 1080p display — the Nexus 5 remains a fine choice for buyers seeking a device sure to receive quick Android updates. Even better, it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg at $350 with out a wireless contract. It lacks some of the sophistication and advanced features found in phones higher on our list, but the type of person that favors the Nexus 5’s simple, refined experience doesn’t need them.
4. Sony Xperia Z2
The Sony Xperia Z2 remains the best Android phone that you probably won’t be able to get your hands on — at least if you live in the United States. With a stellar camera, crisp and colorful display, and solid performance, the Z2’s internal prowess is matched only by its exquisite Sony design. Sony insists a US release isn’t on their slate, but rumors (and leaks) persist that the flagship could see a Verizon launch in due time.
Samsung, arguably the king of Android, sees its 2014 flagship slip to #3 after debuting as the second ranked phone on last month’s list. We’ll find out why a little further down the page, but let’s not ignore the solid device that is the Galaxy S5. Top-notch hardware including a 1080p Super AMOLED display and extras like a fingerprint scanner and heart rate sensor provide plenty of intrigue, but a finicky, complicated TouchWiz interface holds this one back from its full potential.
2. HTC One M8
In recent months, the HTC One M8 quietly established itself as the Android phone to beat. HTC’s brilliant handling of their simplified Sense UI in conjunction with a sharp, classy design and hardware that could go head-to-head with the best of them makes for a phone that is as much a joy to use as it is to look at.
1. LG G3
What could knock the HTC One M8 off of its throne? The newly announced LG G3, of course. Currently only available in Korea, time will tell if the G3’s Snapdragon 801 and 5.5-inch Quad HD (1440 x 2560 pixels) display keep it on top, but the early showing has been impressive. LG has upped their game from the G2 with a brushed metal design, improved rear button, and overhauled UI, bringing it more in line with the premium Android experiences we are used to. Look for the G3 to see a global launch in the coming weeks.
We only have room for five on our list, but there are plenty of other great phones to consider. Here are five more that barely missed out on being one of our top phones for the month of June.
- OnePlus One — There are plenty of reasons to like the OnePlus One — if you can manage to get your hands on one. The phone’s launch has been plagued with issues when it comes to getting the device in users’ hands, but it offers a great mix of affordability and high-end specs.
- Oppo Find 7a — Similar to the OnePlus One, and possibly the basis from which that phone was developed, the Oppo Find 7a has the hardware to square off with any phone on this list. Also like the OnePlus One, it remains elusive for buyers.
- LG G Pro 2 — LG’s phablet-sized device drops off the main list to make room for the LG G3, but with similar design and features, it remains a great option for those looking for a big big screen.
- Samsung Galaxy Note 3 — Speaking of big big screens, Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is another option to consider in the phablet category. Not quite the Galaxy S5 in terms of hardware, the Note 3’s include S Pen stylus offers a refreshingly different method of interacting with your Android device.
- Moto X — Customizability, affordable pricing, and a clean, simple Android implementation make the Moto X a phone to consider for Android purists on a budget.
Phones to look forward to
With Samsung, HTC, and LG all pushing their flagship phones for 2014 within the past few months alongside offerings from newer manufacturers like Oppo and OnePlus, our slate of anticipated smartphones has been wiped clean. If we didn’t mention it above or if it’s not mentioned among the rumored devices below, chances are it hasn’t featured as even a blip on our radar. The good news? With so many stellar options on the market and nothing in the pipeline to provide cause for second guessing a purchasing decision, now is a great time to buy an Android smartphone.
We know what’s available. We know there hasn’t been much announced that we can’t already get our hands on, but what else is out there. Here are a couple more devices that are starting to gain some buzz in anticipation of their rumored launches.
Motorola’s Moto X followup has been making the rounds on the rumor mill with several leaks giving us our first purported look at the next chapter. Those leaks as a reference, it appears the phone will feature a larger display than the 4.7-inch one found on the Moto X, possibly pushing beyond the 5-inch threshold. Can we expect a similar Moto Maker experience with even more customization options? The closing of Motorola’s Texas plant raises some doubts, but we reckon we’ll be hearing plenty more on the Moto X+1 soon.
Is it too early to start hyping the Samsung Galaxy Note 4? Not much is currently known about the handset, but if Samsung stays on schedule we should expect a fall release. The Note 4 could incorporate technologies introduced with the Galaxy S5 (namely a fingerprint scanner and health-oriented sensors), feature a Quad HD display, and take on an entirely new form factor (like the concept render above). The handset is also rumored to launch alongside Samsung’s next volley of wearables — a Google Glass competitor could debut among them.
So what are people actually buying? Amazon has the list for us. The retailer’s Best Sellers list reflect many of the same devices we named above, but what about the ones that didn’t grace our rankings? Below are the top-selling smartphones on Amazon that we didn’t already mention above.
- Samsung Galaxy S4
- Samsung Galaxy Note 2
- Motorola Droid MAXX
- Samsung Galaxy Mega
- HTC One M7
- LG G2
- Samsung Galaxy S3
- Samsung Galaxy S4 Active
- Motorola Droid RAZR M
- HTC Droid Incredible
What say you?
Another month, another list. What did we get right? What did we get wrong? Sound off in the comments below and let us know what you consider the best Android phone available as of June 2014!