Best Android Phones [October 2014]



As fall rolls around, the leaves on the trees aren’t the only thing changing. There has been a shakeup in our monthly best phone rankings, including a new name at the top of our list. Which phone reigns supreme? Read on to find out.

Previously: SeptemberAugust | July | June | May | April | March | February

5. HTC One M8

HTC One M8 DSC06660

The One M8 sees its biggest drop since entering our top rankings, threatened by rumors that HTC will launch a version of the device with an improved camera next week. The current One M8 remains a favorite, however, for its dashing good looks and Sense interface.

4. Sony Xperia Z3


Yes, it seems like just yesterday that Sony released the Xperia Z2, but the Xperia Z3 is here. Like many a Sony handset before it, its premium design, powerful hardware, and waterproof construction give us every reason to want the Z3. Unfortunately, like many a Sony handset before it, a US release has not been one of the Japanese company’s priorities.

3. Samsung Galaxy S5

Samsung Galaxy S5 DSC05763

Samsung is about to outdo itself with the release of the Galaxy Note 4, but the phablet caters to a niche market. The Galaxy S5 remains the manufacturer’s go-to flagship, a contender that pairs premium performance with an innovative feature set that includes a fingerprint scanner, heart rate monitor, and waterproof design. They threw in everything but the kitchen sink (but you can still throw the GS5 into the kitchen sink).

2. LG G3


When it comes to hardware, it would be hard to find any phone on our list that can top the LG G3. With a Quad HD display, blazing quad-core performance, and a swanky new coat of paint for its Android interface, the phone moves to number two on our list after several months at the top by no fault of its own.

1. Moto X (2nd. Gen)

Verizon Moto X 2014 DSC06999

The wait was well worth it. Motorola’s Moto X update for 2014 is everything we loved about the original and more, leading many reviewers (including our own Chris Chavez) to declare the handset one of the best ever made. Solid design and construction meet premium specs in a package the buyer can customize to their liking. Throw in a clean implementation of Android in conjunction with the sort of bells and whistles we actually want to see in a smartphone, and we have a new name at the top of our list.

Honorable Mentions

Nexus 5 shortcuts DSC05736

  1. Nexus 5 — The Nexus 5 exits our top list and lands in the honorable mentions as Google gears up to launch the handset’s successor in the coming weeks.
  2. Moto G (2nd. Gen) — Don’t let this phone’s $180 price tag fool you: this Android device is the real deal.
  3. OnePlus One — You still need an invite to buy, but there is no shame in asking around in order to get your hands on OnePlus’ lauded handset.
  4. Sony Xperia Z2 — The Xperia Z3 might be the better phone, but its launch means now is a great time to find a deal on this previous generation device.
  5. Oppo Find 7a — Think of it as a OnePlus One for people that don’t want to deal with the hassles of procuring a OnePlus One.

Upcoming Phones

It’s rare these days that we should have to wait months for the launch of a currently announced smartphone, but it still happens. Samsung, why must you tease us?

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

samsung galaxy note 4

Samsung’s next entry into the Galaxy Note line was announced last month and is already up for preorder around the globe. Its launch is only a few weeks away, making this device one that might be worth waiting for. It brings many of the features introduced with the Galaxy S5 to the Note form factor along with updated S Pen input and productivity enhancements. The only thing standing between the Note 4 and a spot among our top ranked phones is its retail availability.

Rumor Mill

This month’s rumor mill is Moto-centric, which is fitting considering their new Moto X topped our list in its first month of availability. What can we expect as a followup?

Nexus 6

nexus 6 shamu render leak

Signs point to Google unveiling their new Nexus lineup alongside the rollout of Android L sometime this month. Here’s hoping that pans out, because the Nexus 6 has been churning through the rumor mill for what seems like an eternity. The latest rumors suggest it will indeed feature a phablet-sized 5.9-inch display. Images show us a Motorola-made device that will share quite a bit in common with the new Moto X.

Motorola Droid Turbo

droid turbo 5

As if the top spot on our list and an upcoming Nexus device weren’t enough, there is yet another Motorola device that has the Android world buzzing. The latest in the long line of phones that arguably put Android on the map, the Motorola Droid Turbo looks to live every bit up to its name. Benchmark tests show a device running a Snapdragon 805 SoC, 3GB RAM, and Adreno 420 graphics.

Amazon Best Sellers

We don’t have room for every Galaxy S variant on our list of top phones, but Amazon sure does. We’ve sorted through Amazon’s best sellers to pull out the top phones we haven’t already mentioned. Here’s what we got:

  1. Amazon Fire Phone
  2. Samsung Galaxy S4
  3. Samsung Galaxy S3
  4. HTC One M7
  5. Samsung Galaxy Note 3
  6. Samsung Galaxy S5 Sport
  7. Samsung Galaxy Mega
  8. Samsung Galaxy S5 Active
  9. Samsung Galaxy Note II
  10. LG G2

What Say You?

It’s an exciting time to be in the market for an Android phone. We know which one we would buy, how about you? Does our list jive with yours? Did we make a glaring error or leave off a phone worthy of mention? Sound off in the comments below and let us know your picks for best Android phones!

Kevin Krause
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  1. MotoX will be my wife’s next phone.

  2. Nexus 6 = Next Phone

  3. That the Amazon Fire is the best selling phone on Amazon tells you that Amazon doesn’t sell a whole lot of phones.

    1. The fact that the phone is rated at 2 stars out of 5 by Amazon’s own customers, tells you something as well.

  4. S5 better than Z3? Is it only because of availability?

    1. I’m thinking so. Just wait until the Z3 is officially available here in the states. Would hope to see the Z3 Compact get added to this list as well :D

      1. +1 on Z3 Compact. It is actually better than the Z3 in some aspects (one handed ergonomics obviously, but also battery life, price, and probably performance due to less pixels). It is the only compact phone with full size specs.

        1. Yeah, but you’ll be waiting until Android M before you get Android L.

      2. I’m definitely giving the Z3 compact a hard look when it gets here. I recently just went back to my Nexus 5 from the moto x (2013) and apparently my fingers haven’t had to stretch out in a while. I’ve adjusted to the smaller form factor and now I’m not so sure 5.9 Shamu is for me anymore.

    2. Yeah huh?

  5. I love the 2014 Moto x but being on Verizon I’m hesitant to get it over the Droid turbo. I see the Turbo costing only $100 more. I have a Note 4 on preorder but I’ve owned the Note 2 and 3. Looking for something different.

    What would you guys do; Note 4 vs. Droid Turbo vs. Moto X or even LG G3? I only threw the G3 in because you get a free battery and charger, sd card support, IR blaster and slim size with big screen.

    1. I think that G3 promo ended on 9/22.

      1. It’s extended till first week October.

        1. Thanks – was not aware of that. I’m in a similar boat as you with regard to device choice.

        2. Woo, thanks for posting that. I just picked one up and didn’t even realize I was eligible for the free goodies!

  6. I’m confused. So is the Moto X battery puny or not? If it is, I don’t see how Moto X can take the #1 spot with so little juice.

    1. It’s not near as bad as the hate it’s received. For my normal daily activities it’s been fine. I own/use a lot of different phones, so that’s based on my personal comparisons of my usage on other devices. It’s not top of the line, but it’s gotten me through a normal day (again, for me) with no problem.

    2. agree. How does this possibly top the G3? Puny battery, lower resolution screen, no sd card, no interchangeable battery. Even the camera is not as good as the g3 Even the most ardent Moto X supporters say things like the battery is “adequate” or “its not great, but it suits my needs”.. Moto X is a nice phone, but #1 is kind of a joke driven by rampant fanboyism.

  7. I say google needs to start adding micro SD slots to the nexus line. W/o them, these phones are a joke. Also, 8MP front? Really? wat?

    1. A joke without micro SD, really? Wat sey yu?

      1. I don’t get when people hate on folks wanting an SD card. No man has ever been on his death bed wishing he spent more time at work. No man should ever lay in bed at night wishing he had less storage on his phone. This attitude does nothing for Android OEMs to step up their game against iPhones with 64gb and even 128gb of INTERNAL storage.

        1. I have a OnePlus One with 64gb of INTERNAL storage. Even with plenty of 1080p videos and about 25 games including Baldur’s Gate, Modern Combat 5, and GTA:SA, I still have 22 gb of unused storage.

          SD cards mean nothing to me.

          1. Carriers win when we don’t have SD cards or more storage. Different people have different needs for storage. I just wish folks would stop closing the door on the SD card for Android phones. I for one would feel better having an SD card. Verizon doesn’t even have a SKU for a 32gb version of the MotoX, sure its on MotoMaker, but as a carrier, why on earth would I want the customer to have more storage. Less storage means more cloud, more cloud means more data usage, more data usage means larger plans (more money) or more overages (more money).

            Android phones are going down in storage and coupled with a decreased use in SD cards and iPhones are going up. I hope Android (and carriers) can right the ship and increase the storage size in correlation to the (insane) screen size of their phones.

          2. That’s quite possible, even if the average size of the games were 1.5GB that would still only add up around 37GB.
            With quite a bit of room left for music and a few movies.
            So I agree, larger internal storage is the answer.

            8/16GB + sdcard combinations should be stopped.

          3. Do you still have invites, because I’d love to get my hands on a OnePlus One :)

    2. They should offer 64GB and 128GB internal storage and forget about SD slots.

      1. Yes, because we need to have manufacturers use the larger memory options as an excuse to increase the price of devices beyond reason.

        1. Flash memory is very cheap nowadays. If they use larger memory as an excuse to increase prices, it’s a false excuse. If people would stop buying 8 and 16GB devices, the manufacturers would finally get the message. SD cards are just a hassle (particularly with KitKat), and shouldn’t be needed for phones. For tablets, SD cards are still a reasonable option for people who want to load up their tablet with movies, but they shouldn’t be needed for app storage.

  8. Moto X a.k.a Nexus 6 looks too big to me :-). Hopefully it will have a “mini” phone version..

    1. It’s smaller than the LG G3, the Galaxy S5, and shorter than the M8 and the Z3.

      1. Is he talking about the Moto X or the Nexus 6? They’re completely different phones. If he means the Moto X, you’re right. If he means the rumored 5.9 inch Nexus 6, he’s right, it’s beastly huge.

  9. Wondering where the Huawei Ascend Mate 7 and Lenovo Vibe 7 would land on this list. Those are two sexy beasts! One of those will be on my Holiday purchase list along with the G3.

  10. Does everyone agree with the S5 being ranked above the HTC One M8? Just curious.

    1. I don’t, but I can see why someone would like the S5 better. Who cares if one is ranked ahead of the other.

    2. I would rank the z3, m8, and s5 all in the same slot. It’s really all personal preference between those three, they’re so similar.

    3. The M8 is the best phone for me but the camera is not great for 2014

      1. Agreed, the camera is a let down and that should be reflected in any rankings which take into acount the overall package.

        But they should do the same for the LG G3 which is let down by battery life, it’s not terrible but not upto the standard of other flagships.

        Also performance due the display resolution on the LG G3 can be an issue at times.

  11. I really hope they have a smaller version of Nexus 6.

  12. Is the LG G3 really much of an upgrade from their G2? Both remain awesome

    1. Removable battery is nice otherwise they’re pretty similar

  13. Compact??? Phandroid don’t seem to like smaller phones.

    1. The Sony Z3 Compact is a great “little” phone, Snapdragon 801 with 720p display provides some great performance.

  14. I’m leaning towards the G3 to replace my Note 2, but the Note 4 is going to be awfully tempting. To be honest I don’t get much use out of the S Pen so the slim bezels on the G3 are what have me favoring that option right now. I won’t have to make a decision until mid November so I’m sure I’ll flip flop a few times between now and then.

  15. There is no consistancy in these at all, one month you rate the M8 higher than the S5 and now you don’t, hype train finally derailed for the M8 and it’s POS camera?, hopefully.
    LG G3 shouldnt be #2, battery life is not up to par with other high end devices.
    Moto X from what I can see doesnt other much extra over other devices, they have a few gimmicks but they all have those and it’s upto the user if they are useful or not.

    1. The g3 battery being removable made up the difference for me over the m8 also if you don’t play games it’s pretty insane on it’s first battery, lets see what m8 battery life is in 18months.

      1. Maybe in 18 months the HTC One M8 will have comparable battery life to a new LG G3. haha

        1. Yea but I can just pop a new battery in you’ll be screwed holding externals, but also once you are getting to top phones they are almost identical all pretty good choices, and your use case is what matters. If you game get an m8, if you read a lot and want your phone to last 2+years g3/s5/note are your only choices now. They should probably make this a top 10.

          1. Well I’m not defending phones without removable batteries I don’t think it’s a big deal for most users, upto 18-24 months battery life doesnt suffer massively and a lot of us are not on 24 month contracts anyway so might not even keep them for 18 months.

            I usually sell them after 18 months so it becomes somebody elses problem, might effect resale value though.

  16. If the Moto X takes #1, the OnePlus One sure as heck should be on the top 5.

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