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Best Android phones of 2015

Kris Carlon
71

We're inundated with choice in the Android marketplace, but each year there are only a few devices that really rise to the top of the heap to contend for the title of best Android phone: the Galaxy S5, the Nexus 5, the LG G3. These are usually the manufacturer flagships, but occasionally lower cost devices creep in unexpectedly as well. To help you sort the wheat from the chaff, we've pulled together the best Android smartphones. So, if you are wondering "What's the best phone right now?, then check out our list of the ten best Android phones to buy in 2015.

flagships 2014 diagonal
With so many great choices on offer, we've pulled together the best Android phones available. / © ANDROIDPIT

Link to video

1. Samsung Galaxy Note 4

samsung galaxy note 4 s pen close up
The S Pen truly makes the Galaxy Note 4 special. / © ANDROIDPIT

The Galaxy Note 4 has been a truly satisfying release from Samsung, where the Korean giant has done almost everything right: it has continued to focus on the basics, which the company first told us about when they released the Galaxy S5. What Samsung failed to achieve with the S5 it has done fantastically with the Note 4. Samsung is clearly listening to what fans have to say about bloatware and design.

This focus on the basics has endowed the Galaxy Note 4 with an exceptional camera, excellent battery, brilliant screen, great specs, minimal bloatware, revised design and updated TouchWiz user interface. But the Note series has always been about the S Pen stylus, and the Note 4 has simplified, improved and perfected the S Pen and software that supports it. This is an extremely good phone, although it does comes at a price: around 850 USD for an unlocked international version. The Galaxy Note 4 price on-contract starts at 299 USD.

  Galaxy Note 4
System Android 4.4.4, TouchWiz UI with S Pen stylus
Display 5.7 inch, QHD Super AMOLED (2,560 x 1,440 pixels, 515 ppi)
Processor Samsung Exynos 5433 Octa-Core (four 1.9 GHz cores, four 1.3 GHz cores) / Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 Quad-Core (2.7 GHz)
RAM 3 GB
Internal Memory 32 GB + micro SD up to 128 GB
Connectivity GSM, HSDPA, LTE (Cat.6 / Cat.4), Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Bluetooth 4.1, IR blaster, microUSB 2.0, fingerprint scanner, UV sensor
Camera 16 MP with Optical Image Stabilzation(rear), 3.7 MP (front), heart-rate sensor
Battery 3,220 mAh (removable), Turbo charging
Dimensions 153.5 x 78.6 x 8.5 mm
Weight 176 g
Price 850 USD (off-contract) / 299 USD (on-contract)
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2. LG G3

software lg g3
The LG G3 looks great, performs exceptionally well and covers all bases. / © AndroidPIT

No surprises here, the LG G3 is a fantastic device, from it's excellent design, great battery life, speedy user interface, innovative software features and outstanding camera, it has almost all bases covered.

Packing a 5.5-inch QHD display, it was the first widely available Android to feature that screen definition, but it didn't take a hit on battery life due to LG’s clever power optimizations. The LG G3 is a well considered improvement to its predecessor, the underrated LG G2, but improves on several key features that really matter, proving that LG is listening to their critics too. The LG G3 price starts at 480 USD off contract on a carrier-branded device.

System Android 4.4.2 KitKat
Display 5.5 inch, QHD IPS+ LCD (2,560 x 1,440 pixels, 534 ppi)
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, 2.5 GHz, Quad-Core
RAM 2 GB (with 16 GB version) and 3 GB (with 32 GB version)
Internal Memory 16/32 GB (+ microSD up to 2 TB)
Battery 3,000 mAh (removable)
Camera 13 MP, OIS with laser-autofocus (rear), 2.1 MP (front)
Connectivity GSM/HSDPA/LTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, USB 2.0
Dimensions 146.3 x 74.6 x 8.9 mm
Weight 149 g
Price 480 USD (off-contract)
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3. Sony Xperia Z3

IMGL1153
The Xperia Z3 is a better Z2, but it also manages to sneak past the HTC One (M8). / © ANDROIDPIT

Sony recently dropped the Xperia Z3, the six-months-later update to the Xperia Z2. Given this short time frame, the Z3 is certainly not a huge improvement over the Z2, but it is still an improvement. Internally there's a lot that stays the same between the current and previous model but Sony has made a few key improvements that actually add up to a lot more than the specs sheet might suggest.

The Xperia Z3 has had its screen tweaked to produce better results, it has a slightly faster clocked processor, a well thought out design change with metal frame and rubberized plastic corners to act as built-in shock absorbent bumpers and a better waterproof rating. Everything also seems to be running a bit smoother than the Z2. It's probably not enough to make a Z2 owner upgrade, but the Z3 is a seriously good option for anyone thinking about a new phone. The Xperia Z3 price currently sits around the 550 USD mark.

System Android 4.4.4, Xperia UI
Display 5.2-inch, Full HD IPS LCD (1,920 x 1,080 pixels, 424 ppi)
Processor Snapdragon 801, 2.5 GHz, Quad-Core, Adreno 330 GPU
RAM 3 GB
Internal storage 16/32 GB + microSD up to 128 GB
Battery 3,100 mAh (non-removable)
Camera 20.7 MP (back), 2.2 MP (front)
Connectivity GSM/HSDPA/LTE, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Bluetooth 4.1, NFC
Dimensions 146 x 72 x 7.3 mm
Weight 152 g
Price 550 USD (off-contract)
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4. Nexus 6

Nexus 6 hands on ANDROIDPIT 6
The Nexus 6: a better Nexus 5 in every way. / © ANDROIDPIT

We waited and waited and waited for this one. Then we waited some more. Finally, the Nexus 6 was in our hands, but our initial feelings were mixed. Was the Nexus 6 just too big? Thankfully, it didn't take long for this Motorola designed flagship to win us round.

An improvement over the Nexus 5 in every way, the Nexus 6 is one of the few handsets on Android currently rocking a QHD display, and what better way to show it off than on a huge 6-inch screen. Stock Android 5.0 Lollipop straight out of the box, one of the best processors currently on the market, and a 13 MP camera with OIS and dual-LED flash round out specs on a device worthy of its 649 USD price tag. The fact that it's water resistant, and you can pump around 6 hours of battery into it in just 15 minutes thanks to its included turbo-charger only sweetens the deal. The Nexus 6 price ranges between 250 USD on contract, to 650 USD outright (32 GB) or just over 1000 USD (64 GB).

  Nexus 6
System Android 5.0 Lollipop, stock
Display 5.96-inch, QHD AMOLED (2560 x 1440 pixels, 493 ppi)
Processor Snapdragon 805, 2.7 GHz, Quad-Core
RAM 3 GB
Battery 3,220 mAh + wireless charging and turbo charge functionality
Internal Memory 32 GB / 64 GB
Camera 13 MP (rear), 2 MP (front)
Dimensions 159.26 x 82.98 x 10.06 mm
Weight 184 g
Connectivity HSPA, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 4.1
Price 250 USD (on-contract), 650 USD for 32 GB or 1000 USD for 64 GB (off-contract)
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5. HTC One (M8)

androidpit htc one m8 teaser3
The HTC One (M8) may have a weak camera, but that's about its only flaw. / © ANDROIDPIT

HTC know how to do a whole lot with a specs sheet that looks a little dated and the HTC One (M8) is no exception. When the One (M8)'s specs became known before it was released, a few critics groaned, but we knew HTC would bring it in all the ways that mattered.

Following on from the phenomenal success of the HTC One, the One (M8) introduced an aluminum unibody, Duo Camera, Motion Launch gestures, unparalleled speed, Extreme Power Saving Mode, liquid smooth HTC Sense 6 and a great 5-inch Full HD display.

The legendary BoomSound speakers also got a big improvement, making the M8 the choice for mobile media junkies. It's a little heavy and bulky and the 4 UltraPixel camera is not really sufficient for what we’d expect, but it's a very solid entry. The 16 GB, unlocked HTC One (M8) price is just under 500 USD.

System Android 4.4.2, Sense 6
Display 5 inch, Full HD Super LCD3 (1,920 x 1,080 pixels, 441 ppi) 
Processor Snapdragon 801, 2.3 GHz, Quad-Core
RAM 2 GB
Internal Memory 16 GB + microSD (up to 128 GB)
Battery 2,600 mAh
Camera 4 UltraPixel, Duo-camera, (rear); 5 MP (front) 
Connectivity HSPA, LTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC 
Dimensions 146.4 x 70.6 x 9.4 mm
Weight 160 g
Price 500 USD (off-contract)
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6. Samsung Galaxy S5

Samsung Galaxy S5 3
he Galaxy S5 is yet another great offering from Samsung. / © ANDROIDPIT

While Samsung is frequently criticized for adding too many gimmicky software features, the Galaxy S5 goes relatively light on unnecessary software features and has partially refreshed the TouchWiz interface at the same time. The Galaxy S5 also introduced a finger scanner and heart rate monitor, along with water-resistance, excellent battery optimizations and super fast shooting with the exceptionally good camera.

Despite the Galaxy S5 looking great on paper and being a very solid performer, it somehow still fails to really wow. The interface overhaul is inconsistent and is quite laggy, the design is tired, the specs didn’t make a huge jump from the Galaxy S4 and many early adopters felt slighted when the Galaxy S5 LTE-A appeared with the specs they had expected from the S5.

By all means the Galaxy S5 is still a very nice phone and it deserves to be in our top five, but it lacks that oomph we all wanted to see from Samsung’s latest flagship and that would have made it place higher on our list. The Galaxy S5 price on Amazon these days is just over the 500 USD mark.

  Galaxy S5
System​ Android 4.4.2, TouchWiz
Display 5.1 inch, Full-HD Super AMOLED (1,920 x 1,080 pixels, 432 ppi)
Processor Snapdragon 801, 2.5 GHz, Quad-Core
RAM 2 GB
Internal Memory 16 / 32 GB (+ microSD up to 128 GB)
Battery 2,800 mAh
Camera 16 MP (rear), 2.1 MP (front)
Connectivity LTE Cat 4, HSPA+, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 LE, IrDA, NFC, USB 3.0
Dimensions 142 x 72.5 x 8.1 mm
Weight 145 g
Other features Finger sensor, heart-rate monitor, water-resistant (IP67)
Price Around 500 USD (off-contract)
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7. Oppo Find 7

 

oppo find 7 paranoid android teaser
For a relative newcomer, the Oppo Find 7 brings a lot to the Android table. / © ANDROIDPIT

The Oppo Find 7 was a bit of a surprise this year, with the relatively young manufacturer putting out an incredibly good smartphone that really should make the major OEMs sit up and take notice. Despite appearing with Android 4.3, the Find 7 is a seriously great smartphone, with super fast performance, top-end specs, excellent 13 MP camera and impressive 5.5-inch QHD display.

With specs and performance that give the Galaxy Note 3 a real run for its money, the Oppo Find 7 put Oppo on the map of companies to look out for. The Color OS needs a little work, and it desperately needs faster updates, but for what it is, the Find 7 is a very good device. If you like a dark horse or simply want something on the cutting edge of what's new, the Oppo Find 7 may just be the Android for you. It is also available in a non-QHD version, the Oppo Find 7a. You can pick up an Oppo Find 7a for around 625 USD on Amazon if you're lucky, or 799 USD for the Find 7.

  Find 7 Find 7a
System Android 4.3, Color OS 2.0 Android 4.3, Color OS 2.0
Display 5.5 inch, IPS LCD (2,560 x 1,440 pixels, 538 ppi) 5.5 inch, IPS LCD (1,920 x 1,080 pixels, 400 ppi)
Processor Snapdragon 801, 2.5 GHz, Quad-Core  Snapdragon 800, 2.3 GHz, Quad-Core 
RAM 3 GB 2 GB
Internal Memory 32 GB (+ microSD up to 128 GB)  16 GB (+ microSD up to 128 GB)
Battery 3,000 mAh, removable, VOOC-rapid charge function 2,800 mAh, removable, VOOC-rapid charge function
Camera 13 MP (rear), 5 MP (front) 13 MP (rear), 5 MP (front)
Connectivity LTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 ac, Bluetooth 4.0 LTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 ac, Bluetooth 4.0
Dimensions 152.6 x 75 x 9.2 mm 152.6 x 75 x 9.2 mm
Weight 171 g 171 g
Price 799 USD (off-contract) 625 USD (off-contract)
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8. Sony Xperia Z3 Compact

androidpit z3 compact teaser 2
The Z3 Compact improves on Sony's compact recipe. / © androidpit

When Sony originally released their ''compact'' flagship, the Xperia Z1 Compact, it was a watershed moment: finally there was a smaller-screened Android device that didn't cut corners where hardware was concerned. Many of us had long been waiting to see a ''mini'' device that truly deserved the flagship's name, and Sony delivered it to us. Now, they've improved on that recipe with the Xperia Z3 Compact.

The Z3 Compact is simply a smaller Xperia Z3, which was announced at the same time, although you make some sacrifices in terms of display resolution and pixel density for obvious reasons. The Z3 Compact has the same high-end specs inside and doesn't even scrimp on the famous 20.7 MP Sony G Lens camera. While we tend to like the Z3 a little more, there's no denying that as far as hardware and experience goes the Z3 Compact can hold its own amongst the big boys. Heck, it even out-benchmarks the HTC One (M8). The Xperia Z3 Compact price starts at just 465 USD.

Processor Quad-core Snapdragon 801, 2.5 GHz,  Adreno 330 GPU
RAM 2 GB
Internal Memory 16 GB + microSD
System Android 4.4.4 KitKat, Xperia UI
Camera 20.7 MP (rear); 2.2 MP (front)
Display 4.6 inch, IPS LCD HD display (1,280 x 720 pixels, 319 ppi)
Battery 2,600 mAh (non-removable)
Dimensions 127.3 x 64.9 x 8.6 mm
Weight 129 g
Connectivity GSM, HSDPA, LTE, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, NFC.
Price 465 USD (off-contract)
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9. Motorola Moto G (2014)

Motorolla Moto G review 6
The new Moto G (2014) improves on the original Moto G. / © ANDROIDPIT

Motorola knocked our socks off with the orginal Moto G. It was an incredibly low priced smartphone that delivered great performance. Now, Motorola has improved on that recipe with the Moto G (2014). Motorola knows the specs race isn't everything, so lots of the internal specs reamin the same between the two generations, but three key additions have been made in the new Moto G (2014): microSD expansion, a better camera and stereo front-facing speakers.

Thanks to the very minimal changes that Motorola makes to stock Android, the new Moto G (2014) will get the latest Android updates just as fast as Nexus devices; it was one of the earliest handsets to be updated to Android 5.0 Lollipop. The new Moto G (2014) delivers rock solid performance, rapid updates and a bloat-free interface at a rock bottom price. In its class it is unbeatable, and it might even make you reconsider forking out for a full-priced flagship when you can get an Android experience this good for this price. The Moto G (2014) price is just 179.99 USD outright.

  Moto G (2014)
System Android 4.4.4, near-stock Android
Display 5 inch, IPS LCD (1,280 x 720 pixels, 294 ppi)
Processor Snapdragon 400, 1.2 GHz, Quad-Core
RAM 1 GB
Internal Memory 8 / 16 GB + microSD (up to 32 GB)
Battery 2,070 mAh, non-removable
Camera 8 MP (rear), 2 MP (front)
Connectvity HSPA, LTE, NFC, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, dual-SIM and DTV version available
Dimensions 70.7 x 141.5 x 6.0-11.0 mm
Weight 149 g
Price 179.99 USD (off-contract)
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10. Huawei Ascend Mate 7

20150121 IMGL7476
Huawei's Ascend Mate 7 looks great, performs great and has the best finger scanner we've seen. / © ANDROIDPIT

Huawei has really produced a winner with the Ascend Mate 7, which is the oddly-named successor to the Mate 2. The Mate 7 actually has a 6-inch screen, but even if the name is a little confusing, the device is pure magic. Looking like a redesigned HTC One Max gives the Mate 7 a very refined appearance and the all-new EMUI 3.0 is a nicely balanced and unique user interface. Huawei's usual mix of interesting and useful software additions add nice extras, but it's really all about the fantastic finger scanner, which is the best on Android so far.

The Mate 7 is also a bit of a hardware beast, and using the device is snappy and enjoyable. Add to that a relatively low price tag and a fantastic 4,100 mAh battery and the Mate 7 demands you pay attention. Not having an app drawer is a slightly weird quirk that you quickly get used to, and it is more than made up for by Huawei's attention to detail. Everything about the Mate 7 screams premium and it thoroughly deserves a spot on this list and wider distribution than it currently enjoys. The Huawei Ascend Mate 7 price starts at 515 USD for a 16 GB unlocked version.

Processor Quad-core HiSilicon Kirin 9251.8 GHz Cortex-A15 & quad-core 1.3 GHz Cortex-A7
RAM 2 GB (16 GB version), 3 GB (32 GB version)
Internal Memory 16/32 GB + microSD
System Android 4.4.2 KitKat, EMUI 3.0
Camera 13 MP (rear); 5 MP (front)
Display 6.0 inch, IPS LCD Full HD display (1,920 x 1,080 pixels, 368 ppi)
Battery 4,100 mAh
Dimensions 157 x 81 x 7.9 mm 
Weight 185 g
Connectivity GSM, HSDPA, LTE (Cat. 6), Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, dual-band, NFC
Price 515 USD (off-contract)
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Did we miss anything? Disagree with our order? Head to the forum to share your top ten Android phones.

And if it's apps you're after, we've got you covered with our mega-list of the best Android apps. Check it out!

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Comments

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  • Chris Krajewski 4 days ago Link

    Nexus ? - No external - (SD-card) memory ???!!! - You must be kidding !!! The best ?!!! Who writes these articles ? - And for who's fee-for-task agreement ?!!!

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  • Tomas Trêarsí 1 month ago Link

    Stfu Bojan. I made an account just to say that.

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    • Bojan M. 1 month ago Link

      Good for you. But now that you are a member, might try sharing something inteligent and constructive. Or come back when you grow up a year or two or ten.

      1
  • Anthony STODART 1 month ago Link

    I think a sort of favourite sports team loyalty and debate is not particularly constructive? However, what I think IS relevant is the overriding principle that ALL these great Android phones really satisfy their owner. I'm on my 2nd & 3rd Galaxy Mega 6.3 (1st cracked & then wrecked by so called repairer so now have new 1 plus 1 spare! - so perfect are they FOR ME!) The point is that they ARE great and really do now satisfy our need for excellent, truly effective Mobiles. I recall how I was mocked initially for the huge size of the Mega - now they're all that size and who would want less when you can actually see and read whole web pages, messages, images, etc.,! The I-Phone is a joke by comparison - AND - my Galaxy 10 3G Tab, acquired when I was still on a teeny Galaxy S1, is an equally redundant piece of rubbish when the Mega does all it (the Tab) can do and more MUCH BETTER! All these new Androids are terrific and aren't we, as owners and users thereof of, lucky!

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  • Leonardo Alves 1 month ago Link

    C'mon! 2014 phones in the "Best Android phones in 2015"?
    Please....

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    • Bojan M. 1 month ago Link

      The year just started, these are all the best at the moment. Also, this list is dynamic, Kris updates it all the time.

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      • Leonardo Alves 1 month ago Link

        Yeah, I know.
        But it would be better if he made the list when the 2015 smartphones begin to be released.

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  • Carolyn Flaherty 1 month ago Link

    Indeed, 2015 is still the year of the smartphones as we can see they continue to grow in the market. I really Sony Xperia Z3 because it has unique features and specs that are really great help for your daily and technology lifestyle.

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  • mangesh 1 month ago Link

    worthless without the amazing moto x 2014. it has the screen which counts battery life for my usage is one and half day almost . it has the smartness which makes it different from the list . if nexus 6 can make to the list no reason moto x can't, its smaller but smarter nexus 6. Name any device in this list which can be compared to moto voice , moto action . Its named the smartphone of the year by Forbes because it tells you the highest end specs and price don't necessarily propose the highest end user experience .

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    • Bojan M. 1 month ago Link

      And Forbes is an absolute authority in smartphone department... pfffft...

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      • mangesh 1 month ago Link

        nothing is absolute my friend everything is relative ....no one is the authority either even this article

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      • Bojan M. 1 month ago Link

        Agreed! But I think this list is a pretty good one, objectively speaking.

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  • Jean Notte 2 months ago Link

    Surprising there are no comments on the Galaxy Note4.

    I'm in the market for my first Android phone after using an iPhone since its first launch. These reviews and comments are invaluable. Of course I am now suffering analysis paralysis but desperate. My current phone is almost bricked; it rings audibly sporadically no audibles for texts, and phone conversation only functional if on speaker. Goodbye iPhone, it's iPhucked.

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    • Bojan M. 1 month ago Link

      Here is the one you need to know: Note 4 is a beast, a phone like no other, a category of its own. If you buy it you won't regret it. A bit big some may say, but there are bigger phones that can't compare to it.

      0
  • Marco Trujillo 2 months ago Link

    Greetings to all first of all, although it is hard to believe I've read quite all comments on this post, actually I'm a lover of smartphones since ANDROID hit home .. But being a poor country practically as far as technology terms (VENEZUELA) I could more than hold three smartphones which are BLACKBERRY CURVE 8330 BLACKBERRY CURVE 9360 and now own the SONY XPERIA SL, thank GOD I achieved this year the possibility to get me a phone outside and I thought of several I have visited many forums and pages like this and seeing images, videos, photos, tests, etc ... I have come to the decision 3 phones, actually have never liked the SAMSUNG phone but I think they've done a great job with regard to hardware and software, but the material they are made simply do not convince me, that's why I obtado by these three decisions: MOTOROLA MOTO X (2014), LG GOOGLE NEXUS 5 Then SONY XPERIA Z3 COMPACT .. If I would buy out the MOTOROLA MOTO MAXX but money does not reach me, so help me to decide between those 3 phones. THANK YOU IN ADVANCE!

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  • An Droid 3 months ago Link

    Although now 8 months old, l agree that the S5 should be in the top 5. It's been an easy phone to live with any has awsome specs. The plastic build does not bother me as it has been in a rubber back cover all this time, and had I bought a HTC M8, the premium aluminium body would have been in a rubber back cover. At least the S5 has an awsome camera, and gives me the opportunity to use the Gear, which has come to in very handy.

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  • Leandro Augusto 3 months ago Link

    Moto Maxx? Droid Maxx? kkk

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  • amr ahmed 3 months ago Link

    I really wonder .. how could you make this list without mention of note 3 or nexus 5 .. I think they are still high end devices right now .. great performance ..

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  • Juan Gaston Espada 3 months ago Link

    looking forward to the lg g 4 in 2015 and all the other phones to come Happy Holidays.

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  • Juan Gaston Espada 3 months ago Link

    the lg g 3 is the best phone in the world this is how it should be
    1-lg g 3
    2-galaxy note 4
    3-nexus 6
    4-Sony z 3
    5-oppo f 7
    6-xiomi 3
    7-HTC m8
    8-galaxy s5
    9-one plus
    10-Motorola moto x

    and there is the other oppo phone I forgot the name but its the thiness phone in the world and could easily get on the list .

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