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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. With the likes of the Galaxy S6 and HTC One M9 now tempting smartphone owners everywhere, there's no better time to update our list. Of course, there are flagships galore, but expect a couple of lower-end great-value devices to creep in too. To help you sort the wheat from the chaff, here's are the best Android smartphones of 2015.

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

1. Samsung Galaxy S6/S6 Edge

android samsung galaxy s6 edge test review image 03
The Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge - the two undisputed champions of smartphones. / © ANDROIDPIT

It may seem strange or even somehow corrupt to have two phones sharing the top spot, but the sheer quality of the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge - and their similarity to each other - means they both deserve it. After a couple of years of resting on its laurels with the 'S' series design, Samsung has finally listened to its fans and create a phone that has a look to match its next-generation hardware. It's an elegant, glossy combination of glass and metal that eradicates the memory of Samsung's previous plastic flagships.

Bravely, Samsung has done away with a microSD slot and removable back cover, which is a powerful way of saying that everything you need in a phone is already contained within the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge. A non-removable battery seems all the braver given the phones' QHD displays, but it does a great job, and is boosted by a one-hour fast-charge function. The S6 duo are also by far and away the fastest phones in the world thanks to the latest model of Samsung's octa-core Exynos chipsets.

Top that off with an updated, less bloatware-infested TouchWiz UI layered over the lovely Android Lollipop, and you have two phones that stand unrivalled as the best in the world.

    • Type:
    • Phone
    • Model:
    • SM-G920
    • Manufacturer:
    • Samsung
    • Dimensions:
    • 143.4 x 70.5 x 6.8 mm
    • Weight:
    • 138 g
    • Battery size:
    • 2550 mAh
    • Screen size:
    • 5.1 in
    • Display technology:
    • AMOLED
    • Screen:
    • 2560 x 1440 pixels (576 ppi)
    • Front camera:
    • 5 megapixels
    • Rear camera:
    • 16 megapixels
    • Flashlight:
    • LED
    • Android version:
    • 5.0 - Lollipop
    • User interface:
    • TouchWiz
    • RAM:
    • 3 GB
    • Internal storage:
    • 32 GB
      64 GB
      128 GB
    • Removable storage:
    • Not available
    • Chipset:
    • Samsung Exynos 7420
    • Number of cores:
    • 8
    • Max. clock speed:
    • 2.1 GHz
    • Connectivity:
    • HSPA, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 4.1
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2. 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 clearly listened 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, and can now be bought for around 620 USD for an unlocked international version.

  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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3. 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 and speedy user interface, to its 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 phone 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 its 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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4. Sony Xperia Z3

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

The Sony Xperia Z3 is not a huge improvement over the Z2, but it is still enough of an upgrade to make it one of the finest phones available. 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 processor, and 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. 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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5. Nexus 6

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

We waited and waited for this one. Then we waited some more, then finally when the Nexus 6 arrived in our hands, 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 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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6.LG G Flex 2

lg g flex 2 side 2
The best way to appreciate the G Flex 2's fascinating shape is from the side. We think it's fantastic. / © ANDROIDPIT

Definitely the biggest oddball on our list, but we have a lot of love for the curved design on the G Flex 2. While there's a lot of excitement around the mild curves on the Galaxy S6 Edge, they're not nearly as audacious as the curved-screen design of the G Flex 2. it was the first phone to come packing a 64-bit Snapdragon 810, which is still one of the most powerful on the market, and it also has a solid 13MP camera.

Much was made of the 'self-healing' coating on the LG G Flex 2, but when we carried out a test ourselves, it unfortunately failed to come good on this impressive promise. Every smartphone maker is prone to a bit of marketing hyperbole though, so we're prepared to forgive it on account of its otherwise innovative and powerful features.

    • Type:
    • Phone
    • Model:
    • Sorry, not yet available!
    • Manufacturer:
    • LG
    • Dimensions:
    • 149.1 x 75.3 x 7.1 mm
    • Weight:
    • 152 g
    • Battery size:
    • 3000 mAh
    • Screen size:
    • 5.5 in
    • Display technology:
    • POLED
    • Screen:
    • 1920 x 1080 pixels (401 ppi)
    • Front camera:
    • 2.1 megapixels
    • Rear camera:
    • 13 megapixels
    • Flashlight:
    • Dual-LED
    • Android version:
    • 5.0.1 - Lollipop
    • User interface:
    • Optimus UI
    • RAM:
    • 2 GB
      3 GB
    • Internal storage:
    • 16 GB
      32 GB
    • Removable storage:
    • microSD
    • Chipset:
    • Qualcomm Snapdragon 810
    • Number of cores:
    • 8
    • Max. clock speed:
    • 2 GHz
    • Connectivity:
    • HSPA, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 4.1
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7. HTC One M9

IMG 0984
The HTC One M9: like a more powerful replica of the One M8, which isn' necessarily a bad thing. / © ANDRODIPIT

The poor HTC One M9 in some ways had the toughest job to impress us. Its predecessor - the One M8 - was lauded for its stunning design, and HTC made the decision to keep the external look more or less the same for the One M9. Not only that, they've stuck to the same 5-inch Full HD display while other phones have moved towards QHD. The familiar look of the One M9 meant that it had no chance to dazzle us quite like its predecessor a year ago.

Despite keeping things as they were externally - albeit with a bit more sheen - the HTC One M9 is still one of the most powerful and eye-catching phones around. HTC's decision to move the 4MP UltraPixel camera round to the front of the phone was a good one, leaving the back of the phone with a 20MP snapper. Its Snapdragon 810 chipset ranks the One M9 just short of the Galaxy S6 in terms of power, and it offers crisp stereo audio thanks to upgraded BoomSound speakers.

    • Type:
    • Phone
    • Model:
    • Sorry, not yet available!
    • Manufacturer:
    • HTC
    • Dimensions:
    • 144.6 x 69.7 x 9.61 mm
    • Weight:
    • 157 g
    • Battery size:
    • 2840 mAh
    • Screen size:
    • 5 in
    • Display technology:
    • LCD
    • Screen:
    • 1920 x 1080 pixels (441 ppi)
    • Front camera:
    • 4 megapixels
    • Rear camera:
    • 20 megapixels
    • Flashlight:
    • LED
    • Android version:
    • 5.0.2 - Lollipop
    • User interface:
    • HTC Sense
    • RAM:
    • 3 GB
    • Internal storage:
    • 32 GB
    • Removable storage:
    • microSD
    • Chipset:
    • Qualcomm Snapdragon 810
    • Number of cores:
    • 8
    • Max. clock speed:
    • 2 GHz
    • Connectivity:
    • HSPA, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 4.1

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8. 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 original Moto G. It was an incredibly low-priced smartphone that delivered great performance. Motorola improved on that recipe with the Moto G (2014). Motorola knows the specs race isn't everything, so lots of the internals remain 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 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, and 138 GBP in the UK.

  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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9. 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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10. Moto X (2014)

moto x front homescreen
The Moto X is one of the more stylish Android phones available, and a reasonable price too. / © ANDROIDPIT

The Moto X is a stylish, powerful phone that's worthy of its flagship status at Motorola. True to Motorola's reputation for offering plenty of customizability, the Moto X lets you choose between leather and wood back covers, framed by a metallic rim all around the sides.

At 5.2 inches, the Moto X has a big display with a Full HD resolution. One of its biggest plus-point in our eyes is the fact that it runs an almost-stock version of Android, and is quick to receive the latest updates (it was running Android 5.0.2 Lollipop at the time of writing). This also means minimal bloatware, leaving you to fill the phone up with the apps you want.

Despite our criticisms of its weak battery and underwhelming camera, the Moto X is a fast and well-designed phone, with a tempting mid-range price of 499 USD in the US, and 386 GBP in the UK.

    • Type:
    • Phone
    • Model:
    • XT912A
      XT1097
    • Manufacturer:
    • Motorola
    • Dimensions:
    • 140.8 x 72.4 x 9.9 mm
    • Weight:
    • 144 g
    • Battery size:
    • 2300 mAh
    • Screen size:
    • 5.2 in
    • Display technology:
    • AMOLED
    • Screen:
    • 1920 x 1080 pixels (424 ppi)
    • Front camera:
    • 2 megapixels
    • Rear camera:
    • 13 megapixels
    • Flashlight:
    • LED
    • Android version:
    • 4.4 - KitKat
    • RAM:
    • 2 GB
    • Internal storage:
    • 16 GB (XT912A)
      32 GB (XT1097)
    • Removable storage:
    • Not available
    • Chipset:
    • Qualcomm Snapdragon 801
    • Number of cores:
    • 4
    • Max. clock speed:
    • 2.5 GHz
    • Connectivity:
    • HSPA, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0
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Did we miss anything? Disagree with our order? Let us know in the comments.

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!

Updated by Robert Zak, 31/3/15

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Comments

Write new comment:
  • Chris Krajewski 5 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 ?!!!

    0
  • Tomas Trêarsí 1 month ago Link

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

    0
    • 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!

    0
  • Leonardo Alves 1 month ago Link

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

    0
    • 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.

      0
      • 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.

        0
  • 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.

    0
  • 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 .

    0
    • Bojan M. 1 month ago Link

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

      0
      • mangesh 1 month ago Link

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

        0
      • Bojan M. 1 month ago Link

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

        0
  • 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.

    0
    • 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!

    0
  • 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.

    0
  • Leandro Augusto 3 months ago Link

    Moto Maxx? Droid Maxx? kkk

    0
  • 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 ..

    0
  • 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.

    0
  • 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 .

    0
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