Samsung Galaxy S5

3. Samsung Galaxy S5

2014 is turning out to be a stellar year for the prospective smartphone user, as the HTC One (M8) was joined by the Samsung Galaxy S5 in our 'best smartphone' list, and now the Xperia Z2 enters the fray too.

There was a lot of hype around the new Galaxy, and rightly so: it's by far the best phone Samsung has ever produced, with a blazing fast core, a strong result in the benchmarks and a larger 5.1-inch screen.

Then there's the fact that with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 CPU the Galaxy S5 is one of the best phones on the market when it comes to battery life, besting the already impressive One M8 in the power stakes.

Samsung has also dropped the 'innovation' of the air gestures from last year (well, they are in there but not the main focus) and improved the hardware with a better camera, fingerprint scanner and heart rate monitor too.

The last addition is pretty pointless... but hey, it's fun for down the pub.

Quick verdict

The Samsung Galaxy S5 is a good phone, apart from the design. It's something that needs to be updated sorely, and while it doesn't have to be an all-metal shell, it needs to evolve.

The next generation of smartphones is a cut above last year's models - that said, the LG G2 still impresses even with a few miles on the clock - and if you're looking for a new phone, you should check out one of the top three first.

The S5 has a clear UI, powerful innards and is also waterproof... the rivals might edge it slightly overall, but it's very, very tight at the top and whichever handset you end up with won't disappoint.