Our verdict on the best Android phones - constantly updated

There's one key way in which Android is massively different from its Apple-branded smartphone competition - the number of phones out there running Google's hot mobile OS.

The latest wave of phones rocking up are running Android 4.4 KitKat, the latest version of the mobile OS from Google, and they are all pretty fantastic.

There are also a few Android 4.3 Jelly Bean handsets on the market too.

Samsung makes loads of these Android devices. Sony's cut the Ericsson ties but still is cranking out the Google-branded handsets.

Then you've got Android-powered phones from Acer, LG, Huawei, Motorola, ZTE and many others, and while HTC has ceased the practice of releasing more phones than centipedes have shoes (they do wear them, you know) it's still one of the more prominent Android manufacturers.

The many variations in screen size, processor power, software features and design makes finding the best Android phone for you extremely tough.

Do you physically and emotionally need a QWERTY keyboard? Are you the sort of oddball who prefers the rough pressing needed to make resistive touchscreens work? If so, you won't find much luck here, as those technologies are sadly phased out of the Android world as buyers get enamoured by fancy, glossy capacitive touchscreens.

Are you struggling to work out which are the best Android Widgets? Or even stuck wondering: "Actually,what IS Android?"

To help find the best Android phone for you, we've rounded up the best Android handsets out there today, rating the phones on hardware performance, OS upgrade potential and, of course, how shiny and nice they are to have and boast about to work colleagues.

So here they are - the best Android phones money can buy today. For many, many different reasons.

10. Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is alive and kicking and breathes yet more life into a mobile form factor many thought would be dead on arrival, ramping up the specs and the size to give us a new monolith of mobile.

It may be big, but the 5.7-inch display is fantastic and the Full HD Super AMOLED technology makes everything pop from websites to movies.

What really impressed us with the Galaxy Note 3 though was its battery life and sheer speed under the finger. We're used to a day at best when hardcore using the device, but we got far past that without breaking a sweat throughout our tests.

Quick verdict

This is the best Galaxy Note smartphone to date, so if you're looking for a supersized handset with impressive power and a wide range of features the Galaxy Note 3 has got you covered.

9. Samsung Galaxy S4

Samsung Galaxy S4

Samsung may have been top dog in 2012, but since those glory days the sultry stylings of the HTC One and craziness of the LG G2 have proven too strong against a phone that's a slightly-better-version of its predecessor.

There's a lot to love with the Samsung Galaxy S4 with its super sharp screen, powerful camera, long-lasting battery and fluid user interface - it's got everything you could ever want in a smartphone.

It may be a little more costly than some of its direct rivals, but thankfully it's still cheaper than the iPhone. If only it was made out of something a little more premium.

Quick verdict

There's no doubt that this was one of the best smartphone ever made when it launched last year. But now that it's a year older, it isn't able to keep up with some of the newer handsets. It's still worth a second glance though, especially if you can get it nice and cheap.

8. Moto G

Moto G

The Moto G rocks up with a 4.5-inch 720p display, punchy 1.2GHz quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM and pure Android 4.4 KitKat on board.

Add to that a 5MP camera, the choice of 8GB or 16GB of internal storage and connections such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS, and you've got a pretty decent mid-range handset.

But take a look at the price tag and you'll be astounded by how little the Motorola Moto G will set you back compared to similarly specced phones.

Quick verdict

If you're looking for the best budget smartphone on the market then look no further, for the Android 4.4 toting Moto G gives you more than enough bang for your buck.

7. HTC One

HTC One

Sure, it may have been replaced by the even more impressive HTC One M8 in the top spot, but last year's HTC One was so good, it still manages to hold a spot in our top 10.

Remember, this was only the third phone to ever get a 5-star TechRadar review, thanks to its stunning body, powerful processor and impressive array of features like Boomsound.

What's more, the fact it's been replaced by the One M8 means you can now grab this excellent handset at a drastically reduced price.

Quick verdict

It may not have the same staying power as the phones ahead of it now that it's a year old, but the HTC One is a powerful handset that's gorgeous to look at and a pleasure to use.

6. Sony Xperia Z1 Compact

Motorola Moto G

The problem with all these flagship Android phones these days is that people with smaller hands have to struggle to use them. Fortunately, that has inspired a new range of 'mini' devices, which take elements of the flagship and shrink them down in both size and price.

The Xperia Z1 Compact is the best of the bunch. Not only does it combine the Xperia Z1's waterproof body with a range of colours, it brings great battery life and affordable price to the handset as well.

Sure, a screen that's less than 1080p may not impress everyone, but Sony's great UI and camera should keep the masses satisfied.

Quick verdict

If 5-inches is an inch too far for you, this is the pick of the smaller Android devices. Plus, it comes in a range of colours, and everyone likes colours, right?