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 Jelly Bean, but there are a handful starting to sport Android 4.4 KitKat too - plus we're feverishly awaiting the new big gun, which you can check out in our extensive hands on: Samsung Galaxy S5 review.

Samsung makes loads of them. 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 S4 Mini

Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini

For those after some Samsung muscle but in a slightly more pocketable format, the S4 Mini's a result. It's had its display size chopped to just 4.3 inches - positively tiny in this age of 5-inch+ slabs - and although the resolution and internal power have also been reduced when compared with the S4 Large, the Mini's everyday performance isn't really compromised at all.

The 1.7GHz dual-core chipset is perfectly capable of handling both Samsung's software tools and the ever-increasing demands of Android, while it outdoes other phones in this mid-range price bracket by having 1.5GB of RAM onboard for solid app, gaming and multitasking performance.

Quick verdict

It's not quite a miniature Galaxy S4 in that it's been downgraded a little internally as well as externally, but the good news is the asking price has been chopped accordingly -- making it a low budget scorcher.

9. Sony Xperia Z1

Sony Xperia Z1

The Sony Xperia Z1 is another powerhouse of a phone. With a 20.7MP camera with G Lens technology, the ability to withstand rain, snow and sand and a superfast Snapdragon 800 processor running the show, it's clearly a great handset to have around.

It also comes in a variety of funky colours, has a pleasing build quality that helps justify the higher price to a degree and basically offers the best of the Sony brand in a smartphone.

We do have a few reservations insofar as the Z1 doesn't really carry the mantle the Xperia Z created; it's got a massively uprated camera and screen technology, but neither particularly wow.

Quick verdict

Don't think that this is anything less than a leading phone from Sony. It's just that the added thickness to accommodate the camera doesn't impress enough to plop it into the top five, and after the really great showing from the Xperia Z, we were a little disappointed.

8. 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.

7. HTC One Mini

HTC One Mini

As with Samsung's attempts at scaling down size, performance and the cost of ownership to you the punter, HTC's miniaturised HTC One reduces both size and internal performance a little to bring it in at a more affordable level than the original flagship.

The dual-core Snapdragon 400 processor, 1GB of RAM and smaller, lower resolution 4.3-inch display are compromises, but HTC's polished software and exemplary hardware design skills make this a strong contender regardless.

It has the same victory points as the large HTC One - the brilliant Boomsound audio output and front-facing speakers, the Ultrapixel imaging sensor for cracking photographs and particularly fine low-light performance, plus HTC's classy aluminium chassis is here once again.

It doesn't feel cheap, but it is a little bit cheaper. Win-win.

Quick verdict

The same quality exterior design as the full size HTC One, with internals that have only a little less punch. And a 4.3-inch display isn't exactly small, making it ideal for people after decent power in a more modest form factor.

6. Motorola Moto G

Motorola 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 wait...

... take a look at the price tag and you'll be astounded by how little the Motorola Moto G will set you back - £130 SIM-free, or £120 on PAYG, it's a steal.

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.