What's the best phone? Our verdict on the best smartphones - constantly updated
Sometimes choosing between two cell phones is easy. Just look at the specs and it becomes woefully clear that some phones (even those positioned directly against one another) aren't created equal.
But most of the time it's not as easy as just reading numbers. A phone is something you'll use everyday for two years (if you're lucky). It needs to be durable, adequately future-proof and feel right in your hand.
Where do we begin?
We have for you here our continually updated comparison of the top 20 best cell phones you can get in the US.
We've given you a brief overview of every phone and why we love it. But feel free to check out our incredibly extensive mobile phone reviews for a more in-depth look to decide for yourself which cell phone is best.
10. HTC One M8 for Windows Phone
Windows Phones fans have been left behind by most major manufacturers. If you wanted a solid Windows Phone handset, your choices were either a Nokia Lumia phone or a , well, Nokia Lumia phone. Thankfully, HTC has stepped up to the plate with the HTC One M8 for Windows Phone.
It's exactly as the name describes it: this is an HTC One M8, but instead of Android, we have Windows Phone stuffed in it. The hardware is identical to its Android counterpart, right down to the dual-cameras and even the battery size.
If you live and die by the Windows Phone ecosystem, and you're getting bored with the thick, brick design of the Lumia series, you'll probably love the HTC One M8 for Windows Phone. The one big catch, though, is that it's only available for Verizon Wireless.
We're currently working on our review, so stay tuned for that!
9. iPhone 5C
Did you know that you can still buy an iPhone 5C? Even though it's a year old, it can still be had, and it is still an excellent smartphone for those who want all the goodies of iOS 8 without shelling out hundreds of dollars for a fancy new iPhone 6 or 6 Plus.
The iPhone 5C takes the iPhone 5 - same processor, battery, display and camera - and wraps it in colorful, sturdy plastic.
If you want all the brilliant and polished apps available for iOS, but you don't need the latest and greatest and want to save a few bucks, you can't go wrong with the iPhone 5C.
Before you buy, consider reading our iPhone 5C review for our in-depth thoughts on the device!
8. Nokia Lumia 1520
The Nokia Lumia 1520 is a beast of a Windows Phone handset. If you're looking for a Windows Phone 8 smartphone and are hoping for something getting close to the tablet range, this 6-inch Lumia is it.
Although it is a large, 6-inch display at just 1080p, the color and contrast look great and sharpness doesn't suffer at all. Like many Lumia phones, it's still pretty bulky and it has some mass, but if you're getting into what Nokia offers for the Windows Phone market, you may already know that.
The Lumia 1520 has killer battery life and a great camera, and that rich display that the Lumias are known for really shines in such a large form factor.
You will find that Windows Phone's ecosystem still has a long way to go, but if you know what you're getting into and want a big phone, you'll probably love the Nokia Lumia 1520.
7. Samsung Galaxy Note 4
The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 builds on the great stuff that the Note series had before it, and if you loved any of the previous generation Notes, you'll like this one even better. It's big, it's got some metal on it (Samsung is notorious for cheap-feeling plastic phones) and specs are beefed up from the previous generation.
Perhaps the real selling point of the Galaxy Note 4 is its S Pen or stylus, and the apps and UI elements that support it. There's no shortage of massive Android phones, so where the Note used to shine with its massive size is now becoming the norm.
With big phones come big batteries, which means big battery life. The great thing about the Note 4's battery life is it's not limited to what's stuck inside the device. Unlike other smartphones, you can swap out batteries here, which means you'll never have to worry about missing tweets or Instagram likes again.
If you dig Samsung's Android UI and you love the idea of using a small pen to take notes and navigate your phone, the Galaxy Note 4 is a solid choice.
6. Samsung Galaxy S5
The Galaxy S5 pushes that flagship Galaxy S line into the future, and with it, Samsung has listened to critics and decided to scale back on all the junk they stuff into the UI. The camera is good as ever, its processor more powerful and its design rich with plastic, as usual.
We love that it's one of the few smartphones that still allows swappable batteries and memory cards, which is huge in an age when 32GB isn't enough, and battery technology hasn't quite caught up with our needs and demands.
The large, high-res display is beautiful, and it's covered with strong, scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass. If you're in the market for an Android handset, this is pretty much amongst the top-tier devices for 2014. You really can't go wrong with it if you don't mind the plastic build.
5. LG G3
The LG G3 has the sharpest display you can get on an Android smartphone right now. At 2560 x 1440 on a 5.5-inch display, the LG G3 boasts a pixel density of 538 ppi. And if the high-res display isn't enough to sell you on this phone, it also has high-res video with 4K video recording capabilities.
As far as the UI goes, you'll either love it or hate it, but it is greatly improved over last year's version found on the LG G2. The design elements are cleaner, the UI is mostly minimal and it's peppy enough that it doesn't cause the phone to lag. Whether you like it or not will really be determined by your aesthetic preferences.
The 13MP camera now comes with a laser autofocus feature, which allows for much faster AF performance according to LG. And of course, all these beefy specs are coupled with excellent battery life thanks to its large, replaceable 3,000 mAh battery.
If you're thinking of plunking down your hard-earned cash on LG's latest flagship, be sure to read our LG G3 review for additional thoughts and details.
4. HTC One M8
The Nexus 5 and Moto X are so close that it's really more like an equal second place here, and the difference between the two is going to come down to personal preference.
It has a large, sharp display and excellent battery life with its 2,300 mAh unit. If there is anything lacking, it would be the camera, but since Google's latest update to it, it turned out to be a good enough shooter.
What really makes the Nexus 5 incredible is the top-tier hardware - 2.3GHz Snapdragon 800, 5-inch 1920 x 1080 display, 2,300 mAh battery, 8MP camera - all at a starting price of just $349 unlocked. You won't find anything in that pricing realm with these specs these days, which makes the Nexus 5 an even more killer deal.
Moreover, you're running Android 4.4. KitKat, the latest version of Android, and you'll be getting Google's updates as swiftly as they come.
3. iPhone 5S
The iPhone 5S is a phone that takes everything Apple has learned over the last six and a half years and put it together in an incredibly cohesive manner.
There's always an apathy with any kind of "S" device from Apple, as it's historically just the same thing made a little bit better, and it's true the advances on the iPhone 5S are few - but the ones that are there are very impressive indeed.
Below the surface, Apple has put together one of the most cutting-edge smartphones around, imbued with a top-end camera and a really innovative feature with Touch ID.
There's only so much that smartphone manufacturers can do to differentiate these days, and while Apple can't expect consumers to be wowed by the same shell, it can expect to get some interest in the sharp camera and gives a sense of relief with the new A7 chip.
Its performance is consistent, battery life is good and the camera is one of the best - if not the best all around - in the market.
2. Moto X (2014)
The Moto X (2014) is arguably the best Android phone you can get right now. While it doesn't have the best camera, or a qHD display with over 500 ppi, or the biggest battery in the business, it still delivers the best Android experience.
The original Moto X was a bit of a sleeper hit. It had a paltry 720p display (most other phones were 1080p displays), a poor 10MP camera, not the most powerful processor and it was far from looking like a premium handset. However, most, if not all Moto X owners loved the device. Having active notifications, great battery life and snappy performance showed that overall user experience trumped specs.
The 2014 Moto X builds on the greatness of the 2013 model with a larger, 5.2-inch display, improved camera, larger battery and better internals. It also has the always-on microphone that we learned to love in the previous model, and a new set of sensors on the front to detect hand motion to check notifications.
Best of all, the Moto X 2014 is only $99 on contract in the U.S., and only $499 at full retail price. It comes with wooden, leather, or quality plastic backs and allows full customization via the Moto Maker. This is what I would call serious bang for your buck.
1. iPhone 6/iPhone 6 Plus
Our new pick for number one is the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. The two behemoths, as far as iPhones are concerned, are the latest and greatest from Apple, and they certainly don't disappoint. We loved the phone here at TechRadar, but you'll find an echoed sentiment across the web. The 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, respectively, are the biggest phones Apple has ever made, and most of us are glad for it.
Both iPhones are nearly identical with few differences: the iPhone 6 Plus has OIS (optical image stabilization), a larger battery and a bigger and sharper display (326 ppi for the iPhone 6, 401 ppi for the Plus).
They also come in 16GB, 64GB and whopping 128GB versions in three different colors. Moreover, they're now equipped with NFC capabilities with Apple's promising payment system, Apple Pay.
You'll also find the reliable Touch ID fingerprint sensor on the home button, which has worked really well with securing the device and making purchases from the App Store.
The slick new design, improved camera, bigger display and iOS 8 make the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus our top picks for the U.S. market, and it may stay that way for a while.