What's the best phone? Our verdict on the best smartphones - constantly updated
Sometimes choosing between two 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?
Here we have our continually updated comparison of the top 20 best cell phones you can get in the U.S. 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.
Here's our list of the best cell phones in the U.S., starting with number 20:
20. BlackBerry Q10
While the Z10 saw BlackBerry tread new water in the mobile market with its first fully touchscreen device, the Q10 sees a return to more familiar territory with the handset sporting the firm's famous QWERTY keyboard.
Anyone who currently uses a BlackBerry handset will be able to pick up the Q10 and start tapping away without a care in the world - although if you're thinking of transitioning from a touchscreen device you may not fare so well.
However, battery life is a big issue with today's smartphones, and the BlackBerry Q10 is one of the best out there, easily providing you with a full day of operation - even with pretty heavy usage.
But when you start stacking the Q10 up against handsets which have a similar price tag - the Samsung Galaxy S4, HTC One, Sony Xperia Z and iPhone 5 - you can't help but think it's possibly one of the most expensive keyboards on the planet, with little in the way of stand out features to justify its cost.
19. Sony Xperia Z
Sony's come out here with a very strong message: we are back and we mean business. There's no hint of this being a niche Android phone - or by any means a cheap one.
There is so much to love about the Sony Xperia Z, and while there are some annoyances, they pale in comparison. Yes, we think it's a bit shoddy that we encountered software bugs, but we suppose they can be fixed easily enough, and they weren't bad enough that we had crashes or lost data.
Unfortunately, the price of the Xperia Z is just a little too high in our opinion, but rush out a software update to improve the camera and you have a strong contender for smartphone of the year.
The only problem is, by the time that's happened, the competition from fellow Android manufacturers will have grown even fiercer. For now, for those who can afford it, we recommend it heartily.
18. BlackBerry Z10
The Z10 is a decent smartphone offering up a strong range of features and a fancy new operating system that may catch the eye of the technologically adventurous.
Web browsing deserves a special mention, as we were seriously impressed with the speed of the BlackBerry Z10 when it came to loading pages.
Also worth pointing out are the expandable storage, removable battery and Adobe Flash support providing small wins for the Z10, and will help as it tries to stand out in a crowded market.
But the unproven operating system and severe lack of headlining applications will turn a lot of consumers off at point of sale, and it's the image of the BlackBerry brand as a whole which needs to be worked on fast if it stands a chance of winning back the hearts of the general public.
17. HTC Evo 4G LTE
We were already huge fans of the HTC One X, but the HTC Evo 4G LTE delivers on many of the fronts where the One X simply fell flat.
The expandable memory makes it a boon for delivering quality media content with limited restrictions. And then there's the matter of the battery life, which has been chiefly resolved by just (somehow) managing to fit a larger battery inside.
With Sprint being the major negative about this phone, the Evo is simply fantastic. But for many, that won't matter. If you're tied to the network for some reason or another, the HTC Evo 4G LTE is your best bet.
16. Samsung Galaxy Nexus
We had real high hopes for the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and genuinely expected it to take the place of best smartphone on the market when it launched as the world's first phone to run Android 4.0: Ice Cream Sandwich and where a year later, it became the first phone to run Android 4.1: Jelly Bean.
But it didn't. In the year since its launch it has understandably dropped even further behind. That's not to say it's not a good handset because it's a fantastic piece of kit with its fantastic screen, superb OS and extra elements like Android Beam for sharing photos, contacts or connecting to peripherals.
But if you were to take away Jelly Bean, hardware-wise, you'd not have much to write home about compared to what else is out there, beyond the beautiful screen.
15. HTC Windows Phone 8X
The HTC Windows Phone 8X is a premium-feeling device with a brand new iteration of the highly elegant Windows Phone OS. It has almost every connectivity option you could ask for and a camera with increased light allowance on the lens.
Yet we can't help feeling there are still a few areas it really is left lacking. Things like the poor media support are inexcusable though admittedly these are places where Microsoft is to blame more than HTC.
We're sure it will be fixed but it takes the gloss off a new purchase when things like this don't work flawlessly.
We recommend it for those looking for something different - but if you have the money to spend, we'd hold out for the Nokia Lumia 920.
14. Apple iPhone 4S
The iPhone 4S caught many by surprise. With Apple expected to release the iPhone 5, we instead got an iPhone 4 with overhauled innards.
It's got all the bits right: great camera, slick web browser, quality screen - and made it all work together in the way we've come to expect.
But the gripes we have with the iPhone 4S are the same ones we've had for years with Apple's iPhones: no Flash player and ridiculously high prices that never seem to go down.
So if you've got an iPhone 4, you don't need to upgrade (as long as you update to iOS 5), but for anyone else on an older device, or finally making the jump to an iPhone, you should run down to the shops and pick up a 4S.
13. LG Optimus G
We quite like the Optimus G. We're confident saying it's the best LG phone we've seen yet. The specs are tremendous, and it manages to have a big display, quad-core processor and 4G LTE without terrible battery life.
The AT&T version of the Optimus G also sports a removable SIM card and a microSD slot. Add that to the 32GB of internal storage and you've got a truly high capacity device.
The size of the LG Optimus G will certainly be divisive. While we like big phones, a handset this large (5.19-inches long) won't please everyone, and neither will its plastic-feeling body. It might be made of polycarbonate Gorilla Glass, but it feels like plastic all the way.
The AT&T and Sprint Optimus G are similar, but it's definitely worth looking into both reviews to find out which one is the better fit for you.
12. HTC One X
The HTC One X is a phone that's had us intrigued for a while - running a quad core CPU (Nvidia's Tegra 3) plus one of the largest screens on any HTC.
Integrated with its super-thin chassis, HD screen and beautiful graphics, the One X is the next-generation Android platform, all rolled into one.
Which is why the battery life is such a shame here. All the other niggles, like the touchscreen sensitivity and apps failing to register a press have been eradicated by HTC - and although the battery issues have been looked at, we're still not in the mood to say it's the equal of many other smartphones out there especially when the phone manages to power down regularly before bedtime.
If you're thinking of making the HTC One X your HTC Desire HD update - and many of you will be, then we can say this is definitely worth a look. While the battery life is poor, it's not as bad as that little ol' phone (although you may find the cheaper HTC One S very much desirable too...).
11. HTC One X+
The HTC One X+ isn't exactly a new handset, as it shares many similarities with its brother the HTC One X, but there are a few key upgrades in play here.
That being said, it's an excellent smartphone excelling in a number of areas and it's definitely worth its place among the great and the good of the mobile world.
The One X+ builds on a number of issues which arose with the original One X, addressing storage concerns and improving web browser efficiency and the always reliable HTC keyboard - however the battery is still a bit of a sore point.
There are so many things to love about the One X+ as it really is a great smartphone. We urge you to give it a whirl in store, and while it may not have the fancy tricks of the Galaxy S3, or the cult following of the iPhone 5, it's happily rubbing shoulders with the big boys.