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 (M7)

HTC One Mini

We're excited about the prospect of the HTC One, as it's still a premium Android handset despite its age.

We love that the functionality of the One, including the camera's UltraPixels and speaker's BoomSound. HTC has been very clever in the design of this phone and has really stepped up what a high-end Android handset should be. Metal and glass always look and feel so much better than cheap plastic.

The issues with the battery and storage do rankle somewhat, and do detract from an otherwise flawless performance from one of HTC's best phones out there.

If you can still get your hands on one at a lower price than the newer model, you won't be making a huge compromise.

9. Sony Xperia Z1S

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.

Now the waterproof Z1S is carried by T-Mobile, with zero down on its contract-free plans. The Z1S features a beastly 20MP camera with the largest sensor you'll find on a mobile phone at 1/2.3", coupled with an f/2.0 aperture you'll get great shots in low light.

It's also running Android Jelly Bean, powered by a 2.2GHz Snapdragon 800, so this thing is certainly no slouch in the performance department. Moreover, you'll be getting a 5-inch 1920 x 1080 display and a 3,000 mAh battery. What more could you possibly want?

More memory storage? Not only does it come with 32GB on-board storage, but it supports microSD cards up to 64GB - perfect for those 20MP photos.

We are currently working on our Sony Xperia Z1S review, but in the meantime, you can check out the Xperia Z1S page on Sony's website.

8. Samsung Galaxy S4

Samsung Galaxy S4

The Samsung Galaxy S4 is a phone that we really, really like. The combination of powerful innards, the market's best screen and a clever design ethos all combine to make a really strong contender for the handset you should be buying when you wander into your local phone emporium.

The Galaxy S4 shell isn't made of metal meaning it doesn't feel as premium, but what you're giving up in feel you're getting back in weight, removable battery and general hardiness - the combination of Gorilla Glass 3 and a plastic shell means this is one tough cookie.

The gestures are cool, and the touch-less experience amazing at times - in short, it's a wonderful phone you want to pull out of your pocket again and again and again, making it a worthy second place contender in this list.

7. LG G2


The LG G2 is the beastly smartphone that is LG's answer to the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One. It's a massive, yet not entirely unwieldy, smartphone brimming with great specs.

The display and camera are really killer, and performance is incredible. It ate up every benchmark for breakfast, turned out great photos and dazzled us with its high-resolution display. Oh, and on top of that, battery life was a charm.

The button placement drove us insane for the first few days, and it wasn't pretty. It's incredibly frustrating and takes some time to get used to. Adjusting volume when on a call was relatively easy if you spent enough time feeling around for the volume keys, but adjusting volume for watching videos is a total pain.

There aren't too many flashy bells and whistles with the LG G2 but there aren't that many issues either, so you really can't go wrong picking one of these massive phones up.

6. iPhone 5C

iPhone 5C

Though it's pretty much a dressed up, slightly nicer version of the iPhone 5, the iPhone 5C at least has decent improvements and a low price tag - if the starting pay of $99 with a two-year contract is your thing.

The bright colors make the iPhone 5C look a bit childish but look beyond that, the 5C does feel structurally sound in the hand, no doubt helped by the steel frame hidden under the polycarbonate exterior, which makes us less concerned about it smashing.

While the screen size might not be anything special, the 1136 x 640 Retina display is present and correct on the 5C, meaning it has the same offering as both the iPhone 5 (and 5S). You'll even find the same A6 processor, 8MP rear camera, 1.9 MP front camera, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0.

So what have we got so far then? Well, the iPhone 5C is a slightly overweight iPhone 5 with a plastic body, larger battery and a slightly lower price tag - meaning it's a great mobile device but don't expect it to be the 5S.

5. Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is quite similar to its predecessors, the Galaxy Note and Galaxy Note 2; you're going to get something that looks like a giant phone and a small tablet meaning it's definitely not a device a lot of people will be clamoring for - but that doesn't mean it's a bad phone - in fact, it's a really great phablet.

The Galaxy Note 3 has grown again since the 5.5-inch offering on the Note 2 to a palm busting 5.7 inches complete with a full HD, 1080 x 1920 Super AMOLED display.

The Note 3 has also retained the metal frame from the Galaxy S4, which runs around the edge of the device providing a rigid body and a more premium look. The leathery texture adds to the idea of high quality, though it could look a bit tacky to some. But it actually does give the phone a nice grip and solid feel.

4. Nexus 5

Nexus 5

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

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. Samsung Galaxy S5

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.

1. HTC One (2014)

HTC One M8

The HTC One (M8) is probably going to remain our number one pick for the year. HTC managed to keep many of the beautiful design elements of the 2013, or M7, model. along with refinements to Sense UI that make the experience feel fresh.

Perhaps it's biggest shortcoming is its low-resolution camera, but we've already given our opinion on that: what you do with the camera is more important than the actual camera itself. One neat camera trick is that you can now choose your focus point after shooting a photo, thanks to that secondary camera.

The 2014 version, or M8 model, has a slightly larger display than its predecessor at 5 inches over 4.7 inches. With the same resolution, that brings the overall PPI count down, but even the most discerning eyes wouldn't be able to tell the difference.

Moreover, the HTC One's processor gets a bump with the new Snapdragon 801. Overall performance on the device is excellent. Coupled with its design, UI and overall build quality, you can't get better bang for your buck in the Android space. The HTC One is the easy winner this year.