5. Samsung Galaxy S4
The Samsung Galaxy S4 is a phone that we really, really like. It's slick, it's fast and it wipes the floor with the competition in so many ways. The 13MP camera is one of the best we've seen on a phone for getting that picture, with rich colors and texture.
But for a phone that's so quick to run through nearly every task we were a little upset to see how long it takes to load a gallery up. This problem is compounded with a microSD card, and the more stuff on there, the more the phone has to parse.
However, the Galaxy S4 is a great, great device re-inventing what it means to own a brilliant smartphone in a number of ways. The gestures are cool, with 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.
Also, TouchWiz is getting a little complex now. The simplicity of HTC Sense shines through, and the HTC One is a superior device in many ways because the innovation is based on things users want. Where Samsung brought the ability to wave to move photos, the HTC One made the speaker better.
4. HTC One Mini
We're excited about the prospect of the HTC One Mini, as it's a handset with all the best bits of the HTC One without as much of the cost. That's got to be hitting a new segment of the market, right?
We love that the functionality of the One Mini isn't compromised from its larger relative, with the likes of UltraPixels and BoomSound all involved without being watered down. HTC has been very clever in the design of this phone by bringing nearly every great element of the One to the smaller version, and packaging it in a way that still makes it very attractive.
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.
But they're more caveats on an otherwise top-end phone rather than reasons not to buy it, and placing it two price tiers below the HTC One is a great move indeed.
3. Moto X
The Moto X is a whole lot of first. It's the first flagship device Motorola has produced since it was snapped up by Google. It's the first Jelly Bean Android flagship with LTE that's under five inches. It's the first mass produced phone that lets you customize its look to a ridiculous degree.
This is one of the best constructed phones around. It's dense and solid but not too heavy, a lot like aniPhone 5 or an HTC One. Unlike those metal bodied phones however, it's polycarbonate (read: plastic. Good feeling plastic) body stands up to scrapes and drops with getting mauled.
If only the camera were better and Motorola's apps were a little sharper, we'd give it a no holds barred recommendation. As it is now, the Moto X deserves to be in the conversation when discussing the best Android has to offer, and simply only that.
2. HTC One
As we said, this is the best HTC phone ever, without a doubt. But we'll go one better than that: it's the one of the best phones on the market.
We would caveat the recommendation by mentioning the One's poor battery life, as it will really depend on how you use the phone on whether you'll love it or hate it.
There's no doubt that Samsung makes better phones for the power user, at least in terms of battery consumption, but they're also made of plastic, where the One is probably the most premium-feeling out there.
1. Sony Xperia Z
The Sony Xperia Z has incredible specs - from that beautiful screen, to its breathtaking design and powerful innards, there is so much that Sony has got right here.
It has built on the strong heritage of the Walkman and given power users one of the things they often desperately crave - a good battery performance and top speeds.
The design is robust and fits very well in the hand - and despite the fact the 5-inch screen is whopping, the way its integrated into the chassis mitigates that issue well. And when you turn on the Full HD screen, well, the clarity is almost mind-melting.
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 annoying 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. With this in top spot, we can't wait to do a full on review of its successor the Sony Xperia Z1, to see what it can do.