The year's top 10 smartphones available now

Summary:All the smartphones announced in the first quarter of 2014 are now available and this list ranks the top 10 for you to consider.

Back in December I wrote about my top smartphones of 2013 . With all major first quarter new smartphones available from US carriers this week, it’s time to look at the best devices to purchase as we start 2014.

We can expect a new iPhone, the Xperia Z2, possibly a new Moto X, and more coming in the next few months. For now, there are at least 10 good quality devices — this list is based on my experiences and opinions. I am sure many will have different opinions about the ranking and am curious to see what your top devices are at this time.

Number 1: Apple iPhone 5s

Image: Apple

All indications are that we will see a new iPhone, possibly with a larger display, announced in June at WWDC. However, after looking at the iterative updates from HTC and Samsung, it is difficult for me not to give my top pick to the Apple iPhone 5s .

With the iPhone 5s in hand, you get all of the latest apps and services first, a solid performing all-around camera, an extremely pocketable form factor, and a smartphone that is simply tough to beat.

Number 2: HTC One (M8)

Image: HTC

The HTC One (M7) was my top smartphone of 2013 and I would have placed this new HTC One (M8) at the top of this list if HTC had done a bit more with the rear camera. It is honestly still the smartphone I would personally purchase myself at this time, but I understand not everyone wants a new device just because it has the best build quality over everything else available.

HTC improved its Sense 6 UI so that it honestly enhances, rather than detracts from, the Android experience. There is just the right amount of customizations, settings, and features without being overbearing like Samsung tends to do. You won’t find a better designed smartphone and HTC did a fantastic job improving on an already great device.

Number 3: Samsung Galaxy S5

Image: Samsung

Samsung’s latest smartphone is available from US carriers this week and — as clearly stated in CNET’s full review — the S5 is one of the top two Android smartphones to purchase right now. It has some new features over the S4, such as a fingerprint scanner, heart rate monitor, upgraded 16 megapixel camera, and water resistant design.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 is one of the only smartphones today that offers both a removable battery and microSD expansion card slot, which makes it handy for road warriors. There are plenty of options in the S5, but thankfully TouchWiz has been slimmed down a bit to offer a better overall experience.

Number 4: Moto X

Image: Motorola

While the Moto X was launched last fall, it remains one of my favorite smartphones of all time. The Moto X is great because of the things Motorola has done to make the overall experience fantastic, including active notifications, touchless controls, Motorola Connect, and Motorola Assist.

The Moto X is also one of the lowest priced smartphones you can purchase and is available on all US carriers via the Moto Maker customization site. Even though I continue to test out the HTC One (M8), my SIM keeps finding its way back into my custom Moto X because of the Motorola enhancements.

Number 5: Nokia Lumia Icon

Image: Nokia

Windows Phone is gaining market share and the best overall Windows Phone available today is clearly the Nokia Lumia Icon from Verizon Wireless. It offers up the perfect mix of screen size, 5 inches, with great internal specs and a fantastic camera. You can’t beat a high end Nokia Lumia camera on a phone and the Icon doesn’t disappoint.

Nokia just announced the Lumia 930, which is the GSM version of the Lumia Icon for customers outside the US. Windows Phone has come a long way and will be getting even better very soon with the Windows Phone 8.1 update that was announced and shown off last week.

Keep clicking through to see numbers 6 through 10.

Topics: Mobility, Apple, iOS, iPhone, Samsung, Smartphones


Matthew Miller started using mobile devices in 1997 and has been writing news, reviews, and opinion pieces ever since. He is a co-host, with ZDNet's Kevin Tofel, of the MobileTechRoundup podcast and an author of three Wiley Companion series books. Matthew started using mobile devices with a US Robotics Pilot 1000 and has owned more than 2... Full Bio

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