Top Android smartphones (March 2014 edition)

Top Android smartphones (March 2014 edition)

Summary: Time once again to take a tour of a handful of the best Android phones currently available on the market (March 2014). There are a few new handsets, including one for all you pure Android fans. Also, do you want a smartphone that's a little more robust that regular devices? Also on this list is a new waterproof and dustproof smartphone from Sony.

SHARE:
30

 |  Image 5 of 11

  • Thumbnail 1
  • Thumbnail 2
  • Thumbnail 3
  • Thumbnail 4
  • Thumbnail 5
  • Thumbnail 6
  • Thumbnail 7
  • Thumbnail 8
  • Thumbnail 9
  • Thumbnail 10
  • Thumbnail 11
  • (Image: Google)

    Google Nexus 5

    Not only has it been put together using some of the best components currently available, it also offers the purest Android experience possible, and gives owners access to the latest Android 4.4 KitKat. Owners also will get their updates direct from Google and won't need to wait for hardware OEMs or carriers to release customized updates (or just never receive updates, as is still the case with many handsets).

    I've always found Nexus-branded hardware to be solid and reliable, but I'd give this a few weeks for Google to shake out any potential bugs before recommending it to anyone other than hardcore Android enthusiasts.

    • KitKat (Android 4.4)
    • 2.23GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 CPU
    • 4.95-inch 1920x1080 display with a pixel density of 445 pixels-per-inch
    • 8MP rear camera
    • 1.3MP front camera
    • 16/32GB internal storage
  • (Image: HTC)

    HTC One

    Under the hood, the HTC One isn't all that different to Samsung's new Galaxy S4 — it features the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 CPU (although it runs a little slower), 2GB of RAM, and a 1080p screen — but it is also a very different beast thanks to Sense, the bold new user interface HTC has loaded into the smartphone. It also features an aluminum shell, unlike the Samsung Galaxy S4, which has a plastic shell.

    • Jelly Bean (Android 4.2) with HTC's Sense user interface
    • 1.7GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600
    • 4.7-inch Super LCD, Full HD, high-pixel-density (468ppi) display
    • 4MP rear camera
    • 2.1MP front camera
    • 32/64GB internal storage
  • (Image: Samsung)

    Samsung Galaxy Note 3

    The Galaxy Note 3 is, as you can probably gather, a sequel to the Galaxy Note 2. It brings a whole raft of improvements to the table, and it also supports Samsung's new Galaxy Gear smartwatch.

    Probably the biggest downside to this handset is that it feels plasticky and a little bit cheap in the hand, this shouldn't put you off.

    • Jelly Bean (Android 4.3)
    • 2.3GHz Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor
    • 5.7-inch 1920 x 1080 display with 388 pixels-per-inch
    • 3GB of RAM
    • Stylus (a pro or a con depending on your view of them)
    • 13MP rear camera
    • 2MP front camera
    • 4G LTE
    • NFC
    • 32/64GB or internal storage
    • microSD card slot for expansion

Topics: Mobility, Android, Hardware

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

Talkback

30 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • This article is all over the place

    For a March 2014 edition, it references a phone not available until April 2014, the Galaxy S5.

    Then it references the Galaxy S4 "very much like HTC's new One", really? I thought it had been out a year. or is this the "new" one not yet released?

    Cut and paste editing?
    lancsmapman
    • he can't be serious

      and STILL says the Z Ultra has the sharpest screen when the Z and Z1 is the one with the sharpest screens. The Z Ultra is a 6.3" phablet with the same 1080p resolution as the Z/Z1 smaller screens.
      warboat
  • Galaxy S3

    I still insist that the Galaxy S3 belongs on this list. Why an aging, third generation model of a phone that is now entering its 5th generation? Simple: this is the best Android phone that can be bought on all the major pre-paid carriers. Boost, Cricket, Virgin, Metro PCS, T-Mobile etc. they all carry the phone. And with the price-advantage that comes with going pre-paid service (my wife and I pay $93.00 a month on a Cricket plan that includes tethering and 2.5 Gb of data for her and 5 Gb for me) it's definitely a option worth considering.

    Also, the S3 is cheap and still very capable. Typically this phone goes for about $300 on Cricket, Boost and Virgin. If you pay up front, you recover your initial outlay very quickly. With the savings my wife and I enjoy, it would take 6 months of bills for each phone to match the cost of service plus a "free" S3 on a contract provider. After a year we'd have saved $600 we'll save $600 or so every additional year we keep our phones.

    My S3 has Android 4.3, a 4.8" screen, 16 GB of internal storage, an SD card slot for 32Gb of additional storage, APTX Bluetooth capable for CD quality sound over Bluetooth, replaceable battery and still feels very, very fast. The phone is LTE capable, too, though, alas, Cricket has not rolled out LTE in my area yet.
    dsf3g
    • apps download move to 2sd card

      Good
      novian limpul
  • This article is all over the place

    For a March 2014 edition, it references a phone not available until April 2014, the Galaxy S5.

    Then it references the Galaxy S4 "very much like HTC's new One", really? I thought it had been out a year. or is this the "new" one not yet released?

    Cut and paste editing? Let's have some ground rules for this list, a phone is either released or its not.
    lancsmapman
  • Gallery article...

    skipping.
    jkohut
    • + 1st submit of comment threw an Unknown Error...

      So I submitted it again and, lo, I have 2 comments here
      lancsmapman
    • skip..

      ..your useless comment, you think anybody actually cares that you refuse to read a free article? look up entitled
      larry9
  • Xperia Z2 is nice.

    But I wonder if Sony will release a newer version of Sony Xperia Z Ultra later this year? I like the Ultra with a 6.4" screen, but I wanted something that is equal to Z2.
    Grayson Peddie
    • Wonder if

      The Z2 will make it the US.......
      rhonin
    • I LOVE the Z Ultra

      except for the HUMONGOUS bezel on top and bottom which makes it way taller than it needs to be.
      trim the fat bezel, add active stylus and I might jump ship from Note 3.
      warboat
  • LG G2 a phablet?

    That statement seriously hurts the credibility of the entire article.
    chondog
    • Totally agree

      Calling the G2 a phablet only means he's never actually held one, methinks. It's all screen, almost no bezel, and is a slim monolith of a phone that fits very nicely in my shirt pocket. And guess what? I never accidentally change the volume when I'm trying to answer the phone or wake up the screen because of the button placement.
      tftdguru
      • slim??????

        You mst be the one that has not held a G2. I had one for 2 days. It's thick, bulky and the head set jack on the bottom is plain stupid. Switched to the HTC One, great choice and also own a Note3. Both top notch.
        nyjetsfan
  • nexus 5

    the mention of nexus 5 still says wait a few weeks for bugs to shake out, obviously a stale cut and paste from an early review.
    As is typical, I am by now on cyanogenmod on the nexus 5, as it is stable enough on 4.4.2. It adds so many "minor" but indespensible features. I'm not sure what the next rev of android will bring to make me switch to stock again. I always do though. Maybe not this time. Unless the camera is better, which may have to be done at the OS level.
    drwong
    • Another one: Motorola "now owned by Google"

      Adrian, this is supposed to be an update, remember? So, it would be nice to review your previous text to catch outdated information. OK, the sale to Lenovo isn't through yet, regulatory approval is pending, etc., but that's a matter of time, and at least you could have written "still owned by Google" and/or "soon to be owned by Lenovo."
      goyta
      • Ironic

        It is ironic that an article about android phones contains outdated references that can't seem to ever get updated, in that android itself is outdated on the majority of hardware out there and will never be updated by the carriers on that hardware. :-)
        rpsin
    • I do the download of CM

      I do the same. Everyday you get to see new features and less bloated software. Android at its best with Google Nexus 5 at a price affordable by everyone.
      rajan.sowri
  • What about battery life? LG G2 runs rings around most of this list.

    One thing absent from these puff pieces is a discussion of battery life. Yes, I know, YMMV. Still, in the real world, what good is your smartphone if it's near dead by 4PM? For those looking for a great smartphone experience, with battery life that boggles the mind in a positive way, look seriously at the LG G2. IMHO this is the best phone out there right now. I have gone 44 hours before charging with medium usage. Great screen and camera. Useful features. Past processor. A 32 Gb LG G2 is a highly underrated star!
    tftdguru
    • LG G2

      Look like I have made a right choice in buying the LG G2 32gig version which expecting delivery tommorrow. Hearing good things about it especially about the battery life. No more iPhone from tommorrow
      sb300869