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.

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  • (Image: Sony)

    Sony Xperia Z Ultra

    A newcomer to the list. Sony's Xperia Z Ultra packs a lot of cool features under the hood, sporting the sharpest LCD panel on the market, and a 13-megapixel camera capable of capturing HDR video.

    This handset is also thin, coming in at a svelte 6.5-milimeters. But don't the thinness fool you; the Xperia Z Ultra is tough, featuring tempered glass, and a dustproof and waterproof build, rated to with IP58.

    This is the smartphone you need if you want to be able to submerge it in 1 meter of water and still have a working handset.

    • Jelly Bean (Android 4.2)
    • 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor
    • 6.4-inch TFT 1920 x 1080 display, powered by an updated Sony Mobile BRAVIA Engine 2 with 342 pixels-per-inch
    • 8MP rear-facing camera
    • 2MP front-facing 1080p HD video capture
    • 16GB internal storage
    • Compatible with the Sony SmartWatch 2
    • microSD slot
  • (Image: Google)

    Samsung Galaxy S4 "Google Play Edition"

    Like the idea of a Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone, but prefer a device that gives you a more pure Google Android experience? Or maybe you just want an unlocked handset. Either way, take a look at the Samsung Galaxy S4 "Google Play Edition."

    This is the same hardware as the Galaxy S4, but with all the Samsung bells and whistles removed. Some people love this, others hate it. But if you want it, it is yours, unlocked, for $649.

    • Skinless Jelly Bean (Android 4.2.2), which means the same experience as the Nexus
    • 1.9GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600
    • 5-inch Super AMOLED high-pixel-density (441ppi) display
    • 13MP rear camera
    • 2MP front camera
    • 16GB internal storage
    • microSD slot
  • (Image: Motorola)

    Motorola Moto X

    I used to be pretty partial to Motorola handsets back before the iPhone. They were well built, and while they relied heavily on gimmicks, delivered decent performance and long-term reliability.

    The Moto X is interesting, not because it is manufactured by Motorola – now owned by Google – but because it takes a new approach to computation power. Rather than one chip with multiple cores doing the work, the Moto X has a total of eight cores spread over four different chips, each doing a different thing. This is supposed to both speed up the handset and make the battery last longer.

    • Jelly Bean (Android 4.2.2)
    • Motorola X8 computing system, consisting of a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro dual-core clocked at 1.7GHz, a quad-core Adreno 320 GPU, and two low-power processors, one that is used for natural language and the other for contextual computing
    • 4.7-inch AMOLED HD 720p display
    • 10MP rear camera
    • 2MP front camera
    • 16/32GB internal storage
    • NFC
    • Wireless charging

Topics: Mobility, Android, Hardware

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  • 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@...