Top Android smartphones (May 2014 edition)

Top Android smartphones (May 2014 edition)

Summary: Time once again to take a tour of a handful of the best Android phones currently available on the market (May 2014). There are a few new handsets, including one for all you pure Android fans, and some good choices if you're having to BYOD it to work.


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  • (Image: ZDNet)


    Time once again to take a tour of a handful of the best Android phones currently available on the market (May 2014). There are a few new handsets, including a couple for all you pure Android fans. Carrying space limited? If so, you might want to check out the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact with its 4.3-inch display!

    No matter whether you are looking for a consumer handset or something that will be suited to a BYOD role, you're bound to find something of interest here.

    If I had to choose one of these, I'd still more than likely go for Google's, Nexus 5 because it is a powerful, fully-featured handset packed that offers the purest Android experience possible. It's the only handset that will guarantee that I see Android updates over the course of its lifespan.

    However, I have to admit that some of the features present on the Samsung Galaxy S5 make it a great choice for the BYOD crowd. Not only is it water- and dust-resistant – something Samsung doesn't talk much about – but it is also crammed with cool features and software. If you like to geek out over smartphones, this is the one to geek out over.

  • (Image: Sony)

    Sony Xperia Z1 Compact

    At a time when smartphones are lowly being transformed into devices with the surface area of an aircraft carrier, it's good to come across a device with a more modest display.

    The Sony Xperia Z1 Compact packs the same quad-core processor, 4G LTE connectivity and 20-megapixel camera as the Sony top-end Xperia Z1 but in a device with only a 4.3-inch display.

    • KitKat (Android 4.4)
    • 4.3-inch 1280x720 TRILUMINOS display
    • 2.2 GHz Qualcomm MSM8974 processor
    • 20.7MP rear camera
    • 2MP front camera
    • Water and dustproof
    • 16GB internal storage
    • microSD card support

Topics: Mobility, Android, Hardware

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  • 4.2.2 Kit Kat. M8

    Have you been listening to Taylor Martin from Pocketnow?
    • Hard to tell them apart

      It's hard to tell them apart. They are all equally Google spyware.
  • Issues...

    So the picture for the Google Nexus 5 is accompanied by a description of the Samsung Galaxy 5.

    Also, it's curious to note what does and does not count as a Phablet these days. According to the description, LG's G2, with its 5.2" screen is a Phablet, but the 5.1" Samsung Galaxy S5 and the 5.2" Sony Experia Z2 are not.

    In any case, what I take away from this article is that Sony seems to be making some pretty cool Android phones these days. Might have to take another look next time I'm looking for a phone.
  • is it just me?

    You've got the picture of the Nexus 5 and the repeated text for the Galaxy S5 under it.
  • So why are you doing an Android article?

    You're a die-hard Apple fanboi. That is totally cool, but it does make you a half-@$$ Android reporter. "Yadda-yadda- Jelly-bean, blah-blah big screen, now let me get back to my awesome iPhone." That's what I'm reading. There are too many mistakes in this article to not assume you just "phoned-it-in" using your iPhone I'm sure.
    A Gray
  • Skipping article ...

    I took a bit of a break from ZDNET thinking I needed a little perspective. In looking at this article and the fact that it was presented in the form of a Gallery, forcing me to click on every item as opposed to being able to just see the list, chose the ones I think I am interested in and THEN drill down, just reaffirms that reading many of the articles on ZDNET is not an efficient use of my time. If you are going to continue with Galleries, could you at LEAST make it so that if I hover over a select item in the Gallery overview, I see a topic summary. That would at least prevent me from having to click on items that I KNOW that I don't care to read.
  • So if I want to filter this list to only phones with removable batteries...

    (aka. "not wasting my time even looking at phones that don't")

    ...then this article has only two options:
    * Samsung Galaxy S5
    * Google Nexus 5

    Troubling trend to me - people are apparently A-OK with plugging in Rube-Goldberg secondary-batteries-on-a-tether.

    I want my phone to work the way it was engineered. If my battery runs out, I want to pop in that tiny battery and have an instant 100% - not be in a foreign city needing to navigate back to the hotel and "oh, that Rube Goldberg dongle I left in my suitcase. Oops."

    Even buying something like a Droid Maxx is out, because batteries wear out over time... my S3 used to get 19 or 20 hours on a charge easy, today I'm down to about literally half that, and as a long-time XDA-Developers member I'm on top of apps and auditing - there's nothing unusual or really even new. I'd be pissed if I couldn't replace it. Not worth my time across multiple dimensions - I hope people start voting with their wallets to send the message that it's unacceptable, to the manufacturers.
    • I think it an effort to make phones thinner, some manufacturers ...

      are opting to eliminate removable batteries. I agree with you that I likely will not purchase a phone that doesn't have a battery that can fairly easily be replaced. Hopefully at least Google will continue to champion this in their Galaxy line of phones (insisting on it from Manufacturers).
    • No one cares about removable batteries

      There's only 10 people who seriously care about removable batteries and they are really vocal about it. Get a portable charger you can use for many many years. If you change your phone you're going to throw out all those extra batteries you bought.
      new gawker
      • Many do care

        Which is why Samsung has kept removable battery option in their premium phones.
        It is a huge functionality when you can carry a spare battery in your wallet. While I normally don't need it, it allows me to use my phone with no hesitation even when its down below 10%. I don't have to go looking for a charge, carry any charging pack, plan ahead... nope, simply use it without power saver mode and then just swap in the spare when it eventually runs down to 2%.
        Without a removable battery, you HAVE to compromise your usage one way or another as battery gets low.
        Invariably, many of us occasionally find out in the morning that we forgot to charge the phone and that's when the removable battery is the best feature. Swap and go, no worries.
        Samsung has proven that the removable battery option has little compromise with the waterproof feature and low weight. Other manufacturers don't have any excuses and not doing so can be a deal breaker for many users.
    • nexus 5 should not be on your list

      Maybe it has a removable battery - but I certainly have not figured out how to do it.

      For $350 it is a pretty darn good phone though having 95% of the features of the others for $300 less.

      A difference over nexus 4 - built in hardware pedometer. Also Nexus 4,5 have a barometer where most phones don't.
  • Old, rehashed article

    All you have done was change the title from April to May to drive traffic. I have seen almost every single device listed on the previous 'April' article.

    You even managed to screencap your mouse cursor in the process for the Z1 Compact image thumbnail... Way to lose all credibility.
    • yeh, come on

      How many months now and your article still mentions the Z Ultra having the sharpest display even thought it never did with the Z and Z1 being sharper.
  • Surprised to see the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact

    This is a flagship device to be sure: Snapdragon 800, Kraft 400, Adreno 330, plus waterproof in a small package for those who pay attention to those specs. However. some caveat emptors:

    It is not available in the States. Therefore you will need to purchase an unlocked version from the UK. Also, no US carriers use the 4G LTE band this phone supports. AT&T will only get HSPA+. And T-Mobile will only get 4G not 4G LTE. And sadly I don't see that situation changing soon.

    Plus Sony is rumored to have submitted a Z2 compact to the fcc for approval. However, it could be months before we see it show up on a carrier's store if even this year.

    But with all that said, if you want a flagship device that fits in your hand, there simply isn't another phone out there like the Z1 Compact.
  • Motorola owned by Google?

    Apparently Mr. Adrian Kingsley-Hughes missed the news that Google has sold Motorola.
  • Htc One M8

    I believe that the HTC one M8 guarantees software updates over the course of it's lifespan. Plus it offers free screen replacement for the first six months of ownership.
    • HTC uodate

      I believe it's 2 years
  • Not a fan boy but....

    After owning LG G2....Nokia 1020, 1510, currently HTC One M8...and the oppo find 7a is left off list, is just silly!!! I love the HTC but those familiar with OPPO and their quality products know the 7a is the tip of the ice big until the find 7 is released!