We brought you our list of the top five Android smartphones three months ago, back in July of this year, when we highlighted the HTC One, the Galaxy S4, the LG Optimus G Pro, the Samsung Galaxy Note II and the Sony Xperia Z. But a lot has changed since then, so we’re revisiting the list with our most updated guide to our favorite Android smartphones available from U.S. carriers right now.
We understand that everyone has their own needs from a device, which is why we’re trying to cover a full range of smartphones with different sizes and features. Still, since this is our “top” list, most are company flagships. Check out our top phones below, and let us know what your favorites are. As always, these are in no particular order but are simply our top picks at the moment.
Galaxy Note 3
The Galaxy Note 3 is Samsung’s iterative update to its family of Galaxy Note smartphones, though it packs enough power to easily make this list. Sure, the 5.7-inch screen isn’t for everyone, but that 1080p display certainly wows us every time we power the device on. It’s also incredibly fast, thanks to a quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor and 3GB of RAM. The real power, however, comes from the multitasking you can do with Multi Window, and the enhanced S Pen experience with its new Action Memos, which allow the phone to recognize and execute commands, such as placing a phone call, based on your handwriting. Support for recording videos in 4K, a decent 13-megapixel camera, solid all-day battery life round out the other killer features of the Note 3.
Motorola Moto X
Motorola’s Moto X is an incredible device for several reasons. First, if you’re on AT&T (and soon on other carriers) you can choose your own colors and accents and further customize your device online. It’s then assembled in the United States and shipped to your door in about four days. Second, it offers amazing smart features that let you speak to your phone to execute commands, and it learns to recognize only your voice. Add on its comfortable size, well crafted design, solid 4.7-inch 720p screen and good battery life, and you’ve got a wonderful well-rounded Android smartphone that should keep you going for quite a while. Plus, since you designed it yourself, it’s unlikely you’ll ever see the same one.
Samsung Galaxy S4
The smartphone industry moves so quick that it might seem like the Galaxy S4 is already an old phone. Fret not friends, it still offers enough features to blow the socks off of a lot of the competition, and its thin design and gorgeous HD Super AMOLED screen still make it a top contender. Samsung managed to squeeze so many software options into the phone that you’ll have a hard time keeping track of them all, though you’ll enjoy Air View for peeking at content, and its WatchON support for controlling your TV with tis IR blaster. The 13-megapixel camera isn’t too shabby and its 1.9GHz quad-core processor holds up just fine. We also love the removable battery and expandable microSD card slot, two features that are slowly disappearing from a lot of new phones.
We just reviewed the LG G2 and we loved it so much that we awarded it a 9/10 rating. The device is basically LG’s answer to the Galaxy S4, though it packs a faster Snapdragon 800 processor that cruises through applications and games, unique features such as QSlide for running multiple applications on top of one another, and a really uncluttered design with the volume buttons placed uniquely on the back. We love the 5.2-inch 1920 x 1080p display. Though it doesn’t have as high of a pixel density of the Galaxy S4, it runs nearly edge-to-edge and its clarity both indoors and outdoors rocks.
Yep, the HTC One was on our list back in July but we still think it has enough potential to survive for another round. HTC’s now rolling out Android 4.3 for the phone, though the original features still blew us away. Sense 5, with its support for Zoes and creating highlight reels, is a UI gem in the rough. The 4-Ultrapixel camera snaps great low-light pictures, the aluminum unibody design is unmatched in the Android smartphone space, and its front-facing stereo BoomSound speakers sound great. Best Buy is even now offering the device in a unique blue color, while Sprint has an exclusive on a stellar red aluminum option. If you want to save a few bucks, check out the HTC One Mini, which offers a lot of the same features bust costs about half the price.