The four best smartphones you can buy right now

The four best smartphones you can buy right nowWe’re admittedly guilty of forgetting, sometimes, that not everyone is running around with a £500 smartphone flagship. Heck, just this week I found myself giving someone advice on the Nokia Lumia 925 vs. HTC Desire 610, and of course Android owes its success to the fact that lots of cheap nonsense is sold across the globe.

But here we’re largely assuming that money isn’t a problem (if only, G, if only), and detailing the four best phones GBP can buy.

The following four are presented in no particular order, so don’t go getting your knickers in a twist when we start with the…

The four best smartphones you can buy right now1. iPhone 5s

Launched: October 2013

SIM free price: £549 (16GB) @ Apple

iPhone 5s specs: here

Why?

  • “It’s an iPhone” (semi-joking)
  • Premium design
  • One of the best smartphone cameras on the market
  • Touch ID fingerprint scanner
  • Intuitive OS
  • The App Store still gets games before Google Play

The four best smartphones you can buy right now2. Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Launched: September 2013

SIM free price: £374.99 (32GB EU model) @ Expansys

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 specs: here

Why?

  • Big old 5.7in 1080p display
  • Powerful, and arguably the best of the phablets
  • Lots of stylus and multitasking functionality
  • Chunky 3,200mAh battery

The four best smartphones you can buy right now3. Mototola Moto G

Launched: November 2013

Price: £109 (8GB) on Tesco Mobile @ Tesco Direct

Motorola Moto G specs: right here

Why?

  • Can be found for less than £100
  • Cheap to unlock
  • Entirely capable specs
  • Near-stock Android; bye-bye bloatware
  • Hard to justify paying five times as much for a phone
  • There’s a 4G version with a microSD slot too, if you fancy

The four best smartphones you can buy right now4. LG G3

Launched: May 2014

SIM free price: £455.99 (16GB) @ Handtec

LG G3 specs: here

Why?

  • Looks pretty sexy
  • First big-name smartphone with a QHD (2560 x 1440) resolution
  • Rear buttons remove clutter from the sides, arguably intuitive too (with practice)
  • Good camera with OIS (optical image stabilisation)
  • Removable battery
  • Wireless charging

Read more about: Apple iPhone 5sLG G3Motorola Moto GSamsung Galaxy Note 3

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13 comments

JanSt / MOD  Jul. 10, 2014 at 13:38

ADD the Lumia 1520 and make it 5...(or the 930)...

Stranded87  Jul. 10, 2014 at 14:30

Obviously the Moto G isn't one of the best phones on the planet if money is no object and I think it's a push to suggest the Note 3 is better than the Galaxy S5 or HTC One M8. Really, what this list seems to be is the best phone in four different categories (Android flagship, phablet, non-Android flagship and budget) which isn't how you've presented it.

matt101101 / MOD  Jul. 10, 2014 at 15:40

Obviously the Moto G isn't one of the best phones on the planet if money is no object and I think it's a push to suggest the Note 3 is better than the Galaxy S5 or HTC One M8. Really, what this list seems to be is the best phone in four different categories (Android flagship, phablet, non-Android flagship and budget) which isn't how you've presented it.
If you rate phones on anything other than the on paper specs, then the Moto G is one of the best phones you can buy and the Note 3 is far better than the S5 and M8, both of which are boring and not really any better than the year before's model. The Note 3's added size and resolution make it a significant upgrade over the Note 2, however.

Stranded87  Jul. 10, 2014 at 16:06

Message deleted by Stranded87

Stranded87  Jul. 10, 2014 at 16:06

Obviously the Moto G isn't one of the best phones on the planet if money is no object and I think it's a push to suggest the Note 3 is better than the Galaxy S5 or HTC One M8. Really, what this list seems to be is the best phone in four different categories (Android flagship, phablet, non-Android flagship and budget) which isn't how you've presented it.
If you rate phones on anything other than the on paper specs, then the Moto G is one of the best phones you can buy and the Note 3 is far better than the S5 and M8, both of which are boring and not really any better than the year before's model. The Note 3's added size and resolution make it a significant upgrade over the Note 2, however.


The Moto G is an amazing phone for the money, I love it, but how is it better than the M8? Its specs are a lot worse and that's a big factor that you can't really just ignore, but ok for the sake of argument let's ignore them. The M8 looks better and has a better build quality, it has a more innovative and better camera (not the best around but better than the Moto G's) and better battery life. Other than the price I can't see what the Moto G has over it and the intro to the article implies that price isn't a factor in the list.

JanSt / MOD  Jul. 10, 2014 at 16:13

Argusably, matt has a point. I used both the original One and the M8... The M8 is a piffle upgrade. Its camera is in almost all respects worse. And gee, it's a tad bigger... Like the SGS5 the M8 shows OEMs have reached a plateau in terms of marketable innovation. BY 'marketable' I mean the fact that a lot of people either have no money to burn, or they have realised that many budget devices can now do 97% of what the expensive flagships do.
It's like that laptop era when expensive machines had fancy media keys and loads of other bloat....

Also: I don't understand why the phrase "best money can buy" excludes great budget products?!?! Who decreed said rule?
Most people I know do not take full advantage of their phone's camera potential, and their phone is in a cheap case. What would they gain by buying an M8 aor Lumia 930, when a Moto G can do the deeds.

JanSt / MOD  Jul. 10, 2014 at 16:16

PS: The M8 has better specs than the Moto G, but how does that translate in real life? Blinkfeed? SENSE? I have used both in real life conditions.
Except for the price there's nothing between them.
In fact, and this is of concern: In some conditions the Moto G delivers better pics.
Oh, right, the M8 has better speakers. How often do people actually use those?

JanSt / MOD  Jul. 10, 2014 at 16:17

...ah, also - the G wipes the floor with the M8's battery.

JanSt / MOD  Jul. 10, 2014 at 16:23

I find the iPhone 5s's "premium design" more dubious. Because, lets be real, the 5s fares very badly in terms of everyday ABuse... Half the iPhones I see have cracked screens, the back attracts scratches, and the scanner lens is a dirt magnet that leads to malfunctions.

lcurdie / MOD  Jul. 10, 2014 at 16:57

You know when you step away briefly, and when you come back it says "9 comments"? oO

To be fair, I think stranded87 does have a point, but! Most expensive doesn't necessarily mean best. Imagine this scenario:

*guy walks into a phone shop*

"Hello. I'd like to buy a phone please."

"What's your budget?"

"Anything. I'm a billionaire."

"Ok, and what do you want your phone to do?"

"Text, call, browse, Facebook, twitter, email... I have a tablet for watching movies and playing games."

"In that case, billionaire, we'd recommend the Motorola Moto G."

And hey, let's not forget that the Motorola Moto E (not even G) outperformed the Samsung Galaxy S5 in some aspects.

Stranded87  Jul. 10, 2014 at 17:17

...ah, also - the G wipes the floor with the M8's battery.

Got anything to back that up? In my opinion neither are among the best for battery, but I write for a phone review site and in our tests we found the M8 outperformed the Moto G. I wouldn't be hugely surprised if some other tests suggest the Moto G's battery is better but no fair test is going to find that it wipes the floor with the M8.

I still think the comment in the intro "the four best phones GBP can buy" means the Moto G shouldn't be included. The M8 and S5 are overkill for some people, absolutely, and they're worse value than the Moto G, but hypothetically if the M8 or S5 was the same price as the Moto G I'd be surprised if many of you could honestly tell me that you'd still favour the Moto G, which means it's not one of the best you can buy, it's very good and one of the best value, but not one of the best.

If you really would still pick it over an S5 or an M8 (and not just for you personally but actually consider it a better phone) then I disagree with you to the point of considering you objectively wrong, but fair enough, it's your opinion to have.

As for all the talk of the M8 and S5 not being big upgrades over their predecessors, I'd say that's debatable too. Aside from obviously being more powerful the M8 has a microSD card slot, which makes a big difference for a lot of people, a better design, better battery life and a depth sensor on the camera which I think adds up to a solid improvement. The S5 with its fingerprint scanner, new design, heart rate monitor and waterproofing has even more improvements.

But I also don't think that just because something isn't a big improvement it means it can't be considered a great phone. Yeah it's disappointing when a new model isn't a huge upgrade, but we're not comparing it to the previous model here, we're comparing it to everything else out there so that's sort of irrelevant when making a best-of list.

JanSt / MOD  Jul. 10, 2014 at 17:49

...ah, also - the G wipes the floor with the M8's battery.

Got anything to back that up? In my opinion neither are among the best for battery, but I write for a phone review site and in our tests we found the M8 outperformed the Moto G. I wouldn't be hugely surprised if some other tests suggest the Moto G's battery is better but no fair test is going to find that it wipes the floor with the M8.

I still think the comment in the intro "the four best phones GBP can buy" means the Moto G shouldn't be included. The M8 and S5 are overkill for some people, absolutely, and they're worse value than the Moto G, but hypothetically if the M8 or S5 was the same price as the Moto G I'd be surprised if many of you could honestly tell me that you'd still favour the Moto G, which means it's not one of the best you can buy, it's very good and one of the best value, but not one of the best.

If you really would still pick it over an S5 or an M8 (and not just for you personally but actually consider it a better phone) then I disagree with you to the point of considering you objectively wrong, but fair enough, it's your opinion to have.

As for all the talk of the M8 and S5 not being big upgrades over their predecessors, I'd say that's debatable too. Aside from obviously being more powerful the M8 has a microSD card slot, which makes a big difference for a lot of people, a better design, better battery life and a depth sensor on the camera which I think adds up to a solid improvement. The S5 with its fingerprint scanner, new design, heart rate monitor and waterproofing has even more improvements.

But I also don't think that just because something isn't a big improvement it means it can't be considered a great phone. Yeah it's disappointing when a new model isn't a huge upgrade, but we're not comparing it to the previous model here, we're comparing it to everything else out there so that's sort of irrelevant when making a best-of list.



"Got anything to back that up?"

You know I don't. What should I present? A video of 8, 24 or 48 hours length? :p
I have zero interest in Moto or HTC. No beef, no gain, no kickback.
I could kill the HTC One M8 in 5 hours.
I couldn't do the same with the Moto G.

If you believe me or not - means not much to me, to be honest :D
Nah, I'm kidding.
It's just: I do not particularly like Android. I'm really not judging one OEM favourably.

AS to the rest of your argument?
I reckon we'll see generations of cows come home without 'settling' the issue.
It's personal.

JanSt / MOD  Jul. 10, 2014 at 17:59

You know when you step away briefly, and when you come back it says "9 comments"? oO

To be fair, I think stranded87 does have a point, but! Most expensive doesn't necessarily mean best. Imagine this scenario:

*guy walks into a phone shop*

"Hello. I'd like to buy a phone please."

"What's your budget?"

"Anything. I'm a billionaire."

"Ok, and what do you want your phone to do?"

"Text, call, browse, Facebook, twitter, email... I have a tablet for watching movies and playing games."

"In that case, billionaire, we'd recommend the Motorola Moto G."

And hey, let's not forget that the Motorola Moto E (not even G) outperformed the Samsung Galaxy S5 in some aspects.



As STUPID as I thought that read - actually, it makes sense.
Before Christmas 2012 lady walks into Vodafone shop. Says she wants 2 iPhones on prepay for her teeny kids for xmas.
Vf-salesdude says, "no, what you want are 2 Huawei G500. Same (sic) specs, 75% cheaper"...
No kidding!

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