Apr 26 AT 8:02 AM Nick Sarafolean 54 Comments

Top five Android phones: spring 2014


Every quarter, or at least a rough approximation of a season, we like to bring you a list of our top Android phones, to help guide you in your quest for a new phone. For spring 2014, we’re happy to present you with our top five Android phones of the moment, as voted upon by the members of our staff. With each pick comes a short explanation as to why we love it, and buy links for all four major US carriers (when available), as well as an unlocked version. With that covered, let’s dive right in with number one!


1. HTC One (M8)

Topping the list is HTC’s flagship for 2014, the HTC One (M8). With its premium metal design, gorgeous Sense software, and set of nifty features such as BoomSound, the HTC One (M8) climbed to the top of the pile to stand out as our number one phone for spring 2014. With availability across all four carriers, a developer edition, and a Google Play edition, the HTC One (M8) has most of the bases covered when it comes to availability. While some feel that the camera is a tad disappointing, that doesn’t stop the One (M8) from standing out from the crowd and making sure that it reigns supreme.

Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Unlocked


2. OnePlus One

Regardless of the fact that we haven’t been able to get a full hands-on and review yet, the OnePlus One managed to sell us on its gorgeous design, high-powered specs, and commitment to great software through CyanogenMod. While OnePlus has yet to be tested in the mass market, it’s made some bold claims and we’re betting that it’ll stay true to them. That’s why the OnePlus One, even untested, manages to snag the number two spot on our list.

Since the OnePlus One isn’t really available yet (If you feel like trying to apply to smash your phone, by all means, go here), we don’t have any buy links.

Nexus 5 White

3. Nexus 5

Coming in at a respectable third place is the Nexus 5. While some may argue that the Nexus 5 has been out for a while, there’s no doubt that it’s still a great phone. Moreover, it’s the phone to have if you want a premier stock Android experience. Updates come straight from Google and you’ll never have to wait for them like everyone else. Aside from that, the Nexus 5 features a decent set of specs including an extremely color-accurate display. Regardless of its older age in comparison to many other devices on this list, the Nexus 5 is well deserving of the third spot on this list.

T-Mobile, Unlocked

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

4. Samsung Galaxy Note 3

In fourth place, we find Samsung’s third generation phablet that sets the precedent for all others. Like the Nexus 5, the Note 3 has been around for a bit. Yet, the Galaxy Note 3 continues to garner praise and respect from the tech community. Likewise, its large screen and top-shelf specs caught the attention of many of our staff who have fallen in love with the device and continue to recommend it, even if it has been available for a few months.

Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Unlocked


5. Galaxy S5

The Galaxy S5 is actually one of our two fifth place phones, due to a perfect tie for fifth place. The Galaxy S5 features plenty of neat features and some practical ideas such as waterproofing and a certain level of ruggedization. It also has one of the best displays that we’ve seen on a smartphone. Unfortunately, the S5 didn’t make it higher on the list due to many of us feeling that the design is uninspired and bland. Another common complaint was the software, which brought up many comments about its cluttered nature and the fact that many of the design choices seemed exaggerated and slightly reminiscent of a toy phone. Nonetheless, nobody can deny that the Galaxy S5 has powerful internals and one of the best cameras on a smartphone, thus securing it a respectable fifth place.

Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Unlocked

We Are The RhoadsClient: Motorola

5. Motorola Moto X

The second of our two fifth place phones, the Moto X continues to make the list even after several months of availability. With a magical blend of simple software and hardware, the Moto X provides one of the best experiences found on a smartphone. While the specs are becoming a bit upstaged these days, the phone runs itself beautifully with the provided hardware. If you’re looking for a perfect mesh of hardware and software, look no further than the Moto X. As an added bonus, you have the option to customize the phone through MotoMaker. All of those added up to help the Moto X eek onto our top five list.

Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, Unlocked, MotoMaker

Hopefully this list will be of some help to you in your smartphone buying endeavors. As always, feel free to leave your list of the top five Android phones down in the comments section!

A nerd at heart, Nick is an average person who has a passion for all things electronic. When not spending his time writing about the latest gadgets, Nick enjoys reading, dabbling in photography, and experimenting with anything and everything coffee. Should you wish to know more about him, you can follow him on Twitter @nsarafolean.

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  • alittleolder

    Good list. I own ä1 … Haven’t seen or read a review of the oneplusone yet though..

  • sage master

    THis is good list. It hits on the good points accurately.

  • Paulieg

    If popular mobile phones were about appearances, HTC would be top of the market share by now, but their not are they… Do you guys just set your own assumed standards and run with that, or do you actually consider what the majority of consumers are looking for in a phone. Have you ‘ever’ considered why Samsung continuously reap in the majority of the Android market, or are you that naive the honestly belive it comes down to nothing more than stronger marketing?

    Every freaking year I read your same old speil about designs and shapes (blah blah) and yet Samsung still blitz the competition on sales with their cheap gimmicky toy feeling phones..

    Hey lets just gloss over the fact is has the best screen, better camera (tech spec, tech spec).. its really about how it looks in your hand…

    Waterproof? Nah… Just a gimmick.. Who want to use their phone in the rain!!

    Seriously, its a technical device, not a fashion statement. The sooner you realise that, the sooner your opinion articles will concur with the greater consumer market..

    Nexus 5, bettet than the GS5? WTF kinda drugs are you mob on?!

    • osKKK

      HTC is miles ahead of the galaxy s5! TouchWizz might be full of funky features but the phone is SO slow that they are usless! I owned an s4 and compared to the One m8 and even the m7 it was a nightmare to use! Lagging everywhere, especially in the gallery app.

      Samsung might sell more but that is not because of the phone being better. They have a great position on the market and people THINK that its a better phone. Just like others think iPhones are better and buy them because “everyone says so”. All down to good marketing and market leader position

      • Paulieg

        Yes, that is it. 70 percent of the world is not as smart as you to determine some simple functional requirements. Instead it is more probable that we are all just brainwashed sheep idly flocking towards the marketing hype…

        No, wait… Shouldnt we all still be using Iphones then?

      • Joseph

        I’ll admit the HTC is fast at opening apps. I owed it for three weeks then went to the s5. I first went to HTC One cause I was tried of Samsung. All that did was make me miss Samsung. I hated HTC One. I think it crazy when people talk about how “slow” touchwiz can be. Again I’ll admit that when it comes to opening apps HTC One is faster but you make is sound like with the s5 we have to sit and wait for apps to open. Just cause one is faster doesn’t mean the other is slow. Thats just what the HTC One does well. But it’s also the only thing. I go on Craigslist to sell phones all the time and I usually sell them in a day or two for top dollar. I couldn’t get rid one the HTC One to save my life. No one responded. My three biggest problems with that phone is the camera really is horrible, hated the keyboard and hate the fact that you can ONLY transfer pics from phone to SD card using the phone. Nothing esle. No music, apps or documents.

        • SoRHunter

          I’ll go on a limb here and tell you your problems with the SD card are Android related. Since the release of Android 4.4 Kit Kat, the permissions on the external storage (ie SD cards) have been kept real tight, “for security reasons” (or so says Google).

          That said, I own a Samsung Galaxy Note II and can’t even think on going with a smaller screen and lack of a stylus (wait! “Spen”). To me, the list would be very different, according only to my preferences. I also enjoy some Samsung goodies (as its contacts app, toggles on the notification bar, multi view) and would dearly miss them on Sense.

          As for the launchers, Nova Launcher can even the playing field a lot. Except when it comes to the dreadful Samsung Gallery app: it grows worse every iteration!

    • http://www.androidandme.com Nick Sarafolean

      Thing is, opinion articles don’t have to concur with the greater consumer market. That’s why they’re opinions. While some may feel that the Galaxy S5 is the best phone on the market, the majority of our staff don’t, and that’s why it ended up where it did on the list.

      The best phone on the market doesn’t just come down to sales. If you’re following that kind of logic, then you might as well say that McDonald’s serves the best food on the market because they sell the most. Everybody has different opinions about what makes a phone great, and for many of us, incredible sales don’t make a phone great. That’s an opinion, and it deserves just as much respect as yours.

      BTW, I don’t remember the article mentioning that waterproofing is a gimmick. In fact…

      “The Galaxy S5 features plenty of neat features and some practical ideas such as waterproofing and a certain level of ruggedization.”

      • Paulieg

        Funny, my contrary opinion buried down here in the comments doesnt quite carry the same publicity as your official article..but anyway.

        I dont neccesarily believe the gs5 is the best either, but I find it interesting you can rate a phone you havent even reviewed yet higher. You didnt even give the Note4 a chance?! ;)

        Were we comparing McDonalds to the other fast food giants, or just any old restaurant, coz your analogy wasnt really making sense..

      • Jay Moore

        “Thing is, opinion articles don’t have to concur with the greater consumer market.”

        I totally agree with that statement, but if you’re going to do a top 5 best smartphone list, you must go into greater depth in stating the reasons why you chose that particular device to be number one above all others on your list. “Premium feel” and “gorgeous software” are not nearly sufficient enough in my very honest opinion. No disrespect, but the more I read here on this site, the more I’m starting to take your “opinions” as a total joke.

      • Dr.Carpy

        I disagree with the OnePlus phone. You would’ve been better served to put the Oppo Find 7. What folks seem to not realize is that this “new” product is a dumbed down Find 7. They’ve used a lot of hype, but why would anyone consider a phone that hasn’t even left beta? I think that teleportation is awesome, but until it’s really here, it’s conjecture. I get it’s an opinion piece, however if people look for advice, they should get what is readily accessible. With the OnePlus phone, with the lottery system they’re running, that might not be anytime soon.

    • Orion78

      Its an opinion.. calm down. Just another Samesung fanboy. I don’t agree with the list either. HTC should not be at the top spot.And I would pick the Nexus and moto over that bloated crapwhiz any day.

      • Paulieg

        No.. But no surprise you chose to cast those kind of stones. My first Android phone was in fact a HTC desire and I loved it.

        You miss the point to argument. Since when did the better phone become more about it being a fashion statement than its feature set?

        Look and feel is just 1 of a myriad of features people find appealing in a smartphone, and for my mind, its never been the most important..

        Hell, they even scored a phone they havent even reviewed yet higher? Lol!!

    • Jay Moore

      OMG, you could not have said it any better. I’ve seen commenters claim this site to be an HTC Fanboy/Samsung hater site, never paid any mind to it…until now. This comparison pretty much confirms those accusations. The fact that a review could have the Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy S5 finish behind the Nexus 5 is a complete joke. Then list the HTC One M8 in the number 1 spot when all you can talk about is its “premium design” (LOL) as opposed to an abundance of awesome features as well as superior functionality, both of which the GS5 and Note 3 phones offer more than of than ANY device on the market. Good thing though for Samsung, most consumers would prefer to consider what really counts when choosing what is the best smart phone…to buy that is. ;)

    • ahayt

      Well, Samsung is available everywhere.
      Even if you go to any random mall where phones are sold, it’s Samsung that you’ll see, and ordinary people in need of a phone will definitely choose and buy what’s available. They have so much inventory.

    • Qwertycommander

      Besides the fact your a Samsung owner, probably at time of your comment an S4 owner, your emotional rant about what is a highly opinionated debate on who makes the best android phones is only your opinion. we all have one. and no one cares. BTW, my Nexus 5 beat your cheapchung.lol

  • 99steve

    I knew by the title that you htc fan boys were going to pick the m8 Why? Because the back of the phone is meddle. Big deal, the 5s is waterproof and has a scanner and a removable battery. In a blind test the m8 camera is worst than the s4, so how is it the phone of the year? I do like the one plus one choice, that phone looks awesome

  • Adauth504

    The LG G2 isn’t even mentioned? How did that happen? Lol. Bigger display,battery,camera than the M8. The CPU is a push. The Snapdragon 800 and 801 are essentially the same with a .2mhz increase in clock speed. Same GPU, Same RAM. M8 does have micro sd support which is nice but not necessary. The kicker is the G2 was released last September! 8 months ago! I for one cannot wait for the LG G3 release. That phone is going to amaze.

    • Jay Moore

      I too think the G3 will kick serious ass upon its release. Funny to think, before the G2, I didn’t even consider LG in the discussion of top dog smart phones. That has since changed drastically though. I’m just not sold yet on the rear buttons.

  • ymppa

    Where’s Sony’s Z1/Z2 with the best cameras and less bloat than HTC or Samsung? Or their Compact variant with practically the same insides and the only decent pocketable Android phone out there in a long long time?

    • Paulieg

      I agree the sony should be part of this list.

  • Alexander drzfr3shboialex

    Agree with the list. I love me my m8.

  • Alejandro Venegas

    I said the same the HTC ONE M8 is the best

  • lio

    you got the gimmicky “smash the past” and yet you don’t have the Sony flagship? preposterous! you do know that one+ borrows sony’s camera lens technology, don’t you? every tech gadget website lists the flagships from sony, samsung, and htc and here you are cradling phones with outdated specs. what a joke this listing is!

  • ronny alba

    The m8 is the best one of them all and the must impressive part of it is actually the camera, how did they made a 4 megapixel camera so good.

  • hp420

    You should be embarrassed to have the Moto X on there. It’s a decidedly mid-range device (even when it was brand new) with a high-end price tag. Yeah, it’s got some useful customizations, but that shouldn’t matter if the hardware is as dated and lackluster as this is.

    Besides….ever heard of the Xperia Z2? You want to talk about some high-end specs….there’s your fifth device!! I’d have to reorder the top 5, but it’s definitely in the top 3, IMHO.

    • paximos

      First, Moto X is a good phone, 2nd, can you show me an Xperia Z2?

      • kiki.utena

        Well they have the One Plus One in the list. That’s more elusive than the Z2.

  • paximos

    Obviously with OnePlus One at number 2, this list must’ve been done after the Friday $1 drink happy hour!!!
    Can I see one of those?

  • Jerry Rich

    My goodness, you should change the name of this site to; “htcandme”. I’ve never seen a more ridiculous list. Really? Design over function in a smart phone? What a joke. All the HTC fanboys out there, wait till you need a new battery, try to crop your 4mb pictures then maybe you’ll appreciate the Samsung devices.

    • Paulieg

      It is starting to appear that way.

      The saddest part is as soon as you try to comment otherwise, rather than take your comment on board for consideration, you get dismissed as a fanatical Samsung fan boy.

      I’ll be up front, yes I do currently own a GS4, but I seriously considered the HTC. It just didn’t carry the full feature set for me.

      I’m very much considering Sony, and LG and HTC for my next device. It’s great to see the playing field is starting to become more competitive. I hold no allegiance to any brand and I think anyone who buys 800 dollar phones with that kind of rationale is mildly retarded.

      I used to read this site to gain some insight into the pros and cons of the various devices but over the last year they’ve just turned into a HTC love in with no real substance to their ‘opinions’.. This article for me was just the final straw. It really has me questioning the motives of these ‘opinions’.

      We all know Samsung were paying for positive articles and down play HTC, I’m starting to wonder if HTC might be playing the same game. Either way, I just want some decent articles based on a consideration and assessment, not vague opinions.

      I’m going to make the switch over to Android Central for my news from now on.

      • Jerry Rich

        I too considered the other brands before I went for the S5. For me the camera, the removable battery and the IP67 water resistance were the deciding factors. I bought a spare battery for the phone and I will never have to worry about running out of electrons. The camera is great, for a phone camera, and the IP67 is frosting on the cake.

        I would put any phone that I owned in a case so the aesthetics in the M8 would be forever hidden from view. Aluminum scratches easily.

        Now that you mention it I wouldn’t be surprised if HTC isn’t slinging $$$ out to try for an advantage. For sure besides this site there are a couple of more that I have noticed that are overly in love with HTC. I’ll be joining you.

  • kiki.utena

    No phone for people who prefer smaller handsets!

    You’ve got 5″, 5.5″, 5″, 5.7″, and a 5.1″ or 4.7″ phone in 5 place (that’s top 6 handsets, I know you can count Android and Me so please reflect that in the title).

    The Z1 compact is not available in the U.S.A. so I guess that makes it hard for your site but I’d have something like that in a top list to cater for those who like a normal (note I didn’t say small/mini) size phone.

  • ss

    this list is considered as good but there are more functionality that are provided by Samsung or HTC than Google nexus, therefore the comparison of note 3 or S5 with Google is not at par.

  • Jerry Rich

    And Nick, one more comment on your list.

    You’re #2 is a phone that is not even out yet. You rate the Nexus 5 ahead of the Note 3 and the S5? I have several friends with the Nexus 5′s, I have used a Nexus 5 and the Nexus 5 is a very good phone, but there is no comparing a Nexus 5 with a Note 3 or even an S5. You can’t really believe that..

    • http://www.androidandme.com Nick Sarafolean

      Voted upon by the entire staff. The list is not entirely my own.

      • Paulieg

        Then as technology commentators, perhaps Android And Me need to reconsider who they employ, as it seems between you all you’re losing your way. I’d be embarrassed as a technology writer to release a list like the one above, even more so when its claimed to be a cummulative effort from the whole team?!

        Sure, opinions will always garner some opposition regardless of what you write, I grant you that. But you’ve really missed the mark on this occasion, and if you cant see the consistency of message in opposition to this article, then you guys are going to begin losing readers at a frantic pace.

        Yes its just an opinion, but if you want people to continue returning to this site for your ‘informed opinions’, they need to be able to stand up to a little ‘informed scrutiny’ as well. Otherwise you guys could just spew out any old crap and justify it as ‘just an opinion’.

  • Sickpuppy

    No mention of the G2? Should definitely be over the m8. I’ve tried every one except the one plus. The g2 is far superior device.

  • Sickpuppy

    The note is a better device than the m8. Hands down. I guess your rating is based on build quality not specs

  • jesse

    Does it really matter that the HTC one m8 is #1 if noone buys it?? I still do not understand why they would make such an awesome phone but leave such a shitty camera. Makes no sense at all.. In every review out there the reviewer complains about the phone. What gives HTC?? I would take the oneplus one any day.

  • HomerS66

    AndroidandMe bias against Samsung is so obvious and their exegerated fanboyism about HTC aswell.

    is it because AndroidandMe and other tech sites are featured in HTC’s blinkfeed?

    What a scam.

  • Alistair

    I agree with everything there bar one thing. If you are going to put 6 phones in there when you said 5 then the LG G2 should be 6th ahead of the Moto X. But everything else I agree with. I have the Nexus 5 and I love it: the display is outstanding, its amazingly quick and smooth, stock Android is brilliant and the design is great. The camera and battery, the two biggest complaints, are good in my experience. Not amazing but both are good.

    As for this battle between Samsung and HTC, this site GOT IT SPOT ON. Let’s face it, the only real reason why the majority of people choose Samsung is because of the name and the ability to say ‘I’ve got one!’ HTC are their own worst enemy by not marketing their phones and that’s a shame because it would sell like nothing ever before if they did, even if it does sell well now.

    Unless you need the removable battery, which a lot don’t, why would you choose the Samsung? The design is dire, the software is appalling and its a high end 2014 phone that STILL LAGS. And Samsung fanboys can’t even use their standard ‘We have the Micro SD slot’ excuse. Sorry, but the One has that too!

    Yes it has a fingerprint scanner (that’s too complex to use), yes its waterproof and yes it has a heart rate sensor but these are all things that Samsung have typically included to get one over on HTC. The fingerprint scanner is too complex, you don’t need a heart rate sensor on your phone (a proper, professional scanner will do a better job and if your careful with your phone (as you should be with a £500 phone) then it doesn’t ‘have’ to be waterproof either.

    HTC eliminate these ‘gimmicks’ and focus on producing a beautiful Android phone thats quick, smooth, simple and has a good battery life. I love my Nexus because of stock Android but if I had to swap, I’d go HTC all day long!

    • Paulieg

      “Let’s face it, the only real reason why the majority of people choose Samsung is because of the name and the ability to say ‘I’ve got one!’”…..

      Haha… I do love these people who assume that millions of people are just brand bunnies.. Kid yourself all you want, but ‘most’ People choose Samsung because they have a more rounded feature set. If you really think the greater majority of the Android market are that fickle, you’re delusional. Hey, if thats what helps you sleep at night, then good for you, but geez give other people some credit for having a brain as well? You’re not the only technology literate person in the world.

      I also like how you dismiss the features the other phones dont have so readily. Perhaps that is where you’re not appreciating why so many people buy Samsung over other brands. Just because they are not important to you doesnt make that feature ‘globally’ useless.

      Beyond the useless features you mentioned, The GS5 has also been said to carry the best screen currently seen on a mobile device, and a pretty well reported camera to boot.

      And yes, waterproofing is an awesome new addition for your new 800 dollar phone? The HTC is even water resistant, so clearly HTC belive it to be a selling point as well. If you look at any enterprise field ICT device, it is ruggedised for these weather elements.

      The only feature i dont really subscribe to is the finger print scanner. I dont understand a security mechanism that uses a key that you readily leave hundreds of copies laying around everytime you touch something. I think thats just Samsung trying to one up the Iphone. But thats just me, clearly other people dont carry my security concerns.

      At the end of the day, people can hate Samsung all they want, but judge devices on their merit, not a personal agenda.

    • Paulieg

      And yes, perhaps HTC are more like Apple. Focussing in on a less feature rich, but also more considered and polished device.

      Samsung seem to go for all out features and push the envelope of innovation, more often to a functional but far less polished degree.

      I personally love gadgets, which is why i love smartphones so Samsung’s approach will win me over every time. I will tolerate the odd glitch if I have more features to balance those out.

  • p51d007

    How can you rank something, that isn’t even available? If you got your hands on one to review, that is most likely a prototype, tweaked for review.
    Granted, the One Plus One looks like a fantastic device for the price, but isn’t it better to wait a few weeks AFTER it gets into the public’s hands before you review it?

  • Tone

    What about the Sony xperia z2 ???? This seem
    s a bit biased

  • np

    XZ2 for now! I expect a lot from nex moto X. We’ll see

  • Tma

    I think Oppo Find 7 deserves place in top 5 devices

  • deke218

    I guess everyone has an opinion. How a phone garners a higher score when it only exist on paper is beyond me. [Maybe you should add the Note 4 to the list.] The only thing the HTC One has going for it is the design. Like having a Corvette body with a Yugo engine [the camera is a Joke]. Nexus 5? No. This shouldn’t even be on the list. I have never seen a phone as boring as this. Early Updates? Kit Kat still has me longing for 4.3. At least I could take a few pictures without having to reboot my phone. The camera bug on 4.4 is a major pain in the rear. .

    I’ll stick with my Note 3 – as soon as I load 4.3 on it.

  • Ranger

    I have the Moto Atrix and I love it. Does everything I ever wanted to do. Can’t see paying $500 for a freekin Iphone because every punked up 16-20 something made their mommy buy them one because “everyone else has one”(wah-wah-wah).

  • Mark

    Give me My nexus any day over these bloatware carrier restricted phones.. OEM unlock baby. Nexus owners know what I’m talking about :)

    Sent from my Nexus 5

  • donger

    Great list.

  • kiran

    I love all phones launched by Samsung equipped with excellent features and give superb user experience. I love galaxy note 3 & waiting for note 4 eagerly. Note 3 has given me excellent user experience. You can check all about note 3 here


  • Jerry Rich

    You guys still think that the 1+1 which you have never seen, deserves the number 2 slot on your idiotic review? So much for your collective knowledge of android devices.