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Top 5 smartphones of 2014

This is Droid Agency’s first  collaboration of writers doing a write-up, hope you enjoy it!

Our list of the Best Android Phones with the right mix of performance, functionality, features and design is finally here.

Afnan’s list!

5. Google Nexus 6

Motorola Nexus 6 is Google’s direct take on a high-end phablet, so it should be on your short list if you are on the market for one. This year, the device has a lot more going for it than stock Android, so it is easier to recommend than any of its predecessors despite the bigger price tag. Top-end hardware, a brand new software revision, and flagship-worthy price tag carry heavy expectations. The reason why it is on number 5 on my list is simply because 6″ screen is not everyone’s cup of tea.

4. Sony Xperia Z3

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The Z3 is certainly one you wouldn’t want to miss. You get better looks and handling, higher IP rating, and a minor speed boost. A slightly bigger and  better screen with improved outdoor performance should probably count too. Apart from the list of not-so-major improvements, the battery life have also decreased as compared to its predecessor.

3. Samsung Galaxy Note 4

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From an eccentric phone on which everyone was laughing at to one of the most popular Smartphone moniker – the Note series have come a long way. The Galaxy Note 4 impressed with its exceptional multitasking capabilities, and flexed some hardware muscle while at it. The 5.7″ QHD Super AMOLED display is the best in the business, and so is the battery life. Though, the same boring look and design of Samsung kept it at number 3.

2. LG G3

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Late as usual but bang on target. G3 was unveiled in second half of the year, the extra time means a feature or two which are not found in other top flagship. One of them was QHD at the time of announcement. Expandable storage and a user-accessible battery are finally included too which surely ads an extra oomph. LG G3 is probably the smartphone with one of the highest screen-to-front-panel-surface ratios, its IPS display occupying almost the entire front, which is quite commendable.

1. Phone of the year : HTC One (M8)

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HTC’s long been the bar for Android phone design. The most recent example for that is the fully metal-made HTC One M8. For us, what makes HTC One M8 the phone of the year is the thoughtful consideration for Hardware and Software combined. Through a clever combination of technology and design, in today’s impossibly congested smartphone market (especially at the high end) that’s something to be applauded for the HTC One M8. The UI is as simple and flat as can be, giving stock Android a run for its money. The development team behind it deserves praise for improving the strengths of the first generation while also addressing some of its biggest shortcomings except the camera…ahem..ahem..!!

Daniel’s list!

5. Apple iPhone 6

Yes, you heard it right, I am recommending the iPhone 6!

“But this is Droid Agency right?! Unbelievable! I am unfollowing you guys!”

Let’s be sensible and put down our pitchforks shall we? Take a deep breath and take a look.

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When the iPhone 6 was released, it was faced with much criticism for copying Android(as usual). But, it is the slimmest iPhone yet. Although it has a hefty price tag, it still continued to sell like hot cakes and people were queuing up overnight just for it. Don’t forget, it finally had NFC, which is a huge improvement since Apple is adamant on adding NFC initially, mocking Android users. If Apple could open up NFC for more uses, like automating tasks, it would be a huge benefit for our iPhone plebs.(whoosh)

4. HTC One (M8)

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HTC has impressed us last year when it showed off the unibody frame M8. This device is solid as a tank and is comfortable to hold it on the hand. The dual facing speakers were loud and crisp thanks to boomsound. Let’s not forget about the stunning camera with many features that cannot be found in other devices. You have a choice of buying the device running Android or Windows.

3. Google Nexus 6

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There’s nothing like stock Android. Pure and perfect. There will be people who swear by it and hate it. Last year’s flagship by Google was marked with lesser fanfare as compared with yesteryear. Main complain is with the pricing and the size of the device.  With vanilla Android and quick updates from Google, you cannot go wrong with this device. Perfect for people that wants a phablet.

2.Sony Xperia Z3 Compact

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This device is perfect for those who wants flagship specs without holding a huge device. People who have small hands would love this! This device aren’t like a Samsung Galaxy Mini version because the mini compromise flagship specs for the sake of size, but this device doesn’t.

1.Phone of the Year : Samsung Galaxy Note 4

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The winner goes to the Note 4. Personally, I think the Note 4 is a great productivity device if you do not want a tablet. This phablet shines out from it’s competitor because of how the way the stylus is used without compromising productivity. Like it or not, TouchWiz on this device is amazing.

Vardan’s list

5. Honorable Mention: Apple iPhone 6

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Yes, this is an iPhone, on an Android blog. But this years iPhone was unlike all other iPhones before. It is bigger, comes near to standard android phone sizes. iOS8 brought much needed changes to iOS, that makes the platform more versatile and adds many features people liked on Android. There are some exclusive features as well, like Continuity, which are awesome ideas and work great. Though the phone has odd display resolution and the battery life isn’t that great, this is still a very good phone.

4. Honorable mentions: Samsung Galaxy Note 4

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This phablet, is really a great device. Yes, it has TouchWiz, but on a powerful hardware, it shouldn’t lag as much as on low-end Samsung devices. The Note 4 has a really great camera, the best smartphone display around. But what is also has is an odd button layout, and these are also hardware buttons. Android updates will be received painfully slow as well. But it is still a good device, considering it has great stylus and the functionality that comes with it. Also, this is the only device out of the bunch with a removable battery.

 

3. Honorable mentions: HTC One M8

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This phone by HTC was a refinement over last year’s model in every single aspect. Even the camera has been improved, though is still a bad one. This device is already one year old but it’s a very very good performer even after one year. Though it has a big body for a 5″ device. An acceptable compromise for having the best speakers on a phone. The camera is another story however. The FFC is very good, but the rear facing camera is not a good performer. 4 Megapixels just don’t cut it, even though they are bigger than the competition, by a very large margin, there is not that much benefit here, except for low light performance. HTC also had to remove the OIS to be able to use the second camera module on the back for distance measurements. HTC Sense, while might be the best of all 3rd party Android skins, it does slow down the update process by a noticeable margin.

 

2. Runner Up : 2nd Generation Motorola Moto G

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I think this shouldn’t have been a surprise, if it was for you. The original Moto G was a great device by itself, for the price tag. It has also become the best selling smartphone by Motorola ever since. This year’s model is an improvement over the old one. Bigger screen, front-facing stereo speakers. On a sub 200$ phone. This is crazy, and is a really great deal for everyone who wants to buy one!

1.Phone of the Year : 2nd Generation Motorola Moto X

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The Motorola flagship of this year is the winner for me personally. Pure Android, only very useful features added by Motorola so the software isn’t bloated. The customizability of the hardware and even some parts of the software not customizable on other phones, makes it really appealing. Add (almost) global availability unlike its predecessor and this is easily the best phone of the year.

Afnan

20 year old someone who loves watching football and cricket. Smartphone Aficionado. FIFA Addict. Currently using HTC One (M8) as his daily driver.

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