17 Of The Best Smartphones In The World Right Now (PHOTOS)

17 Of The Best Smartphones In The World Right Now (PHOTOS)

By Business Insider on April 2, 2014
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Welcome to smartphone launch season.

Samsung has already announced its new flagship phone, and more from HTC and Nokia are reportedly on the way.

If you need to buy a new device now, here are the best ones.

Note: We update this list approximately once a month. Our rankings are based on a variety of factors including design, software and hardware features, content selection, carrier availability, and price. We only consider phones that are on sale in the U.S. at the time of publication. We’ve listed discounted prices carriers give for signing a contract at the time of publication. You can see February’s smartphone rankings here.

#17 BlackBerry Q10

#17 BlackBerry Q10

Steve Kovach/Business Insider

If you need a physical keyboard on your smartphone, the BlackBerry Q10 is the best phone you can buy. The phone doesn’t have as many apps as the iPhone or Android phones, but that never seems to be a problem for BlackBerry users.

#16 LG G Flex

#16 LG G Flex

Business Insider

LG released the first-ever curved screen phone, the G Flex, in the U.S. this year. The G Flex has a large, 6-inch curved screen and a self-healing backing that can repair minor scratches.

Unfortunately, LG had to make a few compromises to get that curved screen on the device. The resolution is a lot lower than Apple and Samsung phones, so images, text, and video look very grainy in comparison. LG’s user interface for Android is also unattractive and buggy.

#15 HTC One Max

#15 HTC One Max

HTC

The HTC One Max is the company’s first phablet. It has a giant 5.9-inch screen and a fingerprint sensor that can unlock the phone and launch apps.

It’s an attractive device made out of metal, but it’s also extremely thick and heavy. That could be a turnoff for many people.

#14 Nokia Lumia Icon

#14 Nokia Lumia Icon

Nokia

If you’re on Verizon and want a Windows phone, the Nokia Lumia Icon is pretty much your only option. It’s not the most attractive device, but it is well-constructed and has an amazing camera.

#13 Nokia Lumia 1020

#13 Nokia Lumia 1020

Nokia

Most consider the Nokia Lumia 1020 to be the best Windows Phone you can buy today. It has one of the best cameras you can get in a smartphone, which is nice if you don’t mind the giant bulge it adds to the back.

Other than that, it’s mostly the same Windows Phone experience you get on any other device.

#12 Nokia Lumia 1520

#12 Nokia Lumia 1520

Business Insider

The Lumia 1520 is the first Windows Phone phablet ever made. It has a huge 6-inch screen, which gives you extra room for more apps and Live Tiles on your home screen.

#11 Sony Xperia Z1S

#11 Sony Xperia Z1S

Business Insider / Melia Robinson

If you’re accident prone, then Sony’s new Xperia Z1S might be a good choice for you. The Android device is virtually waterproof, and it can survive under five feet of water for up to 30 minutes.

#10 iPhone 5C

#10 iPhone 5C

William Wei, Business Insider

The iPhone 5C, which launched at the same time as the iPhone 5S, is Apple’s slightly cheaper model of the iPhone. It has almost all the same specs and features as the iPhone 5, but wrapped in a variety of colorful plastic cases. You can get it in blue, pink, green, yellow, or white.

#9 LG G2

The G2 is LG’s latest flagship phone. It has a gorgeous 5-inch display, one of the best you can get on a smartphone. But it does have one odd design quirk: the power and volume buttons are located on the back of the phone, making it a bit awkward to use at first.

 

#8 Samsung Galaxy Note 3

#8 Samsung Galaxy Note 3

AP

Samsung popularized the “phablet” category with the Galaxy Note more than two years ago. Now the phone is in its third generation with the Galaxy Note 3.

The Galaxy Note 3 has the biggest screen yet, 5.7 inches, yet its body is actually thinner and lighter than the last model. It also comes with a special stylus called the S Pen for drawing or taking notes. It’s the best phablet you can buy

#7 Samsung Galaxy S4

#7 Samsung Galaxy S4

Robert Libetti/ Business Insider

Samsung’s flagship phone launched to a lot of hype, but only got so-so reviews. Samsung tried to pack a lot of features into the device, which made it feel bloated and clunky. It’s a good phone, but not the best.

Warning: We’d suggest not buying this phone if you can hold out because the next version, the Galaxy S5, launches in April.

#6 Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition

#6 Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition

Google

Samsung and Google partnered together to offer a special edition of the Galaxy S4. The “Google Edition” strips out all the software extras from Samsung and instead has a “clean” version of Android, straight from Google.

The basic version of Android is one of the best, and it’s great to see it running on Samsung’s powerful hardware.

#5 Motorola Moto X

#5 Motorola Moto X

Steve Kovach/Business Insider

The Moto X is one of the best Android phones you can buy. Motorola added some new features to Android, like the ability to check notifications easily from the home screen. But it’s still mostly the “clean” version Android from Google.

You can also fully customize the look of your device with a variety of color options for the case and buttons.

#4 Google Nexus 5

Google’s latest flagship phone is the Nexus 5. It was actually made by LG.

Like all of Google’s Nexus devices, the Nexus 5 runs a pure version of Android, meaning you won’t find any modifications to the software. It also gets software updates much faster than other Android phones. But perhaps the best part is the value. You can get the Nexus 5 unlocked for about half the price as other top-tier smartphones.

The only downside: the camera isn’t that great.

#3 HTC One

#3 HTC One

William Wei, Business Insider

If you’re interested in Android and are locked into a carrier contract, the HTC One is the best phone you can buy.

It has all the best features of any Android phone, wrapped in a gorgeous all-metal design. It’s the first Android phone to match Apple’s iPhone in design and build quality.

Fair warning: HTC is going to announce its new version of the One on March 25. If you can wait a little bit longer, don’t buy the HTC One yet.

#2 HTC One Google Edition

#2 HTC One Google Edition

Google

Just like Samsung, HTC partnered with Google to create a “Google Edition” of its flagship smartphone.

The HTC One Google edition is the best Android phone on the planet. It has the same great design as the one running HTC’s software, but has a clean version of Android without any unnecessary extras.

#1 iPhone 5S

#1 iPhone 5S

William Wei, Business Insider

For most people, the iPhone 5S is the best smartphone available.

It strikes the perfect balance of great design, useful features, and app and content selection. The iPhone 5S looks nearly identical to last year’s iPhone 5, but sports a better camera and a fingerprint sensor for unlocking the phone without a passcode.

Click here for the iPhone 5S review >>

Price: Starts at $199 on AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint. $0 down plus $27 per month for 24 months on T-Mobile.

BONUS: Samsung’s new Galaxy S5 launches in April

BONUS: Samsung's new Galaxy S5 launches in April

Steve Kovach/Business Insider

Samsung officially unveiled its newest flagship phone, the Galaxy S5, at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. It has a 5.1-inch screen, heart rate monitor, and a water resistant body.

The phone launches globally in April.

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