Carriers may claim to make it easier to upgrade the smartphones that they sell, most of us are going to use that gadget for at least two years. So the phone you buy needs to deliver the right mix of speed, features, ease of use and battery life. There is no such thing as a future-proof smartphone, but it is possible for the very best models to keep you very happy months and months down the road. To help you make an informed choice, wechose some of the leading smartphones in the market today.Whether you’re looking for a big-screen phone-tablet, the most advanced camera, or a compact powerhouse, there’s something to match your needs.
Best Overall Smartphone: Samsung Galaxy Note 3
The Galaxy Note 3 is so powerful and long-lasting you may not need a tablet. This Android device packs a big and bright 5.7-inch display, and you can take notes with ease using the built-in S Pen. The Note 3 is also a multitasking maestro, thanks to its blazing Snapdragon 800 processor. With Samsung’s Multi Window feature, you can run two apps side by side and drag content between apps.
Best Android Phone: HTC One M8
The HTC One M8 is the sexiest Android phone ever, packing a 5-inch full HD display and a fast new Snapdragon 801 processor into a sleek metal body available in three colors. Photographers will have a blast with the dual-lens camera, which lets you focus on the foreground or background after you shoot.
Best Smartphone Features: Samsung Galaxy S5
Based on our hands-on time with the new Samsung Galaxy S5, shoppers have a lot to be excited about. In addition to a faster Snapdragon 801 processor, the new S5 sports a much faster 16-megapixel camera with real-time HDR capability. It has a built-in heart rate monitor will help you keep better tabs on your fitness. These features is wrapped up in a new water-resistant design.
Best Compact Smartphone: Apple iPhone 5s
Other than a new gold color option, the iPhone 5s doesn’t seem much different from its predecessor. However, the A7 chip inside this sleek beast blows the doors off of most Android phones, and there’s a growing number of games and apps that take advantage of its 64-bit architecture.
Best Value: Motorola Moto X
Say “OK, Google Now” to the Moto X, and you’ll unleash this smartphone’s greatest power. This device can answer all sorts of questions (“What’s the weather today?”) and execute commands (“Send text to John”) without you lifting a finger. The secret is the Moto X’s dedicated natural language processor. Although the camera could be better, the sub-$100 price of the Moto X makes it a fantastic value.
Best Advanced Camera: Nokia Lumia 1020
For photographers, the Nokia Lumia 1020 represents the pinnacle of smartphones. The 41-megapixel camera sensor not only takes breathtaking photos, but lets you zoom in after the shot to reframe your photo and still enjoy amazing detail. Shutterbugs will also appreciate the Lumia 1020’s sophisticated camera app, which lets you adjust white balance, shutter speed and focus on the fly. Plus, Windows Phone’s dynamic Live Tile interface really pops on this handset’s 4.5-inch AMOLED screen.
Best Off-Contract Phone: Google Nexus 5
It’s not just a device for Android purists. The Nexus 5 is simply one of the best smartphone values anywhere. For just $349 off-contract, you get cutting-edge specs such as a Snapdragon 800 processor and a 5-inch 1080p display. Android 4.4 KitKat brings some cool new features to the table, too, including the ability to perform searches, send text messages and more using just your voice from the home screen.
Best Innovative Phone Design: LG G Flex
The LG G Flex is the world’s first smartphone that’s not only curved but flexible. This makes the handset more comfortable when holding it up to your face to make calls, and you can literally apply up to 80 pounds of pressure to the back without worrying about breakage. The G Flex also has a self-healing chassis, so you can scratch the back with keys and the marks will start to disappear within minutes.