Which Android phone is best for me? We take a look at the top flagship Android smartphones of 2014 to see which will suit your lifestyle…
Android lovers have a bloody tough choice right now. If you’re about to upgrade your smartphone, there’s a really strong line-up of flagship Android mobiles to pick from – namely the LG G3, Sony Xperia Z2, HTC One M8 and Samsung Galaxy S5.
If you don’t know which premium Android phone to splash out on, we’ve rounded up all four for a full comparison review, to see which one would suit you best – whether you’re an avid gamer, music lover, or for some reason enjoy tramping through jungles…
Best Android phone for exercise and fitness fans
If you’re always trekking through harsh climates or pissing around up mountains, you’ll want a reasonably rugged mobile that can take a bit of abuse, and preferably one that can measure your efforts, so you can brag to all your mates about how really tough you are.
Two of the new Android flagship phones are fully water and dust resistant: the Sony Xperia Z2 and the Samsung Galaxy S5. You can submerge them in water for a full half an hour and they’ll be none the wiser, making them perfect for swimmers who want to listen to tunes or take photos of fish.
The Galaxy S5 goes a step further too, with its built-in heart rate monitor. This can read your pulse via your pinkie before and after you train, to check how (un)fit you are. And with the nifty S Health widget, you can easily keep track of your activities and general health.
If you’re after a really rugged phone that can survive endless tumbles from a decent height, you might prefer to snatch up last year’s Galaxy S4 Active instead – or wait for the S5 Active to hit the UK.
Winner: Samsung Galaxy S5
Best Android phone for travellers/photographers
If you’re always visiting exotic locales and you want an amazing camera to capture those stunning vistas, look no further than the LG G3. Its 13-megapixel camera is perfect for snapping on the fly, thanks to its ultra-fast laser-guided lens. Photos come out crisp and well lit, and you even get a brilliant fist-activated selfie camera if you want to include your grinning mug in each snap.
The Sony Xperia Z2 also boasts a great 20.7-megapixel camera with a smart Auto mode, which is easy to use and produces stunning shots. Travel fans will likely be a little disappointed with the HTC One M8’s ‘Ultrapixel’ camera, which can’t capture as much detail as the other lenses here, although results are still bright and colourful. And the HTC One M8 has one advantage over the other phones here – it can survive for well over a day, even with regular use, thanks to its great battery life.
Winner: LG G3
Best Android phone for gaming and movies
All four flagship Androids boast sharp screens, five inches and over, but our favourite by a clear mile and a half is the LG G3’s 5.5-inch display.
Not only is it bigger than the other screens here, it’s also much crisper. The 2560×1440 resolution gives a boner-stirring 538 pixels-per-inch (ppi), compared with around 430-440 ppi on the other flagships. That means games and HD movies look even more stunning.
If you’re hoping to watch a movie while doing other stuff, such as browsing the web or checking emails, the G3 is also your best bet. You can ‘fade out’ video using the Q Slide feature, which keeps your film running in the background while you mess around with other apps.
And of course, like the other phones here, you have a microSD memory card slot for carrying around a massive media collection.
Our runner-up is the Sony Xperia Z2, with its beautifully vibrant 5.2-inch screen that rocks Full HD visuals. Bonus points for the HTC One M8 too, with its brilliant BoomSound speakers, which are a great way to enjoy media without the need for earphones.
Winner: LG G3
Best Android phone for music
Our favourite Android phone for enjoying a few tunes is the HTC One M8, which boasts the most powerful speakers here. Known (rather fantastically) as BoomSound, the dual speakers don’t just blast out a powerful stereo sound, they’re also pointed straight at your earholes (positioned above and below the screen).
The other mobiles here have speakers on the rear or edges, so the audio isn’t as powerful. The Samsung Galaxy S5 and Sony Xperia Z2 also suffer from slightly muffled sound, an effect of the water-resistant design.
However, if you listen to your tunes using earphones or headphones, the best phone here is the Sony Xperia Z2. The Xperia has built-in noise cancellation, which works with the ‘phones bundled with the mobile. These ‘phones have mics that point outwards and pick up any background noise, and this info is relayed to the Xperia, which delivers a cancelling frequency straight to your ears.
Because the processing takes place on the phone and not in the buds themselves, this means you don’t need to supply the earphones with their own batteries.
None of the smartphones really stand out for music in other ways. Sony’s Xperia Z2 smartphone comes with a pay-for music streaming app called Music Unlimited, but you can download it on the other phones too – or an alternative service such as Spotify.
Winner: HTC One M8 (speakers) and Sony Xperia Z2 (ear/headphones)
Best Android phone for business and staying productive
With its smart Knox software, the Samsung Galaxy S5 is, in our humble opinion, one of the better phones here for staying productive with businessy shenanigans while on the move.
The built-in fingerprint scanner protects your sensitive data, and there’s smart and secure cloud sharing so you can work on one document on multiple devices. And there’s a clear line between your home stuff and work stuff too, so you can truly switch off when you’re done crunching numbers.
Winner: Samsung Galaxy S5
Check out our full video comparisons between the LG G3 and the other Android flagships here.