At a glance
|Phone||HTC One M9||LG G Flex 2||Samsung Galaxy S6|
|Processor||Snapdragon 810||Snapdragon 810||Exynos 7420|
If you’re after maximum sex bang for your buck, the Galaxy S6 and HTC One M9 are the best looking phones here. However, while we love HTC’s metallic frame, the One M9 does look rather similar to last year’s One M8, which in turn isn’t much of an evolution on 2013’s One M7. As a result, the One M9 doesn’t exactly stand out in the street and won’t get heads turning like its elder brethren.
Which means the Samsung Galaxy S6 is our pick for the sexiest phone of 2015 so far. The metal trim and glass front and back may be reminiscent of Sony’s Xperia Z3, but the combined look is gorgeous and the Galaxy S6 is wonderfully lightweight too. Just be careful of smudges.
The LG’s G Flex 2 isn’t quite as good looking as the other two handsets here, with a plasticky finish that’s a little dull in comparison to those shiny metal and glass surfaces. However, the G Flex 2 does at least boast a rather unique design feature that’ll impress your mates the first time you pull it out in the pub: that subtle curve, from top to tail. It’ll definitely get some interest out in public for that alone.
All three handsets here are solidly built and durable enough to survive a tumble onto concrete. The G Flex 2 has extra protection thanks to that curve, which protects the screen if the phone lands face-down, but the Galaxy S6 is also proven to survive a proper clattering. However, none of these phones are water resistant; you’ll need to look elsewhere, like the Xperia Z3, if you’re always dropping your mobile down the bogs.
Screen and media
This one’s pretty easy. If you want to get the absolute most from your HD movies, go for the Galaxy S6. That Quad HD screen is absolutely gorgeous, producing pin-sharp, pleasingly vibrant visuals that really leap out at your eyeballs. From the impressive viewing angles to the powerful brightness, it’s pretty much impossible to find fault.
That said, the G Flex 2 and One M9 also sport attractive displays, packing Full HD 1080p visuals, so you won’t be disappointed with your movies. And one advantage these phones have over the Galaxy S6 is their expandable storage; while they both boast microSD memory card slots, Samsung’s phone makes do with the internal storage. So if you want to carry a lot of movies and music on your Galaxy S6, you’ll need to stump up for the 64GB or 128GB models.
If you hate wearing headphones or your sprogs will be sharing the phone to watch a film together, the HTC One M9 boasts the best built-in speakers here. The BoomSound stereo grilles are front-facing, so the surprisingly powerful audio is blasted straight at your face for maximum impact. They’re even strong enough to enjoy some tunes while you’re sat at your desk at home. The Galaxy S6 only has one speaker but it’s also impressively powerful.
Just remember, kiddies: every time you play your crap dubstep music on public transport, an angel somewhere drops dead.
Performance and battery life
All three phones pack powerful tech for running the latest games and apps, but the Galaxy S6 is a cut above the competition thanks to Samsung’s Exynos chipset. This makes short work of anything you throw at it and even makes for super-smooth multi-tasking, when running apps side-by-side. If you want guaranteed future-proofing, you can’t do any better right now.
LG’s G Flex 2 is the weakest here despite the Snapdragon 810 packed away inside. We’ve seen quite a few instances of the phone chugging, although this seems to have petered out the more we use it and it’s rarely a bother.
HTC’s One M9 consistently gives a day and a half of use between charges, even with pretty regular fiddling, while the G Flex 2 and Galaxy S6 are more likely to give around a day of play. However, Samsung’s Galaxy S6 also boasts a quick charge feature, which means the phone can power up to full life in just over an hour when plugged into the mains. Good news if you forget to charge it overnight and need to zap it for 20 minutes before leaving for work.
Sadly the weak link here is the HTC One M9. As usual, HTC has proved that it struggles to produce a decent smartphone camera, with a rather uninspiring 20-megapixel snapper adorning the back of the handset. Compared with its rivals here, the One M9’s photos are simply flat and lacklustre despite packing plenty of detail.
LG has once again come up trumps with the G Flex 2’s optics. The laser-guided 13-megapixel camera produces sharp, attractive photos in almost any conditions, with close to zero shutter lag. Combine that with a sleek, minimalist camera interface and it’s a great snapper for everyday users who just want to point and shoot. The front-facing camera is a delight too, allowing you to take super-sharp selfies with a mini fist-pump.
However, Samsung’s Galaxy S6 is the clear winner in the camera stakes. A quick double-tap of the home button launches the camera app and you can then snap away, with the excellent auto mode dealing with all kinds of awkward lighting. It outperforms even the mighty iPhone 6 camera in low light, and handles up-close macro shots expertly. And if you’re a selfie lover, the 5-megapixel front-facing camera with built-in HDR will be your new best friend. You can even snap a ‘wide angle selfie’ to get in your entire crew.
The G Flex 2’s main bonus feature is the curved screen, which in real life does very little for usability but is still undeniably cool. LG has also packed in loads of software features as usual, from the nifty Knock Code security feature to the Q Slide multi-tasking tool which lets you run apps easily on top of one another.
HTC’s One M9 doesn’t add too much to Android Lollipop, although you do get the BlinkFeed widget which conveniently combines your social media and news updates with important info like impending calendar appointments. The phone can also intelligently figure out where you are (be it work, home or one the move) and adapt your desktops to suit (for instance, giving you productivity apps at work and entertainment features when you bugger off home).
Samsung’s Galaxy S6 is a seriously good handset when it comes to security, helped in large part by the built-in fingerprint scanner. This much-improved remake of the Galaxy S5’s scanner has you simply press your digit to the surface rather than swipe it, which makes for impressive accuracy. On the back you’ll find a heart rate sensor as usual, if you’re into tracking your workouts (or want to see the impact that KFC lunch had on your arteries).
All three phones also pack the standard smartphone features you’d expect, including 4G support and built-in NFC.
Samsung’s Galaxy S6 is the best phone of 2015 so far, smashing the competition with its gorgeous design, beautiful screen, seriously impressive camera tech and brilliant bonus features like the accurate fingerprint scanner. However, the G Flex 2 still boasts the most unique and eye-catching design here and the One M9 is an attractive slab of metal with long-lasting battery life, even if it’s not much of an evolution over previous flagships.