Meet the top 10 most impressive smartphones we have reviewed in 2014 so far
10. HTC One M8
HTC One (M8)
- Seamless design that’s even more gorgeous than ever
- Great front-facing stereo speakers
- Duo effects add that professional look to our photos
- Sense 6.0 is a clean & modern looking skin
- Motion Launch gestures give us quick access functionality
- ‘UltraPixel’ camera is still an underperformer
- Not waterproof like many other flagships
9. Sony Xperia T2 Ultra
Sony Xperia T2 Ultra
- The longest battery life we've tested on a mobile, with record 10+ hours of screen-on time
- Slim and light for a 6-incher
- Dual SIM Active device with fine call quality
- Good pictures and video in all situations
- Interface options that aide one-handed operation
- Strong loudspeaker
- Uncomfortable to use with one hand and carry around
- Ships with one bit older, Android 4.3 version
- The stock charger is just 0.85A, so it takes 4+ hours to fully charge the phablet
- Rear cover is a fingerprint and pocket lint magnet
8. Huawei Ascend P7
Huawei Ascend P7
Huawei Ascend P7
- Thin and light premium design
- 8 MP wide-angle front camera
- Good call quality
- Strong and full loudspeaker
- Midrange processor
- Sluggish browser
7. Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
- Stylish, compact design
- Cutting-edge performance
- Great camera
- Water- and dust-resistnace (IP 58)
- Relatively small display
- Minor UI issues
6. Oppo Find 7a
OPPO Find 7a
- Attractive and ergonomic design
- Simplistic manufacturer skin with double-tap-to-wake functionality
- A performance powerhouse
- Great camera overall
- Rapid charging is awesome
- Relatively affordable, at $499 unlocked
- Direct sunlight makes the display hard to operate
- Blueish screen
- Battery loses too much juice in standby mode
5. LG G Pro 2
LG G Pro 2
- Relatively easy to handle
- Great display
- A performance powerhouse
- Great all around camera
- No stereo speakers
- Software still could use some fine-tuning
4. Samsung Galaxy S5 Active
Samsung Galaxy S5 Active
- Tougher construction so it’s not as brittle as the Galaxy S5
- Most of the specs and features have been left intact
- Activity Zone is great for the outdoorsy folks
- Similar overall performance to the Galaxy S5
- Slippery feel in the hand
- Design language isn’t as pleasant
- Low lighting camera performance is underwhelming
3. Samsung Galaxy S5
Samsung Galaxy S5
- Nice and inviting Glam design
- Water and dust resistant
- Vibrant and punchy screen
- Unsurpassed performance in the high-end Android class
- Streamlined and feature-rich user experience
- Wonderful camera
- Lack of premium construction materials
- Unbalanced screen colors
- Fingerprint and heart rate sensors could be better
2. LG G3
- Massive screen with great resolution
- Elegant design
- Well-organized user interface with a plethora of features
- Exhibits some UI lag
- Some gimmicky features
- Lack of stereo speakers
1. Sony Xperia Z2
Sony Xperia Z2
- Solid and eye-pleasing design
- Large and vibrant display
- Streamlined and polished user experience
- Quality camera
- A bit bulky
- Slightly oversaturated screen
- Average speakers
1. Scarambay (Posts: 44; Member since: 18 Jan 2013)
I would love to pick Xperia Z2 over all others any day.. if, and that's a big IF, its camera was as awesome as it was touted to be. Galaxy S5 wins the camera round.
8. PapaSmurf (Posts: 8840; Member since: 14 May 2012)
As always, Samsung always ranks #1 in the camera department.
14. PapaSmurf (Posts: 8840; Member since: 14 May 2012)
Blind tests conclude Samsung ranked #1 THREE times in a row.
22. xperiaDROID (banned) (Posts: 5629; Member since: 08 Mar 2013)
Blind camera tests aren't professional, it's just like a guessing game without prizes. In the camera comparisons, Xperia Z2 and Galaxy S5 are mostly a tie or comes close to one another, so both are good if you ask me.
But also, I need to correct you a bit, the one who always rank #1 in the camera department in smartphones is Nokia, not Samsung.
26. PapaSmurf (Posts: 8840; Member since: 14 May 2012)
Seems like someone's mad they voted for the S5 instead of the Z2 three times in a row. Face it, Samsung does a hell better job than Sony in the camera department. Nokia? Well... Yeah that's no competition.
30. xperiaDROID (banned) (Posts: 5629; Member since: 08 Mar 2013)
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I'm mad for stating a fact, that makes perfect sense. Sony and Samsung are both good in the camera department, software issues that made Sony phones camera bad is in the past, the Z2 has improved a lot and now it's one of the flagships with the best camera you can buy right now.
23. ArtSim98 (Posts: 3207; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)
Pa testings in almost any department are known to be pretty bad. Especially the blind comparisons. They are very limited and don't even have any reference shots.
And besides DxO mark gave more points to Z2 in photos. S5 won in video. And that 4:3 sensor is a absolute must for me.
Not saying the S5 camera is worse. It's amazing. But for me the Z2's camera is the better option.
33. PapaSmurf (Posts: 8840; Member since: 14 May 2012)
34.11% vs 6.32% (this was the article you tried defending your hate to PA for Z2 ranking last)
Want me to find more?
39. ArtSim98 (Posts: 3207; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)
No need. But I don't get your point. And in fact I don't really even want to get it.
But it's kinda funny how you trust PA in camera tests but not in display measurements, isn't it?
41. PapaSmurf (Posts: 8840; Member since: 14 May 2012)
See the thing is, YOU voted for the best smartphone camera. PA took the shots, and YOU picked which phone did the best. Kinda funny how that works, right?
PA's method for testing screen brightness and accuracy is probably the worst I've ever seen. Let's not even go there.
54. ArtSim98 (Posts: 3207; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)
So you don't even want to discuss about it. Fine. I'll shut up too.
103. sachouba (Posts: 36; Member since: 08 Jun 2014)
Why do you love 4:3 photos ? It looks absolutely horrible on my phone, my TV, my tablet and my laptop screen. And I prefer taking 16Mpx photos in Auto mode instead of the 8Mpx of the Z2.
105. ArtSim98 (Posts: 3207; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)
Because 4:3 gives you a LOT bigger field of view. I mean a LOT. Why would I choose to see less when I can see more? Almost anytime I take photos I just couldn't fit everything I want in the photo in 16:9. 4:3 is a must.
If you love megapixels you can take 20mpx images on the Z2 lol. But yeah the superior auto mode uses oversampling (like Lumia 1020 in 5mpx images) so it's not just a normal 8mpx image.
55. neela_akaash (Posts: 173; Member since: 05 Aug 2014)
Z2 deserves to be in the first place....
68. ArtSim98 (Posts: 3207; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)
Wtf? What about #9? "But I think it deserves #1."
75. ArtSim98 (Posts: 3207; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)
That one has nothing to do with you saying Z2 deserves to be #1.
77. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4336; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
Overall the Sony Xperia Z2 is a better phone than the Samsung Galaxy S5. It looks better, it has a better display, it has a better IP rating. The only thing the GS5 has over the Z2 is camera.
Don't get me wrong the Z2's camera is not inferior, it's just that the GS5's is slightly better. I will put it this way. The Z2 is a 92 & the GS5 is a 95 in the camera only.
In overall phone comparison the GS5 is a 92 & the Z2 is a 95. Meaning both phones are EPIC!
83. Arte-8800 (banned) (Posts: 4562; Member since: 13 Mar 2014)
And the feel and touch and the heavy weight, Dragontrail glass. When you hold it, it feels and screams quality and prestige.
The oppo7 is the same. Quality, with Carbon fibre.
72. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4336; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
I have to agree, the Samsung phones ALWAYS have the BEST camera's hands down. Nokia has better but the bulk they add on the phones makes brings down the awesome level.
Samsung #1 always in the camera department!
122. nasznjoka (Posts: 351; Member since: 05 Oct 2012)
They don't they just put 41mpx on a phone that's not quality, its quantity. Quality is use the like others and beat them
104. marcski07 (Posts: 500; Member since: 25 Apr 2014)
come one just accept it, sony is the best smartphone, the display & camera, are just for OC's who are really have professional eyes, for an average joe, z2 is the best pick. I've seen z2, and also s5, yes, the diplay of s5 are more vibrant than z2, but i couldn't see any difference about camera, they are both good. and the screen display of z2 is okay with me, so what it makes me choose z2 than s5 is the design, and camera features of z2, and many more! what i like tho with s5 is removable battery, so if, only if, the design of s5 are not ugly and samsung galaxy looks all the same that make them look generic and cheap, I will pick samsung. design is big deal for me. How would you like your soon-to-be-wife, is smart, fast & reliable, but looks ugly and generic looking face?
108. Arte-8800 (banned) (Posts: 4562; Member since: 13 Mar 2014)
A non biased article by Chris P
No mentioning of 3gb Ram on the Z2
120. Genza (Posts: 254; Member since: 12 Mar 2014)
I don't know why you think that the S5 has better camera than the Z2, sure the S5 is able to take lovely pictures and videos in good light and stable conditions.
But the S5 has crappy low light performance and the phase detection auto focus also pretty much useless in low light.
The video also will looks like an earthquake when you try record a video in unstable conditions like when you walking around.
In my point of view camera should be like a swiss army knife (capable and good enough to use in any situation) and because of that the Z2 is better than the S5.
Because the Z2 can take great pictures not only in good light condition but also in low light like this one.
The Z2 video stabilization also can only be match by 3 axis OIS in Lumia Pureview phones like 925.
I only agree with you if, and that's a really..really big IF, its camera was able to perform much better than the Z2.
The S5 can little bit better than Z2 in good light, but the Z2 crush the S5 in low light and the Z2 also destroy the S5 when it comes to video stabilization so overall the Z2 is better than S5.
123. Windswept7 (Posts: 3; Member since: 16 Aug 2014)
I sell all these phones, and real cameras too, I have the Sony z2 and while the camera is quite good, there is more to a camera than what most review sites cover.
From my extensive tests, surprisingly the LG G3 seems to be able to produce the best photos in a larger variety of conditions than any other phone. This is primarily because of both the optical stabilization and finding a good balance between more detail (megapixels) and more clarity (pixel size).
Due to the stabilization, LG have allowed the camera to take a longer exposure than most smartphones will allow, HTC M8 being the exception.
The sony Z2 shutter time can not be adjusted to take longer exposures this may change in android L also possibly adding raw functionality which could greatly improve the camera potential, because the sensor is very capable.
Samsung's photos look very good until you realise they are over sharpened and and soon as the light begins to dim - blurry. Hopefully the Note 4 will improve upon this with stabilization then we might see the best camera (in a smartphone) available.
2. justsayit (Posts: 229; Member since: 09 May 2013)
got build quality issue still can be top 1!
17. ArtSim98 (Posts: 3207; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)
That issue isn't even real. Even on my Z2 the the top right gap between the glass and bezel is slightly bigger than on the left. However, you can only see it when you look as closely as your eyes can focus. That thing is absolutely normal on any phone. It does not affect waterproofing since the sealing's are somewhere beneath. So yeah.
19. PapaSmurf (Posts: 8840; Member since: 14 May 2012)
Isn't real to you but was a problem with production nonetheless.
107. TMach (Posts: 385; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)
I am guessing this issue was restricted to early production ones released in Japan etc. mine has no gaps either side, so not an issue. Certainly not an issue that has been reported on European issue Z2s!
3. vipervoid123 (Posts: 135; Member since: 27 Aug 2013)
wow unexpected PA can give Z2 the 1st place in this list ~
9. PapaSmurf (Posts: 8840; Member since: 14 May 2012)
They did it so half the site won't go crazy lol. But I think it deserves #1.
100. buccob (Posts: 1543; Member since: 19 Jun 2012)
Wow dude... you really are annoying when it comes to articles showing Sony some credit...
We all know you are a Samsung hyper fan and a bigger Sony Hater... we all get it... but you need to stop your non-sense comments bashing every single opinion and fact that anyone elses post.
Everybody agree that the camera on the S5 is better than the one on the Z2... I am a Sony fan but I agree with that FACT, because Sony needs to improve their software and calibration methods.... BUT you need to drop a couple of notches when you read an article that you don't agree based on your personal opinions...
I have had a Samsung flagship and now I own a Sony phone... and I try to make my opinions unbiased, but you completely discredit Sony even when you don't even own the phones. Just ignore other people's comments if what you're going to do is just bash around stating that Samsung is better, and more popular, and sells more... whatever... this is actually one of the first articles I read on PA where they give a Sony Xperia a higher rank than every other flagship out there... So people is actually surprised, but not because it didn't deserved it, but because PA have had a record of partiality in the past.... and this article took a turn for the better, unbiased way.
109. Raito (Posts: 4; Member since: 15 Aug 2014)
Hahaha,its because he's paid by Samsung,obviously :)
110. Arte-8800 (banned) (Posts: 4562; Member since: 13 Mar 2014)
But he did give credit to Sony.
119. Raito (Posts: 4; Member since: 15 Aug 2014)
It's to hide the fact that he was Samsung employee,it's very common in marketing world
5. TisaTsir (Posts: 65; Member since: 06 Jan 2014)
Looking at the performance of both z2 and the latest xperia T3, sony xperia z3 will be the best smartphone of 2014. But note4 will be a beast.