Best in class - the flagship Android smartphones of 2015's first half

Best in class - the flagship Android smartphones of 2015's first half
It's as if it was yesterday when we wished you a merry Christmas and a happy new year. Yet, we look around and it's the last day of April already. Four months went by unnoticed, and in this short time, we ended up in a pile of flagship Android smartphones! No amount of industry analysts spelling gloom and doom with their "high-end market saturation" talks could keep the likes of Samsung, LG, HTC, Huawei, Sony, Xiaomi from merrily unveiling their proudest handset creations to date - weeks, days, even mere hours after each other. 

So, let's do a quick tour of 2015's flagship Android smartphones so far! The devices in question? Here they are:

Samsung Galaxy S6 & S6 edge

Read the PhoneArena review

Faced with the Galaxy S5's lackluster market performance, Samsung had to give it their best to gain back its market stronghold. The result? Samsung threw a double punch at the competition, the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge. With a renewed focus on premium looks and cutting-edge specs, the Galaxy S6 sports a Quad HD display, an improved 16MP camera, and super-fast UFS 2.0 based internal storage starting at 32 GB up to 128 GB. The Galaxy S6 runs on Android 5.0 Lollipop with the company's proprietary TouchWiz skin on top, and it makes the first 64-bit Samsung flagship coming with a home-made Exynos 7420 chipset.

Powered by the same 14nm silicon, the Galaxy S6 edge delivers the same goods in an even more attractive form, thanks to its curved OLED screen. Curved at the sides, it gives out a flowing, futuristic appearance that's hard to miss - or copy.


Read the PhoneArena review

The LG G4's leather back cover goes through 3 months worth of manual labor, from stitching to the leather coating to smearing and treatment to improve resistance to heat and moisture. The genuine leather back makes the LG G4 feel more expensive than it actually is, as it is otherwise an iterative improvement over its plastic predecessor in the design department. On the inside, though, the LG G4 is every bit better than the one before it. it packs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 hexa-core CPU together with the Adreno 418 GPU and 3GB of RAM. Carrying a 5.5-inch Quad-HD display and up to 32GB of expandable storage, LG's flagship is also equipped with a 16MP camera with wide f/1.8 aperture, along with an 8-megapixel front cam.

HTC One M9

Read the PhoneArena review

With a premium all-metal unibody design, the beautiful One M9 doesn't stray away from HTC's gorgeous design tradition for its flagship line. In fact, one of the major complaints about it is that it's difficult to visually discern it from last year's HTC One M8. We actually think that's a compliment, but we have to say, with Samsung getting so much attention for its radical product design improvements this year, it's a particularly bad time for the competition to be resting on their laurels! Anyway, HTC's finest features a 20 MP cam in place of the UltraPixel camera, which has been moved at the front. The phone is powered by a scorching (in more ways than one) Snapdragon 810 processor, 3 GB of DDR4 RAM, and 32 GB of non-expandable storage out of the box. The new BoomSound speakers with Dolby surround sound at the front are a treat as well, and the icing on the cake is HTC's sublime Sense interface - a fast, modern interpretation of Android.

Huawei P8

Read the PhoneArena review

The Huawei P8 features a 5.2-inch screen with a resolution of 1080 x 1920. It uses its own octa-core Kirin 930 chip and 3GB of RAM for very good performance. The base model P8 comes with 16GB of native storage. On the side of photography, there's a 13 megapixel camera with OIS on the back, as well as an 8 megapixel front shooter for serious selfies. Huawei's metal and glass flagship is powered by a 2680 mAh battery and runs Android Lollipop out of the box.

Sony Xperia Z4

Representing 2015's quietest smartphone launch, the Sony Xperia Z4 is a nice, but predictable Sony flagship. It has a 5.2-inch screen with a 1080p resolution and it's powered by a 64-bit octa-core Snapdragon 810. There are 3GB of RAM inside, along with 32GB of native storage. Unlike Samsung, Sony left open the option to add up to 128GB of additional microSD storage. In the camera department, you'll find a 20.7MP camera on the back and a wide-angle 5.1MP snapper on the front. The Z4 is powered by a 2930mAh battery and comes with Android 5.0 out of the box. The color selection brings White, Black, Copper and Aqua Green to your attention. And, as per tradition, the handset features water and dust protection. The downside to all of this? The Z4 is only sold in Japan. The rest of the world is waiting for another device which may, or may not be named the Xperia Z3+, or the Xperia P2. Sony likes to keep a mystery!

Xiaomi Mi Note Pro

The Chinese heavyweight by the name of Xiaomi Mi Note Pro has a dreamy spec list and a design that could give Apple fans second thought. It features a 5.7-inch 1440x2560 resolution display with an excellent 515ppi pixel density. The Xiaomi flagship has been blessed with a whopping 4 GB of LPDDR4 RAM, and the processor in charge is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810. The all-important camera department is serviced by a 13 MP rear Sony camera and a 4 MP UltraPixel front cam. The big phablet has enough space to fit a 3090 mAh battery unit, so battery life shouldn't pose a problem.



1. neela_akaash

Posts: 1239; Member since: Aug 05, 2014

eagerly waiting for that Mi Note Pro.

22. torr310

Posts: 1677; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

We always need to focus on the second half of the year.

24. Simona unregistered

That Mi note pro wont be selling good bcos it is delayed and late Shame.. very nice looking phon

28. neela_akaash

Posts: 1239; Member since: Aug 05, 2014

I do not focus on sales figures before buying a phone....

43. jacko1977

Posts: 428; Member since: Feb 11, 2012

me too

2. junaidahmed

Posts: 103; Member since: Sep 04, 2014

what is sony up to?

16. SuperNova

Posts: 649; Member since: Jan 15, 2015

The Z4 is their last heritage for their diehard fans. In the next few months, you will see Sony sell off their mobile business like they did with their vaio laptop.

3. josephnero

Posts: 783; Member since: Nov 16, 2011

I will wait for second half Sony flagship

6. Kruze

Posts: 1285; Member since: Dec 30, 2014

Me too. Just hope they will get it right this time. I'm actually not that disappointed that the Z4 is a minor upgrade to the Z3, because it is only for Japan lol. Waiting for global Z5!

32. BaffledTruffle

Posts: 523; Member since: Dec 07, 2013

Wouldn't put my hopes up. I feel like Sony consistently underdelivers... which may be caused by their consistent weak sales figures. They might become the next Nokia...

4. redmd

Posts: 1943; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

Exciting! Can't wait for the Note 5.

44. jacko1977

Posts: 428; Member since: Feb 11, 2012

same here

5. SuperNova

Posts: 649; Member since: Jan 15, 2015

1080p phones are considered flagship of 2015? That's so 2014 and should be narrowed to midranger. Here is my ranking: 1. S6 and S6 edge 2. G4 3. G Flex 2

7. Kruze

Posts: 1285; Member since: Dec 30, 2014

No need to make a long comment, just say you love Korean phones next time.

10. SuperNova

Posts: 649; Member since: Jan 15, 2015

Haha diehard Sony lover! Then should the Z4 be the top? Enjoy your old fashioned technology with Sony which has stopped innovating since 90s. Bye bye Japanese tech, keep going down every year. LoL

15. Kruze

Posts: 1285; Member since: Dec 30, 2014

Sorry, but no. I don't need to see Z4 on your top shitty ranking. The point is that you're disrespecting the non-Korean phones in this article. You showed that you're nothing but just a biased Korean phone lover. So, fly off now, diehard Korean phone lover. Baka gonna be baka.

17. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

Say that to Samsung, Apple and others who keeps using outdated Sony innovations. Well from the 90s, Sony did bring me the Playstation, Bluray, Xperia, Walkman, Discman, Morpheus, Xtrud, Cybershot, Alpha camera series, Bravia, Sony Pictures, Vita, and the list goes on. Maybe they did stopped innovating since the 90s. Try harder next time.


Posts: 86; Member since: Apr 03, 2015

I guess he's 40 or 50 He doesn't know the era(world) has changed

27. Pinocchio

Posts: 141; Member since: Apr 14, 2015

+1 you're correct. Sony and other japanese brands were famous in my country only in the year 1995 til 2000. Now Samsung LG Apple... took over them. Even cheap Chinese products are also more popular than Japanese ones.

21. Pinocchio

Posts: 141; Member since: Apr 14, 2015

So? He must love his brands because in the absence of Samsung and LG, South Korea economy has probably not grown to that top level. Only betrayers don't support their country products.

23. Rhinoface

Posts: 179; Member since: Dec 05, 2014

Droid Turbo. Not Korean, but other than that, yeah pretty much.

8. xperian

Posts: 420; Member since: Apr 10, 2014

You can't see the difference between QHD and FullHD on a phone. It only makes the phone slower and uses more power. S6 and G4 have slower on-screen graphics performance than other flagships because of this high resolution

11. BaffledTruffle

Posts: 523; Member since: Dec 07, 2013

Actually, there are some who notice the difference. I, personally, could tell the loss of sharpness from a Note 4 to my dad's S4. Yes, there is some performance sacrifices GPU-wise but GPU's for higher-res screens are getting really good at catching up with their 1080p counterparts. I'm eager to see the day the performance become on equal ground (which means I could get 1080p phones for cheap).

31. xperian

Posts: 420; Member since: Apr 10, 2014

It's because of pentile matrix which slightly lowers the sharpness. If it was RGB you wouldn't notice.

12. SuperNova

Posts: 649; Member since: Jan 15, 2015

Not everyone agree with you. Go say that to the S6 buyers, I'm sure they would call you an idiot. Why invest in an old outdated spec phone at all, when you can get the latest one with the pretty similar price?

29. xperian

Posts: 420; Member since: Apr 10, 2014

I don't think 1080p is outdated. S6 screen would be just as good if it was 1080p. Well, maybe you would notice some difference from very close, because of pentile matrix, but it is not worth the performance tradeoff.

33. BaffledTruffle

Posts: 523; Member since: Dec 07, 2013

I notice it in "normal" viewing distance, to be honest. Maybe it is because of Pentile matrix, but that doesn't mean the claim is invalid. There is somewhat a perceivable difference. 1080p is still a nice technology, but the bar has been raised and Samsung is not gonna settle for any less. I don't see the S6 lagging at all. It's very smooth and buttery. Sure, GPU benchmarks of M9 has it beat, but every other benchmark, S6 barely breaks a sweat against the M9.

35. xperian

Posts: 420; Member since: Apr 10, 2014

But if Samsung made 1080 RGB amoled display I'm sure you wold'n notice the difference if panel is as good as S6. Of course, it is not lagging now but if games used a full potential of gpu then games would run faster on m9. Anyway, S6 is a great phone.

36. BaffledTruffle

Posts: 523; Member since: Dec 07, 2013

Well, there goes an "if" question. Surely could be, but they didn't. I actually would like to see some real gaming comparisons to see how the Mali running a QHD screen fairs against an Adreno running a 1080p display. I hope Erica Griffin does something like that. Her reviews are phenomenal.

38. AppleCultist

Posts: 335; Member since: Feb 18, 2015

No game runs at native QHD. They all run at native 1080p. This is why you can't trust on-screen benchmark numbers, since the benchmarks run at native QHD resolution on the S6, while real-world games only run at 1080p. Frandroid did a review of real-world gaming performance of the SD 810 and the Exynos 7420, and the 7420 murdered the 810.

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