10 best mobile phones in the world today

The best smartphones 2014: what phone is best for you?

If a phone isn't in the top 10 best phones in the world list, that doesn't mean it's not worth giving two hoots about.

Here's a few handsets you might want to think about should none of the above tickle your fancy... although you're clearly VERY hard to please:

Samsung Galaxy s5

Samsung Galaxy S5

There was a lot of hype around the new Galaxy, and rightly so: it was by far the best phone Samsung has ever produced, with a blazing fast core, a strong result in the benchmarks and a larger 5.1-inch screen.

Then there's the fact that with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 CPU, which is still a really good CPU for any smartphone, and even now the Galaxy S5 is one of the best phones on the market when it comes to battery life, besting the already impressive One M8 in the power stakes. The Note 4 is a better option now, if you can handle the size, though.

Samsung has also dropped the 'innovation' of the air gestures from last year (well, they are in there but not the main focus) and improved the hardware with a better camera, fingerprint scanner and heart rate monitor too.

The last addition is pretty pointless... but hey, it's fun for down the pub.

Quick verdict

The Samsung Galaxy S5 is a good phone, apart from the design. It's something that needs to be updated sorely, and while it doesn't have to be an all-metal shell, it needs to evolve.

The S5 has a clear UI, powerful innards and is also waterproof... it's by far not the best phone on the market any more, but it's still a mean device that's now getting a much tastier price off contract.

Nokia Lumia 930

Nokia Lumia 930

Hey Nokia, soon to be Microsoft, nice flagship phone!

The Lumia 930 does lack compared to the competition, but only in a couple of areas. Windows Phone is still a sub-par operating system for most people, thanks to the poorer apps and lower amount of control. But then again, for a lot of people the improved Office functionality and simple interface is a boon.

The Lumia 930 is a strong phone in both design and power, although a little last-gen on the latter element, and coupled with a very capable camera, is a phone that's easy to recommend to those looking for something different.

Quick verdict

Windows Phone aside, there's a great deal on show here to make this a top-rated smartphone. The build quality is excellent and iconic, and the camera is powerful and results in mostly great snaps. We like that 32GB is on offer as the base model, and wireless charging built in is perfect.

The price is pretty good too, and if you're a fan of Windows Phone there is nothing better right now.

Apple iPhone 5S

iPhone 5S

Remember this? After the furore with the iPhone 6, it's easy to forget that the Apple iPhone 5S is still alive and kicking.

It's still a bit expensive, coming in at least £459 from Apple and contracts happily pushing over £30 a month, even with paying a little for the phone.

That said, it's sucked down the iOS 8 software pretty well, and is still pushing on as a decent option for a slightly cheaper iPhone, especially if you like the smaller sized screen.

Plus, you can use it with the Apple Watch and pay for things on the go using the cunningly named Apple Pay - although for some reason TouchID won't be enabled to work online, where it will be for the iPad Air 2 and friends.

Quick verdict

An ageing phone but one that still deserves a look simply because Apple will support it for so long - it's powerful enough to carry on for a few years yet.

It's still the best option if you like a smaller screen on an Apple device, but the iPhone 6 is worth a look for the improved battery alone.

Sony Xperia Z2

Sony Xperia Z2

Sony has something of a slump last year, following up the impressive Xperia Z with the lacklustre Xperia Z1 just a few months later.

The camera, which was supposed to be the headline feature, didn't impress as much as we'd hoped, and the screen was still lacking the IPS clout that the Xperia Z Ultra managed - meaning muted colours and poor viewing angles.

Anyway, enough about last year - Sony's back in 2014 and comes with an excellent phone in the shape of the Xperia Z2.

And the good news is it's impressive. Really impressive. The industrial design is a little chunky but oozes premium quality in a way that Samsung's plastic shell doesn't, and it's a little more robust than its Galactical rival thanks to being IP58 rated.

Great battery life, strong power and a good camera all are present and correct with most phones in this list, but Sony stays in the top three simply by being a great all-rounder.

It doesn't have the polish of the HTC One M8, nor the more functional UI, but it does what's asked with top-end specs. That's what we like.

Quick verdict

What did Sony need to do to impress? Not a lot, but that screen and camera needed a fix as well as adding in some other features.

Front facing speakers, a new screen with better colour reproduction, 4K video recording and inbuilt noise cancellation all make a great device that should be right on your possible upgrade list.

Make sure you check it out in-store before purchase, as some won't like the larger build, but for a good all-round experience the Xperia Z2 excels.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha

Samsung Galaxy Alpha

Another Samsung phone enters the fray, and it's a slightly odd one: the Galaxy Alpha has a price tag that's even higher than the iPhone 6, and yet doesn't really out-spec it in many ways.

That said, it's still a premium phone. The second you hold it, you'll feel that the updated metal design really works, with clever effort made to improve the way it feels in your hand.

The 4.7-inch screen isn't as high-res as the rivals, but does the job well thanks to Super AMOLED technology making the contrast ratio and colours pop out.

And the battery is removable - bonus!

Quick Verdict

There's a lot to like about the way the Alpha looks, but there are some quibbles: why is there no microSD slot or larger capacity on offer to help out?

Why does it cost so much? Is the metal band (and, to be fair, blazingly fast internal speeds) really enough to warrant a purchase?

A really nice phone that needs a little more to be at the sharp end of this list: but if you want a premium-feeling Android phone with a strong camera, the Alpha is a great place to start.

LG G2

LG G2

LG has made a phone that not only impressed us but ran the HTC One very, very close for the top spot in 2013 - and holds a strong place into 2014 too.

We don't know where to start in terms of extolling the virtues of this new handset from the South Korean firm: it's got an insanely good screen, quality camera, the best audio pumping out from its speakers and headphone jack... the list goes on.

We even came to tolerate, then love, the power and volume buttons being placed on the rear. These aren't ideal, but the ability to knock on the screen makes it really easy to interact with this impressive device.

The LG G3 is here now, and blows this out of the water in terms of price and power (it's even got a next-gen QHD screen) but given the lower cost the G2 is still an excellent choice.

Verdict

There's so much on offer here that we can't help but recommend it to anyone looking for a cheaper smartphone powerhouse.

The only things that we dislike are the cluttered UI (pull down the notifications bar and you'll see why) and the plastic casing, which drops the premium feel of the phone a lot, especially compared to the handset that sits one place above.

But launching at £400 on PAYG (and even cheaper with a few third party retailers), along with comparable contracts older phones, is a really nice touch from LG, and we reckon it's going to pay dividends.

HTC One

HTC One

It's quite a tumble from the top spot for the HTC One, especially given it was our top smartphone for so long. However unless you're desperate to pay a little less per month, the newer One M8 does everything the original did, but so much better.

It's nothing to do with the quality of the One – which is still one of the outstanding phones on the market – but more the fact that if you like Boomsound, and Ultrapixel camera, a sharp and bright screen or a powerful processor, the M8 has improved in every way there.

But let's not forget what made this phone so great: the supreme aluminium chassis, the Full HD screen and the simplified version of Sense 5.0 sitting now on top of Android KitKat means it's still a pleasure to use and recommend this handset - but again, only if price is your main driver and you simply must have a One.

The innovations are also more than just marketing gimmicks; Zoe functionality allows the creation of delightful video highlight reels, and the Ultrapixel camera means you've got a much wider range of shots available thanks to being stunning in low light - and none of that is diminished with time.

Quick Verdict

With power, poise and beauty all combined in this innovative phone, HTC has proved it can still more than cut it with the big boys when it comes to bringing out a lust-worthy flagship smartphone.

However, remember that this has one year fewer in terms of HTC promising to keep it upgraded, so if you pick it up now you might not get the newer versions of the software in 12 months time. The battery is also not as strong as on the One M8 - but it's still got a lot to offer.

Galaxy S4

Samsung Galaxy S4

Samsung managed to hold off HTC at the top in 2012, but in 2013 the supreme stylings of the HTC One proved too strong against a phone that's a slightly-better-version of its predecessor, especially when you consider the design.

There's a lot, a lot, to love with the Samsung Galaxy S4 though: whether it's a powerful camera, a brilliant screen, a long-lasting battery or just a fluid experience, there's a lot you could want in a smartphone right here.

The cost is a tad higher than on other smartphones, but still cheaper than iPhone level and is descending as the S5 appears. If only it was made out of something a little more premium...

LG, Sony and Google have come out with some attractive propositions and overtaken the best the South Koreans can manage, but that hasn't stopped this being one of the most popular phones of 2013 and the price is ever lower.

Quick verdict

There's no doubt that, despite the design criticism, this is one of the best smartphones ever made - it's clear, powerful and does everything we'd expect a flagship phone from Samsung to do.

It's just a shame that the perceived 'innovation' doesn't really add anything: motion gestures, smart scroll and it's other non-contact bedfellows didn't take smartphones to the next level, which is what we needed in the face of Ultrapixels and BoomSound.

Make no mistake though: you'll love the Samsung Galaxy S4 if you choose to go for it, as it's a decent phone with some really cutting-edge features - but remember there's something better thanks to the Galaxy S5.

Note 3

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 breathes yet more life into a mobile form factor many thought would be dead on arrival, ramping up the specs and the size to give us a new monolith of mobile.

It may be big, but the 5.7-inch display is fantastic and the Full HD Super AMOLED technology makes everything pop from websites to movies.

You're able to fit a lot more on screen at a time and that means less scrolling in messages, on websites and down your long contact list and that can only be a good thing.

What really impressed us with the Galaxy Note 3 though was its battery life and sheer speed under the finger. We're used to a day at best when hardcore using the device, but we got far past that without breaking a sweat throughout our tests.

The speed of the Snapdragon 800 quad core processor, combined with 3GB of RAM, means this is the least-slouchy phone we've encountered in a while.

Quick verdict

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is a great phone and if you were to own one you wouldn't be disappointed. It provides a great onscreen experience - as long as your hands are big enough to reach across it - and it's stuffed so full of tech to almost warrant its lofty price tag - which refuses to tumble much.

Its size will be a real stumbling point for many and we'd recommend going into a store and just holding the Note 3 for a while to see if it's something you can cope with - in short, we want all this but in a form that we can hold easily, at a lower price and without the S Pen.

If that's you, then just go ahead and buy the Galaxy S5.

Nokia Lumia 520

Lumia 520

The Nokia Lumia 520, much like its big brother the Nokia Lumia 620, is a jack of all trades and a master of none - although it really manages to make a good fist of everything it tries, for the low, low price tag it carries.

It looks good, it's got a decent screen both in terms of size and resolution, it rarely stutters or slows down, it's great for calls and messaging, reasonable for media and okay for photos.

To achieve a lower price point the 520 has had to strip away a few things - there's no NFC, compass, camera flash or front facing camera here.

But on the other hand it's also got a bigger screen, a larger battery, a sleeker, slimmer, lighter build and the same processor and RAM as the Nokia Lumia 620, so in many ways it's actually better.

Combine that with a lower price tag and we reckon that this just might be the best entry level Windows Phone 8 handset that you can buy and certainly the best value.

Quick verdict

The Nokia Lumia 520 certainly isn't an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy beater - but it's a superb Windows Phone device that you can pick up for under £100. If you're a fan of a simple interface with some quality add-ons, then you should definitely look at Nokia's latest attempt to win over the smartphone naysayers.

Samsung Galaxy S3

Galaxy S3

With the Samsung Galaxy S4 AND Galaxy S5 now launched, the S3 has predictably fallen out of focus somewhat.

But don't worry: the S3 is still a strong phone: it's got a good slug of decent features we want and more, and knows what it's doing with processor speed and media management too.

Would we recommend you buy one if you're hankering for a spot of Samsung? Yes, but only if you're trying to save a lot of money, as it's really ageing now.

Price isn't the only reason the Samsung Galaxy S3 is worthy of consideration though. Smart Stay, Super AMOLED HD screen, up to 128GB storage, Music Hub, removable battery, quick camera; for the price, this phone still delivers in ways that many others on the market can't.

Quick verdict

If you're after a decent slab of Samsung tech, the Galaxy S3 is an OK choice. Samsung faced an almost impossible task in trying to create a worthy sequel to the Galaxy S2, and while this is an older model, it's still worth a look.

iPhone 5C

iPhoen 5C

What's this? A new iPhone not making it into the top five? Wait... not even the top ten?

Well, you can't really blame us. This isn't a new iPhone - it's last year's device in brand new package with more colours to choose from.

There are more LTE bands to choose from too, which is important to UK buyers as it means it can give superfast speeds from all the networks.

It's still a really rather good phone, with the Retina display still giving market-leading colour reproduction, a strong camera and the best App Store around.

Quick verdict

We'll be honest: this is the section the iPhone 5 would have lived in, as the iPhone 5C is just a tweaked version of 2012's model, the same phone with a new skin.

There will be loads of people looking to buy it simply because the iPhone now comes in pink or green, and to those we say: look at the Lumia range. Nokia's been doing the same thing for years and at a much, much cheaper price point.

The iPhone 5C is the same as a every phone from Apple: too expensive for what it is, but if you're desperate for such a device from the Cupertino brand then this is still a strong handset to plump for - but beware of getting the 8GB option as it can fill up with apps or media very quickly.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini

Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini

Samsung created a mid-range handset, putting itself right against the 4G-toting Sony Xperia SP and Nokia Lumia 820 - but most importantly now in a war with the HTC One Mini too.

The Galaxy S4 Mini takes the design language of the full-fat S4, and does well to shrink it down without losing the same 'atmosphere'.

A vibrant screen, bright and clear enough, added to the fact it's only 4.3-inches large, mean the S4 Mini is a lot easier to hold in the hand, and the camera is as powerful as we'd expect on a phone of this size and price point.

Quick verdict

What you get with the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini is a far better trade off of price and features than you got with the Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini, and a phone that sits very comfortably within the S4 range.

It's got a lot of the S4 power at a lower price point, and while the S3 to S3 Mini divide was just too great in our eyes, the S4 Mini is a lot closer to its bigger brother.

Nokia Lumia 1520

Nokia Lumia 1520

The Nokia Lumia 1520 is a trailblazing 6-inch smartphone that forges a path for Windows Phone 8 into true high-end territory. And what a swathe this oversized phablet cuts - it's huge.

Its 6-inch 1080p display is a thing of beauty, and is a great way to watch videos and view photos on the go.

Nokia has produced another excellent camera phone here, learning lessons from the Nokia Lumia 1020 and the Nokia Lumia 925 to produce a very well balanced snapper.

However, there's also no denying that this is a ridiculously large phone, and whipping one out in public will be as embarrassing as it is tricky to wield for those who appreciate a little subtly and mobility from their phones.

Quick verdict

The Nokia Lumia 1520 is an absolute beast of a phone that we suspect only the large-handed and generous pocketed will be able to live with day to day.

Those who accept the challenge will find the most capable Windows Phone 8 device yet, with top-of-the-range specs that include a stunning 1080p display and a superb 20-megapixel camera.