Best Android phone - which should you buy?

The top Android phones compared

5. Sony Xperia Z3

Sony Xperia Z3

Sony released its successor to the Xperia Z2 a mere six months after its release. Because of the quick turn around we weren't expecting a revolutionary new handset. What the Sony Xperia Z3 does manage to do is improve on the already excellent Xperia Z2 in some key areas.

The screen is a large 5.2-inches with a full 1080p resolution. Technology behind the screen gives a boost to the overall brightness of the display which makes it look fantastic.

The Xperia Z3 also packs some impressive specs with a quad-core 2.5GHz processor, Adreno 330 GPU and 3GB of RAM.

These improved specs are all housed in a slimmer and more stylishly designed chassis, giving the Xperia Z3 a truly premium feel. It's also water and dust resistant as well.

Quick verdict

The Sony Xperia Z3 does a lot of things right, with some excellent hardware specs and a stylish design. If you own a PlayStation 4 then the Remote Play feature that lets you stream PS4 games to the handset could be of real interest - and if it's not, it should be.

It's a great phone but the experience isn't quite flawless enough to get it any higher in our charts with a disappointing camera and buggy software being chief among its problems.

4. Sony Xperia Z3 Compact

Xperia Z3 Compact

You might be thinking 'a compact version charting higher than the flagship? Techradar has lost it!', but hear us out. Sony has done such a good job of shrinking down the Xperia Z3 into a smaller handset with only a few minor cuts to the specifications that it has, perhaps by accident, created a more desirable handset.

There's a reason the Xperia Z3 Compact is the only mini variant on this list, with the HTC One Mini 2 or Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini nowhere in sight. Unlike those other phones, Sony has managed to keep the specifications of the Z3 Compact broadly the same as the larger version.

It has the same 2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor along with an Adreno 330 GPU and very good 20.7MP camera.

The smaller 4.6-inch screen gives the Z3 Compact a better battery life than the full size Z3, as well as being more comfortable to hold. The price has also been cut, making the Z3 Compact a more compelling purchase.

Quick verdict

Easily the best compact Android phone on the market today. Sony has worked hard to fit some excellent features into this handset despite its smaller stature and it has paid off.

Not only does it work very well in the hand, we really like the translucent stylings on the outside of the chassis. This is great work from Sony, and doubly brilliant if you own a PS4 too thanks to the Remote Play feature.

3. Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Galaxy Note 4

Four years after the original Galaxy Note kick started the phablet craze, the Galaxy Note 4 arrives to show that Samsung still has what it takes to make excellent super sized smartphones.

This is a top of the range smartphone with a wallet-trembling price tag to boot. But what you do get for your money is a fantastic 5.7-inch QHD Super AMOLED screen along with a 2.7GHz quad-core processor and 3GB of RAM.

With these specs it easily outperforms its closes rivals such as the iPhone 6 Plus and HTC One M8.

Quick verdict

The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 certainly isn't cheap, but a fantastic screen, brilliant specs and a great camera all help justify the hefty asking price.

If you're in the market for a large smartphone then you'll definitely want to seriously consider the Galaxy Note 4.

2. LG G3

LG G3

The big selling point for the LG G3 is its display, with a QHD (that's 1440 x 2560) resolution, making it pin sharp. While there's not a huge amount of content to take advantage of that res just yet, you can be safe in knowledge the G3 is future proof.

Away from the screen and things are still good for the G3 with a punchy 2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor, 3GB of RAM and an Adreno 330 GPU ensuring the interface, widgets, apps and games all speed along at a rate of knots.

The design is a little questionable with a faux-metal rear, and the 5.5-inch display means the G3 is a little on the large side which will put those with small hands off. Get past those small facts though and this is a top quality smartphone with a boat-load to offer.

Quick verdict

If you want the latest and greatest screen technology in the palm of your hand the LG G3 is the smartphone for you, but the whole package isn't quite there.

The LG G3 is a great handset that's more phablet than phone - and it's only slightly let down by lacklustre design.

1. HTC One M8

HTC One M8

We love the speed of the camera, the Duo Camera is sharp as a tack, the Boomsound upgrade is impressive and the design... well, you have to hold it. The HTC One M8 is an excellent package

The Snapdragon 801 processor has boosted battery dramatically, and that means that photos also process much more quickly as well - even the front-facing camera is much better.

Gaming, movies, photography, browsing all work really well, and in a phone that that's easily going to destroy whatever anyone else can design, unless Apple or LG have got some dark sorcery up their sleeves when the iPhone 6 or LG G3 appear later in the year.

Quick verdict

The only way to know how good the HTC One M8 is, is to go into a store, pick it up and hold it for a few minutes. Take in the design, listen to the BoomSound speakers and glide around the Sense UI.

Of course the One M8 won't be for everyone, and the Xperia Z3, OnePlus One and Galaxy S5 are seriously tempting propositions - but anyone looking for the perfect fusion of design and features need look no further.