Best Verizon phone 2014: 8 smartphone upgrades

What's the best Verizon phone? We're here to help you choose

iPhone 6 (and iPhone 6 Plus)

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One of the most evolutionary smartphones from Apple in years

The iPhone 6 marks one of the biggest shakeups for Apple's iconic handset in years. The latest comes with biggest screen ever used on an iPhone with a 4.7-inch display at the base model. Don't forget about the gargantuan 5.5-inch display on the Cupertino company's first phablet, the iPhone 6 Plus. These are also some of the thinnest iPhones Apple has ever made with a new design that closely mimics the iPad Mini's frame.

External aesthetics aside, Apple has also made some major internal updates on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus by adding NFC for the first time. It's what makes Apple Pay function. The camera has seen a major overhaul with the addition of phase detect autofocus as well as an optical image stabilized lens for the Apple phablet.

It's safe to say if you love smartphone photography, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus is the best handset to get. Especially given all the new image editing features packed into iOS 8. But even if you're not iPhoneographer, the iPhone 6 is a great handset you'll love for its build quality, speedy performance and just because it's a generally great device.

Nexus 6

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Go big or go home

Speaking of big shakeups, the Nexus 6 is one of the most premium handsets Google has ever commissioned in a very long time. And we mean top of the line; the Nexus 6 comes with a pocket-busting 5.9-inch screen with a screen resolution of 2560 x 1440, the fastest Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor and a big old 3220mAh battery.

Overall it's a bigger, more feature rich version of the Moto X, from which the Nexus 6 has inherited a metal frame and a curved back that fits nicely in the hand. This isn't all to surprising considering both handsets are Motorola made.

For the last few years the Nexus line has represented the baseline of what an Android phone can be while being a very affordable devices. Now with the Nexus 6, Google has created a monster of a handset that's very well equipped and one of the most expensive Android smartphones on the market. It might seem like a reversal for the Nexus line, but Google is actually going back to its high-end roots that it started with the Nexus One.

Motorola Droid Turbo

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It's like the Moto X on steroids

Motorola does not just make devices for Google, it's also a big an exclusive partner with Verizon. Meet the Motorola Droid Turbo, it's practically another variant of the Moto X except super sized. It's equipped with a large 3900mAh battery, which allows the device to run up to 48 hours. In case that still isn't enough battery life, plugging in the Motorola Turbo for just 15 minutes (with the proper charger) allows it to run for yet another 8 hours.

Aside from the extended battery life, the Motorola Turbo is an amped handset in every way with a Qualcomm 5.2-inch 1440p display and Snapdragon 805 processor. Meanwhile, the camera sensor has been boosted all the way to 21MP when most smartphone equipped with a 16MP camera already seemed a bit excessive.

From our own short time with the Verizon exclusive handset we loved the top of the line hardware but missed many of the excellent design cues of the Moto X. Users should also note this handset comes at an expensive $200 (on contract) premium.

HTC One M8 for Windows Phone

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Finally a Windows phone that isn't a Lumia device

Verizon does not have a wide selection of Windows Phone 8.1 devices, but phone Microsoft fans will want to pick up is the HTC One M8 for Windows. The handset came as a mid-year surprise when HTC decided put out a new version of its flagship device that swaps Android for Microsoft's mobile OS.

The two versions of the HTC One M8 are exactly the same from the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor to the dual-cameras. HTC has also ported all of the same software features including double taping to wake the smartphone and that specialized depth camera.

Of course, we're not complaining about any of this. There are hardly any handsets running Windows Phone 8.1 that come with a fully metal body or as well equipped the HTC One M8. Sadly this is the only Windows phone worth noting on Verizon. The selection of devices running Microsoft's mobile OS have otherwise gone stale with a year-old Lumia 928 and a two-year-old HTC 8x rounding out the other options – though the Lumia 830 is expected to come to come to Big Red's network some time in the future.

…And the winner is

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The Moto X!

Like highlanders, there can be only one and we've chosen the Moto X is as the best Verizon Phone. You might be scratching your head at this as why its not the iPhone 6 with its extremely thin body, the Nexus 6 for its top of the line specs or the Droid Turbo's extended battery life - but the Moto X is just a plain-old good, inexpensive smartphone.

It has some of the best build quality we've seen with any phone thanks to an aluminum frame, plus you can change out the back of your device to have a bit of wood or leather. It does not come with bleeding edge specs, but the Moto X packs plenty of power and an excellent 1080p, 5.2-inch screen.

Perhaps the biggest thing you'll love about the Moto X is it comes at a great bargain for just $99 (on contract) and on sale for $1 at some stores. The affordable price point seals the deal, and makes the Motorola Moto X the best Verizon phone in our book.