4. Samsung Galaxy S4 - plastic fantastic
Samsung's Galaxy line has a long and storied lineage. The Galaxy S2 was one of the first Android phones worth shouting about, and the Galaxy S3 was our top phone for a long time. Then the Galaxy S4 arrived, and briefly shared the glory of its predecessor, but had its reign cut short by the arrival of the HTC One. It's still an excellent device though, and for the right user, there are legitimate reasons to choose over the competition.
Verizon stocks a 16 and 32GB model. On its website, it offers fewer color options than rival AT&T. There's white, black and a truly awful brown.
Why you want it
Top end specs all around. For big but still manageable phones, the S4 is hard to beat. Its screen is really, really good, on par with the HTC One, we'd say. It's bright, sharp and sensitive to the touch. It's a pleasure to look at with a full HD resolution and 441 ppi. The S4 is also blazing fast, with a quad-core processor and an ample 2GB of RAM. The camera is also stellar, snapping high megapixel shots that'll look great on your tablet or computer screen.
For the storage fiend. Support for microSD memory is how the S4 really stands apart from the pack. It's the only flagship phone to include it, making it a very attractive option for consumers. You could conceivably buy a 16GB Verizon S4 for just $199, then bolster it with another 64GB of storage. It also has an open design that allows you to remove the battery, so you can carry a spare if you're going to be away from your charger for a stretch.
Caseless and carefree. Some might object to the S4's slick plastic build, but it's not a phone that's going to scratch and ding nearly as easily as an HTC One or an iPhone. A drop to the floor usually means picking up a few pieces, the phone, the back casing and the battery, but snap it back together and everything should be peachy.
Why you may not want it
That plastic body. While it's a scrapper of a phone that doesn't need a case, the S4 doesn't feel as premium as an HTC One, an iPhone or a Moto X. It's slick, and the back feels a bit flimsy due to its open design.
You want stock Android, or a sense of taste. TouchWiz is Samsung's UI and it's a crime against Android. It's full of cartoony fonts, cheesey icons and gimmicky software tricks. With the exception of some novel camera features, for most users, things like Smart Stay, Smart Scroll, Air View and Air Gestures will amount to little more than wasted space. If you're planning to root your phone or use a launcher, it's a non-issue, but if you don't know what those terms even mean, then you'll be stuck with how your S4 looks, forever.
You think it's too big. Like the HTC One, the S4 is over 5-inches long. Depending on how big your grip is, it might not be feasible to work it with one hand. Find a friend who has one or pop into a store and give the S4 a grip, stick it in your pocket and generally get a feel for the size before committing.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy S4 review