5 Best Android Phones for 2015

Category: Mobile

The Android smartphone landscape has much in common with the weather. If you don’t like either, just wait a few minutes and it will change. Two of the five Android phones described below will be superseded by newer, presumably better versions soon, according to their makers. That said, here are my picks for the five best Android phones currently available.

Top Android Phones - 2015

It used to be you were a PC person or a Mac person. As smartphones have grown in popularity, now you're either an Android person or an iPhone person. The iPhone landscape boils down to two phones, the iPhone 6 and the 6 Plus.

They're both excellent devices -- if you're an iPhone person. But for those who prefer openness and variety, there are dozens of Android-based phones to choose from. Here are five that I think are best of breed at this time.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 (not to be confused with the Galaxy S4) arrived in October, 2014, to great acclaim. Some reviewers prefer it to the Galaxy S5. The Note 4 sports a spacious 5.7-inch Quad HD display, and an improved S Pen stylus, which puts it in the "phablet" (phone/tablet hybrid) category.

Top Android Phones for 2015

Under the hood, there's 4G LTE for connectivity, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 2.7GHz quad-core processor, a 16 Mpixel rear-facing camera with image stabilization, and the Android 4.4 KitKat operating system. (Android 5.0 Lollipop is rolling out slowly.) With a two-year contract it’s $399; unlocked/retail prices range from $670 to $880.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 is nearly a year old; its successor, the S6, is anticipated in early April 2015. Retail (non-contract) prices of the S5 will certainly drop from their current range of $500 to $650. (I just got a Galaxy S4 for $0.01 -- contract price -- on Amazon!) The S5’s 5.1-inch AMOLED display with 1080p resolution is one of the best you’ll find on the market; color and brightness even adjust to ambient lighting automatically. It sports a 16 Mpixel camera, a quad-core processor running at 2.5GHz, 2GB of RAM and a removable 2,800 mAh battery.

Moto X 2105
The Motorola Moto X launched in 2013 in a disappointingly small form factor. Now it sports a larger 5.2-inch 1080p screen, a 13 Mpixel camera capable of recording 4K video, and a price tag in the $400 to $550 range. Motorola has been quicker than other OEMs to push out Android updates; Android 5.0 Lollipop is already on the Moto X. You can also get the Moto X customized in color and even style. Do you want (faux) leather or wood?

Moto X 2105
The HTC One M8 is also running Lollipop, powered by a Snapdragon 801 processor with 2 GB of RAM. Some secret software sauce makes the M8 run apps considerably faster than other phones of similar hardware. The 5-inch display is flanked top and bottom by high-quality speakers, making the phone unusually tall. The camera’s 4 Mpixels are surprisingly meager, but the built-in software allows for some interesting video editing and 3D effects. Prices range from $500 to $722; that’s likely to fall in March when the HTC One M9 debuts.

The LG G3 is a technological groundbreaker that will score big points with mobile music and movie consumers. It was the first large-screen phone to offer QHD resolution, packing a 1440x2560 display into 5.5 inches. Its 13 Mpixel camera includes an optical image stabilizing system and laser autofocus. The G3's sound quality is also excellent. The 1-watt speaker with 1.5W boost amp produces "articulate music" with high fidelity in both upper and bass ranges. The "knock code" is an interesting take on home screen security. Just tap personalized 3 to 8 point pattern anywhere on the display to unlock your phone. It has a microSD slot for removable storage and a 3000 maH battery. Prices range from $450 to $600.

Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Do you have a favorite that I didn't list here? Post your comment or question below...

 
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Most recent comments on "5 Best Android Phones for 2015"

Posted by:

Frank
10 Feb 2015

Hi Bob.
As always very important, interesting and informative article. In this article you forgot about the Samsung Galaxy Note EDGE, which is very similar but more expensive than the Samsung Galaxy Note 4. However its EDGE technology make it very convenient and to me, the best of them all.


Posted by:

Dennis W Waterman
10 Feb 2015

Unless they have DRASTICALLY improved the antenna on the Samsung phones I would NEVER get one again. I work from home doing e-commerce and was told all the great things about the Galaxy S3 and got one. I liked the phone itself but EVERY time I got a call (or called anyone) I had to go outside to get reception. And that is ONLY if I actually got the phone to ring! I missed so many calls and made so many trips to the local US Cellular store it was totally nuts. They tried everything--software updates, different batteries, more software updates. NOTHING helped.

I thought maybe it was just that phone but a neighbor had the same one and had the exact same problem. I only discovered this when I had to go out in the snow one day to talk and there they were--standing outside talking on the phone with the snow blowing and the wind whipping around. We compared notes--same phone, same problems, same excuses.

I finally told USCC I was leaving them after 35 years with the same provider. At that point they admitted that the reception was not great and that they "knew" about the issues with a lousy antenna.

Long story I know but they "let me" buy a USED Motorola XT881 for a whopping $0.01 and took back the paperweight after nine months of frustration.

No more Galaxy anything for me.


Posted by:

Linda
10 Feb 2015

How about the Saygus V2? From what I've read, this is the next phone I will buy--in a year or so, when I can get it at a good price preowned. It has a removable battery, plus 64GB of internal storage with two microSD card slots supporting up to 128GB each - adding up to a maximum 320GB. It also has a Snapdragon 801 processor running at 2.5 GHz and 3 GB of RAM. The back camera has 21-megapixels and the front has 13-megapixels. It also has unbreakable glass. The price is good too. But until I can get it preowned, I will stick with my S4.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the first I've heard of the phone or the company. Looks like a nice device, but is not available on Verizon or Sprint yet. Pricey at $600.


Posted by:

Matt
10 Feb 2015

Samsung is a good brand, but I don't think I will buy any of their Android phones again. At least not while they are still putting on the physical navigation buttons and that obnoxious TouchWiz crap. They need to stop trying to copy Apple and get rid of those physical nav buttons.

Motorola is a horrible brand for phones, after working for T-Mobile for 6 years I can say I will never intentionally own any Motorola phone. (The ONLY exception I might make for Moto is the Nexus 6)

HTC and LG are about the best. No physical navigation buttons so it is closer to the true Android experience. We have the LG G3 and it is an amazing phone.

The only other devices I would've put on this list are the Nexus series. Those are my favorite. Pure Android straight from Google with none of the carrier or manufacture bloatware.


Posted by:

dlc
10 Feb 2015

I have had no problem with the antennas in the Galaxy s4 or s5. But the best phone out at this time is the OnePlus One. The 16gb is $300.00 and the 64gb is $349.00.


Posted by:

Glen
10 Feb 2015

You say: "The Motorola Moto X launched in 2013 in a disappointingly small form factor."
I have one and I'm not sure that your 'bigger is better' philosophy works for me! I don't know if I'd even be interested in the newer version.
I also agree with Dennis that Samsung phones don't work well in low signal areas. I used to have a Samsung phone and I found that Motorola does much better.


Posted by:

GP
10 Feb 2015

What about Nexus? Why not get the pure android experience? Had a Nexus 4 for 2 years and it was great and now have the 6. If you really want the best android, get the real thing, not another company's interpretation of android.


Posted by:

Smoky Lowe
10 Feb 2015

I would never use one of those costly contract junk. Will stick with my no contract consumer cellular As they offer better and all types of cell phones. They don't charge a arm and a leg for their service. Thank you.


Posted by:

JJ
10 Feb 2015

Moto X 1st gen owner here. Form factor was not a factor. Still do not have Lollipop. I keep checking but not yet available.


Posted by:

Mel
10 Feb 2015

Hi Bob. What if I want a smaller phone but with a good camera? What would you suggest? Thanks


Posted by:

Roger M
10 Feb 2015

I also agree with other writer's opinion on the Samsung Galaxy Note; I have the Note II;
At home, terrible px reception incoming and outgoing; had to get a Air Rave from Sprint just to have good px service.


Posted by:

Daniel Wiener
10 Feb 2015

Thanks, this is useful information, since I've just been investigating cell phone upgrades on our Sprint account. My wife has a two-year-old Galaxy S3 which needs upgrading. (I have a Galaxy S4 and my daughter has a Galaxy S5 which she's very happy with.) The logical thing seems to be to replace my wife's S3 with an S5, but the pricing is a bit screwy at the moment. When I chatted directly with Sprint, I was first told that an upgrade to the S5 would be $199.99, then later was told that a new line with contract would be $99.99 and an upgrade would be $249.99. I gave up trying to get that straightened out, and went to Amazon where they are offering an S5 upgrade with existing plan for $79.99.

So I think we'll just wait until the Galaxy S6 comes out. Hopefully that will cause the price on an S5 to drop to the same 1 cent level as the S4. (I wouldn't even consider an upgrade to the S6 right after it came out. Aside from the huge price premium compared to earlier models, it's never a good idea to buy a brand new model which might still have bugs to be worked out.)


Posted by:

RandiO
11 Feb 2015

After umpteen years of iPhones, I was finally able convince my g/f to switch camps and bought her the HTC One M8. It has been 9 months and she has zero complaints. I would have gladly talked her into a Windows phone (HTC One M8 can be bought as a Windows phone) but unfortunately, it lacks a vast library of apps.


Posted by:

Philip Reeves
11 Feb 2015

Call me old fashion if you must, but I don't like phones or computers that have no buttons. The on screen keyboards are hard to use, especially on phones. The screen is too small. It's so easy to hit the wrong key, especially when typing passwords. The letters change to dots right away. Unless you look within the first couple seconds, you can't tell you typed correctly until finished. I have bought an android cell and a tablet. I won't buy another. I can wait till I get home to my trusty desktop or laptop.


Posted by:

Olaf
11 Feb 2015

Hi,

there is a phone, which is really unknown to the public, cause there were no ads. Maybe its only for nerds, but we have 2 in the family.
Ever heard of the One+ One? oneplus.net

High quality for a nice low price. Not so easy to get one, but it became better, since you can order one without an invite.

Best regards from Germany.


Posted by:

John Edwards
11 Feb 2015

Great Article. Will you do a similar one for Windows Phones?


Posted by:

Alex Schark
12 Feb 2015

I bought an unlocked Galaxy S5 mini for a little over $400, with a 1 year warranty, in December, 2014. There were few Providers that could (not "would") give me service. I'm changing tomorrow for a Provider that will start accepting S5 mini's, as of today. By the way, it's a no contract (prepaid), $35/month with unlimited calls and texts, with 1G data. $40 with 3G data. As far as the mini goes, it's just plain great!

PS I got the mini because the regular S5 felt like i was holding an iPad to my ear. Just a matter of taste.


Posted by:

sameer
16 Feb 2015

Hello Bob, which two of the five Android phones described will be superseded by newer?

EDITOR'S NOTE: As I mentioned in the article:

1) The Samsung Galaxy S5 is nearly a year old; its successor, the S6, is anticipated in early April 2015.

2) The HTC One M8... prices range from $500 to $722; that’s likely to fall in March when the HTC One M9 debuts.


Posted by:

jvelarde
18 Feb 2015

Hello ppl,
I was like sure it would be the least I could do. Then I read that bad dawg, Thank you Bob as if that decision wasn't difficult enough already. My first thoughts were that at least they keep each other honest. However I gave it a little time and thought. Then I climbed out of my little box and decided. Dawg gone These ppl are making money hand over fist. Not only one group either all these companies could be doing worst. JS, I remember it was everyone wanted the same phone. Now even the "unpopular phones" are desired by someone. Makes me giggle at times only cause all the ppl I know all complain about the cost. Rest assured they all have the most expensive one they can afford yet no one calls anyone anymore. Is that weird? Sorry I get nervous testing, after a long weekend as well. jk Bob, I find it refreshing to find someone looking out for the ppl. I can't remember the last person. Thanks again. (; Bigdawg


Posted by:

TJ
19 Jun 2015

Hi Bob,
I'm surprised you didn't include the LG G4 to supercede the G3. I'm not normally one to be in a hurry to 'upgrade' to the newest & latest, but as a lover of the G2 (in spite of the inaccessable battery & internal storage only), & not being too keen on how the back buttons were changed to circles on the G3, I was very excited to learn about the impending G4, & that so many known issues (from the G2) were successfully addressed. When I learned of T Mobile's offer of a free 128 GB sd card with the purchase of a G4, & then especially LG's offer of a 32 GB card plus an additional battery & charging cradle for said battery with purchase, that sealed the deal for me. I'm not too big on how they changed the appearance & widgets, but I guess you can't have everything. Overall, I LOVE my new G4!


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