2014 is drawing to a close now, and it has been a year in which the smartphone market has evolved once more. So now looks like an ideal time to look back on what were the most impressive handsets released during the calendar year. Here are ValueWalk’s top six smartphones of 2014.
Sony Xperia Z3
It hasn’t been a glorious year for Sony in financial terms, with the corporation announcing massive losses and blaming it on the mobile phone division. Which is a shame, as the Sony Xperia Z3 may not be a vast step forward over the previous iteration in the series, but it is still a pretty decent smartphone.
The slimmed down design was particularly popular, and the brightness of the screen certainly resonated as you viewed content. The display is actually a big plus point of this device, as Sony installs its Bravia Technology in the Xperia series.
An obvious weakness of the smartphone is the relatively poor camera, and if you are a consumer looking to take a lot of photographs with your smartphone then it is difficult to recommend the Xperia Z3 too strongly.
But if you’re looking for a relatively affordable smartphone with an excellent screen and good remote play functionality then this the Z3 certainly a good option.
Google Nexus 6
2014 was the year where Google began to take the smartphone market particularly seriously, and the Nexus 6 is its best effort at a smartphone thus far.
The Nexus series had previously been criticized for poor camera functionality, but this was fixed to a certain extent with the snapper in the Nexus 6. This upgrade comes at the premium though; no longer can the Nexus 6 be considered a cheap smartphone option.
The powerful Snapdragon 805 chipset included in the device ensures that this is a very powerful handset, and given that this is a flagship Google device, it will continually benefit from receiving the latest Android updates.
The 5.96-inch screen included in this smartphone wasn certainly divisive, but the large-handed among us, and those predisposed to detailed mobile displays, will find much to admire in this premium phablet-sized smartphone.
LG is yet to become a household name in the West, but with devices such as the G3 under its belt, this could change in the near future.
This is an extremely solidly built and supremely well manufactured smartphone that is among the most affordable on the market. This would be impressive enough in itself, but it also arguably includes the best display in any smartphone on the planet. Perhaps it has been superseded by Samsung devices in this regard, but its QHD screen still impresses.
The LG G3 also has a raft of impressive upgrades from previous devices in the series, which include an overhauled and simplified user interface and laser-based auto-focus in its camera, and couples this with improved physical design parameters.
This is a sleek and stylish smartphone which is brilliant for viewing content such as videos and photographs. It belongs in the same bracket as the very best smartphones on the planet.
HTC One M8
HTC continues to struggle to achieve the commercial success that its outstanding mobile devices deserve, but that doesn’t prevent the HTC One M8 from being a simply exceptional smartphone.
The HTC One was a hard act to follow, but the HTC One M8 builds on the quality of that device and delivers improved functionality that warrants any owner of the earlier device upgrading to its successor.
Design parameters in HTC devices remain impressive, and cradling this smartphone in one’s hand instantly reveals it to be a supremely well designed device.
Camera functionality is also particularly impressive in this smartphone, with the HTC One M8 featuring one of the speediest snappers on the market.
The Snapdragon 801 processor included in this mobile provides a huge amount of power, yet the battery life of this device must also be commended.
The HTC One M8 is extremely flexible, and gaming, movies, photography and web browsing are processed with supreme ease. This is an absolutely world-class smartphone that also offers incredible value for money. It can definitely be considered the ultimate smartphone outside of the Apple / Samsung duopoly.
Samsung Galaxy Note 4
Samsung has a raft of different mobile devices available, but this phablet-sized smartphone is surely the best of them. While the Galaxy S series is possibly the flagship mobile for Samsung, the Galaxy Note 4 surpasses it in capabilities.
Above all else, the Galaxy Note 4 blows you away with its Super AMOLED technology combined with QHD resolution. It has probably exceeded the LG G3 as the smartphone with the best display on the market.
The Galaxy Note 4 is also notable for its S-Pen, and the functionality related to this has really been stepped up with this release. Many consumers love this aspect of the Galaxy Note series, and it has really reached its apex with the Galaxy Note 4.
Samsung always crams its mobiles full of incredible spec, and this release is no exception to this rule. Perhaps there are still improvements to be made in terms of the Galaxy range’s physical appearance, but no-one can fault the power and functionality of the Galaxy Note 4.
Apple iPhone 6
Apple still carries a cachet with consumers that no other smartphone manufacturer can come close to matching. And the iPhone 6 built on this fashionable image, while delivering a smartphone package that was critically acclaimed and massively popular with consumers.
The iPhone 6 remains the niftiest, slickest smartphone available, with Apple’s proprietary and impressive iOS 8 software ensuring that it runs like a dream. Camera functionality has been hugely improved in the iPhone 6, particularly with regard to optical image stabilization, and the screen is the best ever display in an iPhone.
Ultimately, the iPhone 6 is an outstanding all-rounder, which perhaps doesn’t excel in any area, but simply works extremely well, while delivering a beautiful and desirable design that has yet to be matched in the smartphone niche.