As technology progresses as does our use of smartphones. What was considered a niche is now a must-have device in your arsenal of gadgets and something you use on the daily. This year we got to see those that cater to productivity, entertainment and visuals.
Take a look at our choices for Smartphones We Recommend This Year for the Holidays and see which one best suits you.
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 / Note Edge
Looking for the do all to end up smartphone then the Galaxy Note 4 by Samsung is right up your alley. It has a plethora of apps to take advantage of its included S-Pen stylus and can be on its elegant 5.7” AMOLED 2K display. To keep this powerhouse running it has 3GB RAM, Snapdragon 805 chip and 32GB storage. Its 3,220mAh battery is removable and microSD cards of up to 128GB can be added. Its 16MP camera takes excellent photos and it records 4K video on the back while also shooting 2K video on the front which is a first. If you are looking for a bit more cutting edge, there is also the Galaxy Note Edge with same feature mentioned but has a 5.6” display and has curved display on the right side of the device.
HTC One M8
The successor of excellent designed HTC One returns this time with a bit more power under its belt. It has a gorgeous LCD 1080p 5” display, 2GB RAM, 32GB internal memory expandable with microSD and an UltraPixel camera. Its sexy aluminum body compliments its excellent sounding front facing BoomSound speakers and even better it’s available on all carriers with Sprint even having a special Harman Kardon edition.
View: HTC One M8 Review
Price:$99+ (with 2 year contract)
One of the first smartphones to hit the scene with a 5” 2K display, the LG G3 is one of the best out there. It is running on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, 3GB RAM, 32GB onboard storage and still allows for more with microSD expansion. Its battery is huge at 3,000mAh and its camera snaps shots in a flash with its 13MP shooter and Laser OIS capability. It is light in the hand and can slip into the pocket with ease because of its slim body. This is in part to all the buttons being on the back and nothing on the top or sides.
View: LG G3 Review
Price:$149+ (with 2 year contract)
Sony Xperia Z3
The phone to have if you own a PlayStation 4 would have to be the Sony Xperia Z3. It has remote play built-in and could have a PS4 controller synced up to enjoy your gaming while away from your actual system while on WI-FI. Besides that it is waterproof and has a dedicated camera to take advantage of its 20.7MP shooter. Specs wise it has a snapdragon 801 chip, 3GB RAM and 32GB storage with microSD option. If you aren’t a fan of wires, the Z3v model has wireless charging capabilities.
iPhone 6 / 6 Plus
iOS is finally catching up to the features that Android users have been enjoying. With the new iPhone 6 (or iPhone 6 Plus) you get a bigger screen, NFC payments, Optical Image Stabilization (on the 6 plus). With iOS 8.1, you finally get a keyboard with predictive typing, and you can even download other keyboards. You can see people you’ve recently contacted, updated spotlight (includes apps and web). Overall a better display, camera and body. The iPhone 6 is available in silver, gold, and white and in 16GB, 64GB, and 128GB configurations (no expansion slot).
Price: $199 (with 2 year contract)
Motorola Droid Turbo
If you are looking for a smartphone to carry you from sun up to sundown you might want to get your hands on the Droid Turbo by Motorola. It has a behemoth of a battery at 3900mAh and comes with a Turbo Charger that can get you up to 8hrs of battery in 15mins of charging. It has a Snapdragon 805 chip, 5.2” QHD display, 3GB RAM and storage options of 32GB or 64GB. Design wise you can get it in Metallic Red or Black or check out the unique feeling Ballistic Nylon style. If you like to take pix in the rain it is water-resistant and its camera is 21MP. If snapping pix aren’t your thing you can always record some 4K video.
View: Motorola Droid Turbo
Price:$199.99 (with 2 year contract)
While many may consider a diamond in the rough, the OnePlus One is an Android lover’s dream. Its back is coated in a Sandstone material (64GB model) and its size overage is slim with its 5” 1080p display. Besides that you get 3GB RAM, Adreno 330GPU, Snapdragon 801 processor, 3100mAh battery and 13MP camera with a Sony Exmor lens. What really makes the OnePlus shine is its Android OS is composed of CyanogenMod build which means everything is customized and there is no bloatware running on it what so ever. Since it’s tied to no carrier its GSM unlocked and can be used with any carriers with microSIM cards such as AT&T or T-Mobile. Only thing about the OnePlus One is on an invite only basis to purchase so you can wait for one or venture towards the reseller channels which isn’t much of a price hike.
View:OnePlus One Review
Google Nexus 6 (by Motorola)
One of the biggest and anticipated smartphones in our guide is the Nexus 6. When I mean big it has a close to 6” QHD display, 3GB RAM, 32GB / 64GB storage options, dual front speakers and has a Snapdragon 805 processor. It is the first to run the latest version of Android which is Lollipop aka 5.0 and its bells and whistles are a treat to witness. It runs buttery smooth and also has a 3,220mAh battery and 13MP OIS camera. Since it was worked on by Motorola it can be seen as the big brother of the Motorola Droid Turbo and Moto X. It’s available on all four carriers which is a Google Nexus first and should make it easier to get your hands on.
HTC One M8 for Windows
If you have a taste for the Windows lifestyle HTC has got you covered and taken their awesome HTC One M8 smartphone and laid a nice Windows Phone 8.1 OS inside of it. You still get all the great specs such as a 5” LCD 1080p display, 2GB RAM, 32GB storage expandable with microSD and the great sounding BoomSound speakers. Using Windows Phone 8.1 assistant “Cortana” sounds great coming out of them. It may be one of the best designed Windows phone to date and if you are interested in Windows Phone you may want to check this one out.
View: HTC One M8 for Windows Review
Price:$99 and up (with 2 year contract)
Sharp Aquos Crystal
This phone is different due to its edgeless design. With a 5″ screen, 1.5 GB RAM, and 8 megapixel camera, the Sharp Aquos Crystal is an affordable and powerful phone. It’s powered by a quad-core snapdragon processor and runs Android KitKat 4.4. It also has Harman Kardon sound with Clari-Fi technology. It’s available on Sprint, Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile.
Price: 0 (with 2 Year contract) or $149.99 Prepaid
HTC Desire EYE
The “Selfie” has been a big thing the last few years and it has only gotten bigger. Nearly all phones have a front-facing camera. Those cameras are usually 1-2 megapixel. HTC has taken on the front-facing camera, AKA selfie camera. The HTC Desire EYE has a 13 megapixel front facing camera with flash. It also has a 13 mp rear facing camera. It also has HTC’s signature BoomSound front-facing speakers. The phone can handle all your tasks with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, and save all your files with expandable slot.
Nokia Lumia 530
The Nokia Lumia 530 is an affordable Windows phone available both on T-Mobile and Cricket Wireless. It has a 4 inch screen, a quad-core processor, and 5 megapixel rear-facing camera. It runs Windows Phone 8.1 which has gotten a lot better. It has most of the main apps, virtual assistant Cortana. It comes with Office 365 and One Drive
Samsung Galaxy Alpha
Samsung is known for their flagship phones with large screens. They are also known for their plastic builds. The Samsung Galaxy Alpha has a 4.7″ screen, 12MP rear-facing camera with 4X digital zoom and a 2.1 megapixel front-facing camera. It has a full metal frame, giving it a good feel. It has fingerprint scanner and S Health to track your activity. It can be used with one hand. The Galaxy Alpha is available in black, white, or gold and as of right now exclusive to AT&T
Price: $199.99 (with 2 year contract)
Motorola shook up the affordable smartphone field with the Moto G. While it’s not the most powerful phone, the Moto G (2nd gen) has great specs considering the price. For less than $200, you get a nice 5 inch display, Qualcomm Snapdragon quad-core processor. front facing speakers and it’s water-resistant.