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22 best Android smartphones in UK: What's the best Android phone you can buy in 2014?

The best Android smartphones reviewed | Best Android phones in UK

Best Android phone

PC Advisor reviews the 22 best Android phones that are available to buy in the UK in 2014.

There are loads of Android smartphones to chose from in 2014 - coming in all different shapes, sizes and specs. PC Advisor lists the 22 best Android smartphones you can buy in 2014. When you've found the phone you like, compare mobile phone deals to get the best tariff. (See also: what's the best Android tablet?)

There was a time when Android was the poor relation to iPhone, and even BlackBerry. The smartphone platform that catered for those who couldn't afford Apple's premium prices. That time is long gone: look down our list of the best Android phones in the UK and you'll find a great selection of smartphones at a variety of prices.

Yes, there are still bargain buys from the likes of Huawei and LG, as well as cut-down versions of top rank phones from premium manufacturers such as Sony, HTC and Samsung. Ratchet up your budget and you'll find the very best premium smartphones on the market are Android handsets from those same manufacturers, especially HTC, Sony and Samsung. Then there is the ultimate bargain from Google itself (albeit with a little help from LG), the Nexus 5. iPhone-like performance at half the price. Bargain!

Best Android phone reviews: what to look for

As you'll see from our reviews of the best Android smartphones (below) there is a wide variety of Android operating systems on the market. So do be aware that not all Androids are made equal. Each manufacturer puts on to Google's OS its own stylings and features: Samsung's TouchWizz interface is very different from HTC's Sense, for instance. But it's also worth pointing out that there are different iterations of Android included with brand new phones, and your phone is not likely to be upgraded when a new Android comes out. Also some Android phones - none here - don't give you access to Google Play and all the apps and media contained therein. This is a big point: don't get caught out.

Unlike Windows Phone and BlackBerry the Android world is full of great apps. Unlike Apple's iOS you have a choice of music and movie stores. And almost all Android phones charge and synch from vanilla USB cables, and allow for the addition of SD cards for expanded storage.

The bottom line is that the best Android phones, those reviewed here, are the best phones you can buy. They certainly offer the best value. But be aware that there is wide variety in the Android world. Check reviews from trusted sites such as PC Advisor before parting with any cash. (See also: The 18 best smartphones: What's the best phone you can buy in 2014?)

22 best Android phones of 2014:

22. Motorola Razr HD

Motorola Razr HD
  • Reviewed on: 15 April 13
  • RRP: Around £400 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 8 out of 10

The Motorola Razr HD offers superb build quality and battery life along with a nice screen and great battery life. However, its £400 asking price means that it's probably worth spending the extra for a rival flagship smartphone or saving some money by opting for the Google Nexus 4.

21. HTC One S

  • Reviewed on: 9 May 12
  • RRP: Handset free; from around £21 a month (Around £370 SIM free)
  • Rating: Rated 9 out of 10

The HTC One S is an excellent mid-range smartphone option. It might not have the headline specifications of the One X but it outdoes it on performance and battery life. It does this in a more user friendly size, better build quality and a cheaper price tag.

20. Samsung Galaxy S3

Samsung Galaxy S3
  • Reviewed on: 17 June 13
  • RRP: From £29 per month; Around £500 SIM-free
  • Rating: Rated 9 out of 10

The Galaxy S3 has turned out to be an excellent smartphone. It offers a good design and build quality, despite our small niggles. Samsung has put together an impressive set of hardware resulting in silky smooth performance and extensive software features. We can't give the number one spot to two smartphones, so the iPhone nudges it on a show of hands, but it really is a matter of personal taste. The S3 really is as good a smartphone as you can buy right now. Samsung Galaxy S3 vs Apple iPhone 4S comparison review.

19. Asus Padfone 2

Asus Padfone 2
  • Reviewed on: 21 March 13
  • RRP: £599 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 8 out of 10

The Asus Padfone 2 is an interesting and unique offering. For £599 you get both a phone and a tablet in one although this has its limitations. Good hardware and excellent battery life are the standout features while build quality is a bit of a let-down. We really like the Padfone 2 but if you're looking to a smartphone and a tablet on the cheap then we suggest Google's Nexus devices.

18. LG Optimus G Pro

LG Optimus G Pro
  • Reviewed on: 29 May 13
  • RRP: £229.95 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 8 out of 10

LG’s Optimus G Pro is king of the small—but growing—phone/tablet hybrid market (I refuse to use the term “phablet”). It’s a performance powerhouse that, despite its large size, is relatively comfortable to use even with average-size hands. The G Pro loses a few points for its limited multitasking features, but if you’re looking to buy a large Android phone and aren’t dismayed by the underperforming camera, then the G Pro is definitely worth considering.

17. Motorola Razr i

Motorola Razr i
  • Reviewed on: 25 September 12
  • RRP: £345 inv VAT
  • Rating: Rated 9 out of 10

The Motorola Razr i is a great all-rounder smartphone. It offers a great combination of design and performance for a reasonable price. It's worth a look for its price and worthy of our recommended award.

16. Huawei Ascend Y300

Huawei Ascend Y300
  • Reviewed on: 15 July 13
  • RRP: £100 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 8 out of 10

The Huawei Ascend Y300 is a no-frills smartphone with little to get excited about in dazzling new features. However, it does the basics well with Android 4.1 software with usable battery life at an incredibly low price. For the money, it's one of the best budget smartphone choices around.

15. Sony Xperia SP

Sony Xperia SP
  • Reviewed on: 20 August 13
  • RRP: £300 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 8 out of 10

The Sony Xperia SP has the spec and price of a mid-range Android smartphone, but when you actually get the device in your hands and start using it any ideas of it being mediocre go out of the window. It really is a class act, so if you're looking for a good phone to browse the web, perform tasks quickly and take decent photos with at a price that won't break the bank, then you really should consider the Xperia SP.

14. HTC One X+

HTC One X+
  • Reviewed on: 23 January 13
  • RRP: Around £450 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 9 out of 10

With a newer version of Android, fixed build quality issues and significantly increased battery life, the One X+ is a polished and honed version of its predecessor. It's now an even better all-round quality smartphone with a reasonable price tag.

13. Samsung Galaxy S4 mini

Samsung Galaxy S4 mini
  • Reviewed on: 31 July 13
  • RRP: Around £380 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 8 out of 10

The Galaxy S4 mini is a great mid-range option, offering the same styling – which includes the same mediocre build quality – as its flagship counterpart, with a cheaper price tag. The cameras are good but the screen and storage are both under par. Consider the HTC One mini or the Nexus 4 as serious alternatives.

12. HTC one mini

HTC one mini
  • Reviewed on: 29 July 13
  • RRP: £379
  • Rating: Rated 8 out of 10

The HTC One mini isn't as good as the HTC One. Its performance is decent but not spectacular, and the addition of a layer of plastic has removed some of the original's chic. But this is a very strong handset at a decent price. Well worth a look.

11. Huawei Ascend P6

Huawei Ascend P6
  • Reviewed on: 16 August 13
  • RRP: £309 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 8 out of 10

The Huawei Ascend P6 is a fantastic and desirable smartphone, whether it's an iPhone copy or not. It provides real value for money even if it is lacking NFC and 4G support. We particularly like the cameras and the customisable user interface.

10. Samsung Galaxy S4

Samsung Galaxy S4
  • Reviewed on: 11 July 13
  • RRP: Around £500 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 8 out of 10

The Galaxy S4 is a great phone with outstanding hardware and performance, but it's not flawless. We're disappointed with the build quality considering the handset costs a fair bit more than its rivals and while the S4 is packed with features we find a lot of them to be gimmicky.

9. Sony Xperia Z

Sony Xperia Z
  • Reviewed on: 17 June 13
  • RRP: £520 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 9 out of 10

The Xperia Z is the first smartphone which Sony has really nailed. We love the stylish, desirable and rugged design. The combination of excellent performance, a stunning screen and great cameras make the Xperia Z a force to be reckoned with. There is very little to say about this phone that is negative.

8. Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Samsung Galaxy Note 3
  • Reviewed on: 26 September 13
  • RRP: £599 inc. VAT
  • Rating: Rated 9 out of 10

We're not sure you need all the extra features that Samsung packs in, and we could live without the S Pen. And not everyone needs or wants a smartphone with a 6in display. Neither is the camera all that great. But be in no doubt about it, the Galaxy Note 3 is a high-quality portable device, offering the best performance we've ever seen, a stunning screen and nice build quality.

7. HTC One

  • Reviewed on: 30 September 13
  • RRP: £449 inc. VAT
  • Rating: Rated 9 out of 10

The HTC One is up there with the very best smartphones on the market today. It has superb performance, and excellent build quality spoiled only slightly by running hot in use. You can't fault the feature set, and it matches the other high-end products in terms of price. In terms of audio and visual output it is unsurpassed. The interface might be an acquired taste for some, and we weren't overly impressed with the camera. It's not perfect, but alongside the Xperia Z and iPhone 5 this is about as good a phone as you can buy.

6. Motorola Moto G

Motorola Moto G
  • Reviewed on: 17 March 14
  • RRP: £135 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 9 out of 10

Motorola's Moto G is the best budget smartphone around. At £135 it's got great build quality, an excellent screen, decent cameras and Android 4.3 Jelly Bean soon to be upgrade to 4.4 KitKat. It's only limited in the storage department and a lack of 4G support.

5. Samsung Galaxy S5

Samsung Galaxy S5
  • Reviewed on: 14 April 14
  • RRP: £549 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 8 out of 10

Things haven't changed much from the Galaxy S4 but Samsung, as usual, has packed the Galaxy S5 with features. However, a lot are somewhat unnecessary. The heart rate monitor is a prime example and while the fingerprint scanner is cool, it's difficult to use. There is some top end hardware here, particularly the screen, but nothing which stands out in a busy and competitive market. A key element is that the design of the Galaxy S5 falls short. It's plastic, looks like every other Samsung handset and doesn't feel premium. Galaxy S4 users needn’t upgrade and anyone looking for a flagship smartphone can get better elsewhere.

4. Sony Xperia Z1

Sony Xperia Z1
  • Reviewed on: 25 September 13
  • RRP: £599 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 9 out of 10

Sony has upgraded its fantastic Xperia Z. The Xperia Z1 feels nicer but is unfortunately bigger and heavier. It's a powerhouse with an all-round impressive specification. Easily one of the best Android handsets around but the high price tag taints this slightly.

3. Sony Xperia Z1 Compact

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
  • Reviewed on: 28 January 14
  • RRP: £399 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 9 out of 10

We love what Sony has done with the Xperia Z1 Compact. Finally consumers have the choice to buy a high-end smartphone without being forced to use a large screen. The fact it's cheaper than most flagship devices makes it one of the best smartphones around.

2. Google Nexus 5

Google Nexus 5
  • Reviewed on: 8 November 13
  • RRP: £299 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 9 out of 10

Google and LG have done a fantastic job with the Nexus 5, producing a very desirable phone at an outrageously low price. It's the best value-for-money smartphone out there right now.

1. LG G2

  • Reviewed on: 21 February 14
  • RRP: £399 inc VAT (PAYG)
  • Rating: Rated 9 out of 10

LG has trumped the competition with the G2. The phone offers a combination of value for money with high-end features which we haven't seen from rival flagship devices. A great specification combined with impressive design and handy software features mean there's very little to dislike about this handset - only really the lack of a microSD card slot.

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