Top Android Phones of 2015 (so far)

[dropcaps]We’ve certainly had our fill of exciting Android releases thus far in 2015.  When I look at all the differentiation between each manufacturers’ offering, I get reminded of Android’s newly established motto, “Be together. Not the same“.

Each flagship presented to us have strengths and weaknesses, making the designation of the “best phone” only apparent when resolving what best suits you.  It is in this respect that we’ve compiled a rundown of the top phone options at the halfway point of 2015, in impression and comparison.  Let’s get started![/dropcaps]

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New Flagships

Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge

s6I think we can all agree this iteration to Samsung’s flagship brought the biggest change to design and build.  And it was about time!  Last year’s Galaxy S5 proved that Samsung could not keep recycling the same design and remain successful.

From the front, you’d be hard-pressed to tell that anything has changed.  Samsung has retained the same button, earpiece, and sensor layouts as before.  It’s only until you look at the sides and back where you notice a serious makeover.  The metal frame around the device is a bit more refined than what we saw on the Note 4 last year, with subtle curves and a soft finish.

Gone is the plastic, removable backing we’ve always known.  Samsung has succumbed to sealing the back for the sake of a premium build.  A flat glass back is now present, with a neat color-shifting reflection effect as you tilt the device.

Samsung also took this opportunity to take the curved edge concept from the Note Edge a step further and put it on both sides.  Although it adds little to functionality, no one can deny it is certainty neat to look at, especially as content falls off the screen.

Under the hood we got another surprise, a home-brewed Exynos processor instead of the usual Qualcomm Snapdragon.  The 16 MP sensor was upgraded to a f/1.9 aperture lens, resulting in great low light performance.  Samsung’s TouchWiz UI has been toned down, and those lags and stutters are yesterday’s news.  This thing is quick.

[row][third_paragraph] s6_en_s6_edge [/third_paragraph]

[third_paragraph] The Good [list][item icon=”fa-plus” ]Premium design and feel[/item][item icon=”fa-plus” ]Arguably best phone display, with excellent outdoor visibility[/item][item icon=”fa-plus” ]Arguably best Android camera[/item][item icon=”fa-plus” ]Curved edge variant[/item][item icon=”fa-plus” ]Refined fingerprint sensor[/item][/list][/third_paragraph]

[third_paragraph] The Bad [list][item icon=”fa-minus” ]Sub-par battery life[/item][item icon=”fa-minus” ]No microSD support[/item][item icon=”fa-minus” ]TouchWiz UI still present[/item][item icon=”fa-minus” ]Expensive[/item][/list][/third_paragraph]

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HTC One M9

m9-hero-imageHTC has taken quite a bit of flak for what they delivered to us this year, and I won’t say it wasn’t well deserved.  It’d make more sense to look at the One M9 as a One M8+, we don’t have much change.

It pains me to see that HTC is sticking with 5″ for the display.  It is simply too small for a flagship in this day and age.  And what makes it worse is that HTC shortly released the One M9+ with a 5.2″ display overseas soon after the M9 launch in the US.

It is also painful to see the infamous black bar (surrounding the HTC logo) still present.  Bezel should be a sensitive subject when the speakers add so much of it.  HTC should have worked to reduce it (perhaps a larger device could have provided the extra space for the circuitry).

But whatever negativity may befall the One device, it is still a solidly built, sexy slab of metal.  This time around, HTC added a two-tone finish, for flare and jewerly-like attractiveness.  The speakers underwent a dolby-surround upgrade.  The Sense UI is still one of the quickest and is now on version 7.0, although the biggest software updates were home screen app location switching and control over theming.

The camera got both an upgrade and a downgrade.  Upgrade in megapixel count, downgrade in quality.  Reviews found that the Toshiba-manufactured sensor isn’t where a flagship should be.  Not having OIS results in grainy shots, low light shots are fuzzy, and light balance is iffy (whites get overexposed in shots with dynamic ranges).  It’s like HTC flipped their ideals from a couple years ago, when they held quality over MP count.

And where is that phablet!?

[row][third_paragraph] m9 [/third_paragraph]

[third_paragraph] The Good [list][item icon=”fa-plus” ]Proven design and solid build[/item][item icon=”fa-plus” ]Best smartphone speakers[/item][item icon=”fa-plus” ]Fast UI[/item][item icon=”fa-plus” ]MicroSD support[/item][item icon=”fa-plus” ]Uh-Oh damage protection (free 1-time replacement)[/item][/list][/third_paragraph]

[third_paragraph] The Bad [list][item icon=”fa-minus” ]Exhausted look[/item][item icon=”fa-minus” ]Primary camera can’t compete[/item][item icon=”fa-minus” ]No wireless charging[/item][item icon=”fa-minus” ]Bad power and volume button ergonomics[/item][item icon=”fa-minus” ]Sense 7.0 doesn’t add much[/item][/list][/third_paragraph]

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LG G4

G4_Genuine_Leather2It’s a funny thing that LG has been creeping their flagship launches closer and closer to the Spring each year.  They’ve refined the G-series into a very competitive device and want to play with the big boys.  Like HTC, LG took the route of minor design changes.  The G4 bears a striking resemblance to the G3 last year.  The big differences to the design are the back covers, where we have either a diamond-texture plastic shell or leather.  The plastic build is here to stay (perhaps to maintain the removable back cover for battery and microSD card access).  Also, although subtle, the G4 got a little influence from the Flex line, with a slight curve to the chassis.

You start to see where the changes are when you breakdown the components.  Although the screen is still a 5.5″ QHD display, the quality has been bumped up quite a bit, at least on paper.  LG is using a brillant IPS “Quantum” LCD panel, with improved vividness, contrast, and color gamut.  This is flagged as the LCD screen to rival Samsung’s Super AMOLED screen.

The other larger improvement was the camera.  LG packed a lot of technology here to go with the 16 MP camera:  OIS (in all three axis of movement, x, y, and z), laser autofocus, color-spectrum sensor (helps light balance), and tons of manual controls in the camera app.

 

[row][third_paragraph] lg_g4_black_leather [/third_paragraph]

[third_paragraph] The Good [list][item icon=”fa-plus” ]Fantastic display quality[/item][item icon=”fa-plus” ]Powerful camera and control[/item][item icon=”fa-plus” ]Swappable battery and microSD support[/item][item icon=”fa-plus” ]Minimal bezel[/item][item icon=”fa-plus” ]Leather option[/item][/list][/third_paragraph]

[third_paragraph] The Bad [list][item icon=”fa-minus” ]Plastic build[/item][item icon=”fa-minus” ]Uses the Snapdragon 808 (not more powerful Snapdragon 810)[/item][item icon=”fa-minus” ]No wireless charging[/item][item icon=”fa-minus” ]Unattractive UI[/item][/list][/third_paragraph]

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LG G Flex 2

flex2The LG G Flex 2 had a quiet launch at beginning of the year.  It predictably turned out to be a mash up between the original G Flex and the G3.  What surprisingly took dominance was the screen size, reduced down to 5.5″ from the mammoth 6″ of the original Flex, not something we see happen often.  LG has a sweet spot for 5.5″.

The banana-shaped chassis of course made a return, along with the self-healing backing.  The internals got bumped up to our first spotting of the Qualcomm’s new octa-core Snapdragon 810 SoC.  The camera and laser autofocus were retrieved from the G3.  However, the screen was toned down slightly to a 1080P Plastic OLED screen, rather than the QHD IPS LCD of the G3.

[row][third_paragraph] G-Flex2 [/third_paragraph]

[third_paragraph] The Good [list][item icon=”fa-plus” ]Head-turning curvature[/item][item icon=”fa-plus” ]Speedy internals[/item][item icon=”fa-plus” ]Proven camera and quick focus[/item][item icon=”fa-plus” ]MicroSD support[/item][item icon=”fa-plus” ]Cover seal-heals against lite scratches[/item][/list][/third_paragraph]

[third_paragraph] The Bad [list][item icon=”fa-minus” ]Lower resolution than other flagships[/item][item icon=”fa-minus” ]More bezel than the G3[/item][item icon=”fa-minus” ]Plastic, glossy build[/item][item icon=”fa-minus” ]No wireless charging[/item][/list][/third_paragraph]

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Sony Xperia Z4 / Z3+ / Z4v

Sony_Xperia_Z3+

We weren’t sure if we would get anything from Sony in the first half of the year, as they were reportedly cutting down their mobile division and failed to make a usual flagship showing at Mobile World Congress this year.  The Xperia Z4 got announced overseas, without a word on availability in the US.  Then the Xperia Z3+ got announced, for the European market.  The difference in naming prompted a head scratch.  Did Sony think other parts of the world would be outraged to see this minor iteration be called the Z4, but it was okay in Japan?

So what changed versus last year’s Z3?  Even more subtleties than we’ve witnessed before.  The main upgrade was the SoC, to the latest Snapdragon 810.  There were minor tweaks to the chassis:  Front speakers were moved closer to the top and bottom frames, the charging port flap is gone, and thickness was reduced by 0.4mm.  The battery was downgraded to 2,930 mAh (from 3,100 mAh on the Z3).

And to add to the messy fragmentation, Sony just announced a continuation of partnership with Verizon, with the Xperia Z4v.  This variant tacks on a 3,000 mAh battery, wireless charging, and bump in resolution to QHD (I thought Sony made a stance against going higher than 1080P?).  These additions expectedly took a hit on the sleekness, adding some weight and thickness, and to further tone down the appeal, Verizon has Sony throw in a plastic build.

Xperia Z4 / Z3+

[row][third_paragraph] z4
 [/third_paragraph]

[third_paragraph] The Good [list][item icon=”fa-plus” ]Proven design and build[/item][item icon=”fa-plus” ]Top end SoC[/item][item icon=”fa-plus” ]Leading camera[/item][item icon=”fa-plus” ]Water and dust proof[/item][item icon=”fa-plus” ]MicroSD support[/item][/list][/third_paragraph]

[third_paragraph] The Bad [list][item icon=”fa-minus” ]Very minimal change from predecessor[/item][item icon=”fa-minus” ]Battery capacity decrease[/item][item icon=”fa-minus” ]Unattractive Sony UI[/item][item icon=”fa-minus” ]No wireless charging[/item][/list][/third_paragraph]

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Xperia Z4v

[row][third_paragraph] Verizon Xperia Z4V 2
 [/third_paragraph]

[third_paragraph] The Good [list][item icon=”fa-plus” ]Specs keep up with Z4/Z3+[/item][item icon=”fa-plus” ]QHD resolution[/item][item icon=”fa-plus” ]MicroSD support[/item][item icon=”fa-plus” ]Wireless charging[/item][item icon=”fa-plus” ]Slightly larger battery than Z4/Z3+[/item][/list][/third_paragraph]

[third_paragraph] The Bad [list][item icon=”fa-minus” ]Less premium build (plastic)[/item][item icon=”fa-minus” ]Thicker and heavier than Z4/Z3+[/item][item icon=”fa-minus” ]Verizon-only[/item][/list][/third_paragraph]

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Still Relevant

Moto X / Droid Turbo

moto x (2014)Motorola did a great job last year delivering a successor to the original Moto X.  They up’d the specs to “flagship” status and boosted customization with Moto Maker, where you could choose from three different back cover materials (plastic, real wood, or real leather) and a multitude of color accents around the phone, something no one else yet offers.

The screen size was a modest 5.2″ (AMOLED panel, 1080P), the latest Snapdragon 801 SoC for the time, and a very near stock Android experience.  But alas, 2014 Moto X suffered from an Achilles heel, the camera.  Although on paper it sounded decent, at 13 MP, f/2.25 aperture, and dual LED ring flash, in practice the image quality often left to be desired.  So much so that Motorola admitted the fault and vowed to bring it next time.  The battery capacity was also unreasonably low for the day and age at 2,300 mAh.

Soon after the release of the 2014 Moto X, Verizon debuted their exclusive Droid Turbo, which was essential a Moto X on steroids, without Moto Maker and with some pre-set Droid-themed materials and colors.  Compared to the specs on the Moto X, the Turbo up’d the processor to the high-end Snapdragon 805, screen resolution to QHD, the camera to 21 MP, and the battery to a considerable 3,900 mAh.  And they threw in wireless charging for good measure.  It was certainly a top dog, but only for Verizon customers.

Moto X

[row][third_paragraph]moto_x_2nd_gen
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[third_paragraph] The Good [list][item icon=”fa-plus” ]More customization than anyone else offers[/item][item icon=”fa-plus” ]Near Stock Android experience, with useful Motorola enhancements[/item][item icon=”fa-plus” ]front facing speaker[/item][item icon=”fa-plus” ]Great starting price (currently at $299)[/item][/list][/third_paragraph]

[third_paragraph] The Bad [list][item icon=”fa-minus” ]Camera not in flagship league[/item][item icon=”fa-minus” ]Small battery[/item][item icon=”fa-minus” ]No microSD support[/item][item icon=”fa-minus” ]No wireless charging[/item][/list][/third_paragraph]

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Droid Turbo

[row][third_paragraph] Motorola-DROID-Turbo [/third_paragraph]

[third_paragraph] The Good [list][item icon=”fa-plus” ]Huge battery[/item][item icon=”fa-plus” ]Huge ppi[/item][item icon=”fa-plus” ]High-end SoC with 3 GB RAM[/item][item icon=”fa-plus” ]Lots of megapixels[/item][item icon=”fa-plus” ]Although a plastic build, some cool and unique back cover choices, like ballistic nylon[/item][/list][/third_paragraph]

[third_paragraph] The Bad [list][item icon=”fa-minus” ]Only for Verizon[/item][item icon=”fa-minus” ]No on-screen buttons[/item][item icon=”fa-minus” ]No microSD support[/item][item icon=”fa-minus” ]No OIS on camera[/item][item icon=”fa-minus” ]Still on Android 4.4 (KitKat)[/item][/list][/third_paragraph]

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Note 4 and  Note 4 Edge

note4Samsung’s Galaxy Note series will always be highly regarded.  The first Note started the phablet trend, back in 2011, when a 5.3″ screen was considered enormous.  In the following years, screen size in other flagships began to grow aggressively, and soon the Note found itself in a good place, as the leader of the pack of pocket-busting phones.

The Note 4 brought the build improvement that Samsung started with the Galaxy Alpha and fully evolved to the S6 this year, with metal surrounding the phone.  Else-wise, we got subtle refinements from the Note 3, still a 5.7″ display and a removable faux-leather back (sans the stitching).  Samsung upgraded their brilliant Super AMOLED screen resolution to QHD, toned down the color saturation that had plagued their panels for quite some time, and backed it behind the latest Gorilla Glass 4.  The Note 4 is still a speedy beast, with the Snapdragon 805 SoC on-board and 3 GB of RAM.

Samsung also took this opportunity to debut the curved screen we had been seeing in prototype form for quite some time.  They curved one edge of the display down to the frame and called it the Note 4 Edge.  This offering turned out to be more proof-of-concept, as it didn’t really add much value (and for a hefty price tag), but it was a start and great to see something different come to market.  As for functionality, the Edge could treat the edge portion of the screen separately and give you different controls than on the main screen or tidbits of information.

[row][third_paragraph] Samsung-Galaxy-Note-4-Charcoal-Black-32GB-Verizon-Wireless-0 [/third_paragraph]

[third_paragraph] The Good [list][item icon=”fa-plus” ]Brilliant and leading QHD display[/item][item icon=”fa-plus” ]One of the best Android cameras[/item][item icon=”fa-plus” ]High-end specs[/item][item icon=”fa-plus” ]Unique S-pen functionality[/item][item icon=”fa-plus” ]MicroSD support[/item][item icon=”fa-plus” ]Edge variant that keeps you on the cutting edge[/item][/list][/third_paragraph]

[third_paragraph] The Bad [list][item icon=”fa-minus” ]Expensive[/item][item icon=”fa-minus” ]Back cover still feels cheap[/item][item icon=”fa-minus” ]Need special cover to wirelessly charge[/item][item icon=”fa-minus” ]Speaker is still lacking[/item][item icon=”fa-minus” ]Edge variant could use more functionality[/item][item icon=”fa-minus” ]TouchWiz (nuff said)[/item][/list][/third_paragraph]

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Nexus 6

Nexus 6The Nexus 6 made such a stir in the Android community when it was announced.  How could Google turn the Nexus line into a phablet-only club!?  For better or worse, Google wanted you to just be open-minded.  But then another aspect took a turn for the worse, the price.  Since LG took the reins starting with the Nexus 4, the Nexus became the phone for everyone through its affordability.  The Nexus 6 brought us back to the reality that if you want a premium smartphone, you gotta pay for it.

In terms of design/build, the Nexus 6 was essentially a blown-up Moto X, which wasn’t a bad thing at all.  The curvy-ness of the Moto X served well for a phablet variant in the hand.  Motorola nailed all the upgrades we would want from the Moto X:  High-end Snapdragon 805 SoC, check.  QHD display, check.  13 MP camera with OIS, check.  Dual front-facing speakers, check.  Qi wireless charging, check.  Let’s just say, as long as you didn’t mind the price and ginormous size , this was a dream phone.

But not all was rainbows and unicorns (that is, other than the 64 GB White version at launch).  The display looks great, but the visibility is poor outdoors.  The Lollipop pain-points have been addressed with the 5.1 update, but the battery life still isn’t where it should be.  And the camera could only be said to be decent at best, with struggles in low-light situations and an iffy camera app.

[row][third_paragraph] nexus-6 [/third_paragraph]

[third_paragraph] The Good [list][item icon=”fa-plus” ]Huge QHD AMOLED display with minimal bezel[/item][item icon=”fa-plus” ]Stock and latest Android experience[/item][item icon=”fa-plus” ]High-end specs[/item][item icon=”fa-plus” ]Dual front-facing speakers[/item][item icon=”fa-plus” ]Wireless charging[/item][/list][/third_paragraph]

[third_paragraph] The Bad [list][item icon=”fa-minus” ]Huge phone size, difficult one-handed use[/item][item icon=”fa-minus” ]Hit or miss camera[/item][item icon=”fa-minus” ]Poor outside visibility[/item][item icon=”fa-minus” ]Battery life should be better[/item][item icon=”fa-minus” ]No microSD support[/item][/list][/third_paragraph]

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Cost Friendly

Asus Zenfone 2

Asus-Zenfone-2-heroAsus has been in the smartphone scene for quite some time…it just wouldn’t be necessarily known because they have never made much of a dent in the Android world.  That is, until the Zenfone 2.  Asus has shifted their smartphone focus to value.

Similar to the Oneplus One strategy, the Zenfone 2 can be seen as a flagship at a budget price.  We have a common 5.5″ IPS LCD display at 1080P, quad-core 64-bit CPU (Intel Atom Z3580 SoC), 4 GB of RAM, 13 MP rear camera with dual-LED and dual-tone flash, 3,000 mAh battery, 64 GB of on-board storage with microSD expansion, and Android 5.0 Lollipop, all for $300 (available via Amazon).  Killer deal if you ask me.  There is also a cheaper variant with 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of on-board storage for $200 as well.

But do expect to see some some compromises.  The quality of the display is just okay, the camera is not on par with the greats, and the Asus software is undesirable.

[row][third_paragraph] zenfone2 [/third_paragraph]

[third_paragraph] The Good [list][item icon=”fa-plus” ]Great value[/item][item icon=”fa-plus” ]”Sweet spot” display size[/item][item icon=”fa-plus” ]Quad-core, 64-bit CPU, 4GB RAM[/item][item icon=”fa-plus” ]MicroSD support[/item][item icon=”fa-plus” ]Lots of back cover choices[/item][/list][/third_paragraph]

[third_paragraph] The Bad [list][item icon=”fa-minus” ]Mediocre display quality[/item][item icon=”fa-minus” ]Mediocre camera quality[/item][item icon=”fa-minus” ]Mediocre build quality[/item][item icon=”fa-minus” ]Weak speaker[/item][item icon=”fa-minus” ]Undesirable UI[/item][/list][/third_paragraph]

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Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3

alcatel_onetouch_idol3Acaltel is not a house-hold name in the smartphone world, but they have been around, slowly building their presence.  They debuted the OneTouch Idol 3 this year, with very respectable specs for the asking price.  Be sure to check out our review here.

Like the Asus Zenfone 2, we’re looking at a 5.5″ 1080P IPS LCD display, 13 MP rear camera, and plastic build.  We start to see differentiation when we look more closely.  The Idol 3 is powered by a more-common Qualcomm SoC, the Snapdragon 615 (octa-core, 64-bit, 2 GB RAM).  The screen quality on the Idol 3 unarguably bests the Zenfone 2, with more accurate colors and wider viewing angles.  Acaltel put some focus on sound, with dual front-facing speakers (powered by JBL audio), something we never see on budget phones.  The Idol 3 costs slightly more than the comparable Zenfone 2, at $249 (available via Amazon).

[row][third_paragraph] Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 [/third_paragraph]

[third_paragraph] The Good [list][item icon=”fa-plus” ]Great value[/item][item icon=”fa-plus” ]Fantastic display for a budget phone[/item][item icon=”fa-plus” ]Octa-core, 64-bit CPU[/item][item icon=”fa-plus” ]JBL front stereo speakers[/item][item icon=”fa-plus” ]MicroSD support[/item][/list][/third_paragraph]

[third_paragraph] The Bad [list][item icon=”fa-minus” ]Plastic build[/item][item icon=”fa-minus” ]Okay camera quality, no OIS[/item][item icon=”fa-minus” ]Only 2 GB of RAM[/item][item icon=”fa-minus” ]No quick charging[/item][/list][/third_paragraph]

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Moto G (2015) and Moto E (2015)

moto_gMotorola made quite a name for themselves in the budget sector, first with the Moto G, then followed by the even cheaper Moto E.  At sub-$200 price tags, they wanted to cover a range of low budgets, with phones that only had what you needed to get the job done, without thinking poorly of them.  Hence, the review process is different when you take a tour around the devices, and the question becomes, what am I getting for my money?

Turns out, you get quite a bit.  At $180, the 2015 Moto G gives you a 5″ screen with 720p resolution, quad-core Snapdragon 400 SoC, 8 MP f/2.0 aperture rear camera, dual front-facing speakers, microSD expansion (up to 32 GB), and stock Lollipop (something you don’t see often).

At $120, the Moto E gets you a 4.5″ with 540×960 resolution, quad-core Snapdragon 200 SoC, 5 MP f/2.2 aperture rear camera, mono front-facing speaker, microSD expansion (up to 32 GB), and stock Lollipop.  In addition, unlike the Moto G, the Moto E has the option for a better model, with LTE and a Snapdragon 410 SoC, for $150.

Something to note is that neither phones have NFC, so you won’t be able to utilize Android Pay to make in-store purchases with your phone.

Moto G

[row][third_paragraph] moto-g-2nd-gen-front [/third_paragraph]

[third_paragraph] The Good [list][item icon=”fa-plus” ]Exceptional price for what you get[/item][item icon=”fa-plus” ]Dual front speakers[/item][item icon=”fa-plus” ]MicroSD support[/item][item icon=”fa-plus” ]Stock Lollipop[/item][/list][/third_paragraph]

[third_paragraph] The Bad [list][item icon=”fa-minus” ]Plain design[/item][item icon=”fa-minus” ]Camera and screen quality are just okay[/item][item icon=”fa-minus” ]Only 1 GB of RAM[/item][item icon=”fa-minus” ]No LTE option[/item][/list][/third_paragraph]

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Moto E

[row][third_paragraph] moto-e-2nd-gen-front [/third_paragraph]

[third_paragraph] The Good [list][item icon=”fa-plus” ]Exceptional price for what you get[/item][item icon=”fa-plus” ]Option for LTE and better Snapdragon 410 SoC[/item][item icon=”fa-plus” ]Larger battery than Moto G[/item][item icon=”fa-plus” ]MicroSD support[/item][item icon=”fa-plus” ]Stock Lollipop[/item][/list][/third_paragraph]

[third_paragraph] The Bad [list][item icon=”fa-minus” ]Plain design[/item][item icon=”fa-minus” ]Slightly worse camera and screen than Moto G[/item][item icon=”fa-minus” ]Only 1 GB of RAM[/item][item icon=”fa-minus” ]No camera flash[/item][/list][/third_paragraph]

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OnePlus One

OnePlus OneI don’t think it’d be right not to include the OnePlus One.  It almost falls in its own category, both a flagship and budget offering.  When we first heard about this venture for OnePlus last year, we weren’t sure if it’d be successful.  Not to mention that awful invite system.

Fortunately, OnePlus managed to make quite a name for themselves and a large fan base.  The One was everything OnePlus promised.  Well…except for all those different StyleSwap back cover options.  Nonetheless, over time it has become proven to be able to stand up with all the rest, for half the price.  And with recent price drop, it is made that more a consideration, especially when compared to new budget phones at about the same price.

To recap, we’re looking at the still capable Snapdragon 801 SoC, 5.5″ 1080P IPS LCD, 3 GB RAM, 13 MP f/2.0 (Sony IMX 214) rear camera, 3,100 mAh battery, and Android 5.0 Lollipop with either Cyanogen 11S or OxygenOS.

[row][third_paragraph] 445CA0567C4C_OnePlus One_3_PORTRAIT [/third_paragraph]

[third_paragraph] The Good [list][item icon=”fa-plus” ]Fantastic value, even today[/item][item icon=”fa-plus” ]Great display size and quality[/item][item icon=”fa-plus” ]Camera that beats budget offerings[/item][item icon=”fa-plus” ]Large battery[/item][/list][/third_paragraph]

[third_paragraph] The Bad [list][item icon=”fa-minus” ]Bigger than what a 5.5″ device should be[/item][item icon=”fa-minus” ]Dual bottom speakers are not all that[/item][item icon=”fa-minus” ]No microSD support[/item][item icon=”fa-minus” ]No wireless charging[/item][item icon=”fa-minus” ]Back cover options promise fell through[/item][/list][/third_paragraph]

  • alf110265

    Need to correct the comment about the G4 not having Quick Charge 2.0 capability.

  • justafew

    Need a correction on the LG g4. I have one and it most definitely supports Quick Charge 2.0. There is no quick charge plug in the box but it does work with my Anker and Aukey quick chargers and my Ventev quick charge car adaptor.

  • Josh Noriega

    Absolutely guys. Totally forgot that the G4 was found later to actually have Quick Charge, when at first it was said that it didn’t. Fixed now. Thanks for that catch!

  • redwood499

    What; do all you PAID reviewers hate Asus? For the record I have a Moto E as my primary phone and LOVE it for the price I paid. But under the Cost Friendly section NOTHING compairs to the Zenfone 2: for $299 it actually out performs some of the top tier phones on this list. The Zen UI is one of the lightest and fastest skins out there. Furthermore ALL the Asus included software actually WORKS; and adds functionality to the device. Yet you praise the Moto G and E, but suggest the Asus is barely acceptable. If the Moto G at $180 is a good buy ( which I personally agree ) ; then the Zenfone 2 3GB, 32GB ram, dual sim, micro sdhc slot and 4G lte @ $199; has got to be without a doubt, the best Cost Friendly phone available today!

    • Josh Noriega

      What’s your definition of hate, not calling something the best? And how did I praise the Moto phones more than I did the Zenfone 2? I called all these budget phones a great value, but they all have their cut-corners.

      If you’re complaining that I knocked the Zenfone 2 on display, camera, and build quality, go check reviews for it yourself. This was a repeated opinion.

      And the $200 version of the Zenfone 2 has 2GB RAM (not 3GB) and 16GB storage. Personally I think the Idol 3 is a better deal, because it has a better screen, less invasive UI tweaks, and front facing speakers, so it’s funny that you think I’m praising the Moto phones.