16 best mobile phones to buy in 2014

Published 
17 Sep 2014
Best Mobile Phones 2014

Find your perfect smartphone from our list of Android, Windows and Apple handsets

Page 1 of 316 best mobile phones to buy in 2014

Smartphones have never been bigger. Long gone are the days when phones just made calls and texts and let you play Snake on the train. Now they're our own personal gateway to the internet; they find us our next cup of coffee, play music, take pictures and stream on-demand films and TV shows. Download the right apps (check out our Best Android Apps if you're stuck for ideas) and they can even replace your car's sat-nav, bringing you real-time travel updates and re-routing your journey if there's a pile-up ten miles down the road. There's almost nothing a smartphone can't do these days, so picking the right one for you is important.

Luckily, the sheer variety of smartphones available means there's something for everyone, regardless of how much money you want to spend. Whether you're looking for the latest flagship model or a cheap sub-£100 handset, there's a smartphone to match. Here's our pick of the bunch, from Android to iOS to Windows Phone.

This page has the best mid-range and budget handsets on it, see page two for the best flagship and high-end handsets, and page three if you're considering one of Nokia's excellent Windows Phone handsets.

Motorola New Moto G - the best budget phone just got even better

Motorola New Moto G face on

Our Expert Opinion The original Moto G (featured below) was an exceptional budget smartphone, but Motorola's latest version of this monumental handset is even better. The 2nd Gen Moto G now comes with a large 5in screen, an 8-megapixel camera and microSD card support, making it even more versatile than before.  

Inside, the phone is almost identical to its predecessor as it uses the same processor and has the same amount of RAM, but the Moto G's performance was already up there with mid-range handsets that were often twice the price, so there's little to complain about on this front. More important is the improved camera, which now produces much better images in a range of aspect ratios. The larger screen doesn't take its toll on the New Moto G's battery life either, as we managed to squeeze another 30 minutes out of it in our video playback test. It's a better phone in almost every respect, although if you want a 4G version, you'll still have to buy the old one - see below.

Price when reviewed: £145 SIM free. For the latest prices, see our full Motorola New Moto G review.

Key Specs
Processor Quad-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400
Screen size 5in
Screen resolution 1,280x720
Rear camera 8-megapixel
Storage 8GB / 16GB
Wireless data 3G
Size 141x70x11mm
Weight 149g
Operating system Android 4.4.4

Motorola Moto X - a mid-range master

Motorola Moto X

Our Expert Opinion When Motorola first launched the Moto G last year, it completely redefined what we should expect from a sub-£150 handset, and the Moto X has done exactly the same thing for mid-range smartphones. With its stunning 4.7in AMOLED screen, the Moto X immediately sets itself apart from the rest of the competition. Image quality is fantastic, and its 1,280x720 resolution looks sharp and crisp.

The Moto X handles Android 4.4 KitKat beautifully thanks to its powerful 1.7GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 Pro processor and web browsing and graphics performance were also impressive. Its 10-megapixel camera produces bright, accurate photos in all lighting conditions, and its huge 12 and a half hour battery life means it should last all day on a single charge.

With plenty of helpful apps from Motorola onboard as well, the Moto X is a great value phone that gives the Nexus 5 a run for its money.

Price when reviewed: £264 SIM free. For the latest prices, see our full Motorola Moto X review

Key specs
Processor Dual-core 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4
Screen size 4.7in
Screen resolution 1,280x720
Rear camera 10-megapixel
Storage 16GB
Wireless data 3G, 4G
Size 129x65x9.8mm
Weight 130g
Operating system Android 4.4.2

Motorola Moto G (4G) - an incredible phone that rewrites the budget handbook

Motorola Moto G

Our Expert Opinion Motorola has thrown the budget smartphone rulebook out the window with the Moto G. While the 3G version has been superceded by the new Moto G (see the top of this article), the 4G version is still alive and kicking. Here, you have an Android smartphone with a quad-core 1.2GHz processor and a high-quality 1,280x720 display, all for a very low price. 

It has a simple, no-frills design that feels incredibly well made on its own, but you can always swap the back cover for a coloured version if you want to add a bit of pizazz to your handset. The phone's only real disadvantage is its basic 5-megapixel camera, but this a minor drawback that's very forgiveable in a phone this cheap. 

Price when reviewed: £160 SIM free. For the latest prices, see our full Motorola Moto G review

Key specs
Processor Quad-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400
Screen size 4.5in
Screen resolution 1,280x720
Rear camera 5-megapixel
Storage 8GB
Wireless data 3G, 4G
Size 130x66x11.6mm
Weight 143g
Operating system Android 4.4.2

Motorola Moto E - an even better value phone than the Moto G

Motorola Moto E

Our Expert Opinion We didn't think it was possible to make a cheaper phone than the Moto G that was just as good value, but Motorola's done it again with the £90 Moto E, making it the perfect phone if you don't want to spend over £100 on a new handset.

For our money, the Moto G is still the ultimate budget phone, but the Moto E feels just as well made and its web browsing performance isn't that far behind its more expensive cousin. It's also got a better battery life than the Moto G, as it lasted just a few minutes shy of 10 hours in our video playback test compared to the Moto G's time of 9 hours and 12 minutes.

Admittedly, the camera isn't that great and its 4.3in screen only has a tiny resolution of 960x540, but if you're looking to buy a child their first phone or simply want a great value budget handset, the Moto E blows the rest of the competition out of the water.

Price when reviewed: £90 SIM free. For the latest prices, see our full Motorola Moto E review

Key specs
Processor Dual-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 200
Screen size 4.3in
Screen resolution 960x540
Rear camera 5-megapixel
Storage 4GB
Wireless data 3G
Size 125x65x12.3mm
Weight 142g
Operating system Android 4.4.2

HTC Desire 816 - an Android phablet that won't break the bank

HTC Desire 816

Our Expert Opinion Oversized phones often come with oversized prices attached to them, but the HTC Desire 816 costs just £270 SIM-free, making it an attractive alternative to the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (see below). Its 5.5in display may only have a 1,280x720 resolution, but the quality of the screen is excellent, ensuring your films and videos will always look their best.

The only real weakpoint of the Desire 816 is its 5-megapixel rear camera, but it's a small criticism in the face of its excellent battery life, great performance and affordable price. If you're looking for an inexpensive large-screen phone, the Desire 816 is the phone to buy.

Price when reviewed: £270 SIM free. For the latest prices, see our full HTC Desire 816 review

Key specs
Processor Dual-core 1.6GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400
Screen size 5.5in
Screen resolution 1,280x720
Rear camera 5-megapixel
Storage 8GB
Wireless data 3G, 4G
Size 157x79x8mm
Weight 165g
Operating system Android 4.4.2

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WHERES THE NEXUS 5 DIPSHITS

Must try the Waze

Where's my MicroMax********!! :)

Where is Photo4tune? That seems to be the only missing app from this otherwise great list! :)

Nexus 5 hands down. No bulky addition, latest updates, as cheap as it gets.

Great stuff Katharine, came across your blog while searching and found what I was looking for. Thanks for sharing.

Micromax???? . . . are you Joking? Micromax does'nt even gets any closer to these Phones.