THE SMARTPHONE MARKET is becoming increasingly competitive, which in turn can make it hard for buyers to choose among the leading handsets to pick the right smartphone.
With smartphone buyers being spoiled for choice, we have compiled a list of our favourite 2014 smartphones available for you to buy, so you can see which one best fits your needs, depending on whether you're after a smartphone with a high-resolution display like the LG G3, or a phone that can withstand the elements, like the Galaxy S5.
Keep this page bookmarked, as we'll update it when another worthy contender is launched.
The iPhone 6 is the first time Apple has gone beyond a screen size of 4in, with the smartphone boasting a 4.7in Retina display. Of course, for those who scoff at a 4.7in screen, the iPhone 6 Plus comes with an even-bigger 5.5in offering.
It may be bigger than the iPhone 5S, but it's also slimmer, measuring in at a mere 6.9mm thick. This is thanks in part to its new design, with the iPhone 6 featuring a curvier look than its predecessor. In terms of specifications, Apple hasn't skimped, kitting out the iPhone 6 with an A8 processor, improved 8MP and 1.2MP cameras, an improved screen resolution, a beefier 1,810mAh battery and a built-in NFC for making mobile payments.
Check out our iPhone 6 first impressions.
Samsung Galaxy S5
The Galaxy S5 was always going to be one of the biggest smartphones of 2014, and Samsung didn't disappoint. Improving on its Galaxy S4 predecessor, the Galaxy S5 boasts a built-in fingerprint scanner, a heart rate monitor and IP67 certification that it's resistant against water and dust.
Looking to win over those after a high-specification smartphone, the Galaxy S5 also boasts a 5.1in HD 1080p screen, a quad-core 2.5GHz processor, Google's Android 4.4 Kitkat mobile operating system and a 16MP rear-facing camera capable of shooting 4K video. The Galaxy S5 also pairs with Samsung's wearable devices, including the Gear 2 smartwatch and Gear Fit.
Check out our full Samsung Galaxy S5 review.
Since news of the PRISM spying scandal broke, privacy has been at the forefront of many people's minds. The surveillance revelations have made people more concerned than ever about what happens to their data. Enter Silent Circle, which has launched the 'NSA-proof' Android-powered Blackphone.
The Blackphone, which boasts a 4.5in HD screen and a quad-core 2GHz chip, runs a custom version of Android dubbed Private OS, which will allow users to make and receive secure phone calls, exchange encrypted texts and browse the web anonymously through a virtual private network (VPN).
In addition for those all about security, Silent Circle chucks in around £400 worth of free apps, including 2GB of encrypted data via Spikderoak, a two-year subscription to its own security application suite and 1GB of free Disconnect storage each month.
Check out our Blackphone hands-on review.
The LG G3 is one of the newest smartphones on our list, but also one of the most impressive. Making the Galaxy S5 look low resolution, the LG G3 boasts a 2560x1440 Quad HD resolution display that features a pixel density of 548ppi, compared to the Galaxy S5's 432ppi screen. It's also the first smartphone to feature a laser autofocus in its 13MP camera, which the firm claims means the snapper can focus on objects in less than three milliseconds.
LG is also looking to win over buyers with its custom Android skin, which adds unique features such as Knock Code and Smart Notice, an app that claims to know what you want before you do. It's not just software where LG has innovated, as the G3 also features its hardware controls on its rear, which the firm claims makes them more comfortable to use.
Check out our LG G3 review.
Sony Xperia Z3
The Xperia Z3, much like its predecessor, is all about design. The handset boasts a slim, plastic casing coated in glass, with metal trim around the edges for a high-end feel. It comes with IP58 certification, which means it can withstand 30 minutes in one metre of water and some fairly substantial battering. We put this to the test, and the Xperia Z3 emerged unscathed.
That's not all the Sony Xperia Z3 has on offer. There's also a 5.2in HD 1080p touchscreen display, a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 chip, 3GB of RAM and a 20.7MP rear-facing camera, which is capable of recording Ultra HD 4K video. For those who find the handset too big, there's also the Xperia Z3 Compact on offer.
The Sony Xperia Z3 also runs a heavily-skinned version of Android 4.4 Kitkat, equipping it with features such as Sony's Music and Video apps, and access to the Playstation store.
Check out our Sony Xperia Z3 hands-on review.
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