So you're after the best Android smartphone you can buy? The best of Google's mobile experience, fused into the best all-round device, offering the best experience you can get for your money? Then you've come to the right place.
We will guide you through the hottest Android phones of the year, giving you the chance to weigh up your options, make a decision on what your next Android phone will be, or simply to see what others are getting that you might be missing out on. You might want compact power, you might want sheer size, you may be after bang for your buck.
Things are changing fast in the world of Android: slashed prices mean older models can be a steal; ever-improving hardware and refreshed handsets arriving every few months along with Android updates like the soon-to-be-announced Android 4.4 KitKat mean things never stand still.
Our list of great handsets here covers just the best of Android, but in all sizes, at all prices. We'll be regularly updating this feature, reflecting the changing demands of the Android market and apps. A phone that's great today, may be obsolete in six months, so check back regularly.
Of course, feel free to tell us which you think are the best Android phones in the comments below.
13. Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini
The Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini continues Samsung's trend to capitalising on a successful handset name. It's not a mini in the sense that it matches the specs, but in design and to some extent experience. There was a time that "mini" was "lesser" but with the latest wave of devices, the mid-range is more appealing than ever.
Samsung's customisation brings a huge change over Android, packing it with useful features and options. The display is great, if not quite matching the sharpness of the HTC One mini, but here you have the advantage of microSD card expansion and access to the battery, should you wish to swap it on a busy day.
With plenty of power under the hood, slick design and all that software innovation, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini is cheaper and more compact than it's bigger brother, but still delivers a great smartphone experience.
QUICK VERDICT: All things considered, we really fell for the Mini. It's a powerful and well-designed phone that does everything you need in a nice compact device. It's still expensive, but it's a phone that will serve you well for a couple of years, assuming storage isn't an issue.
FULL REVIEW: Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini review
12. HTC One mini
The HTC One mini offers the lovely design of the HTC One, but doesn't stop there. It has a cracking 4.3-inch 720p display that's very capable and enough grunt under the hood to cope with pretty much everything you want to do with your phone on a day-to-day basis, but won't match the top handsets for sheer power.
The HTC One mini takes a hit on the spec sheet, but offers the same UltraPixel camera of the HTC One, along with all the smart functions like Zoe and the highlight videos that bring your photography to life. We're still waiting to hear if the smallest member of the HTC One family will be getting the Android 4.3 and Sense 5.5 update, but here's hoping.
QUICK VERDICT: The HTC One mini is a great Android smartphone. The design and build are outstanding, the user experience offered by HTC Sense 5 is commendable and the step back into mid-range specs isn't hugely to the phone's detriment.
FULL REVIEW: HTC One mini review
11. Motorola Moto X
Motorola has been in this business a long time and although it doesn't launch as aggressively as rivals like Samsung, there's still a great feeling of quality when you get your hands on the latest Motorola phone, the Moto X.
The Moto X doesn't go up against the flagship phones out there on the spec sheet, but it still delivers the essentials. The dual-core processor offers plenty of power, partnered with 2GB of RAM and the 4.7-inch display offers plenty of space to play, even if the resolution is a notch down at 720p. What you do get, however, is the option to customise the exterior of your phone, so you can design it to suit your own style with a choice of 252 different colour combinations.
The software offers a blend of Android Jelly Bean with a range of Motorola tweaks, which we think get the balance just about right. It's all you want of Android and not too heavily drawn off into unneccesary customisation. There's a generous 2,200mAh battery, that will see this phone outlasting some rivals. It might have some mid-range specs, but it delivers an experience that impresses.
Sadly, if you're outside the US, you may struggle to get your hands on it.
QUICK VERDICT: Priced at $199 (£124) on contract there are plenty of other similar-priced options out there such as the HTC One that bury the Moto X under mightier specs. But even so, and while it's not quite to that level, we've really enjoyed adopting the Moto X. It's smart and still powerful enough - plus it avoids too much bloatware as per the Samsung Galaxy S4. Motorola's customisation options will also tick the box for some - we think they're cool - and that gives this phone that middle-ground appeal that nothing else in the market has. It's not perfect, but we sure do rather like it.
FULL REVIEW: Motorola Moto X review
10. Samsung Galaxy SIII
One of the most successful smartphones ever, the Samsung Galaxy S III might be getting old, but it still has its place. As new devices appear, the venerable S3 gets more affordable, but still delivers on all fronts.
Slick design is paired with innovation and although the hardware is now a generation old, the SGS3 still delivers a premium Android experience with heaps of enhancement from Samsung's innovative features.
It offers good camera performance, a large 4.8-inch HD display and battery performance that's impressive for a device of this size. It's still one of our favourite phones and we still think it has some way to run.
QUICK VERDICT: Undoubtedly a great phone, the flexibility allowed by giving you memory expansion and battery access will make this popular. It's a phone that does little wrong, but isn't without its quirks.
9. Sony Xperia Z1
The Sony Xperia Z1 refreshes the excellent Sony Xperia Z, bringing you a powerful handset, with waterproofing, a slick design and a large 5-inch display.
On paper the Z1 sounds like it will be king of all classes, but the boosting of the battery and the accommodation of a 20-megapixel camera, swells the body to larger than its rivals, with a bigger footprint than the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the LG G2, but not quite reaching into phablet territory. But if you can handle the size there are plenty of treats in store.
It's a veritable powerhouse, with great internal hardware, so everything is slick and fast. The waterproofed 3.5mm headphone jack is now more convenient than the original Xperia Z, but the previous phone is smaller and getting cheaper, so is definitely worth considering.
QUICK VERDICT: Sony has created a powerful and good-quality device in the Xperia Z1. It hits all the high points on the spec sheet, but that doesn't always lead to the best results.
FULL REVIEW: Sony Xperia Z1 review
8. Sony Xperia Z Ultra
If you're looking to go really big, the biggest of the bunch, then the Sony Xperia Z Ultra is what you're after. The massive 6.4-inch display makes this the biggest device on our list. It is a technological marvel, considering what you get, but there's a huge but.
Many will find that the Sony Xperia Z Ultra is far too big for practical use. It's a monster for making calls and it's almost impossible to fit into a normal pocket, so it's somewhat niche in that regard.
However, you get a supremely powerful device that's waterproof, but only 6.5mm thick. Sony swears blind that this is a phone, we'd say it's still a phablet, but once you've spent some time with it, you can't help admire it. It's not for making calls, it is for movies, gaming and showing off your photos.
It will also let you scribble on the display with any pen or pencil, so if you're looking to ditch your notepad, Sony has you covered. The Sony Xperia Z Ultra might be a controversial choice in this list, but it is a noteworthy device. If it's too big, the Xperia Z1 offers a similar experience, or look to the Note 3.
QUICK VERDICT: You'll either love the concept of a phone bigger than your head or you won't, and that's the bottom line here. But if it's the former you won't be disappointed, we just don't know how many people will fit into that category. The Sony Xperia Z Ultra is a marvel, but a marvel that might be limited in appeal.
FULL REVIEW: Sony Xperia Z Ultra review
7. Samsung Galaxy S4 Active
Where the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active wins is in offering an experience that's really close to the Samsung Galaxy S4, in a slightly cheaper and water-resistant package. That takes the pains out of dropping your phone in the toilet and gives you more freedom to use your device in all conditions.
There's plenty of power and an impressive Full HD display, meaning that despite having something that's resistant to the elements, it won't cause a huge bulge in your pocket. Then there's all the customisation and all the features brought by Samsung's TouchWiz.
Some might not like the rugged looks, or the move to hardware buttons, but for those who want to get dirty with their phone, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active is a natural choice. The Sony Xperia Z1 is more powerful, but the Galaxy S4 Active makes better use of space, so it's more comfortable to use day to day.
QUICK VERDICT: The Samsung Galaxy S4 Active is a great handset, offering a flagship smartphone experience in a device that's happy to take a dunking in the bath. If you're accident prone or are always getting caught in the rain, then this is a viable alternative to the Samsung Galaxy S4.
FULL REVIEW: Samsung Galaxy S4 Active review
6. Samsung Galaxy Note 2
The Samsung Galaxy Note took the smartphone world by storm, crossing the divide between tablets and smartphones.
It might be too large for some, but the 5.5-inch display gives you room to play, without being too big for your pocket. Samsung's innovative features will help you get the most out of the size on offer from the Samsung Galaxy Note 2.
There's a stylus which might be more popular with those who prefer to note down things in writing, but you can equally just leave the stylus in place and never use it, if it's the larger display that you're after. It's big and beautiful, and far from stupid. With the Note 3 recently launched, the Note 2 has tumbled in price.
It's one of the oldest devices on our Android list, but Samsung's committment to providing updates and lower prices still give the Note 2 some appeal.
QUICK VERDICT: We're in love. This phone may seem wildly illogical, but those fabulous Koreans have somehow managed to create a device that offers so much more than a smaller phone and almost makes tablets pointless. This phone won't be for everyone, but for us it's one of the best Android devices money can buy.
FULL REVIEW: Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review
5. Sony Xperia Z
The Sony Xperia Z offers a great design package that's distinctly different. Sony may have revised the Xperia Z with the Z1 and the new device is certainly more powerful. However, falling prices mean that Xperia Z is increasingly affordable, so reletively you get a lot for your money.
Sony's take on Android is lighter than ever before, resulting in a device that doesn't feel inhibited, while still bringing plenty of power. We love that even though this handset is water resistant, you still get the option to expand the memory.
There's a huge 5-inch Full HD display on the front, and although it's not as accomplished as that of the HTC One or Samsung Galaxy S4, it's still a pleasure to use.
QUICK VERDICT: The Xperia Z combines sharp design with a great display, sensible software tweaks and attention to battery life. It might be out-classed in the specs department by it's Z1 brother, but here you get great design in a more compact package at a cheaper price.
FULL REVIEW: Sony Xperia Z reviewed
5. Nexus 4
The Nexus 4 is pure Google and is not only a well-designed and powerful handset, but also comes in at around half the price of some of the rival devices. If you don't have the cash to splash, it's the LG-built Nexus 4 that you want. If you can get it. With dwindling stock in the approach to Nexus 5 launch, this is one handset that might be hard to find. If you do, it's an absolute bargain.
The design is great, sandwiched in glass and there's plenty of power under the hood, as well as bringing with it the latest updates from Android before they arrive on other devices. We're sure the Nexus 4 will have Android 4.4 KitKat long before any other updates.
The camera isn't the best however and the screen, although HD, lacks the visual impact of devices like the other devices on this list. We still love it though, it's the affordable star.
QUICK VERDICT: The Nexus 4 offers a native Android experience with plenty of power in a wonderfully designed phone at an affordable price. It's almost too good to be true, but the camera interface and performance falls well short of rivals and the battery could be better.
FULL REVIEW: Google Nexus 4 review
4. Samsung Galaxy S4
The Samsung Galaxy S4 brings more innovation to a phone that's already at the top of its game. The design offers flexibility where others don't with access to the battery and the option to expand the memory via microSD.
Some may say that there's a feature too many and the design isn't as inspiring as some other devices like the HTC One, but if you opt for the Samsung Galaxy S4, you won't be disappointed. Samsung crams a large 5-inch Full HD display into a handset that isn't overly large, so despite going large, the size is still managable.
Undoubted the Samsung Galaxy S4 will be the top smartphone choice for many, but recent launches bring more raw power. The Samsung Galaxy S4 will handle anything you throw at it, and beautifully so, but those looking for more power might be tempted by the LG G2, those who want to get away from plastic, the HTC One.
QUICK VERDICT: We love it, honestly. The new design might look the same as the old, but it isn't. New, more squared-off sides mean it feels nicer than the old model, and it's got so many new features that it's impossible not to love some of them. Battery life is still a major issue for Samsung though, and that's a big deal for most users.
FULL REVIEW: Samsung Galaxy S4 review
3. Samsung Galaxy Note 3
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is our top phablet and offers a compelling Android experience, giving you 5.7-inches of screen packed into a body that you can still slip into your pocket.
Blend that with an internal loadout that gives you plenty of power and you've got a powerhouse of a phone that will do just about anything you ask it to. But as the Note more or less created the phablet category, it also has a range of features that makes better use of the screen space it offers.
You've got smart software features as well as the S Pen, than makes for a device that's big, but not dumb. If you're after a big display, a phablet, then the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is the pick of the bunch.
QUICK VERDICT:There will be some who will dismiss this phone out of hand for being too big. Those people are silly, and will never know what they are missing. The Note 3 is a diamond in the rough, a phone that doesn't just follow that pack, but leads it shouting, "Come on you dozy slowcoaches, at least try to keep up". It has instantly become our go-to Android phone, and will remain so until the Note 4, no doubt.
FULL REVIEW: Samsung Galaxy Note 3 review
2. LG G2
LG hasn't had the smoothest run of in the world of modern smartphones, but the LG G2 brings things back into focus. There's heaps of power on offer and a 5.2-inch display crammed into a body that's still fairly compact: LG has banished bezels, so you get more space to play. The point is though, this phone competes brilliantly with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S4 while offering a more "Android" experience, through a slightly less customised user interface.
Some have expressed dislike of the rear-mounted buttons, but they make sense when you're in a call and trying to adjust the volume - far more so, at least, than side mounted buttons do. The biggest problem we had was with the camera, which we just weren't all that impressed by. It's good enough, but the SGS4 beats it, if getting the best shots is important to you.
But best of all, the display is outstanding. LCDs have great detail, and accurate colours that OLEDs can't claim. And the high-quality audio system will blow you away if you plug in some high-quality music, and some decent headphones. What we like most is that LG hasn't just thrown features at the phone. It's thought about what is missing from current phones, and what customers might like to have, and done its best to incorporate those into the phone. We're sold.
QUICK VERDICT: LG has done it. The G2 really is a compelling alternative to the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S4 and other premium Android handsets. We like LG's take on a phone, we think it has throughtfully and successfully made a handset that does everything we want, without overloading us with features we don't need. If you've after power and a big display, it's the LG G2 you want.
READ: LG G2 review
1. HTC One
The HTC One is a triumph of design and sumptuous to hold. It balances size with practicality, making it a great all-rounder: there's space to play, but you're not grappling with something that feels too large. There's a stunning 4.7-inch display on the front, with a Full HD resolution, so Android looks pin sharp, delivering some of the best quality visuals you'll find on any smartphone.
It may no longer have the most powerful hardware inside, but it still skips through daily tasks with ease, but if out-and-out power is what you're after, you might want to look at what's on offer elsewhere.
HTC Sense has been refined with a lot of the clutter removed to focus on the essential features. There's an elegance and sophistication to HTC's flagship phone for 2013, making it a pleasure to use, and timely updates rolling in with Sense 5.5 and Android 4.3 mean HTC is keeping up to date.
The camera might not be the best for straight photos, but the unique features it offers are really fun. This is paired with stunning BoomSound speakers that are best-in-class by a mile to result in a smartphone that covers all bases.
QUICK VERDICT: HTC has a history of making good phones, so the HTC One doesn't comes as a surprise to us. It's a fantastic Android smartphone and is well worthy of your consideration if you're in the market for a premium device.
FULL REVIEW: HTC One review