The best smartphone of 2014: Five glorious contenders, One clear winner

It's any company's game.

The title of "best smartphone" could go to any manufacturer this year. Apple and Samsung previously dominated the smartphone scene. Now, as strategies initiated years ago by rivals come to fruition, every brand is delivering a killer smartphone. The title could belong to anyone, but only one can be crowned the Best Smartphone of 2014.

5. LG G3

LG had long trailed its rivals in the smartphone space. The company went back to the drawing board, realigned different business divisions and bounced back with the G3, a smartphone that leapfrogged the competition.

Many firsts were marked by the LG G3. It was the first smartphone in Australia to have a 1440p display, and the 5.5-inch display was packed tightly into a body comparable to 5-inch smartphones. The 13 megapixel camera introduced the laser autofocus; a feature that represents genuine innovation to the smartphone camera.

Undermining the plethora of innovations is one flaw we could not look past: lacklustre battery life. The battery life was so short we tested two G3s in the hope our first unit was faulty. That was not the case. The two smartphones averaged 13.5 hours of life under moderate-to-heavy use. If the G3 had a bigger battery, there’s no doubt it would’ve been a front runner.

Read the full review of the LG G3

4. Sony Xperia Z3

The art of Zen is at play with the Xperia Z3. We say this because of all the Android smartphones, it is the most focussed. No gimmicks or superfluous features will be found here. The Z3 offers only what you need — nothing more, nor less.

Though what it offers is among the best in the industry, such as its 20.7 megapixel camera. It goes a little further with a fantastic screen, commendable battery life, top-tier waterproofing and, for its loyal PlayStation 4 fans, Remote Play capabilities.

Read the full review of the Sony Xperia Z3

3. Apple iPhone 6

Read more: Samsung's Galaxy Alpha review: A peek into the Galaxy S6

This list is dominated by smartphones running open source Android. The fact one manufacturer has managed to take on an entire ecosystem stands testament to the calibre of Apple’s iPhone.

Seven years on and Apple is still doing the legacy justice. The iPhone 6 has matured, with its larger screen and curved corners. It is a shame Apple Pay was not made available in Australia, which is Apple’s most recent innovation. Touch ID and Siri may not be new to this generation iPhone, but they’re still features that give it a competitive edge.

Letting the iPhone down, like the LG G3, is the score of its battery, which delivered 17 hours during testing.

Read the full review of the Apple iPhone 6

Click over for the Smartphone of the Year

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Apple iPhone 6Sony Xperia Z3 CompactSony Xperia Z3HTC One M8

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Tony Ibrahim

Tony Ibrahim

Good Gear Guide

@slicktonyi

Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?