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

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Tony Ibrahim

Tony Ibrahim

Good Gear Guide

@slicktonyi

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