The smartphone market gets more exciting every year, and 2014 is shaping up to be the most thrilling yet. There are a lot of great devices on the scene in the coming months with new features, stronger hardware, and plenty of excellent options for those who absolutely must have the latest and greatest. Here are some of the mobile devices to keep an eye on in 2014, from sleek leaders of the pack to big bargains and everything in between.
Samsung Galaxy S5
Image via Flickr by Karlis Dambrans
The Galaxy line has always been impressive, and the S5 is no exception. The big sell of this youngest member of the Android family is biometrics. The S5 retails for $660 and comes standard with a fingerprint reader and heart rate monitor that pair well with up-and-coming health apps. If you’re interested in something a little more play-focused, the S5 also has a top-tier HDR camera that takes crisp pictures and video at a fraction of the battery drain. It’s an all-around great phone.
Apple iPhone 5S
iPhones have a well-earned reputation as great devices for visual hardware and app suites. Apple has put a lot under the hood for the $648 5S, including the brand new A7 chip and 64-bit architecture that brings arguably the fastest performance in the market to this device. It also translates to even sharper images from the excellent camera and plenty of wiggle room for app developers. The phone is available through all major carriers.
Motorola Moto X
Bargain hunters with any major carrier will love the Moto X, a device with a skimpy $100 price point but plenty of great features that make it a heck of a deal. The Moto is highly customizable with multiple colors and accents, plus it has a respectably spacious 4.7-inch display. It also comes standard with some nice bells and whistles, and a slew of ease-of-use features like the wrist-flick camera mode and the no-touch voice controls. It’s not exactly Siri, but it’s an unbeatable bang for your buck.
Selling for between $200 and $400 depending on the associated plan, the G2 by LG has a middle-of-the-road price point, but it’s top-of-its-class in terms of battery life. Tests have put the G2 at more than 10 hours of full use with 4G Web browsing and putting the 4.7-inch display through its paces. The Snapdragon 800 processor is quite fast, and the factory chipset has performed excellently for mobile gaming, outpacing a lot of the G2’s nearest competitors in that increasingly important market.
HTC One M8
The HTC line has been consistently impressive for a while now, so it’s no surprise to see the M8 offering such a nice package. Its best feature is the smart, simple BlinkFeed interface that manages to be colorful and fun without being too busy. It has a larger display than most current-generation mobile devices, pulling a full five inches to show off the 1920 x 1080 pixel capabilities. The M8 has some intimidating speakers and a Duo camera that make this a formidable media device. All these features come with a big leagues price tag at $636 standard.
Samsung Galaxy Note 3
The halfway point between smartphones and tablets is a tricky space to navigate, but the Note 3 does so admirably. The huge display can run two side-by-side apps with window-to-window content dragging that’s a blessing for multi-taskers. The pen software has been improved, and the 11-hour battery life makes the Note 3 a viable business machine. It retails for $717, which makes it a nice two-in-one deal for those who don’t want to juggle a smartphone and a tablet, though the large size practically necessitates a wireless headset to make it a functional phone and not an elbow-strainer.
2014 is shaping up to be a stellar year for mobile devices of every stripe, with great features and keen innovations available for every budget. Media systems are positively stunning, and usability is improving by leaps and bounds. From Android, iOS, Windows, and beyond, there’s something impressive out there regardless of user preference and carrier.