The winner of the best smartphone of 2014 title won't be claimed for some months to come, but in the last three weeks we have seen the launch of the three main Android contenders.

Samsung's Galaxy S5, HTC's One M8 and Sony's Xperia Z2 will all be vying for customers attention in the coming weeks and months, but which is the best for you, and which is the one most likely to challenge the iPhone 6 when it launches later this year.

For this week's Tech Talk we're going to look at the design, software, cameras and unique features of each to help you decide which might be the phone for you.

All three phones have a powerful processors, great screens, come in a variety of colours and most importantly all have very similar - and very high - price tags of over £500, meaning your decision will come down to what differentiates them from each other.


In terms of design all three build on the look and feel of last years models with the HTC One M8 continuing the use of premium materials, while Samsung has continues to use plastic as its material of choice - though it has added a waterproof coating to the Galaxy S5, something Sony has had on it's Xperia Z models for a couple of years.

As you can see the Galaxy S5 has the smallest overall size making it much more manageable to use one-handed. The HTC One M8 has the smallest screen of the three - though only slightly - while the Xperia Z2 has the largest footprint and at 5.2in it also has the largest screen.

All three have near flawless build quality so it will come down to whether you want the big, bold angular look of the Xperia Z2, the premium feel of the HTC One M8 or the compact but plastic feel of the Galaxy S5.


For some, this will be the most important aspect of all when it comes to deciding between the three smartphones.

The Galaxy S5 boasts a 16 megapixel sensor, fast autofocusing, high resolution video recording and a slow-mo mode. It is a great all-round great with decent low-light performance and a high level of details in good lighting conditions.

The HTC One M8 has taken a different route. It has introduced a new depth sensor along with the its Ultrapixel sensor, which is just 4 megapixels in size, but lets in a lot more light than typical sensors.

The depth sensor may allow you to create professional looking bokeh effects but the lack of megapixels means there is a lack of detail in most images.

The Xperia Z2's 20.7 megapixel camera sensor looks similar to the one on last year's Z1, but Sony has added 4K video recording as a headline feature, though how many people will want to use it is questionable.

However the overall quality of the Xperia Z2's camera makes it the clear winner hear, and the added benefit of a dedicated shutter button means you'll be able to start it much faster as well.


All three phones use the latest version of Android but each manufacturer has added its own software skin on top.

Samsung's well-known TouchWiz has been scaled back bait and is much less confusing that it used to be. That said it will take you some time to learn where everything is and how everything works. Samsung also has its own suite of apps for voice and health which come preinstalled.

HTC's Sense interface is dominated by Blinkfeed, a visual news aggregator which draws in information from social media channels as well as select news publications to create one infinite stream of news. It feels unfinished still but it has improved since it first launched last year.

Sony's tweaks are probably the least invasive, with the company added a number of widgets and apps to promote its own films, music and games stores, but all of these can easily be removed to give you some close to a typical Android interface.

Unique Features

Each of the three smartphones will be hoping its unique features will help them standout from the crowd and in particular from their two main Android rivals.

Samsung has gone done the sensor route adding a fingerprint sensor to its home button and a heart rate monitor on the rear cover. Unfortunately the fingerprint sensor doesn't work cry well and we are still trying to think of reasons to use a heart rate monitor on a phone.

The Xperia Z2 is looking to stand out with the combination of waterproof design and an unbeatable camera. The waterproof credentials have now been copied by Samsung but its 20.7 megapixel camera remains the market leader when it comes to Android smartphones.

The HTC One M8 is all about its premium build quality and BoomSound speakers. The all-new One certainly does feel more premium than the other two phones, though it also means it is heavier. The company's front-facing BoomSound speakers are the best smartphone speakers out there, though for anyone who never uses their phone to share music this may not be much of an advantage.


So there you have it, the top three Android smartphones of 2014, all of which are not on sale, and all of which don't come cheap.

To give you a single outright winner from these three is fought. Each has its own pros and cons. If you want premium build quality then the HTC One is the one to go for. If a camera is the most important thing for you, then the Xperia Z2 is your best bet. If you want a light and compact phone then the Galaxy S5 is probably your best bet.

For me personally I would probably choose the Xperia Z2, as it has the best camera, good battery life and great design. But that's just me.

Let us know in the comments which you think is the best Android smartphone of 2014 so far, and for all your technology news and review make sure to check out