The 10 Coolest Smartphones Of 2014 (So Far)

Smartphone Market Stays Hot

Many different phones made their debut in the first half of this year, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Some tried to be the total package, some focused on a few astoundingly great features, and still others had totally unique specs that we haven't seen before. There were even saw some first-timers entering the mobile market and garnering enough attention to make our list.

Without further ado and in no particular order, here are our picks for the 10 coolest smartphones of the first half of this year.

Moto G

Many are calling the Moto g one of the best budget smartphones ever made.

The Moto g is quality smartphone powered by a 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 quad-core processor behind a 4.5-inch LCD IPS display (1,280 × 720), running on Android KitKat 4.4. The $179 Moto G comes with either 8 GB of storage or 16 GB for $20 more. It has a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera and 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera. Originally released in November 2013, Motorola updated its phone this past May with 4G and LTE capabilities and a microSD card slot. The 2014 release comes with a slight price increase, costing $219.

The Blackphone

The completely encrypted phone is the first from SGP Technologies, a joint venture between GeeksPhone and Silent Circle. Blackphone was unveiled at Mobile World Congress in February and preorders quickly sold out. The unique device started shipping June 30, two weeks before the company's online store is set to reopen. The $629 security-focused phone runs on a PrivateOS, based on Android KitKat and has a 2.3GHz Tegra 4i processor with 16 GB of storage and a microSD card slot. Blackphone also carries an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera and a 5-megapixel front-facing camera, with a 4.7-inch HD display.

HTC One M8

The second-generation HTC One hit stores in March, and is praised for its model design and software improvements, along with upgrades to internal specs. Under its aesthetically pleasing metal frame and 5-inch Super LCD display (1.920 x 1.080p, 441 ppi) lies a 2.26GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. The $650 phone comes with either 16 GB or 32 GB of storage with a microSD card slot. Its 4-megapixel rear-facing and a 5-megapixel secondary cameras feature an "Ultra-Pixel" shooter to deliver colorful photos in poor lighting. The front-facing camera has a depth sensor to individually focus elements in both the foreground and background of shots.

Amazon Fire Phone

The first smartphone by the e-commerce giant was unveiled in mid-June after garnering hype over its rumored 3-D capabilities known as Dynamic Perspective, which allows users see around corners in images and maps. Firefly software scans items and finds them in Amazon's ecosystem for purchase. The $650 device packs six cameras, four with infrared technology, a 13-megapixel rear-facing and a 2.1-megpixel secondary camera. Running on a Snapdragon 800 quad-core 2.2GHz processor, the Fire Phone has 4.7-inch HD display (1,920 × 1,080). It comes with 32 GB or 64 GB of storage and runs on FireOS, based on Android KitKat 4.2.2. The AT&T exclusive device ships July 25.

Samsung Z

This is the first smartphone running on Samsung's homemade Tizen operating system. Samsung unveiled the phone in early June and will release it in Russia in the third quarter. Samsung, the largest maker of Android devices, anticipates Tizen smartphones will make up to 15 percent of its annual shipments, so this is the first of many Samsung smartphones running on the open-source OS. Behind its 4.8-inch Super ALMOLED display (720 x 1,280, 16 million colors) lies a 2.3GHz quad-core processor and 16 GB of storage. It has an 8-megapixel primary camera and a 2.1-megpixel front-facing camera. The price of the device is not yet available.

Samsung Galaxy S5

The latest of the high-end Galaxy line was released in April. An upgrade from the Galaxy S4, the S5 features a fingerprint reader and private mode for security purposes, built-in health software such as a heart rate monitor, an updated 16-megapixel camera and an improved user experience. The device has drawn criticism for not improving enough from its predecessor, but is still one of the top phones on the market. Running on a 2.5GHz Snapdragon 801 processor, it has 16 GB or 32 GB of storage with a microSD card slot. The $575 Galaxy S5 receives praise for its display, coming as a 5.1-inch Super AMOLED HD (1,920 x 1,080, 432 ppi).

Gionee Elife S5.5

It very well may be the world's thinnest smartphone.

Packing a MediaTek eight-core 1.7GHz processor, 16 GB of storage and a 5-inch HD (1,920 x 1,080) Super AMOLED display, this phone is not just a one-trick pony. Its 13-megapixel camera is also surprisingly good for a phone this as well as its 5-megapixel front-facing camera, but the real attention-grabber is its 5.5mm width. The Gionee Elife S5.5 runs on the Android-based Amigo OS. Made by India-based Gionee, the phone is priced at $375 and was released in February.

Nokia Lumia 930

Set to be the international flagship device of Windows Phone 8.1, the Lumia 930 comes packed with a 20-megapixel camera with dual LED flash and optical image stabilization. The spinoff of the U.S. exclusive Lumia Icon has a 2-megapixel secondary camera and a 5-inch AMOLED HD screen (1,920 x 1,080, 441 ppi). The phone itself boasts NFC technology and wireless charging capabilities. It has a 2.2GHz quad-core processor with 32 GB of flash storage.

The 930 will be released in Australia this month for $688 ($729 AUS), before being released to other international markets.


Released in May, the LG G3 is the first smartphone with a quad HD display with its 5.5-inch 1,440p IPS LCD screen (2,560 x 1,440, 534 ppi). The device also includes infrared hybrid autofocus in its 13-megapixel camera, which also features an Optical Image Stabilizer. LG markets the G3 as one of the fastest cameras in the mobile space while producing some of the sharpest images. Running on Android KitKat 4.4, the LG G3 packs a 2.5GHz quad-core Krait 400 Snapdragon processor, with 16 GB or 32 GB of storage, and is priced at $415.

Sony Xperia Z2

The successor to the Sony Xperia Z1 is also water -and dustproof. It can record 4k videos and has a 2.3GHz Snapdragon 801 processor. The $730 device was first unveiled at Mobile World Congress in February before being released in Taiwan a month later and hitting the open market in May. Its aluminum casing and Gorilla Glass 3 screen makes it a durable device. Running on Android KitKat, Sony's flagship smartphone has a 5.2-inch, IPS LCD Triluminos display (1,080 x 1,920, 424ppi), and 16G B of storage. The Sony Xperia Z2 also packs an astounding 20.7-megapixel primary camera to go with its 2.2-megapixel front-facing camera.