The 10 Coolest Smartphones Of 2015 (So Far)

Smartphone Market Continues Success

It's only halfway through 2015, but already several smartphone vendors have lifted the curtain on their latest and greatest mobile devices.

Vendors have been hard at work this year flaunting their newest devices at trademark mobile events, such as the Consumer Electronics Show and Mobile World Congress.

In the first quarter of 2015, the global smartphone market saw a 16.7 percent year-over-year uptick, with vendors such as Samsung, Apple, Lenovo and Huawei leading the way, according to research company IDC.

Despite the release of several new smartphones, mobile vendors are facing challenges as demand heightens for emerging trends, such as larger phones, or "phablets," and an increased appetite for premium devices.

Following are the 10 of the hottest smartphones released in 2015, so far. For more on the "coolest" of 2015, check out "CRN's Tech Midyear In Review."

Microsoft Lumia 640

Microsoft gifted consumers with its new budget Lumia 640 smartphone at Mobile World Congress this year.

The Lumia 640, a 5-inch phone with a brightly colored, smooth plastic shell, is powered by a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 and runs on Windows Phone 8.1 with Lumia Denim, although Microsoft said it will soon be upgradeable to Windows 10 upon the new operating system's release this month.

The Lumia 640 also features LED flash, 8-megapixel front-facing cameras powered by Lumia Camera software.

The Lumia 640 hit shelves early in April starting at $129.84, while its more expensive, larger 5.7-inch counterpart, the Lumia 640 XL, came out later in the month.

Asus ZenFone 2

Asus' ZenFone 2, first unveiled by the smartphone vendor at CES, was released May 18.

The best features of the 5.5-inch ZenFone 2 are in its design, which has its "ergonomic arc design" shaped to nestle into the palm of users' hands so they can snap selfies, adjust volumes and perform other functions. The smartphone has 4 GB of dual-channel DDR3 RAM.

The ZenFone 2 is powered by a 64-bit 2.3GHz quad-core Intel Atom Z3580 processor and runs on Android L OS. It also contains a 13-megapixel PixelMaster camera and PixelMaster Backlight to automatically capture multiple shots in the viewfinder.

The Asus ZenFone 2 goes for $199 from NewEgg.

Apple iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus

Apple's release of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus pushed the limits on consumer smartphone sizes with a 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus.

Though the company released its latest smartphone in September 2014, the iPhone 6 cannot be ignored in 2015, as the smartphone sales fueled Apple's best quarter in corporate history with 74.5 million iPhones sold in the first quarter of 2015.

Running on a 64-bit A8 chip with iOS 8, the iPhone 6 flaunts new features such as an extra security component called TouchID, mobile payment tool Apple Pay and improved sensors in the iSight camera to power slow-motion and time-lapse capture.

Apple's iPhone 6 starts at $199 while the iPhone 6 Plus goes for $299.

Lenovo Vibe Shot

The Vibe Shot, which Lenovo revealed at Mobile World Congress, is a phone aimed at consumers who place emphasis on one feature in particular -- the camera.

The 5-inch FHD smartphone features a 16-megapixel rear camera with six-piece modular lens and a full-frame 16:9 low-light sensor to take pictures at night.

The Vibe Shot, which sports an aluminum frame, is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and runs on Android 5.0 Lollipop OS. It hit shelves in June starting at $349.

BlackPhone 2

The BlackPhone 2 is Silent Circle's next solution for customers worried about protecting important information on their phones.

Like its predecessor, the BlackPhone, this smartphone is engineered from the ground up to be private by design. However, BlackPhone 2 is also bigger, faster and safer with a Qualcomm octa-core processor with more RAM, and runs on "PrivatOS 1.1," Android-based software.

The 5.5-inch BlackPhone 2 with Gorilla Glass 3 also will integrate with existing mobile device management vendors, such as Soti.

The BlackPhone 2 will be available in September.

LG G Flex 2

The LG G Flex 2, unveiled at CES this year, features a curved design on its 5.5-inch curved full HD P-OLED screen.

The LG G Flex 2 features a 13-megapixel camera with features like Laser Autofocus for clearer images.

This smartphone is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor with a 2.0GHz 64-bit octa-core CPU, and runs on Android 5.0 Lollipop. It also contains a 3,000 mAh battery.

The LG G Flex 2 hit shelves in April and is $504 without a lengthy agreement.

HTC One M9

HTC's newest smartphone, the One M9, is a 5-inch phone with a metal frame running on Android with HTC Sense.

The One M9 has a 20-megapixel camera with sapphire camera cover lens and features such as HTC Eye Experience software, which allows users to create split captures and take voice selfies.

The One M9, which hit shelves in March, runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 with an octa-core 64-bit platform. The smartphone is available in silver, pink, gray and gold.

BlackBerry Leap

BlackBerry showed off its latest 5-inch touch-screen smartphone, the BlackBerry Leap, at Mobile World Congress this year.

The BlackBerry Leap, which targets the midrange market, costs $275 and was released in April. This smartphone is primarily for customers who value security and productivity features like support for encryption and built-in malware protection.

The BlackBerry Leap, which runs on BlackBerry 10 OS, is powered by a Qualcomm 8960 dual-core processor.

Samsung Galaxy S6 And Galaxy S6 Edge

In April, Samsung released the newest smartphone in the Galaxy S series -- its Galaxy S6. The 5.1-inch smartphone contains a flat panel and is made from aluminum and Gorilla Glass, wowing consumers who are used to Samsung's traditional plastic frames.

The Galaxy S6, which also features a larger, curved and more expensive counterpart called the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, runs on a 14nm mobile processor with a 64-bit platform.

The smartphone costs $199.99 for the 32-GB version. The Galaxy S6 Edge is pricier than the Galaxy S6, at $299.99 for the 32-GB version.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Active

Samsung released the rugged counterpart to its latest flagship smartphone in the Galaxy S series, the Galaxy S6 Active, in June.

This smartphone is sleek and lightweight, and withstands outdoor environment perils like dust, thermal shock and water.

Like the Galaxy S6, this 5.1-inch smartphone drops Samsung's traditional Snapdragon processor and runs on the new Samsung in-house quad-core Exynos 7420 CPU. The Samsung Galaxy S6 Active is powered by the Android Lollipop OS.

The Samsung Galaxy S6 Active starts at $199.99 with a contract from AT&T.