The 10 Coolest Smartphones Of 2015

Savvy Smartphones

2015 was a record-breaking year for smartphone sales, as vendors continued pushing new innovative mobile features and the number of off-contract and unlocked phone offerings began to increase in popularity among consumers.

Most recently, according to market research firm IDC, in the third quarter of 2015 global smartphone sales increased by 6.8 percent over the same quarter last year. During the year, vendor titans like Apple and Samsung released new models like the iPhone 6s and the Galaxy S6, respectively.

Beyond those flagship models, however, other vendors like Google, Blackberry and Motorola also took the wraps off new cool phones with big screens and touch security features. Following are the 10 coolest smartphones released in 2015.

If you missed it, be sure to take a look back at the rest of the best of 2015 with CRN.

Apple iPhone 6s And iPhone 6s Plus

Apple released its upgraded models of the iPhone 6—the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus—in a blowout event in September.

The upgraded phones are physically similar to their predecessors—the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus have 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch screens, respectively—but they also include new style options, such as a new Rose gold finish and a 7000 series aluminum frame.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based company also added a quicker processor, the 64-bit A9 chip, to its new phones, as well as 2GB of RAM and 3-D touch capability to improve how users interact with their phones. The iPhone 6s starts at $649, while the iPhone 6s Plus starts at $749, according to Apple's website.

Samsung Galaxy s6 Edge Plus

Samsung's Galaxy s6 Edge+ is a 5.7-inch phablet, released in August, which targets enterprise users.

The sleek curved phablet runs on the Android operating system and is powered by a 64-bit 14nm Exynos 7420 processor. But beyond hardware, the smartphone contains Samsung's mobile payment system, Samsung Pay, and new security features such as fingerprint verification and digital tokenization.

The Galaxy s6 Edge+ also touts a 3,000mAh battery and 4GB of RAM. The device also contains a 16MP rear camera and 5MP front-facing camera. The unlocked 32-GB version of the phone, which comes in Gold Platinum and Silver Titanium finishes, starts at $685 on Amazon.

Samsung Galaxy Note 5

Samsung's Galaxy Note 5 is another smartphone aimed at enterprise users, packed with features for multi-tasking and note taking. The slim 5.7-inch smartphone runs on Android's operating system and is powered by a 64-bit, 14nm Exynos 7420 processor.

But more importantly, the Galaxy Note 5 contains a handy new stylus S Pen, allowing users to use their phones to jot down notes and write emails. Samsung also brought multi-window capabilities to the Note 5 so that users can pull up multiple tabs at once.

The Galaxy Note 5 also touts a 16MP rear camera and 5MP front-facing camera, as well as 4GB of RAM, a 3,000mAh battery and an option of 64GB or 32GB of storage. The 32GB unlocked version of the phone starts at $580.

Blackberry Priv

Blackberry shocked the smartphone market when it debuted its newest phone, the BlackBerry Priv, with one huge differentiating factor from the company's other phones—an Android operating system.

The BlackBerry Priv has a 5.4-inch screen that covers a slide-out, touch-enabled, four-row keyboard, resembling the signature plastic keyboards on older BlackBerry models. The Priv packs a Qualcomm 8992 Snapdragon 808 processor and 3GB of RAM.

But the Priv's edge over other smartphones stems from its name—privacy. BlackBerry, which normally targets enterprise users through its security software and services, packed the Priv with security features such as Hardware Root of Trust, which is a manufacturing process that injects cryptographic keys into the device hardware. The phone starts at $699.

Google Nexus 6P

Google in September announced the Nexus 6P smartphone, manufactured by Chinese vendor Huawei. With a metal body and improved cameras, the Nexus 6P aims for higher end features at a lower price.

At 5.7 inches, the Nexus 6P includes a WGHD AMOLED premium display and all-metal body, as well as two front-facing speakers. The Nexus 6P contains a fingerprint sensor on the back and a USB-C charging port, as well as a rear 12.3MP camera and front-facing 8MP camera.

The Nexus 6P also packs Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor and a 3,450mAh battery, as well as 3GB of RAM. The phone starts at $499 for the 32-GB version, and also comes in a 64-GB model.

Moto X Pure

Motorola's Moto X Pure edition was released in September and is built for "endless entertainment." With a 5.7-inch 1440p quad HD display, the Moto X Pure has an appealing set of specs given its relatively low $400 price.

The Moto X Pure runs on the Android Lollipop operating system and packs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor, contains 3GB of RAM, and comes with either 16GB, 32GB or 64GB of storage. It also contains a 21MP rear camera and 5MP front-facing camera and a 3,000mAh battery.

The Pure Edition can be purchased unlocked and without contract for $399 from large retailers such as Motorola's website, Amazon and Best Buy.


LG's G4 excels in its design and fabrication, with an ergonomically shaped body, its leather and plastic model options, and its trademark control button on the back.

The 5.5-inch screened smartphone runs on the Android operating system and packs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor. It also contains a 3,000mAh removable battery and up to 2TB of microSD card support.

On the camera side, the G4 contains a 16MP rear camera and 8MP front-facing camera, with features such as color spectrum sensor and f/1.8 low-light lens. The G4 sells off-contract starting at $599 for the plastic model.

HTC One M9

HTC's One M9 is a premium all-metal device that looks sleek on the outside and packs high performance on the inside.

The smartphone's 5-inch HD screen contains Corning Gorilla Glass. Meanwhile, the smartphone contains a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 octa-core processor and runs on Android with HTC Sense. The One M9 also contains a 2,840mAh battery with up to 21.7 hours of talk time for the 3G version and 32 GB of RAM.

The One M9's 20MP rear camera contains such features as auto-focus, 4K video recording and a BSI sensor, while its front camera has 1080p video recording capabilities. The One M9's premium features are reflected in its $649 unlocked price.

Lenovo Vibe Shot

Lenovo's Vibe Shot smartphone, which hit the market in June, stands out with one feature in particular—its camera.

The 5-inch screened smartphone is intended for consumers who love photography, and that is reflected in its 16MP rear camera with features like a six-piece modular lens and a full-frame, 16:9 low-light sensor to capture images in the dark. The Vibe Shot also contains an 8MP front camera.

Beyond its camera features, the Vibe Shot has an aluminum frame and is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon octa-core processor. The phone runs on Android and contains 3GB of RAM.

The Vibe Shot is available at a budget price starting at $349.

Galaxy S6 And Galaxy S6 Edge

Sales for Samsung's Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge disappointed, due to limited production levels of the Edge that did not meet consumer demand levels. However, the Galaxy S6 had innovative high-end features and a praiseworthy camera.

The Galaxy S6 contains a 5.1-inch flat panel, while the Galaxy S6 Edge contains a 5.1-inch curved panel. Both new versions of the phone feature a thinner and lighter design, and are manufactured primarily with aluminum and Gorilla glass, a refreshing change after the previous Galaxy S phones' plastic frames, according to Samsung.

The two smartphone versions also are equipped with features such as a front and rear camera with F1.9 lenses and a 14nm mobile processor with a 64-bit platform. The unlocked 32-GB Galaxy S6 is available starting at $529.99.