It’s been one year in the making, but it’s finally time to take a step back and look at what we’ve been given this year in mobile technology. Smartphones have come a long way over the last year. With all of the launches we’ve seen, it’s time to put together the top 5 smartphones currently available…

These are the best of the best. Most of the smartphone released this year pack large phablet-like displays, but we’ll throw in a couple of alternatives in case you value pocket space over screen size. Keep in mind, this list is in no particular order, but each smartphone has clearly earned it’s place. It’s been a long and busy year for the smartphone industry and we’ve nailed down our top picks. This is going to be your definitive guide to smartphone buying. Without any further delay, let’s get right into it.

Check out our Top 5 Smartphones of 2014 video below:

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

First up on the list is Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4. This is one of the best smartphones Samsung has ever released. It’s a huge step in the right direction for the Note lineup and Samsung really stepped it up this time with a massive 5.7-inch QHD display and an aluminum frame. The build quality here is amazing and it’s perfectly balance with its frame and textured plastic back side.

Samsung’s Note line is the only place you’ll find the S Pen and it definitely offers an advantage to those who will take advantage of its features. Multitasking on the Note 4 is a breeze, Battery life on the Note 4 is a winner and this may be the best looking display we’ve seen all year. Be sure to check out our Galaxy Note 4 review, Galaxy Note 3 vs Note 4 comparison, or click here for more information.

Apple iPhone 6 Plus

Next up, is Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus. This is Apple’s first shot at making a “phablet.” With a 5.5-inch 1080p display, all-day battery life, optical image stabilization, and a sleek new design, this is a big step up for iPhone. Even if you’re not an iOS fan, it’s hard this 2014 release. The iPhone 6 Plus may be a bit large due to it’s top and bottom bezel, but its performance and battery life are both on point.

If you’re in need of a smaller format, the iPhone 6 is a good option, but you’ll miss out on the extended battery life, large display, and optical image stabilization. To find out more, be sure to check out the full review over at 9to5Mac or click here for pricing and availability.

HTC One M8

It shouldn’t be much of a surprise, but the HTC One M8 is one of my favorite smartphones of the year. It’s just a solid device all around. HTC really stepped up the game with a unibody metal design, a 5-inch 1080p display, and those wonderful BoomSound speakers this flagship line is known for.

This smartphone is fast, beautiful, and a huge leap forward over its predecessor. If Android skins aren’t your thing, the M8 is also available as a Google Play Edition which runs a stripped down stock version of Android and is a win all around. You can check out our HTC One M8 review here. For contract pricing and availability, click here.

OnePlus One

It’s been a struggle for OnePlus this year. We’ve seen numerous attempts over the past few months, but OnePlus has failed to make its “2014 flagship killer” widely available to the public. Nevertheless, it’s a must-have smartphone and makes our top 5 list without blinking an eye. This is the best smartphone your money can buy this year, but only if you can get a hold of an invite.

OnePlus’ invite system has turned away many potential buyers and it’s still semi-difficult to get your hands on it. Either way, this smartphone packs a crisp 5.5-inch 1080p display, an excellent build, and runs Cyanogen Mod which offers a near-stock version of Android with a handful of useful customizations. The specs inside of the OnePlus One are comparable to every smartphone in this list, but (if you can get one) it can be had for only $299 off-contract for the base 16GB model.

Google Nexus 6

It may be a very recent release, but there’s only one smartphone this year that shipped with Android 5.0 Lollipop and that’s Google’s Nexus 6. This is the largest Nexus smartphone to date. Packing a 5.96-inch QHD display and a metal frame design that was borrowed from Motorola’s 2014 Moto X, the Nexus 6 is a beautiful performer. Along with that, Nexus lineup is always going to be the first to get Android updates.

You really can’t go wrong with a Nexus smartphone, but this year’s model may be a bit large for some people. If that’s the case, your next best option is Motorola’s 2014 Moto X (or the Nexus 5 if you don’t mind last year’s release). The Moto X has an identical build quality, but a much smaller form-factor with a 5.2-inch display. For a closer look, check out our Nexus 6 review or Moto X 2014 review.

Which is your favorite?

That about wraps it up. It’s hard to deny the power and functionality that each of these smartphones bring to the table. There’s no doubt in my mind that you’ll be happy with any of them, but which one is your favorite?

Any specific smartphone that you think should have been included? Drop us a line below and leave your favorites from 2014. Also, be sure to check out our reviews on each of the devices listed above for specifics about each one and how they compare to the competition.

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