The greatest thing about Google’s mobile OS: You have your choice of handsets on all the major wireless carriers.
Here are the top 10 Android phones. These days, it seems like there's always a smarter, faster, bigger Android phone on the horizon.
Google's mobile operating system has managed to capture a record 80 percent share of the global smartphone OS market, according to research firm Strategy Analytics. That's thanks to Android's competitive licensing costs, a large, ever-growing app store, and numerous hardware partners—HTC, LG, Motorola, Samsung, and others offer multiple Android handsets on each carrier.
And that's one of the best things about Android: Choice. At any given time, on Verizon Wireless alone, there are at least 20 different Android handsets to choose from. AT&T sells just as many, and Sprint, T-Mobile, and the regional carriers also offer plenty of choices these days. But how do you decide on the right one?
To come up with our list of top Android phones, we've chosen one or two winners for each of the four major carriers from our highest-rated phones. (And many of our picks are available on multiple major carriers.) And for the contract-phobic, we've thrown in the best unlocked handset.
Since we're continually testing phones, we update this list frequently to reflect the best of what we've seen. If you've settled on Android as your mobile platform, and you're in the market for a new phone right now, these models are your best bets. But the way things are going, we can assure you that there's another great 'Droid right around the corner.
HTC One (Multiple Carriers)
The innovative, well-built, aluminum-clad Sprint HTC One is an easy Editors' Choice winner. Its strong design perspective won't be for everyone, especially Android purists. But it's a major step forward, and should satisfy those who think Samsung's plastic-based Galaxy phones look and feel a little chintzy. And it's available on all four major carriers.
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (Multiple Carriers)
Available on all four major U.S. carriers, Samsung refines its top-tier phablet with the 5.7-inch Galaxy Note 3, a powerful, full HD phone/tablet combo that may be the only mobile device you need.
Samsung Galaxy S4 (Multiple Carriers)
Even better than its excellent predecessor, the fully loaded, fast Samsung Galaxy S4 is the ultimate kitchen-sink Android phone for 2013, with something for everyone. Get one on AT&T, Cricket, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, or Verizon Wireless.
Motorola Moto X
AT&T's Moto X is the best version of a very good phone, thanks to the Moto Maker customization options. If you want a phone of your very own, this is the one to get. And you can comfortably use it with a single hand.
LG G2 (Multiple Carriers)
How big do you want it? The latest superphone, the LG G2 is the most phone possible right now, with a 5.2-inch screen in a barely handheld form factor. And while its processor and hardware are superior to Samsung's industry-leading 5-inch Galaxy S4, a few bugs and rough edges cause it to fall just short of replacing it as our Editors' Choice. Available on three of the four major carriers, you can preorder the G2 on Sprint, but that model won't go on sale until early November.
Samsung Galaxy Mega (AT&T)
The Samsung Galaxy Mega is both absurd and awesome. It has the largest screen of any smartphone in the U.S., and is a top Android-based pick on AT&T if you don't need the absolute latest cutting-edge components and want to save some cash.
Kyocera Torque (Sprint)
If you're rough on your phones, the Kyocera Torque is one that will take a serious beating. With its ultra-rugged design, excellent voice performance, solid specs, and LTE support, it's the best push-to-talk smartphone there is. And it's affordable.
Droid Maxx by Motorola (Verizon Wireless)
If bigger is better in your book, the Motorola Droid Maxx packs a big battery and more memory into yet another phone with roughly the same features as the Moto X, which we love. But although the Maxx has more storage and better battery life than the X, it loses some of the friendly, human qualities that make the X so appealing.
Droid Mini by Motorola (Verizon Wireless)
If 5-inch megaphones are just too big for your delicate hands, take a look at the Motorola Droid Mini. With the Droid Mini, you save $150 over the very similar Moto X in exchange for suffering through some Verizon bloatware and slightly weaker signal strength. But that could be a good deal.
Google Nexus 5 (Unlocked)
Google has delivered an impressive smartphone with the Nexus 5 from LG, an unlocked powerhouse with a palatable price and solid performance, and the new Android 4.4.1 KitKat update largely fixes the phone's initial camera problems.