Wednesday , March 29 2017

Have you found your ideal Android phone yet?

Flagship Phones

I’m talking about a perfectly fitting glove or a well worn shoe. It’s the phone that you will always come back to. But maybe it doesn’t yet exist for you?

We now have 2013’s flagships from Samsung, HTC, Sony and LG. Google and Motorola also released their own top of the line offerings in the last six months. Maybe your preference is something bigger, also by Samsung. Despite all these choices I’m still carrying 2 phones! A few of us at Ausdroid are pinning our colours to the recently released HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4.

Others haven’t yet found what we would consider the complete package. The rock to our roll or the oxygen to our air isn’t really here yet.

We’re all fussy about different things:

  • Some seek a phone built like a classy, expensive appliance. These guys tend to be going for the HTC One.
  • Others want expandable storage and a removable battery. The Samsung Galaxy S4 does this best.
  • Some are fussy about the design of the software that we interface with. That’s me, and I have a Google Nexus 4 for that reason.
  • Others must have a never-say-die battery. The RAZR HD has been popular for these folk.
  • Sony and LG have produced great all rounders (the Xperia Z and Optimus G respectively) that have a good mix of many of the features we all look for.
  • For those who want the biggest and baddest, the Samsung Galaxy Note II is the go-to-guy.

Every person in the Ausdroid team has at least one of the phones mentioned above.

Why do I carry 2 phones? I love to use the Nexus style of interface but I also like to take the storage card out of my Olympus camera and upload pictures and videos in a super fast fashion over 4G. Or edit them. The Motorola RAZR M did this for me admirably during the time I was using it. Now this job is done by a Sony Xperia Z. I also appreciate the closer-to-Nexus software and on screen buttons of the Motorola and Sony phones. But I haven’t yet found one phone that covers all these bases for me.

What about you? What is important to you? Have you found one phone that does it all for you? The best overall phone on the market is something many of us like to debate about. Chris’ recent Smackdown post asking us to vote on one of the two latest phones shows how passionate we can get about this — there’s over a thousand votes in there! Internally, the Ausdroid staff are just as passionate I assure you.

However, I do think that the phone that is the best fit for you is more important. Have you found the meat to your sandwich? Let us know why or why not.


Geoff Fieldew  

  • Dimi Hava

    RAZR M; battery, screen size, speed and construction (4G!!!). Works like a charm!

    • Good call. Apart from the HTC One SV, the RAZR M is pretty much in a league of it’s own, especially for something easy to manage.

    • Nick Bryant

      Yep, me too. Replaced my G-Nex with the Razr M and love the smaller size and speed of this phone.

      • Wow, seems the RAZR M has a bigger following than I realized.

  • NOZ

    The Xperia Z with its look, features and even name…almost does it for me. I saw the S4 and the screen brightness even compared to the S3, with its bright colours just sucks you in though. I’ve had the S1, S2, S3 and Note 1. If I hadn’t I’d go for an S4…but i just want a change from Samsung. Not thats theres anything bad other than less premium feel. But the washed out grayish blacks of the xperia when you’ve experience amoled just cant do it for me. And i know the standby battery life is fantastic but the on-screen time is less favourable. The HTC almost has everything BUT expandable storage. I really need that (so i tell myself anyway). So at this stage nothing has the perfect mix. Closest is samsung but i want a change so im quite torn like many others

    • I’m pretty much in the same place, waiting to see if there’s an X Phone to cover all the bases.

    • I have to say that whilst Samsung is great, the plastic finishes or body do make their phones feel somewhat toy like, but as I also did have an iPhone 4s at one stage, I hated the all glass surround. The Xperia Z reminds me of what its like to hold an iPhone with its all glass exterior and constant panicing I used to do in fear of dropping and shattering the perfect exterior finish.
      The HTC one is quite ‘upmarket’ feel but I don’t like sense or the new blink feed they have developed as its just, well badly designed if not stupid. HTC haven’t learnt that sense is just stupid and they should just try pure vanilla android OS with some little tweaks like Motorola did with the Razr M and Razr HD phones!!

  • spentan

    Xperia Z, I switched to this after owning an iPhone since the original (2g from USA).

    Vanilla android, nice screen, waterproofing, better battery life than the iPhone 5, card slot, and overall feels like a quality product.

  • Steve

    Galaxy Note 8 3G. That’s what I’m looking to get to replace by Galaxy Tab. Note2 is big, but the Note8 is big and badass. Just waiting for it to be released down under!!

    • As your main phone?

      • Steve

        Yep. My SGT has been my main phone for 2.5 years, so the GN8 is coming out at an *almost* perfect time to replace it.

    • Tyrone Dallas

      It has been released in Australia 🙂 Jb HiFi has them 🙂

      • Steve

        That’s only the Wifi version for $456.
        Still no word on the 3G/4G version (unless something has happened since last Friday?)

    • dazweeja

      I was thinking this too. I’m confident enough in my masculinity to wear a manbag, so add a Bluetooth headset and I’m good to go. It’s going to be hideously expensive in Australia though based on the pricing of the WiFi version.

      • Samsung should make an ad for it: “Dude, I have an 8 inch phone, deal with it!”.

  • Dave Mac

    Not trolling here, I really miss my old HTC Dream… Unfortunately it’s a little dated now. I’m yet to find another android phone with a physical keyboard I actually like.

    • Justin Flynn

      Man, I had a HTC nexus One, that was the best phone I ever had.

      • Another great phone, except mine had touch inaccuracies.

    • Still have my Dream but she’s past it now. Still pull it out occasionally to use that excellent keyboard.

  • Sean Royce

    Just ordered my Nexus 4, I hope it doesn’t disappoint.

    • If you don’t need LTE and massive battery life you won’t be disappointed. There is no sweeter software experience for mine.

      • Sean Royce

        I don’t mind lack of LTE because let’s face it, it’s not very far spread in Australia yet. Also, as for battery life, that is a negative for me, but I do have a technology addiction which I’m trying to fix up. I hope that it gets more optimization when 4.3 arrives.

        • It improved for me significantly in 4.2.2 The display still sucks heaps of power but the screen off efficiency is much better.

          • Sean Royce

            Displays suck heaps of power in all phones haha, that’s just a given unfortunately. I can’t wait for mine to arrive. And then a new update soon in May hopefully!

  • Having to buy on a budget, i just bought a Samsung Galaxy S2 Plus 9105, running the latest software, it suits my needs, and being a tech buff getting the latest software on a handset costing $300, was the icing on the the cake.

    • Nice work. Still a capable phone, especially if it has the Galaxy SII camera which takes great shots.

  • I love my Sony Experia Z. Love using it the pool with the kids as well just an added feature. Good fast, clear phone on Telstra 4G

    • Underwater pics or videos of the kids is a cool thing to be able to do with your phone. That sort of thing never gets old.

  • herp

    The sad thing is I havent found something perfect yet. Every device ive used always has a trade off.

    Im currently using a nexus 4 and enjoying it. But I had the glass back smallish storage space (i get by but I have to be bit selective with whats on the device). Wouldnt hurt if the battery was a bit bigger.

    I dont think there will ever be a device that ticks all my boxes. Maybe im too fussy.

    • Let’s keep the pressure on the Manufacturers. I’m not giving up on the ideal phone yet!

  • Honestly, no.
    Not the Galaxy – no love for the Wiz.
    Not the One – the buttons. Trivial, but it matters.
    Not the N4 – no glass backs!
    Not the Xperia Z – glass back and it feels bad.
    The Note? – in the end, it really is too big. And it has The Wiz.

    And I think I prefer virtual buttons.

    At the moment I am happy with an Xperia TX. It has nice ergonomics and works fine. Not a powerhouse of a phone, but okay. But it only just got it’s Jellybean, and it’s battery life is low. But it’ll do for now.

    The Motorola Razr HD had lots of promise. I just couldn’t get one at a good price at the time.

    So, make an Nexus with a nice non-glass back, and a nicer camera and a bigger battery, and one of those gorgeous screens that HTC seems to find. And then we’ll be onto something. Lets see what Motorola comes up with.

    • Hmm, I like where you’re going with this Motorola phone. I hope it materialises.

  • I have to say that I too have two phones as well simply and purely because I like the simplcity almost ike pure android/nexus OS of the Motorola Razr M. Its simplicity in the build also is a key factor.
    Where as my Samsung Galaxy Note 2 has a removal battery (which last just as long as the Razr M I might add) but I find the camera to be far more superior and the, dare I say, touchwiz software for photo editing is far better than the Razr M (And I have proof – side by side comparison). I also like the larger screen of the galaxy Note 2 as it is far more clearer the Razr M and more easier to use navigation wise (and when your in a wheelchair using the navigation system, a larger screen for quick glances is better than a small one)

    • Also the 4G or LTE of both phones is an added if not fantastic bonus!!

    • That’s an interesting mix of phones. I’d say you’ve covered every use case possible with those two.

      • I know. Always good to cover the basics and then some I say. Both phones in my opinion have their good and bad points which kind of makes them mould into one really.

  • Expandable storage and removable battery are the reasons I still own a Galaxy S2. I like the simpler touchwiz on the S2 and doubt I’ll upgrade to a S4 as touchwiz seems to have turned into an obese McDonalds gobbling monstrosity.

    I’m waiting for the refreshed Nexus 4 or X phone. Although depending on battery life and storage options (I doubt they will offer expandibilty / removability) will probably keep my S2 and just buy a refreshed nexus 7 or maybe a Chinese Tabone.

    • Love that phrase “McDonalds gobbling monstrosity”. Well said.

  • xperia z

    I have to say the XPERIA Z for me and I think this phone is a dark horse which a lot of people are underestimating. I have owned a fair few phones in the last few years just to list what i have owned to show you what i have been through and my experiences.

    Went from a iPhone 4S > Samsung GS2 > Samsung Galaxy Nexus > Samsung Galaxy S3 > iPhone 5 > HTC ONE XL+ > Samsung Galaxy Note > LG Nexus 4 > Now currently rocking the XPERIA Z.

    I have to say the XPERIA Z is the one phone which i will keep till the successor is released if it is a major jump in specs and features.

    End of the day a phone is a phone which a lot of people seem to forget.

    Xperia Z is simple to use the interface is very decluttered.


    Great android skin for just getting things done if yo know what i mean. No non-sense. I go hunting, trail bike riding and renovating the home. this phone can hack it.

    Everyone complains of screen brightness works for me…tbc got to get back to work……

    • Strewth, what a collection!

    • GreviousMcG

      My God! You a smartphone addict??

      • xperia z

        Its quite a collection maybe I can do reviews for Ausdroid 🙂 Love the site long time reader first time poster…

        I think I am 🙂 But I do alot of work on my phone for business have an online business..and am always on the go….phone is crucial to be functioning well and easy to use while still be powerful at the end of the day…

        I have just bought the Galaxy S4 to toy with but i will say that the XPERIA Z still does it for me.

        Also trying to get my hands on the HTC One (Dual Sim and memory card slot verion) lol……

        What you will find at the end of the day and this is the main point people seem to miss these days of consumerism is that a majority of people tend to buy a phone based on what features it has but in reality they will never use.

        I can say 2013 looks like it is going to be the year of Android!!!!

  • GreviousMcG

    Originally had my eye on the Motorola M then the Nexus 4 and the Optimus G (but couldn’t find the latter to work on the Optus network), I’m keeping my eye on the Motorola X development. According to rumours it is to have a good camera, battery life and apparently it won’t be a large phone (i.e. 4.7″ or under screen).

    I guess we’ll have to wait until August to find out hopefully.

  • Nope no perfect solution yet. If my nexus 4 had a removable SD and working USB otg it would be pretty dsmn close.

    • Oh I forgot a removable battery and ruggerdized.

      • And a better camera too.

        • a better camera would be nice but for a $350 phone I think the N4 camera is pretty good.

          • Fair point.

          • Fair point. I would happily give them more money if they put in a better camera but I don’t think they’ll do made to order just for me.

    • xperia z

      I got rid of my Nexus 4 due to no OTG USB and SD Card and the camera for what I used it for was pretty average. Battery life was also a killer for me.

      • David Anderton

        yeh I considered selling mine because of the lack of USB OTG, especially when 4.2 killed bluetooth, making using a PS3 controller a pain in the arse.

  • Stuart

    Nowhere near perfect until they put the headphone jack at the bottom where it should be!

  • Andy D

    My HTC One is about as close to ideal as I’ve found so far. Still not quite there yet though.

    Sense 5.0 is good but not great… would prefer closer to stock Android. After a few tweaks it’s close enough that I won’t be annoyed with anything on a daily basis though. The hardware is awesome… almost perfect in that respect, although I’m missing physical keys a bit still.

    Surprises me why they went to the 2-main-button format when most apps now place an ugly extra bar with a menu button. It’s like they tried to make it cleaner and more simplistic but failed. Wouldn’t be such a big deal on a more basic phone, where users were less likely to be diving into apps all day, but on a bleeding-edge beast of a phone it’s an odd choice.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love the phone. I’ve had a SE Xperia Arc, HTC Desire, and a whole bunch of Nokias before that (mostly the ones with Landscape QWERTY keyboards). The HTC One is by far the best phone I’ve owned in all respects. Is it ideal though… not really. I don’t think there’s another phone on the market that would get as many ticks with me so I’m just going to put it down to being fussy.

    • The One gets close to ideal. It has great performance. Do you like the front speakers? Personally I’d prefer that space to be used for a bigger display.

      • Andy D

        I actually really like the front speakers. I found myself having to cup my hands behind other phones/tablets (including my Nexus 7) to get decent sound. I find that most phones have a bit of a bezel at the top (for forward facing camera and light detector) and bottom (for I/O, etc) anyway, so they might as well use the space for speakers. The speaker design also matches the Asus N76VZ laptop that I have too. It has a whole heap of tiny speaker holes across most of the main face in a similar shade of silver

        Funnily enough, I’m getting a custom casing made for the guts out of a 32gb Kogan USB 3.0 stick, which should come close to the design of my laptop and HTC One. It’s even being 3D printed from an aluminium infused plastic. 🙂

      • My wife uses her phone on loudspeaker all the time. Fear of Brain Cancer. I think the speakers would sell the phone to her.

  • No One

    Having my HTC One for 4 days now, I love it. It is the best android phone since my transition from iPhone 5. It is simply have all I need except a bit disappointing that it is not 13MP camera.

    • Agreed on the camera.

    • xperia z

      How do you find the 2 button layout?

      • No One

        Going from iPhone with only 1 home button I don’t find any thing wrong with 2 now ^_^. I have used Note 2 for about 1 week or so and I hate button layout.
        1. I’m watching movies a lot on my phone so the power button on the side is very bad for me because I press it all the time by accident.
        2. And the botton on the screen, they are annoying me when I am playing game coz every time I touch it by accident something pop up.

        With HTC One, I don’t have that issue because I can hold the phone at the speak grill part.

  • fred

    None of them.

    They all have easily identifiable, easily rectifiable faults in their design that make me feel none of them are actually ready for primetime. That’s particularly true when you realise the amount of money they are still trying to extract for each of them (except the N4).


    * Its got to fit in a back pocket – that’s so obvious you have to wonder at the sanity of the designers.

    * You need a high resolution screen, and therefore a big screen, to maximise its usefulness.

    * You need expandable memory (shoot any designers that get in the way, this is not a complex one)

    * You need expandable, swappable batteries for road warriors

    * You need real world software tools (not the kruft of samsung)

    Wake me up when they deliver on those.

    • No One

      That phone will never came to life, simply because no company would want to make a perfect phone. Every product that we see till now always have something missing, and that missing part will come on next release and that is how they make money and make ppl keep buying.

    • So, a GS4 with more useful software then I guess.

  • mark0Z

    Got the HTC One over the weekend – I must admit it’s gorgeous as, though not without a few flaws. I’ve been a Samsung guy since the GS2 (gone through the Note and GS3 as well) and now with the Note 2.

    With just a couple days use, I find the battery life still wanting (especially coming from the Note 2) but this may stabilise over time so not too worried there. HTC’s choice of software tweaks, I must say, is a little disconcerting – especially the consistency of gestures throughout Sense 5 (vertical swipe for blinkfeed – side swipe for homescreens – vertical again for the app drawer – what what?) And the lack of toggles on the drop notification, 2-button layout, no file manager etc are sure shortsights. That said, they’re nothing that a few third-party apps can’t fix.

    The bottom line is that I feel the Note 2 still takes the cake in multitasking and multimedia capabilities especially with the flexibility microSD brings (and that is why I am keeping it for now). Yet the awesome form-factor of the One (the speakers are unmatched by far) begs a feature-packed software to go with it.

    So the ideal phone for me should be a condensation of these – but until then I’d hold on to these two phones. Looking forward to that day for a true all-in-one “hero” phone to emerge – so manufacturers, it’s game on!

    • Always happy to hear from another sufferer of multiple device disorder – like me 😉

  • Yes, finally I have found a phone I love, and that phone is the HTC One. Pure magic. I will actually keep this one for a while!

    • Congratulations. What was your previous phone?

      • In the last few months I’ve had the GS3, iPhone 5, Lumia 920, RAZR HD, Xperia Z and now the One. It’s class!

        • Geoff Fieldew

          Wow, you’re worse than me with new phones. Of those phones above, my fav would be the Xperia Z, except for it being awkward to hold.

          • The Z ain’t bad. I still have it. I must admit it’s been relegated to non use now though 🙂

  • I have the Galaxy S3 GT-i9300 (no 4G) and am very happy with it.
    Removable battery and expandable storage are a huge plus.

    My ideal phone will not be available until the 700Mhz spectrum auction is finalised and we know what frequencies are required for Telstra, Optus and Voda.

    Once 700Mhz is sorted, my ideal phone would be something like the Galaxy S4, but with a screen that is readable outdoors and a really high-capacity battery to cope with 4G. I love the Note 2, but it is just too big for my pockets.

    • In the saturated areas I’ve found Telstra’s 1800 MHz network to be really solid. It penetrates buildings better than I expected. Battery life on LTE has been better than on 850 MHz nextG for me. 700 MHz should be awesome.

  • rhysi3boi

    Nexus 4, purely down to the surpreme value for money and lack of annoying manufacturers software. Not happy about the lack of an SD card and having to wait so long to get my hands on one though

    • Yup, ditto!

    • Conan Thorogood

      a nexus 4 with a card slot would make a whole lot of people very happy.

      • Very true. Unfortunately, I don’t thing Google will do it.

  • Peter Graham

    Since migrating from my iphone 3gs in 2011 I’ve had the galaxy s, galaxy s2 and now the galaxy s3.

    I’m on the optus 129 business plan which lets me upgrade my device every 12 months. I have to wait until the end of May to upgrade and unless this elusive x phone gets announced in the mean time I’ll be going with the s4.. and with no regrets .. but before I explain why I’ll explain why I didn’t consider the other options.

    I haven’t considered the HTC one because of its lack of expandable storage an its sub par camera (imo). No expandable storage is a deal breaker for me.

    I haven’t considered the Sony xperia z because of its sub par screen and well .. I keep my phone in my pocket .. not in a bowl of water.

    Ok so heres why I’ll be getting the galaxy s4

    – Its fast
    – Upgraded from 8 to 13 megapixel camera ( no farcical ultrapickels here )
    – Design wise its thinner than the s3 and has a bigger screen while still maintaining the size original size of the s3 << to me an amazing feet of engineering.
    – Touchwiz .. ( jokes ) I'm a proper android user so I never use the stock launcher .. its the first thing I change every time regardless of how good or bad the stock launcher is. ( it should be noted that tech bloggers who give poor reviews of stock launchers should be shot. )
    – Expandable storage! why is this such a hard concept for other manufacturers to understand? I use my phones camera a lot for photos and video and now that Google music is out in Australia I'll be using it as my mp3 player.
    – The dreaded plastic construction ( thats what the HTC/Apple fanboys see it as ) is another element I like because Samsung understands I like my phone as light as possible .. it doesn't make it feel cheap ( more HTC/Apple fanboy propaganda ) the s4 actually feels quite solid .. even more so then the s3.

    So thats why I'm getting the s4 .. if you like metal unibody phones get an HTC One .. if your a life guard get an experia z.


    • Geoff Fieldew

      I agree with most of your sentiments. I especially love the camera and display. Although the Home Button is useful in waking the phone, those 3 buttons should have been phased out with Gingerbread.

      • Peter Graham

        I’m kinda neutral on the home button issue. Doesn’t bother me either way. Although I wouldn’t mind eventually owning a phone without a physical home button one day.

  • lynch

    glass surround. The Xperia Z reminds me of what its like to hold an iPhone with its all glass exterior and constant panicing I used to do in fear of dropping and shattering the p

    • lynch

      Sorry for the copy paste. Meant to say this. SD slot, removable batt, no home button. A phone for James Bond and me. The Sony Xperia TX.

  • Conan Thorogood

    if it weren’t for the lack of source code release, i’d happily stay with my galaxy s3 until it gave up the ghost. #1 priority for me is expandable storage, and #2 is a clean vanilla android experience. fortunately there are a couple of roms that do a great job of theming samsung’s hideous software into something more googlesque so i think i’ma stick with the ol’ gs3 for quite a while.

    as for the other issues, the gs3’s camera, plastic design and battery life suit me just fine… i can milk a couple of days’ regular usage out of it with the right rom/kernel/tweaks combination.

  • No One

    Getting my GS4 this week Friday so I can have a try it with my HTC One to decide which one to keep.

    • I like your style. You deserve a better name than No One.

  • Guest

    Nexus 4. (Sony Z or LG Optimus in a close second).

  • Elliot Kotis

    Nexus 4. (Sony Z or LG Optimus G in a close second).

  • Harry Johnson

    Nexus 4 but my second is the xperia z because of the AOSP

    • Can’t believe how many of you guys have the same choices as me.

  • kriso

    A perfect phone for me would need to look and feel amazing – HTC One check
    A perfect phone for me would have decent specs (atleast snapdragon 600 and 2 gig ram) – HTC One, Xperia Z, S4 check
    A perfect phone for me would have an amazing display – HTC One, S4 check
    A perfect phone for me would have amazing speakers – HTC One check
    A perfect phone for me would have the ability to unlock the bootloader and add my fav rom and ASOP support – Xperia Z, Nexus 4 check
    A perfect phone for me would have expandable storage option – Xperia Z, S4 check

    At the moment, I feel like the HTC One is the closet to perfection….But not there yet….Same thing with the Toyota 86, Panasonic ST50, Metal Gear Solid 4…They are so close to perfection but they have there little issues….The way I like to look at these issues is that they add character to the object….

    Humans are never satisfied….Unless they compromise…

    • Spoken truly. Compromises must be made. Which one’s have you made kriso?

  • Strand

    There’s no ‘ideal’ phone for me but the HTC One is closest. I don’t care about MicroSD and never swapped it out even when I owned a device that supported it. I’ve also never needed to swap batteries so that’s a non-issue.

    My biggest caveat for the One is software, it’s already behind at 4.1 which is regrettable since there are things like pull-down settings shortcut that I miss. 4.1 is very good but it’s still shitty that the One is behind the phone it replaced (Galaxy Nexus).

  • The software being a point release behind the most recent version becomes even more of an issue if they move to 4.2 while others move to 4.3/5.0.

    I have this very same concern with my Sony Xperia Z. Here’s hoping they both skip 4.2 and move straight to the newest version. History is probably not only our side though.

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