Reader Ratings And Advice: Flagship Smartphones

After reviewing several of the hottest smartphones on the market, we became curious to find out what our readers thought about them. How do these devices fit into daily life? And what are their long-term pros and cons?

Since you have to live with a smartphone for a couple of years, input from actual customers (and your friends in the Tom's community) could actually help you make a more informed decision.

We asked for your thoughts on the Apple iPhone 6, Apple iPhone 6 Plus, HTC One M8, LG G3, Motorola Moto X, OnePlus One, Samsung Galaxy S5 and Samsung Galaxy Note 4. We received between 50 and 150 ratings and reviews for each of these devices — about 1,000 or so responses overall. We then made a summary for each phone, with the dominant positives and negatives of each device, and included the most relevant and representative comments.

Keep in mind that this is just a sampling of readers' experiences, and the input is anecdotal, almost like ratings and comments on other review sites like Yelp. We have no way to verify that each reader who commented about a phone actually owns that device, or to prevent readers from gaming the system, but we did look out for red flags. More important, we looked for readers who provided what seemed like actual experience with the products.

These reader-based reviews, combined with our own editorial reviews, should give people interested in buying a smartphone a comprehensive resource describing each device's strengths and weaknesses. If you own one of these phones and have yet to provide input, you can still weigh in — we'll keep collecting and reviewing the data, even adding more phones, and we'll update the results from time to time. Links to the forms appear along with the individual breakdown of each product.

Smartphone Feature Comparison

This thread is closed for comments
40 comments
    Your comment
  • Janithdalw
    In my opinion best phones are,

    The best Hardware => iPhone 6 Plus

    The best Phablet => Note 4

    The overall the best phone => Note 4

    Better value for money => OnePlus One

    I don't know why Tom'shardware added the G3 into the list. It has a poor battery life and the display also not so good despite the 2K resolution. I would rather replace it with the Z3.
  • Vorador2
    I'd say:

    If you have deep pockets and want a phone that provides a great (if constricted) experience, get the iPhone 6

    If you want a design that can turn heads and feel rock solid at the same time, get the One M8. Or better, wait for the upcoming refresh.

    If you can get an invite, get the OnePlus One. It's hard to get ahold of an unit, but it's probably the best device in relation to cost, and best device all around. If you can't, get the Moto G.

    And if you want the best big phone/phablet of the market, get the Note 4.
  • Tomtompiper
    If you want a good phone around the size of an iPhone 6 go with the Sony Z3 Compact, it beats the iPhone hands down. I like big screens so my choice was the Note 4, and I'm very happy with my decision. The S pen is fantastic and the video quality is outstanding. If I was being ultra critical I would ask that the plastic inserts in the metal frame were better colour coordinated. http://www.gsmarena.com/compare.php3?idPhone1=6538&idPhone2=6378
  • AndrewJacksonZA
    Tom's, where is the Sony Xperia Z3 (and the smaller Z3 Compact?) I feel that you're missing out on what I feel is the best phone, with the best camera and, in my opinion, the least amount of customization to Android and what customization there is, is extremely intuitive useful.

    Or is this a primarily a US-based line-up, where you'll have to list the Xperia Z3v, the Verison version, which I don't think is on par with the international Z3?

    @Tomtompiper: I miss my stylus from the P990i days... :-)

    Thank you.
    Andrew
    South Africa
  • Matous Mojzis
    Where is Sony Z3 or Z3 Compact ?
  • wtfxxxgp
    I think that you should have done a very brief survey for all respondents to first complete before commenting on the handsets. That could have provided better context for the results. Not sure if this was done or not to be honest, but if not, then it would surely add value. Just as an example, 2 users have completely opposite opinions about battery life - yet the one uses the phone more for work-related activities, sees the occasional small video and chats - no gaming or movies or tinkering with apps and does not have LTE connectivity so doesn't use it. The other person that hates the battery is a heavy gamer when they're bored, or watches a full episode or 2 of a series on the daily commute and tinkers a lot with new apps etc. Suddenly very obvious why one person says that the battery life is great compared to the other one that thinks it sucks.
  • firefoxx04
    Weird. My S5 has no lag even with "restrict cpu performance" enabled to increase battery life.

    The bloatware isnt even active.. its just installed and hangs out.
  • randomstar
    I am a bit biased towards windows phones, and would love to see at least one of the top models here. I have not found anything that I feel compares well against my older 928 Nokia on the new iPhone.
  • beetlejuicegr
    Where is the Nexus line?
  • Lkaos
    Funny people saying an iPhone has the best sound when the phone's speakers are MONO and not STEREO....
  • Lkaos
    LG G3 optic sensor's doesnt support 4K video recording, so how are the sites testing it and singing praizes to it!?
  • TechnoD
    Same as randomstar. Not a single Windows Phone listed, and in all honesty you ask me which of the above phones I could live with for a year or two; I say none of them. Can't go back to Android/iOS after WP8, it just works.
  • MobileEditor
    Quote:
    Tom's, where is the Sony Xperia Z3 (and the smaller Z3 Compact?) I feel that you're missing out on what I feel is the best phone, with the best camera and, in my opinion, the least amount of customization to Android and what customization there is, is extremely intuitive useful.


    Hi Andrew,

    Thanks for responding. We're currently working on a review of the Sony Z3. We did a hands-on preview of the Z3v when it launched, but the Z3 has better specs.

    - Matt H.
  • MobileEditor
    Quote:
    I think that you should have done a very brief survey for all respondents to first complete before commenting on the handsets. That could have provided better context for the results.


    It would certainly be interesting to see how Tom's readers utilize these small computers we carry in our pockets. Personally, I'd like to know how many people use their phone for gaming--and what type of games? I usually use my tablet for gaming and phone for work, but for some reason my 4-year old son likes playing games on my phone rather than his tablet :)

    - Matt H.
  • MobileEditor
    Quote:
    Same as randomstar. Not a single Windows Phone listed, and in all honesty you ask me which of the above phones I could live with for a year or two; I say none of them. Can't go back to Android/iOS after WP8, it just works.


    Thanks for voicing your interest in WP8. We're not intentionally ignoring Windows Phone and are currently reviewing the Lumia 830. The WP8 platform doesn't seem to get the attention it deserves. Hopefully, we can include more Windows devices in our coverage.

    - Matt H.
  • g-unit1111
    As an HTC One owner, I have to say that the cameras on these phones are extremely terrible quality. Nearly every picture I take is a blur with this thing. If you want a phone with a solid camera, don't get an HTC. Get a Samsung or LG instead if you want Android.
  • RandomGuy65
    No love for the Nexus 6??
  • Potato13
    Honestly has anyone on this website heard of something called JAILBREAKING?! Seriously, a lot of the software limitations on iOS which y'all complain about can be EASILY be solved using Cydia tweaks. And installing them is a fairly simple process.

    I've spent hours and hours and hours rooting Android phones, and customizing to no end. And I've done the same with my iPhone 4 and my iPhone 6. To be honest...it's the same thing in terms of customization. If you're nerdy enough, you WILL find a way to make your phone look how you want it to...regardless of the platform.

    My only complaints with my iPhone 6 are the price and the battery life. It's good but if the phone was like 2 mm thicker with like 2500 mAh battery, It wouldve been perfect.
  • Potato13
    Honestly has anyone on this website heard of something called JAILBREAKING?! Seriously, a lot of the software limitations on iOS which y'all complain about can be EASILY be solved using Cydia tweaks. And installing them is a fairly simple process.

    I've spent hours and hours and hours rooting Android phones, and customizing to no end. And I've done the same with my iPhone 4 and my iPhone 6. To be honest...it's the same thing in terms of customization. If you're nerdy enough, you WILL find a way to make your phone look how you want it to...regardless of the platform.

    My only complaints with my iPhone 6 are the price and the battery life. It's good but if the phone was like 2 mm thicker with like 2500 mAh battery, It wouldve been perfect.
  • g-unit1111
    760485 said:
    Honestly has anyone on this website heard of something called JAILBREAKING?! Seriously, a lot of the software limitations on iOS which y'all complain about can be EASILY be solved using Cydia tweaks. And installing them is a fairly simple process. I've spent hours and hours and hours rooting Android phones, and customizing to no end. And I've done the same with my iPhone 4 and my iPhone 6. To be honest...it's the same thing in terms of customization. If you're nerdy enough, you WILL find a way to make your phone look how you want it to...regardless of the platform.


    The problem with jailbreaking is that you run the risk of voiding your warranty and Apple shutting down your device. Kind of a catch 22 there.
  • maestro0428
    I have had a ton of cells in the past, back to the huge ones... My first smart phone was an iPhone 4s, then a 5s and now a 6. I use it constantly throughout my day. Its my alarm clock, for emails, navigate to all of my clients, run credit, reminders, my calendar, surf, etc. etc. I could not live more than a day without it in my work. I love the iPhone and will probably stick with it as my wife has one too as well as a couple of ipads around the house.

    I love the video features on the 6 and it takes great photos, but I do long for 4k video...
  • El-Kamote
    Whoa no Lumia 1520 here? That's currently the WP flagship, though it is a bit over a year old. Excellent camera and the UI simply works, app selection is pretty sparse but more and more new apps coming in. I'm a WP happy camper for more than 2 years and I'm a bit disappointed that WP wasn't even represented :(
  • Luay
    Z3 Compact is the first smartphone that convinced me to enter the 21st Century and get one (a threat from my manager also had something to do with it) . Small enough to fit better in my pocket, can use it in the rain, and needs a charge every 3 days.

    If I was going bigger to do more work, I'd go with the upcoming flagship Lumia. So far only Windows can access company ERP systems securely. Android and IOS are behind in this task and it will make a difference if it stays the same way, at least for company-purchased phones.
  • AndrewJacksonZA
    1814010 said:
    Quote:
    Tom's, where is the Sony Xperia Z3 (and the smaller Z3 Compact?) I feel that you're missing out on what I feel is the best phone, with the best camera and, in my opinion, the least amount of customization to Android and what customization there is, is extremely intuitive useful.
    Hi Andrew, Thanks for responding. We're currently working on a review of the Sony Z3. We did a hands-on preview of the Z3v when it launched, but the Z3 has better specs. - Matt H.


    Thank you Matt.

    And you, as editor, just *HAD* to quote my typo, didn't you? At least you didn't "[sic]" it... ;-)