Indeed Buying a new smartphone is a lot like ordering a pizza: You think it’s a relatively simple task until you realize the vast number of choices you must make. Along with choosing a form factor, screen size, and preferred platform, you must also make sure the price is right, decide on a voiceand data plan, and ensure the phone is supported by your carrier of choice. Anyone remember when your only smartphone choice was a BlackBerry? By looking at the sheer number of smartphone queries in 2014 in Yahoo Search, we’ve culled 10 of the most popular devices on the market today, and why. Here’s our countdown to the most searched phone of the year, so far. (Hint: And it isn’t an iPhone):
Motorola Moto X
One of the most underrated phones of 2013 is back with better specs – which helped it become the tenth most searched phone of the year thus far. Why the surge in interest? The 2014 Moto X features a bigger display, more durable metal body, better battery and some exclusive software.
A very reasonable no-contract price of $499 (or $99 on contract) for the 16GB version is also helping spread awareness of this underdog. A leather or wood back should cost $25 more, while doubling the onboard storage to 32GB will raise the cost only about $50.
Powered by the latest Android platform, Motorola’s latest sports a 5.2-inch 1080p HD display, an improved rear-facing camera that can shoot 4K video, and infrared sensors to sense your hand or face to wake up the sleeping phone.
Search for Motorola Moto X
Garnering a ton of buzz even prior to its launch, the super-slim Google Nexus 5 is available for $349 unlocked, or from $40 to $50 on a two-year T-Mobile or Sprint plan.
Along with its tempting no-contract price, the ninth most searched phone brand in 2014 is desirable by many because it’s a plain vanilla phone, meaning it’s pure Android and with no third-party skins, apps, or widgets. Plus, it boasts a gorgeous 5-inch HD display, slim 8.59 mm frame, and 4G/LTE connectivity.
It also comes preloaded with popular Google services you know and like, including Search, Gmail, Google Now, Chrome, Maps, YouTube, Drive, and Hangouts. Google Nexus 5 was the first phone to ship with Android 4.4 (KitKat), and its slew of features.
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Nokia Lumia 1520
According to Engadget, a “Windows Phone has never looked so good.” The 6-inch Nokia Lumia 1520 is the eighth most searched phone brand in 2014.
Starting at $199.99 on a two-year AT&T plan (or $584.99 without), this Windows Phone offers a number of exclusives not found in its Android and iOS counterparts: the resourceful Start screen with “live” tiles that display info and images in real time; multiple colors to choose from (green, red, yellow, black, and white); support for the full Microsoft Office experience (Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and others).
Along with its phablet-size 1080p HD screen, other notable features include a 20-megapixel camera, long-lasting 3400 mAh battery, and Cortana, a voice-activated personal assistant that bests Siri in a few areas.
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“Simple is the new smart” is the tagline for LG’s G3 smartphone (from $0 on two-year term with T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon; $599.99 without). The seventh most searched phone on Yahoo Search is a stunning 5.5-inch
Android KitKat device that makes using your phone super easy - whether you're knocking the screen in a given pattern to unlock your phone or making a fist in front of the front-facing camera to snap a selfie, or using one-handed operation with the rear key button, or a smart virtual keyboard that lets you adjust the size and layout based on your preference.
Other features include a Quad HD screen (2560 x 1440 resolution), powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, 13-megapixel rear-facing camera (with optical image stabilization) and long-lasting and removable 3000 mAh battery.
Search for LG G3
Sony Xperia Z2
The only waterproof phone in the top 10 list, Sony’s Xperia Z2 is the sixth most searched phone.
Launched in summer – just in time for pool parties or trips to the beach – this IP55/58-rated phone can be under three feet of freshwater for up to 30 minutes.
Most notably, it’s a stellar camera phone that can shoot ultra-high definition (4K) video. What's more, it rocks a clear 5.2-inch HD screen, loud and clear audio through its stereo speakers, and exclusive Sony content, such as the latest Michael Jackson album, Xcape, downloadable for free. Available in white, black and purple, the Xperia Z2 – soon to be replaced with the much-hyped Z3 – sells for $699 unlocked but is not sold subsidized through any U.S. carriers.
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Samsung Galaxy Note 3
The fifth most searched phone brand in 2014 – and the fourth most searched phone – Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 ($149.99 on two-year plans with multiple carriers or $599.99 without) was Samsung’s flagship phablet device – until the Galaxy Note 4 made its official debut this fall. (Note 3 debuted late in 2013.)
Ideal for note taking, communicating, browsing, and entertainment, Galaxy Note 3 features a 5.7-inch high-definition display and a high-tech S Pen stylus to jot down handwritten notes (with software that coverts your chicken scratch into text, if you like). With all this screen real estate, it’s also easy to multitask, such as splitting the screen between two open apps or using the picture-in-picture feature, as in watching a movie while scrolling through email.
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HTC One (M8)
Any guesses on the forurth most searched smartphone in 2014? If you guess the new HTC One, you’re right. In fact, it was also the fourth most searched phone. Dubbed the M8 ($199 on two-year term or $769.99 without), the HTC One rocks an all-metal body instead of plastic like most other smartphones.
The premium feel and finish extend to the 5-inch HD screen and front-facing stereo speakers. Adding its own HTC Sense user-interface and features on top of Android (including new gesture support), the M8 also houses the HTC Duo Camera, which uses two cameras to take a share, so you can choose which parts of the scene you’d like to emphasize and focus — even after the shot has been taken. A Windows version of HTC One (M8) is also available and garnering some buzz.
Search for HTC One M8
Last year’s iPhone 5s (from $99 on a two-year plan with multiple carriers or $549 contract-free) was the third most searched phone brand in 2014.
The device benefits from a zippy 64-bit A7 chip — with twice the graphics performance in games compared with its predecessor – along with an improved rear-facing iSight camera and front-facing camera for
FaceTime HD video chatting. Arguably the coolest feature is Touch ID, a fingerprint scanner built into the circular home button, which lets you log into your phone or download apps using your finger or thumb. Available in gold, silver or gray, iPhone 5s ships with the iOS 7 operating system (but upgradeable to iOS 8) and supports iCloud, iTunes, Siri, and more than 1.3 million downloads from the App Store.