Best mobile phones for students 2014

Buying a new mobile phone can feel a bit daunting. With so many different handsets on offer how do you know which one to buy? Most contracts last for two years, so before you sign your life away you want to be certain you’ve made the right choice. 

There are tons of phones to choose from, so how are you supposed to know which smartphone is the best? The Student Room's mobile phone forum is packed with students who know their stuff - we asked them to share what phone they want to purchase next

Their suggestions cover everything from budget phones for phoning and texting through to multimedia powerhouses for watching films and playing games. Find your next mobile phone upgrade here and then join the conversation in the mobile phone forum

IPhone 5

Best small phone - Apple iPhone 5s

Kicking off this list is the mighty iPhone 5s. The 5s is a cleanly built classic and caters to users who feel comfortable with a smaller screen. The TouchID software allows you to use your fingerprint to unlock your phone and make purchases through iTunes. The experience of fingerprint unlocking will make you feel a bit like James Bond on a dangerous mission, while in reality you’re actually just snapchatting some amusingly misshapen fruit. Other perks of choosing an iPhone include a huge selection of apps to choose from, high build quality and support for years down the line. On the flip side it's more expensive than its Android counterparts and does not offer as much freedom in app choice.

iOS 7
4” 1136 x 640 display
Dual-core 1.3 GHz Processor
1GB RAM
8 megapixel camera

 

Compare prices on the Apple iPhone 5s 
Is the iPhone 5s worth it? 
What's the difference between an iPhone 5s and a 5c?
lumia1020

Best cameraphone - Nokia Lumia 1020

 At a beefy 41 megapixels this is the strongest cameraphone on the market, perfect if you enjoy snapping photos! It comes with Nokia's new pro photo software which creates a sublime photography experience. The fantastic image stabilisation and super high resolution mean that your shots will come out crisply and cleanly even while “zoomed”. The Lumia has 16GB of storage but doesn’t come with an SD card slot. Windows 8 is a steadily growing operating system and has a good core of apps but is relatively light on app selection and features compared to iOS and Android.

Windows Phone 8 
4.5” 1280 x 768 display
1.5GHz dual-core processor
2GB RAM
32/64GB storage
41 megapixel camera

 

Compare prices on the Nokia Lumia 1020 
Nokia Lumia 1020 features 
Nexus 5, Nokia Lumia 1020, New HTC or the Samsung Galaxy S5?
LG G3

Best display - LG G3

The G3 stands out from other Android devices with its quad HD display. With four times as many pixels as a 720p display, this phone packs a big visual punch. With a well-sized screen this phone is great for watching films on. The camera is a nice treat too. If you want to invest in a high-end smart phone then the LG G3 is well worth looking at. Also it's worth looking at the HTC One M8, the Galaxy S5 and the waterproofed Xperia Z2 further down this list.

Android 4.4 KitKat
5.5" 2560 x 1440 qHD display
Quad-core 2.5 GHz Processor
2GB RAM
13 megapixel camera.

 

Compare prices on the LG G3 
Forum recommendation on the LG G3
Nexus

Best value- LG Nexus 5

A great handset that has the purest form of Android possible with priority support for updates for at least another year. The Nexus 5 comes with a 1080p display, powerful quad-core processor, and premium build quality. It offers the features of a flagship phone without the price.

Android 4.3 Jelly Bean (upgradable to 4.4)
5” 1920 x 1080 display
Quad-core 2.3 GHz Processor 
2GB RAM
8 megapixel camera

 

Compare prices on the LG Nexus 5
A comparison between the Nexus 5 vs the Moto G
Samsung galaxy note 3

Best phablet - Samsung Galaxy Note 3

 If you want sheer intimidation and size out of a phone then consider investing in the Note 3. The ultimate phablet on the market, the Note 3 is a smoothly running system and isn't so large that you’ll look like Dom Joly talking into a comically large phone when you use it. The screen is great and will work well if you want to watch films. If you’d like a phone for its ridiculous enormity then it's also worth having a look at the Coolpad 9976A or the Samsung Galaxy Mega.

Android 4.3 Jelly Bean (upgradable to 4.4) 
Large 5.7” 1080p HD display.
Great stylus support
32GB of storage
3GB RAM
13 megapixel camera

 

Compare prices on the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 
Is the Note 3 a good investment?
motorola moto

Best budget phone - Motorola Moto G

 When the Moto G was launched in November 2013 it caused a great deal of excitement. The handset provides a high quality Android experience and with great specs for a budget price this phone is definitely worth thinking about. The curved back has a nice feel to it. The handset is available in 3G and 4G versions, with the 4G models also including microSD support and with 8GB or 16GB varieties. The camera is the lowest res on this list and if you would like a higher-quality camera it might be worth shelling out a few more quid for the Sony Xperia M2. One trade off with this is that you will lose the Moto G's high-resolution display.

Android 4.3 KitKat (upgradable to 4.4)
4.5” 720p display
Quad core 1.2GHz processor
1GB RAM
5 megapixel camera.
8GB/16GB storage (with microSD expansion on 4G models)

 

Compare prices on the Motorola Moto G 
Which phone is the best buy under £120? 
Moto G vs the Galaxy Ace 3
Samsung galaxy s5

Best performance - Samsung Galaxy S5

The Galaxy S5 comes with an updated, glossier design than the S4. The camera has been upgraded from 13 to 16 megapixels. The S5 also comes with new flagship features including a waterproofed design, a fingerprint scanner and a heart rate sensor. The fingerprint scanner isn't anything to write home about though, and does not have Apple's functionality of unlocking the phone. The phone's specs are top notch and the screen is greatly improved.

Android 4.4 KitKat 
5.1” 1080p Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) display
2.5GHz quad core processor
2GB RAM
16GB/32GB storage (with microSD expansion)
16 megapixel camera

 

Compare prices on the Galaxy S5 
Upgrading from the Galaxy S4 
Which phone should you buy? The Galaxy S5 vs the iPhone 5s
HTC one

Best performance - HTC One M8

 The first thing you notice about the HTC One M8 is its sleek aluminium design. The phone comes in three designs: metal grey, amber gold and arctic silver. The quality of the phone is superb, the rear case being made of 90% metal and the handset has a nice curve to it. New features of the One M8 include motion launch, a nifty property where tapping the screen twice turns the phone on. HTC's flagship phone is a nice all-rounder with a large high-quality screen and great performance. The snazzy feature on the One M8 is of course the duo camera. The second 'camera' is a sensor that scans the scene for depth that can then be embedded into the photo. Unlike some of the other high performance phones on this list, the One M8 doesn't have waterproofing as a feature.

Android 4.4 KitKat 
5" 1080p Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) display
2.3GHz quad core processor
2GB RAM
16GB/32GB storage (with microSD expansion)
Duo 4 ultrapixel camera

Compare prices on the HTC One M8 
Best camera: HTC One M8 OR Xperia Z1?
HTC One M8 vs iPhone
sony xperia

Best performance - Sony Xperia Z2

 The Z2 arrived on the scene six months after Sony released the Z1, with improvements to the battery life, screen and camera. The stylish design hasn't changed much and the phone is still a strong contender for one of the prettiest handsets on the market. With 5.2 inches of screen it might be a bit clunky to hold at times but using it to watch films and music is an incredible experience. The phone is clearly built to last and comes with dust and water protection. Buying a Sony phone means the phone is packaged with the very capable Walkman and movie player apps.

Android 4.4 KitKat
5.2” 1080p Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) display
2.3GHz quad core processor
3GB RAM
16GB storage (with microSD expansion)
20.7 megapixel camera

 

Compare prices on the Xperia Z2 
Battery life on the Xperia Z2

 

More on TSR

Get advice on the best mobile phone tariffs
What's the best Android phone? Find out what TSR thinks
Discuss the latest Android OS features
What phone do you have?