Best Overall Smartphone
Apple iPhone 6 Plus
Continuing its practice of launching two phone models simultaneously, Apple still managed to surprise some, by making both devices larger than its previous versions.
But it is the larger of the two phones - the iPhone 6 Plus - that gets our nod to be shortlisted in the best overall phone category. The features of this phone that caught our eye are its new chipset, a refreshed operating system and optical image stabilisation for the camera.
HTC One (M8)
There is a reason why the HTC One (M8) has been lauded as one of the best smartphones of the year. It eschews the plastic build of its competitors by going for a metallic frame and introduced a depth of field sensor for the camera, to allow users to refocus images taken.
A refined skin over the Android operating system, together with front-firing speakers, made this one of the hottest phones of the year and into our shortlist.
Two highlights of this phone caught our eye. First, it is the first smartphone from a major maker to have a quad high-definition screen on a phone. In other words, the LG G3 sets the current gold standard in phone displays that others have since followed.
Second, it introduced another first, in the form of a hybrid camera autofocus scheme that makes use of infrared light to determine the distance between the phone and the subject.
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 4G+
Samsung raised eyebrows when it first launched its oversized Galaxy Note phones to the market but these days, phones larger than 5.5 inches are the norm.
What is not the norm is Samsung's implementation of its phablet features, with the improved functions of its S Pen stylus and more multitasking features that make the device more of a mini computer than a large phone.
Sony Xperia Z3
The original Sony Xperia Z series phone - the Z1 - introduced a 20-megapixel camera to a smartphone, and it came with built-in water- and dust-proofing.
The Xperia Z3 is the latest guise and it comes with a faster processor in a more rounded aluminium frame.
It also boasts a longer battery life and is one of the few Sony devices that can be linked to the PlayStation 4 game console for remote play, where the phone acts as the TV screen for the console.