Count me among the suspected millions who are waiting to upgrade to the iPhone 6 when Apple (AAPL) finally takes the wraps off its next flagship smartphone — a device expected to sport at least a 4.7-inch display.
Whether it looks like this concept by Martin Hajek or not, demand is building for an iPhone with the kind of larger display that Android users take for granted. Compared to last year’s Samsung (SSNLF) Galaxy S4, the iPhone 5s looks almost like a toy.
There’s a possibility that Apple might announce the iPhone 6 at its June World Wide Developers Conference. After all, the WWDC is when the company unveiled other models, including the iPhone 4. However, for the past three years, its been fall releases for the iPhone, so odds are you won’t be looking at the new iPhone 6 until September. And even then, there’s likely to be line-ups and back-orders.
If you’re anxious to enjoy a polished, flagship smartphone experience and don’t want to play the iPhone 6 waiting game, there are a lot of really good choices available now. You don’t have to wait until fall (or later).
Here’s our list of 5 awesome smartphones you can buy now, instead of waiting for the iPhone 6.
Can’t Wait for Apple’s iPhone 6? Buy Samsung Galaxy S5 Instead
Technically you can’t buy the Galaxy S5 for a few more days, but that’s close enough to sneak onto this list. When Samsung’s new flagship smartphone hits U.S. carriers on April 11, you can bet it’s going to challenge last years record-setting Galaxy S4 sales pace.
While the iPhone 6 is rumored to sport a 4.7-inch display (there’s a possibility of a larger, phablet-sized version as well), the Galaxy S5 sports a 5-inch display with full HD resolution. It includes a fingerprint scanner similar to the iPhone 5s Touch ID, and one-ups it with a built-in heart rate sensor.
The battle for top-selling smartphone from the previous generation came down to the Galaxy S4 and the iPhone 5s. In 2014, the battle will undoubtedly be between the Galaxy S5 and the iPhone 6.
If you want something bigger than an iPhone 5s but don’t want to wait for the iPhone 6, this one is well worth considering as an option.
Can’t Wait for Apple’s iPhone 6? Buy the HTC One M8 Instead
Last year’s HTC One was declared by many reviewers to be the most attractive smartphone ever made. It was fast too. But HTC just couldn’t get enough traction to catch the Galaxy S4 in Android popularity.
This year’s upgrade — the HTC One M8 — was just released, and it’s better in every way. A premium aluminum finish is the closest thing to Apple’s high-end design aesthetic you’ll find in the Android camp. It sports a 5-inch display, dual rear cameras with Ultrapixels (for low-light shooting and post-shot refocusing) and a pair of front-firing speakers that pump out a surprising amount of sound.
HTC loaned me one for a week and it was easily the best-looking Android smartphone I’ve ever used, plenty powerful and makes good use of Android 4.4 (KitKat).
If you can’t wait for an iPhone 6 but don’t want to use a “plastic” smartphone, the HTC One M8 is the closest thing to an iPhone look you’re going to find outside of Apple.
Can’t Wait for Apple’s iPhone 6? Buy the Google Nexus 5 Instead
When it comes to visual appeal, the Google (GOOG) Nexus 5 is pretty plain in comparison to the iPhone 5s. Compared to the iPhone 6, the black plastic device is likely to end up looking absolutely dreary.
It’s also not the fastest Android device, although the quad-core Qualcomm (QCOM) Snapdragon 800 more than holds its own.
So why put the Nexus 5 on a list of flagship smartphones that could help ward off iPhone 6 wait exhaustion?
Three reasons. One, it’s a Google flagship and that means the latest Android (KitKat) pre-installed, with timely updates –other Android smartphones wait months for updates to be rolled out. Two, it has a 5-inch, full HD display so you’ll get the size and resolution you were hoping the iPhone 6 would deliver. And three, it costs just $349 — unlocked!
If the iPhone 6 keeps with Apple tradition, it will start at $649. The Nexus 5 represents the opportunity to try out Android’s latest features while enjoying a big display instead of waiting for Apple to get around to releasing the iPhone 6.
The icing on the cake is knowing you paid little more than half the price of a new iPhone, without getting locked into a contract.
Can’t Wait for Apple’s iPhone 6? Buy the LG G2 Instead
While Apple and Samsung slugged it out for the best-selling smartphone of 2013 and HTC and Apple were the two companies most often cited for making the classiest-looking smartphone of the year, LG was winning accolades for its G2.
Numerous reviewers picked the LG G2 as the best overall smartphone for 2013, citing its brilliant 5-inch display, excellent 13MP camera (with optical image stabilization) and extremely long battery life.
The iPhone 6 may or may not end up being the best smartphone of 2014, but if waiting for Apple to take the wraps off is driving you to distraction, you could do a lot worse than satisfying your desire for big display with the LG G2.
Can’t Wait for Apple’s iPhone 6? Buy the iPhone 5s Instead
Let’s face it, Apple’s current flagship smartphone is no slouch. The primary complaint about the iPhone 5s is that its 4-inch Retina display is small and not as sharp as the Android competition. Heck, even BlackBerry (BBRY) has a device with a 5-inch display.
Other than the size issue (which may not even be an issue for you if, like my wife, you prefer a smartphone that’s smaller and more easily held in one hand), the iPhone 5s still holds its own as a fine piece of gear. The 64-bit A7 CPU continues to stand out in performance benchmarks and its camera is considered one of the best on a smartphone, despite having just 8MP when most competitors are well into double digits.
It may not have the Sapphire Glass front the iPhone 6 is rumored to be sporting — although you will find that advanced new competitor to Corning (GLW) Gorilla Glass on its Touch ID sensor and camera cover — and its display may only be 4-inches, but Apple’s iPhone 5s has a big advantage over the iPhone 6.
It’s available now.
It’s not only available now, there is no line to buy one. If you’re holding out for an iPhone 6 and want one at launch, you’d better either enjoy camping out in front of Apple Stores or be prepared to budget extra to buy one of the first ones from someone else looking to profit from iPhone-mania.
As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.