Buying a smartphone in 2014 is harder than it looks.

There are so many new phones on the market - and about to be launched - that sometimes it feels like it's better to wait than take the plunge.

On the other hand, 2014 has already produced a great range of devices and deals - and it's just going to get better.

From the soon-to-be-launched iOS 8 for iPhone, iPad and iPod to Google's Android OS which looks set to be strengthened even further with the launch of Android Wear. Then of course there's Microsoft who have unveiled their best version of Windows Phone yet with 8.1 showcasing a plethora of new features including the Siri-rival Cortana; your very own personal assistant.

Update: We've now added the Nokia Lumia 930, Microsoft's most powerful Windows Phone yet featuring an incredible 5-inch OLED display and 20MP camera with four mic stereo recording.

To make the quest for the right phone for you easier, we've selected our favourite nine smartphones available in 2014. Take a look at our selections of the best gadgets below.

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  • Nokia Lumia 930

    The Nokia Lumia 930 looks set to be the flagship Windows Phone of 2014. With the all-new Windows Phone 8.1 OS it'll sport customisable lock screens, the ability to set wallpapers for all your tiles and later in the year you'll have access to Microsoft's answer to Siri: Cortana. It also happens to be a seriously powerful smartphone as well with a 5-inch Full-HD display, 20MP camera and professional levels of film recording thanks to four mics for full stereo pickup.

  • LG G3

    The G3 improves on last year's already-great G2 with a 'Quad' HD screen (5.5 inches at 500 pixels per inch), a laser on the back to improve auto-focus, a simplified user interface and a metallic-plastic case.

  • HTC One M8

    The 2014 update to the HTC One builds on the same hardware features that won the original such a fanatical response, but keeps the essential DNA intact. The massive front-facing speakers are 25% louder, the UltraPixel camera adds a second lens for depth perception (so you can refocus an image after shooting it), and there's a 5-megapixel 'Selfie' front facing lens too. [<a href="" target="_blank">REVIEW</a>]

  • Sony Xperia Z2

    Sony's latest flagship Xperia smartphone is a beautiful, thin and waterproof delight. It packs in a 20-megapixels still camera capable of 4K video, a sleeker form factor, a far better screen and built-in noise cancellation technology.

  • Samsung Galaxy S5

    This year's Galaxy S adds water resistance, a slightly larger screen, a 16-megapixel camera and a heart-rate sensor into what was already a market-leading, powerful and sleekly designed device. It doesn't rock the boat too much, but it didn't need to. This is still up there with the very best Android phones.

  • Google LG Nexus 5

    The new Nexus 5 is based on the internals of the LG G2 - which means you get the same Snapdragon 800 processor, as well as the full version of Google's new Android 4.4 KitKat OS, which integrates SMS messages into Hangouts, freshens up the design and adds new features under the hood. The camera is still a little lacking, while the design is functional rather than beautiful, but at £299 off contract it's still a steal.

  • iPhone 5C

    The 5C was rumoured to be Apple's 'budget' iPhone. It isn't - and not only because it isn't that cheap. The "proudly plastic" 5C comes in five colours (see what they did there) <a href="" target="_blank">but has the same internals, screen and camera as the iPhone 5.</a> It's essentially the same beautiful, high-end phone you already know and love, in a more colourful (and potentially divisive) design. As such it's hard to see how Apple won't sell a billion of them.

  • iPhone 5S

    With the same ultra-clear Retina display as the iPhone 5, but now with an <a href="" target="_blank">added fingerprint sensor</a>, a seriously impressive 64-bit A7 chip, an improved camera and a new gold design option, this is the best iPhone ever made. And with its consistent market-leading app selection, easy-to-use OS and delightful design, it's hard to argue against it being one of the very best gadgets ever made too.

  • Samsung Galaxy Note III

    The Note III is huge. It's got a 5.7-inch screen, though with the same 1080P resolution as the Note II. It adds a new leather back panel, which gives it an 'office' feel in line with the productivity-plus-stylus theme of the device. It also adds a Snapdragon 8000 quad-core processor, some new software enhancements and a few new S-Pen functions into the mix. If you're looking for a giant note-taking phone, this is still your best bet.