This time around an entire price range was left out in the cold, namely the €400-€500 segment. Take the Galaxy S5. It's a fine phone, but the Galaxy S6 is rumored to be much better and it will be unveiled on March 2. There have been plenty of leaks about the HTC One (M9) as well and the One (M8) is currently quite pricy, even though there are other phones that can meet your metal unibody needs.
The Xperia Z3 successor may or may not show up at the MWC, but the price premium over the very similar Xperia Z2 is hard to justify. That's what you get with two flagship launches a year, a practice that Sony is reportedly abandoning this year.
The HTC Desire Eye is the definition of a trendy phone - with a 13MP camera that has its own flash, the Desire Eye is riding the cusp of the selfie wave that is sweeping the social networking world. Still, the smart thing here is to get a Desire 820 with an 8MP selfie camera and pocket the €100+ difference. Or the 5MP camera on the Desire 816G Dual SIM, the price difference there is double. Or get the metal-clad HTC One (M8), which costs practically the same as the Eye.
Another trend is super thin phones. The Oppo R5 measures barely 4.9mm thick. Still, for close to Galaxy S5 money you get a mid-range chipset and camera, 16GB of storage with no card slot and just 2,000mAh battery.
Another phone we skipped is the iPhone 6 - the 6 Plus is on the list, but not its smaller, bigger smartphone. The iPhone 6 has a bigger screen and a new design are nice, but it just feels like an iPhone 5s that caught up to Androids. The iPhone 6 Plus breaks new ground for iOS - phablets - and it has a sharper screen and an optically stabilized camera. If it fits in your hand (and pocket), we think it's the better choice of the two.
The Nokia Lumia 520 was the defining phone of the Under €100 segment, but we thought it was time to retire. Microsoft has since launched newer phones. Like the Microsoft Lumia 435 and Lumia 532. Those didn't make the cut this time, but mostly because there's a very good chance their price will follow the trajectory of the Lumia 520 - driven lower by constant promotions.
Another worry here is which phones will get the Windows 10 update, that's crucial. The Lumia 435 (and by extension the 532) has been confirmed, but 512MB devices will not get the full update. Which features will be cut is still unknown.
The HTC One (M8) for Windows has a claim to one of the best WP8.1 phones. That's just it though, Microsoft talked about the Windows 10 update for its own phones, but nothing about other manufacturers (not that there are many). Also, The One (M8) camera is really no match for the flagship Lumias.
Also missing is the Galaxy Note Edge - a unique device (until the Galaxy S6 Edge comes out), but it's more of a proof-of-concept device and it can only be recommended to early adopters.
The final high-profile smartphone not on the list is the Motorola Moto X (2014). It's a beautiful, capable device - we love the customization options and the Android update fast track, but it has only 16GB of storage and no card slot. The 32GB model is quite a bit pricier in Europe and also hard to find on certain markets. In the US it's only a $50 premium, there it's well worth it.
This rounds off the list of the high profile smartphones that didn't make the recommendation list, for all others we skipped it's usually an issue of availability, software, storage or overall better options that did make the cut.