For the Android savant
Forget design aesthetics--the thing you care most about on your phone is whether the boot loader is unlocked. Although Google's Nexus 4 is sold out online (and we're still waiting on the inevitable Nexus 5), you can pick up the dev-friendly Google Play edition of the Samsung Galaxy S4 or HTC One from Google's online store. They're pricey, but you get all the performance and benefits of one of the finest Android phones ever made without being tied to a carrier or having to deal with bloatware. The best part is that the Google Play editions see updates at about the same pace as the Nexus line does, so you won't have to wait as long to run the latest version of Android.
For the adventurer
You live for excitement: You can't last more than a few weeks without going camping, and you're constantly destroying phones by getting them wet or dropping them in the mud. Whereas other phones would duck for cover or hide behind expensive cases, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active meets such challenges head on. It can remain submerged for up to 30 minutes in 3 meters of water, and it has all the same features as the regular Galaxy S4 does, albeit in a more durable shell.
For everyone else
If you don't fit into any of the above categories, but you still want to get a really good Android phone, the Moto X is right up your alley. The phone boasts a number of extras that make it convenient to use, and it's available on all four major carriers. The Moto X has multiple sensors that give it a certain amount of situational awareness, so it knows when you're driving, and it understands that it should turn on the display when you pull it out of your pocket to check the time. You can even control the phone with your voice by saying "Okay, Google Now" followed by a command. Buyers can customize their Moto X online using the Moto Maker tool, but this option is currently available only to AT&T customers, with other carriers set to follow sometime in the near future.
Should you wait?
If you want to experience Android the way Google intended it, waiting a few more months before upgrading might be in your best interest. Even though most smartphone makers have already announced or released their flagship phones for the year, Google is still expected to unveil the next Nexus phone (along with a new version of Android) sometime around November. If previous Nexus launches have taught us anything, however, you'll be able to use it only if you're on T-Mobile or a prepaid carrier. But hey, at least then you'll have a pure Android phone free from bloatware.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.