This Is My First Forum Post (Any My Last)
TheVerge staff, you've lost a reader today.
How can you, in good faith, pin a link like "The best smartphone you can buy"? The average consumer doesn't really read this site; fanboys do, and people who have a general interest in on-the-surface tech news from relatively well-known companies do. An article like this is so assuredly inflammatory, and you knew that.
But not only that, you use your own Verge scores as a basis for these recommendations. Your own Verge scores which are so wildly inconsistent that it's completely misleading to the average consumer. As an example, the third phone you list is a iPhone 5C; a phone that was already behind-the-times technologically upon its introduction. It was last year's phone in a new shell (your words, not mine). Now, almost a year later, you recommend it as the #3 on this list. If someone stumbled upon this blog wanting a relatively future-proof phone, you just fucked them with that "8.5".
Instead, it seems as though almost all your top-tier devices revolve around the never-ending "build quality" debate which your site has a fascination with. You slip that Galaxy S5 cutely between the Nexus 5, the 5C and the Moto X almost as if out of necessity because your whole article would look questionable had you not. Your neverending focus on build quality, build quality, build quality, seems to hinder common sense. If you recommend a Moto X over a Galaxy S5 today, you're damning a consumer to a phone that's mid-range and almost guaranteed to become dated before their contract runs out.
Look, I don't have evidence to cite here outside of anecdotal rubbish, but I have never heard the typical consumer complain about build quality on a phone before. They say it looks like, but most have no idea what they're looking at. You guys put so much stock in this (possibly helpful) push for companies to design better phones, and while it may slowly push OEMs to design better things, it makes more sense for behind-the-scenes conversation than general populace suggestions. They're just going to throw a case on it (not an excuse, but a harsh reality for you).
Perhaps you'd be better suited with a "What's the best 4-inch smartphone you can buy" or "What's the best outdoorsy cellphone you can buy" or "best phone for battery life," subjects like those. One all-encompassing article is terrible.
Then the Amazon links almost ruin the entirety of your article. There's no disclaimer stating that "Amazon didn't pay us for this/Apple didn't pay us for this/HTC didn't pay us for this. It automatically leads me to believe that you guys are being paid to do these reviews by someone. That's not good journalism, and not stating as such is disheartening.
Later Verge, hopefully you guys have changed your tone when I check back in a few months. I enjoyed my time.