Looking for a decent android phone

Hello,
I'm currently looking for a decent to good android device. i would prefer a phone so i can use it for work and such.
i currently have a Nokia Lumia 635, i enjoy it very much and i have fun with the easy to use Cortana. (mostly reminders for games and events and appointments)

But I'm looking back at using andoird again so i can enjoy clash of clash again as well get service in my small town. at&t and verizon wont support my device. and i thinks its because they don't want to do the switch over and then deal with it might not working and me complaining about it.

regardless I'm looking for a decent to good android device, i would like it to look cool and be smaller than a freakin IPHONE 6+. i like screen size but i don't want a phablet.
budget is a concern so 500$ is the limit.

let me know what y'all think.
Thank you for you're time.
Snow

Given the major problem Android has of fragmentation and both carriers and manufacturers blocking updates the only ones I would recommend is a Nexus device. Maybe a One+one running Cyanogenmod would be a nice one to go for if you don't like the Nexus phones.

I'm more than happy with a second hand Nexus 4. As it's not going to get Android 6 I'm probably going to try and find a second hand Nexus 5. I tend to use the secondhand market to keep costs down.

I can't say I truly understand the situation with US carriers. It appears to be quite different from what we have here in the UK.

I would suggest looking at an ASUS Zenphone 2. it has a 5.5 inch screen decent battery life can be bought for 300-350 unlocked on amazon so that ASUS pushes software updates often on the unlocked phone I have.

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Oneplus x

same as thantopsis ASUS Zenfon 2 , the 64 gb Rom, 4gb Ram Version for 300-350$/€ Version pick a colour, enjoy

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My best experience with Android has been with a Nexus 5 after having a HTC Desire, Samsung Galaxy S3, and Samsung Galaxy S4. I've also converted all phones I'm responsible for (on my phone bill) to Nexus 5, except for one iPhone. Samsung hardware always looks awesome IMO, but then when I actually purchase it I'm underwhelmed.

My phone right now is definitely showing signs of heavy use, so I'm looking at the Nexus 5X. The One Plus 2 looks good but I've read that it runs pretty hot.

If you do get a 5, the power button is known to have some issues after awhile. About 1.5 years in, the power button stopped responding and I actually bought some replacements on Amazon and then soldered on a new one. Now like 6 months later that button is starting to fail as well (my soldering job may have been shitty).

If you're comfortable with flashing ROMs, you can have the latest updates, as long as your model is supported for that ROM. The question is, how well will your phone run them? At some point, your phone just becomes obsolete and can't run the latest version of Android at reasonable performance levels.

cool i was looking at the ASUS ZENphone 2 with the 5.5. i think that going to be my best choice IMO, i really dont like Samsungs OEM software they add to any of their galaxy devices. i use to be a T2 tech for US Cellular and their was constant issues witht he S2,S3,S4,S5 devices and alot of it was user made issues but still if it is as easy as installing a flash light app that disables your' cameras flash for pics, then whats the point samsung? This and so many simple issues with samnsun devices ive had to sit and listen to and then figure out somehow to resolve.
thats why i originally with with my Nokia, and i do have to say that i am proud for such a cheap device surviving so many drops and falls onto carpet and tile, and most evil of all concrete. oh well.
thank you for you're time.
Snow.

This x a million