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Comparison Shopping Guide to the Best Android Smartphones

written by: •edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 10/18/2011

Android is a fantastic mobile operating system and it runs on a wide variety of smartphones. If you’re shopping for a new one then check out this comparison guide for the best advice no matter what your budget is.

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    Samsung Galaxy S II

    Samsung Galaxy S II 

    If you simply want the best Android smartphone on the market right now then get the Samsung Galaxy S II. It is a lightning fast 4G smartphone with a dual-core processor and an amazing Super AMOLED touch screen. You’ll find the original 4.3 inch screen version on AT&T and there’s also a version with a larger, 4.5 inch screen on T-Mobile and Sprint. Sprint has renamed it as the Samsung Epic 4G Touch. It is quite likely to land on other carriers as well but so far it doesn’t look like Verizon will be one of them.

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    Motorola Droid Bionic

    Motorola Droid Bionic 

    The Droid Bionic is an interesting prospect for business users in particular. It offers support for business email and documents and there’s also a unique lapdock accessory that converts the smartphone into a laptop. Even ignoring that feature this is still an awesome Android smartphone with a 4.3 inch display, dual-core processor, bags of memory and a big battery. It is available exclusively on Verizon and it also supports the 4G LTE network for unsurpassed data speeds.

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    HTC Evo 3D

    HTC Evo 3D 

    Are you excited by the prospect of glasses-free 3D on your smartphone? The EVO 3D is a solid Android smartphone running 2.3 Gingerbread and backed up by a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor and 1 GB of RAM. The camera is only 5 MP with 720p video capture but you can also capture 3D photos and videos with this phone. The battery life is a bit of a let-down. The HTC Evo 3D is available on Sprint.

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    Motorola Photon 4G

    Motorola Photon 4G 

    Here’s another great Android smartphone on Sprint. The Photon has a 4.3 inch display, 1 GHz dual-core processor and an 8 MP camera. It has a distinctive angular look and it is packed with a solid feature-set making it a great multimedia smartphone. It’s not quite as good as the Droid Bionic but it is a little cheaper so that’s to be expected. It is also a dual mode GSM or CDMA phone making it perfect for globetrotters.

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    HTC Sensation 4G

    HTC Sensation 4G 

    The Sensation has an amazing 4.3 inch S-LCD capacitive touch screen, a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, 768 MB of RAM and 1 GB of internal storage (it ships with an 8 GB microSD card and you can upgrade to 32 GB). It also has an 8 MP camera and the latest HTC Sense UI 3.0. It’s a feature-packed device with a lovely big screen. It is available on T-Mobile.

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    Samsung Galaxy Nexus

    Samsung Galaxy Nexus 

    The last high-end Android smartphone we’re going to look at is the forthcoming Nexus Prime. We don’t know exactly what the name will be but this smartphone will be running Android 4 Ice Cream Sandwich and we can safely expect a dual-core processor and some seriously tasty specs. It is also expected to have a stunning curved display which seems to be backed up by the one image we have from a Samsung teaser video. Stay tuned for more on this.

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    HTC Rhyme

    HTC Rhyme 

    The HTC Rhyme is all about style and it is aimed squarely at the female of the species. It has its own special set of accessories including a Bluetooth headset, an armband, a docking station, tangle-free headphones and an unusual charm that lights up when you have an incoming call. There’s a 3.7 inch S-LCD capacitive touch screen, a 1 GHz single-core processor, 768 MB of RAM, and 4 GB of internal storage (you can add 32 GB with a microSD card). The camera is 5 MP with support for 720p video capture. This isn’t a cutting edge release but it does offer something a bit different and the focus on fashion is bound to attract some people. The Rhyme is exclusive to Verizon in the US.

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    Sony Ericsson Xperia Play

    Sony Ericsson Xperia Play 

    This is the long awaited PlayStation phone. You can get it for just $50 on a two year contract at Verizon or AT&T. It’s not a top of the range Android smartphone because it only has a single core 1 GHz processor, 512 MB of RAM and a 5 MP camera. The 4 inch screen is nice though, and the selling point here is the dedicated PlayStation controls that slide out for your gaming sessions. It could be the perfect device for gamers.

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    LG Thrill 4G

    LG Thrill 4G 

    If you like the sound of some 3D action on your Android smartphone then the Thrill 4G by LG is available at AT&T. It’s a dual-core smartphone with a nice 4.3 inch display and it can capture photos and video in 3D. The rest of the specs are solid, if not mind-blowing, and the Thrill is a decent option. You can pick one up for $99.99 on a two year contract.

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    Samsung Stratosphere

    Samsung Stratosphere 

    The Stratosphere is a mid-range Android smartphone on Verizon. It has a 1 GHz single core processor, 512 MB of RAM and a 5 MP camera. There’s also a 4 inch Super AMOLED touch screen and it slides away to reveal a full physical QWERTY keyboard which is great for people who don’t like typing on touch screens. It also supports Verizon’s 4G LTE network for terrific download speeds. Since it isn’t top of the line the price is a reasonable $149.99 on a two year contract.

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    HTC Status

    HTC Status 

    If you are looking for a physical keyboard then the Status could be right up your street. It has the classic BlackBerry form factor with a landscape touch screen and a keyboard beneath. It also features dedicated Facebook support. It has an 800 MHz processor, 512 MB of RAM and a 5 MP camera. It’s not the fastest of Android smartphones but for texting and Facebook addicts it should be ideal. It also costs just $49.99 on a two year contract at AT&T.

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    Pantech Breakout

    Pantech Breakout 

    If you’re looking for a 4G LTE Android smartphone on Verizon and you have a tight budget then say hello to the Pantech Breakout. It is $99.99 on a two year contract and has mid-range specs including a 1 GHz processor, 512 MB of RAM and a 5 MP camera. There’s also a 4 inch capacitive touch screen and it runs Android 2.3. In this price bracket it is a decent option.

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    LG Optimus Slider

    LG Optimus Slider 

    This is an entry-level Android smartphone available at Virgin Mobile for $199.99 with no contract. It has a 3.2 inch capacitive touch screen, a 3.2 MP camera and it slides open to reveal a full physical QWERTY keyboard. It runs Android 2.3 and should be ideal for heavy texters or social network addicts. As a first Android device it’s not a bad option at this price.

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    HTC Hero S

    HTC Hero S 

    On US Cellular the HTC Hero S is a pretty solid option. It has a 1.2 GHz single core processor, a 4 inch Super LCD touch screen and a 5 MP camera. There’s also a front-facing 1.3 MP camera. You can get it for $199.99 with a two year contract and after a $100 mail in rebate. It’s not amazing but it is a solid smartphone and should give you a great Android experience.

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    Samsung Transfix

    Samsung Transfix 

    We’ll finish off with another budget option. This time it’s the Transfix from Samsung available at Cricket for $179.99 without a contract. It has an 800 MHz processor, 3.2 inch touch screen and a 3.2 MP camera. It also slides open to reveal a full physical QWERTY keyboard. It runs Android 2.3 and looks to be a great prepaid smartphone.

References

  • All images and references courtesy of manufacturers or carriers.