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Best Android Phones

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It’s been a while since our last roundup of Android phones, but we’ve gathered our favorite phones from all four carriers. All of these devices could be considered high end. At the rate smartphone technology is evolving, we recommend that you don’t buy a phone that doesn’t run Android 2.3 (Gingerbread), have a dual-core processor, and a high-resolution screen this holiday season. Believe it or not, a number of these high-end devices carry prices as low as $100. Others cost a bit more, but may be worth the investment.

Samsung Galaxy Nexus

Samsung galaxy Nexus front

Screen: 4.65-inch Super AMOLED, 720×1280 pixels
Specs: 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 1GB RAM, 32GB storage
OS: Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
Camera: 5MP rear (LED flash, 1080p rec), 1.3MP front
Price: $200 with two-year contract
Availability: Sprint, Verizon

Description:  The Galaxy Nexus is a Google Experience phone and the first device that runs Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and it’s compatible with 4G LTE networks, which is very good. It has a completely revamped user interface and is one of the only phones on the market to get updates as they come out. While owners of other Android phones have to wait for months (or never get updates), Nexus owners get updates on time. We’re big fans of the Galaxy Nexus, though its battery life is its one weakness. Sprint buyers will get Google Wallet as well. Read our full review. 

 

HTC One S

HTC One S front 

Screen: 4.3-inch AMOLED, 540×960 pixels
Specs: 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 1GB RAM, 16GB storage
OS: Android 4.0 (ICS) running HTC Sense 4.0
Camera: 8MP rear (LED flash, 1080p rec), .03 (VGA) front
Price: $200 with two-year contract
Availability: T-Mobile 

Description: If you want the best HTC phone currently on the market, look no further than the One S, it’s a great size that shouldn’t be too small or too big for most users and is one of the fastest (as fast as quad-core phones) and sleekest devices on the market. It also runs Android 4.0, which is great. There just aren’t any big downsides to the One S. It’s like the Amaze with an even better camera, twice the processing speed, a better screen, and decent battery life. Read our full review.

 

Motorola Droid Razr Maxx

motorola-droid-razr-front

Screen: 4.3-inch Super AMOLED, 540×960 pixels
Specs: 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 1GB RAM, 8GB storage
OS: Android 2.3 with NinjaBlur
Camera: 8MP rear (LED flash, 1080p rec), 1.3MP front
Price: $300 with two-year contract
Availability: Verizon

Description: The Droid Razr Maxx doesn’t catch your eye like the original Razr, but it’s a lot thinner and sports the best battery life we’ve seen of any smartphone on the market. Compared to previous Motorola phones, it also has a much-improved screen, and its frame is quite durable as well. The only downsides are Motorola’s weak camera and bland interface. Hopefully, when the Razr gets Android 4.0, it will look a little nicer. Still, with fast LTE speeds, the Razr is one of the best phones on the market. Read our full review

 

Samsung Galaxy S II

samsung-galaxy-s-ii-sprint-epic-4g-touch-front

Screen: 4.5-inch Super AMOLED, 560×940
Specs: 1.5GHz dual-core, 1GB RAM, 32GB storage
OS: Android 2.3 with Samsung TouchWiz 4.0
Camera: 8MP rear, 2MP front
Price: $200 with two-year contract
Availability: AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Ting.com

Description: The Galaxy S II took its sweet time coming to North America, but it was worth the wait. The phone has now launched on three of the four major U.S. carriers. It doesn’t disappoint in any one area, though its plastic construction may turn off some, though we like how light it is. Samsung’s TouchWiz 4.0 interface rivals HTC’s Sense as does Samsung’s cameras. AT&T’s Galaxy S II is a bit smaller than Sprint and T-Mobile’s at 4.3 inches and each model looks a bit different, but all three are mostly the same. Read our full review.

 

Motorola Photon 4G

motorola-photon-4g-front

Screen: 4.3 inches, 540×960 pixels
Specs: 1GHz dual-core Tegra 2, 1GB RAM, 16GB storage
OS: Android 2.3 with Motorola NinjaBlur
Camera: 8MP rear, .3MP VGA front
Price: $200 with two-year contract
Availability: Sprint, Ting.com

Description: As time has wore on, we’ve missed having the Photon in our office. It suffers from a somewhat bland screen and interface, but everything else about it is great. The phone has a kickstand so you can prop it up like a clock, it docks with a ton of Motorola accessories (though they’re expensive), and is one of the most comfortable 4.3-inch phones we’ve held due to its button placement and rounded edges. At $200, it’s a great 4G phone. Read our full review.

 

T-Mobile MyTouch 4G Slide

htc-t-mobile-mytouch-4g-slide-front

Screen: 3.7 inches, 480×800 pixels
Specs: 1.2GHz dual-core, 768MB RAM, 9GB storage
OS: Android 2.3 with HTC Sense 3.0
Camera: 8 MP rear (LED flash, 1080p rec), 0.3MP VGA front
Price: $200 with two-year contract
Availability: T-Mobile

Description: If you prefer a QWERTY keyboard, you’ll find no better option than the 4G Slide, which packs almost as powerful a punch as the Amaze 4G. We’ve reviewed this phone and found it to be one of the best phones on T-Mobile. The touchpad is useful as well, though we didn’t use T-Mobile’s MyTouch button very much. Read our full review.

 

Motorola Droid 4

motorola-droid-4-shot

Screen: 4.0-inch PenTile LCD, 540×960 pixels
Specs: 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 1GB RAM, 16GB storage
OS: Android 2.3 with NinjaBlur
Camera: 8MP rear (LED flash, 1080p rec), 1.3MP VGA front
Price: $200 with two-year contract
Availability: Verizon

Description:  The Droid 4 is what the Droid 3 should have been. It has the best keyboard on the market, 4G LTE connectivity, decent battery life, and the power of a dual-core processor. Some typical Motorola problems remain, like a weak camera, lame screen, and bland Android UI, but if you want a keybaord, none of this will matter too much. Read our full review