Written by Super User
With so many Android based phones out there at the moment it`s hard to tell on the first look which one gives the best price vs. value. There is one crucial difference in which Android is different from Apple branded smartphone competition. Its the number of Android phones out there..
Samsung makes wagons of them. Sony Ericsson makes here and there few. Then you've got Android phones from Acer, LG, Huawei and many others, while HTC releases more in a month than all the rest added together manage in a year.
The many variations in screen size, processor power, software features and design makes finding the best Android phone for you extremely tough.
Do you physically and emotionally need a QWERTY keyboard? Are you the sort of oddball who prefers the rough pressing needed to make resistive touchscreens work? Do you actually like Orange widgets?
To help find the best Android phone for you, we've rounded up the ten best Android handsets out there today, rating the phones on hardware performance, OS upgrade potential and, of course, how shiny and nice they are to have and boast about to work colleagues.
So here they are - the ten best Android phones money can buy today. For many, many different reasons.
10. Samsung Galaxy Apollo i5800
A solid mid-range Android 2.1 performer. The main selling point of this cheaper Samsung Galaxy is its superbly responsive touchscreen - you can almost type on it by shaking out flakes of dandruff onto the screen it's that sensitive to the touch.
Samsung's always generous with its video codec support, meaning the Apollo plays most ripped internet AVIs with ease, plus the Samsung-developed Lock screen music player control is a godsend for music fans.
Sadly there's only a 3.2 megapixel camera inside which isn't ideal - but there is a welcome macro mode. So you can take nice photos of moths and bees and send them in to John Craven.
A capable processor, good screen, relatively new version of Android - and it's out there for under 30$ a month on contracts.
9. Motorola Milestone 2
The Milestone was a so-so phone in some people's eyes, but a few hardware tweaks and the addition of Android 2.2 has recharged it for the sequel. The Motoblur interface might be a bit bloated for some, but the processor is able and speedy and the media experience is top end for a phone of this calibre. Fans of a QWERTY will like the responsive keys, but the larger-fingered among us might struggle a bit.
One of the best QWERTY devices out there, the Milestone 2 combines a top end Android experience in a surprisingly svelte package.
8. HTC Legend
The HTC Legend has a slightly underpowered by today's standards 600MHz processor and its users are still very impatiently waiting for HTC to upgrade the thing to Android 2.2 - but if you want a phone that's more stylish than the crowd this is the one.
HTC's Sense user interface is on here and as slick and professional as ever, plus there's a decent 5 megapixel camera along with your usual 3G 7.2Mbps max download speeds and GPS.
But it's all about the beautiful, aluminium body. If you want an Android phone you can proudly put on the pub table next to your friends' flashy iPhones, this is it.
Starting to show its age internally, but remains HTC's finest design moment on the outside. If HTC gets Android 2.2 on this soon, the Legend will still be worth proudly owning in 2011.
7. Sony Ericsson X10 Mini Pro
We have to put at least one QWERTY phone in here, and as the HTC Desire Z isn't out at time of writing it'll have to be the charming little Mini Pro.
At first fiddle the Mini Pro seems like it'll be way too small to function as your everyday smartphone.
The 2.5" screen puts it right at the bottom of the Android tech spec comparison tables - but the QWERTY keyboard means you tend to use the phone in landscape mode, making everything appear more roomy.
Plus half the screen isn't taken up by a software keyboard when typing. The processor handles this tiny display perfectly, resulting in a minuscule phone that's perfectly usable and surprisingly fast in operation – and Sony Ericsson's Android customisations are the model of usability.
Not for those of you with dirty great sausage fingers, but a great little smartphone for dainty-fingered phone fans who long for the ease of typing on a QWERTY. Currently only on Android 1.6 - but is scheduled to get 2.1 before the end of the year.
6. HTC Desire Z
The HTC Desire Z brings the screen size of the Desire, drops the processor and whacks in a QWERTY keyboard, and roars in at number six on our list. The solid build quality (hinge aside) and the next generation Sense UI make it a real fan favourite already, and the contract prices aren't too bad either for a top-end phone.
If you're into a QWERTY, then this could be your favourite phone, with customisable buttons and speedy operation.
5. Google Nexus S 4G
Sprint’s EVO line of phones is great and we’re looking forward to Samsung’s Galaxy S II, but for now, the Google Nexus S, made by Samsung, is a great option for those who’d like a full-featured Android phone on Sprint. Co-designed by Google to deliver a pure Android experience, the Nexus S is just about the only handset currently on the market that has Android 2.3 (Gingerbread). The update adds some graphical enhancements to Android and needed upgrades to core features like battery management. Better yet, the Nexus S is equipped with Sprint WiMax 4G capabilities. While not as fast as Verizon’s LTE network, WiMax is an actual 4G technology whereas T-Mobile and AT&Ts’ HSPA+ networks are more like 3G networks on steroids. Another perk of having a Google phone is that you may actually get the next version of Android when it comes out, not six to 12 months later, as seems to be the norm these days.
If you cant wait for Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) and future updates this is the way to go with this rock solid phone.
4. Samsung Galaxy S
A bit like owning a fancy imported sports car, this. The screen on the Galaxy S is the finest out there today, high-res and dazzlingly sharp and bright.
The problems come from Samsung's fiddlings with Android itself. While many of the TouchWiz user interface tweaks on the Galaxy S are welcome, they come at a price - the phone can be a little glitchy in operation, with quite a few annoying bugs and mini lock-ups.
Plus Samsung is still endlessly pushing back the deployment of Android 2.2 which, for a high-end flagship phone in this day and age, is only making its owners angrier by the day.
A lot of phone for the money, but the lack of camera flash, a few OS glitches and Samsung's notoriously relaxed attitude to pushing out software updates just stop this from being the perfect handset.
3. HTC Desire HD
We haven't been as excited about a new phone in a while as we have with the HTC Desire HD - the original Desire was so close to perfection in our eyes when it came out that we couldn't wait to see its successor.
It's got a superb interface, super-fast operation and the new widgets and interaction HTC has unveiled with the new version of its Sense UI is fantastic.
However, battery life is a little suspect and video playback has a few bugs - also, that massive screen really polarised opinion when we showed it off to other people.
The HTC Desire HD is a cracking device that ticks nearly every category; however the battery issue is arguably worse than on the original Desire. Coupled with a couple of other niggles, it's enough to keep it from the top spot.
2. HTC Thunderbolt 4G
It’s been a while (as in, a few months) since HTC released a new flagship phone, but the HTC Thunderbolt 4G certainly fits that description. Hot off the line (it launched March 17th) the Thunderbolt is loaded with features. It offers a 4.3′ touch-screen display, a 8 megapixel rear camera, and a 1 GHz processor.
Verizon is playing up this phone’s wireless speed and is claiming download speeds of between 5 and 12 Mbps. If history is an indication, reality won’t quite live up to those claims, but the Thunderbolt should prove to be the quickest Android phone currently offered by the carrier.
Its only available at Verizon at the moment that could be a downer otherwise this is an excellent choice in the next gen era of Android phones. Also ThunderBolt users have complained of shorter-than-average battery life for the handset. Still, it could be worse, and Verizon’s network is poised to have the best actual 4G coverage for some time to come, as AT&T’s LTE network is still in early testing.
1. HTC Desire
The HTC Desire has been on sale for over six months now, and remains the most impressive and technically adept phone on the market.
This is for two reasons - HTC released a superb piece of hardware that obliterated the competition at the time, and has also managed to get Android 2.2 onto nearly every version of the phone out there.
While users of other, newer phones fuss about with internet petitions in order to get their OSs upgraded to 2.2, the older Desire is already cutting-edge.
A great screen, flawless in operation and powerful enough to stay relevant until the end of even the longest mobile phone contract.
The forthcoming Desire HD may offer a bigger screen and the Desire Z a physical keyboard, but the standard old Desire is still a stunning performer today. You won't be ashamed to own one of these even at the end of your next 24 month contract.
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