Best Android Phones
HTC Google Nexus One
The Nexus one is not available from any carrier. You must purchase it online from Google for a price of $529.99. But it has the benefit of being unlocked and gives you the ability to take it to whatever carrier is compatible with it, no contract required. The Nexus One has a 3.7” 480×800 display, 1GHz Snapdragon processor, 512MB RAM and 5MP camera.
The biggest benefit of this device comes from getting OS updates directly from Google. Android 2.2 should be getting full flash, JIT compiler for overall improved performance, additional NDK support for OpenGL ES 2.0, tethering, a Wi-Fi router and the ability to install applications on the SD card.
There are two models of the Nexus One. They have a model that works with T-Mobile in the U.S. and Wind in Canada, the other is designed for AT&T in the U.S. and Rogers, Bell and TELUS in Canada.
HTC Droid Incredible
The Droid Incredible is the cousin of the Nexus One. It shares the same screen size, resolution, processor and memory but upgrades the camera to 8MP.
The major improvements that HTC ads to the Droid Incredible is the improved usability the phone gets with the Sense UI added on top. It brings a much better keyboard, more widgets and fixes all the minor issues with Google’s original design.
The down side to the Incredible is it’s only available from Verizon in the U.S. and is not available in Canada at all. When Google releases an update it goes to HTC, they build it into the Incredible and pass it along to Verizon who modifies it to their liking and then finally releases it.
The HTC Triumph is known as the Desire in Europe and it’s more like the brother to the Nexus One. It shares the same screen size, resolution, processor and memory and camera. The biggest difference from the Nexus One is the use of an optical track pad as opposed to the Nexus One trackball.
The good news about the Triumph is the inclusion of all the HTC Sense UI enhancements that are general to their phones. The bad news is the availability will not happen till the summer on TELUS. This is the phone to get if you live in Canada and you want to get a high end phone subsidized.
HTC Hero \ Magic \ Droid Eris
This is for someone looking to get into Android without spending a fortune. With these devices you get a 3.2” 320×480 display, 528 MHz Qualcomm processor, 288MB RAM and a 5MP camera.
The Hero is available for $49.99 on a three year contract from TELUS in Canada. Hit up Roger’s for the Magic and be prepared to pay $79.99 on the standard three years in Canada. In the U.S. hit up Verizon for the Droid Eris, $79.99 on a 2 year contract and it’s all yours.
Most of these devices are still stuck with a much older version of Android, but supposedly HTC is working on it and they should soon have 2.1, hopefully before Google releases 2.2.
HTC Evo 4G
This is the new top dog in mobile phones. It has a 4.3” 480×800 display, 1GHz Snapdragon processor, 512MB RAM, 8MP rear camera, 1.3MP front facing camera and Wi Max 4G data to go along with the standard 3G. This phone will be available June 4th.
This device has HTC’s Sense UI and all the benefits that the Droid Incredible has. The downside is it is only available on Sprint in the U.S. and you have to pay for 3G data as well as 4G. It also has the downsides of waiting for OS updates. Sprint will be charging $29.99 for Wi-Fi tethering when this phone launches. Considering Wi-Fi tethering is built into Android 2.2 it calls into question whether the carrier will release an upgrade at all.
The Milestone is for those looking for a high end display on a phone with a slide out keyboard. It’s known as the Droid in the U.S. and is by far the most popular Android phone on the market. Its popularity is mostly due to the massive advertising that accompanies it.
It has a 3.7” 480 x 854 display, ARM Cortex A8 600 MHz processor, 256MB RAM and a 5MP camera. Expect to pay $149.99 on a three year contract from TELUS in Canada and a 2 year contract from Verizon in the U.S.
They were fairly quick to update it to Android 2.1, probably due to the fact that it runs a stock Android UI. So you shouldn’t have to wait long for a 2.2 update, as long as Motorola intends to release one that is.
The performance puts it behind the other high end phones on this list and with rumors of a new Motorola phone coming to replace this one. If you must have a keyboard and want the best you may be better off waiting to see what comes next.
Motorola DEXT \ Backflip
The Motorola DEXT is known as the CLIQ in the U.S. This is for someone looking for an entry level Android phone that has a slide out keyboard. It’s geared towards users who like to use social networks and want an interface that connects all of them in one place as done with MotoBlur. This device is aimed at the younger crowd.
It has a 3.1” 320 x 480 display, 528 MHz Qualcomm processor, 256MB RAM and a 5MP camera. Expect to pay $79.99 for both on a three year contract in Canada. Bell offers the DEXT while Telus offers the Backflip.
What’s missing is a device with a slide out keyboard, a 1GHz processor and 512MB of Ram. I know a few people waiting for something like this. So what do you do? Buy now and take a hit on performance for the physical keyboard or do you drop the physical keyboard for performance. The other option is waiting and I guess that choice is up to you. I couldn’t wait so I went with the Nexus one and I’m loving it.