Sunday, December 30, 2012

Best Android phone - which should you buy? UPDATED The top Android phones compared

Best Android phone - which should you buy?
Which is the best Android phone for you? We've got the answers

There's one key way in which Android is massively different from its Apple-branded smartphone competition - the number of phones out there running Google's hot mobile OS.
We're now seeing the latest wave of phones upgraded toAndroid 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and Android Jelly Bean options too, although it's currently limited to a few devices, such as the Google Nexus 7 tablet and Samsung Galaxy Note 2 smartphone.
Samsung makes loads of them. Sony's cut the Ericsson ties but still is cranking out the Google-branded handsets. Then you've got Android-powered phones from Acer, LG, Huawei and many others, and while HTC has ceased the practice of releasing more phones than centipedes have shoes (they do wear them, you know) it's still one of the more prominent Android manufacturers.
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? If so, you won't find much luck here, as those technologies are sadly phased out of the Android world as buyers get enamoured by fancy, glossy capacitive touchscreens.
Are you struggling to work out which are the best Android Widgets? Or even stuck wondering: 'Actually, what IS Android?'
To help find the best Android phone for you, we've rounded up the 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 best Android phones money can buy today. For many, many different reasons.

12. Samsung Galaxy Nexus

Samsung galaxy nexus
Google and Samsung's 2011 flagship phone was, for a long time, the only official way to get the all-new Android 4.0 experience on a phone, and for that reason alone was a must-have for any Android user. The good news is it's now got the latest version of Android Jelly Bean platform as another reason to pick it over the competition.
As a smartphone itself, it's a good all-round performer, too, although the omission of an SD card slot is a slightly odd decision.
The large 4.65-inch screen is glassy, smooth and responsive, running at an immense 720 x 1280 HD resolution. It's bright, plus the 1.2GHz dual-core processor keeps everything running well, while the curved chassis is just about stylish enough to give the phone an edge over some of the more boring black slabs out there.

Quick verdict

The only downside to this phone is the price: with the Google Nexus 4 on the market, it's actually more expensive than its successor. We're keeping it in the top list for now as it's still a cutting edge experience, but we urge you to check out the newer version first.

11. Orange San Diego

Orange San Diego
The Orange San Diego is one of the first phones to be based on an Intel chipset, and as such comes with a lower price tag too.
The San Diego is a serious contender for anyone looking for a decent mid-range smartphone who doesn't want to break the bank for some flagship features - although you won't get the full range of Android apps.
It's a worthy successor to the likes of the the San Francisco and San Francisco 2, and the power of the camera alone makes it worth checking out.

10. Sony Xperia S

sony xperia s
The first phone released under the Sony brand for well over a decade is a fantastic smartphone, combining an extremely sharp and clear display with a powerful processor and some clever Android usability tweaks from Sony's engineers.
The camera also produces some excellent results, and while it's not the newest Sony phone on the market any more, we're still very much fans thanks to some cheeky price drops.
Arriving with Android 2.3 as its OS, Sony finally released a 4.0 upgrade for the Xperia S, adding in the updated browser, new lock screen features and more. This will be followed by Android Jelly Bean too, although not until Q2 2013 sadly.

9. Motorola Razr i

Motorola Razr i
What do we like about the Motorola Razr i? Well, the main thing to get excited about is the edge-to-edge display: it's something of a quirk in the smartphone industry, although we suspect we'll see more devices hopping on board soon.
The fact that you can expand the storage by up to 64GB makes this an attractive option. And it's an easy phone to use without too much customisation to confuse Android newbies, showing you can have a phone that works well without breaking the bank, and at a smaller size too.
And let's not forget about that screen: with the edge to edge display, it really pops and fizzes in the palm, with the Super AMOLED display impressing.

8. Samsung Galaxy S2

Samsung Galaxy S2
The Galaxy S II still offers a genuinely exciting experience, managing to eclipse all other Android phones in every field when it was first launched.
Apps install ridiculously quickly, while browsing web pages is so fast it's hard to believe you're looking at a phone screen. The large display is robust and, despite the slim and lightweight case, build quality manages to impress.
OK, it's not the latest Android phone on the market, but we're impressed with the update to Android 4.0 and the lower cost, not forgetting things such as the fact that many of Samsung's Touchwiz widgets are resizable, making it a phone that's fun to customise and spend time playing with.
This was Android made fast and thrilling in a bygone age, but it's still one of the best Google-powered phones around.

7. Sony Xperia T

Sony Xperia T
This is James Bond's phone apparently. Well, he was seen using it inSkyfall, so that's good enough for us. It packs some lower specs than others on this list, but combines them in an attractive unit.
The Xperia T heads back to the design language of the Xperia Arc, meaning it's got a lovely curved back that sits comfortably in the hand, and the large and expansive screen provides great video playback thanks to the Bravia Engine.
Sony has produced another impressive smartphone that offers the functionality and performance we're looking for in a top-level handset.
That being said, when compared with the earlier Sony Xperia S, or some of the other flagship Android handsets, the difference is negligible.


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