AT&TMotorola Atrix 4G. At the time, it was the best Android phone AT&T offered, and we still think that is true today. Your options are more limited on Ma Bell, but the Atrix has a lot to offer.
The Moto Atrix is an Android 2.2 phone with MotoBlur running atop it. At its heart is the speedy Nvidia Tegra 2 SoC at 1GHz for each of the two cores. The screen is also a cut above the rest thanks to its 4-inch qHD resolution (960x540) and 24-bit color. It's not just about sharpness, though. Having the higher resolution screen means you can see more content in apps and more menu items without scrolling.
HTC Inspire 4G. This device doesn't wow us with the specs. In fact, it's a distinctly last-gen piece of hardware. It has a 1GHz current gen Snapdragon SoC, 4.3-inch WVGA Super LCD screen, and an 8MP camera. There is no front-facing camera, which the Atrix does have.
The thing the Inspire has going for it is the software. HTC Sense is a better experience than MotoBlur in our opinion. We might take issue with Sense in its own way, but most users will find it smoother and more well thought-out. The Inspire is $99 and the Atrix is $199. Both prices come at the expense of two years of your life. Bottom line, the Atrix is still the winner.
VerizonDroid Charge, the Droid Incredible 2, and the odd duck Casio G'zOne Commando. Can any of these devices stand up to last month's champ, the HTC Thunderbolt?
To review, the HTC Thunderbolt is Verizon's first LTE 4G handset. It rocks a 1GHz current gen Snapdragon, a 4.3-inch WVGA Super LCD screen, 8MP rear camera, 1.3MP front facing camera, and Android 2.2 with HTC Sense. The device is somewhat hobbled by poor battery life thanks to the first generation LTE hardware inside. No word yet on a Gingerbread update for this device.
The story with the new devices is much the same. The Incredible 2 has a 4-inch WVGA Super LCD display, a 1GHz Snapdragon SoC, an 8MP rear camera, 1.3MP front facing camera, and also runs Android 2.2 with Sense. Basically, this is the Thunderbolt without LTE. The Droid Charge is a bit of a different beast. It packs a 1GHz Hummingbird SoC, 4.3-inch WVGA Super AMOLED Plus display, 8MP rear imager, 1.3MP front facing camera, and Android 2.2 with TouchWiz. The Droid Charge is also 4G LTE capable. The G'zOne Commando is similarly specced, but is ruggedized, so it looks, well, not good.
If that's not true, get the Droid Incredible 2. You'll get a solid experience with better battery life. Now, between the Droid Charge and the Thunderbolt, things are more complicated. Both run Android 2.2, but the Thunderbolt has Sense, which we think is probably a better UI. TouchWiz has never really done it for us. It's a software win for HTC.
The hardware is a different story, though. Most of the internals are a draw, but the screen on the Charge is Super AMOLED Plus. That means great black levels and crisp (pentile-free) images. Since the Charge just came out, we don't know what battery life is going to be like. If it can best the Thunderbolt, pick up the Charge. If not, you'll have to make the call based on your feelings about the software.
The industrial design of the Charge is a little wacky with the pointed bottom and rounded top, but we kind of dig it. The Thunderbolt looks like a thicker version of every HTC phone in the last 12 months. One problem, the Charge is $299 on contract. Word is that the Charge has been delayed, possibly due to Verizon's massive LTE outage. We expect it to go on sale in a day or two. The Thunderbolt is only $250, but can be had for less at other retailers. Keep these points in mind as you decide between these phones. Call it a draw if you must.
T-MobileT-Mobile G2x, that trend is well and truly reversed. We do feel the need to caution potential users again: odds are T-Mobile is going to be bought up by AT&T. The phone you get now might only work for 12-18 months before things go sideways and you're let out of your contract as AT&T gobbles up Tmo's spectrum.
The T-Mobile G2x is the US variant of the LG Optimus 2X. The main difference between the two versions is that the US model eschews LG's skin and goes with stock Android. Granted it is Android 2.2 Froyo, but a Gingerbread update is currently in testing. Stock Froyo is better than skinned Froyo in our book. There are only a few carrier apps pre-installed, so this is a as close to Google's unmolested Android OS as you can get without buying a Nexus.
The G2x has impressive internals, including a Tegra 2 SoC at 1GHz per core, a 4-inch WVGA IPS LCD screen, 8MP rear camera, and 1.3MP front image sensor. The G2x also supports T-Mobile's HSPA+ "4G" network. The device is reportedly very snappy, and takes excellent images. The camera can also shoot 1080p video that is actually worth watching, which is a shocker. Unless you absolutely, positively need a physical keyboard, get the G2x. The G2x will run you $199 on a two year agreement. Unfortunately, the G2x does not have AT&T's 3G bands as T-Mobile's advertising claimed. That was a mistake, and we're sorry to hear it.
If you desire the tactile finger love available only from a real keyboard, we would still recommend the T-Mobile G2. The keyboard on this device is amazing, and it has a similar stock Android build to that on the G2x. T-Mobile also announced that Gingerbread is in the works for the G2. This phone runs an 800Mhz current gen Snapdragon SoC, a 3.7-inch Super LCD screen, and an HSPA+ radio.
The keyboard and sturdy construction make the G2 a little heavy, but it is definitely worth a look. The G2 is also $199, which we feel is a little high. We should also mention, the Nexus S has T-Mobile's 3G bands if you don't mind going outside the official carrier line up. It's $530 unlocked, or $200 on contract.
SprintWe're saying that again, but much, much more forcefully. If you can wait until May 8th, you can pick up the Nexus S 4G. Then there is the impending launch of the Evo 3D, which we're hoping to see late next month. Right now, you're looking at the HTC Evo 4G as the best available Android device on Sprint.
The Evo 4G runs on a last generation 1GHz Snapdragon SoC, a 4.3-inch LEC screen, 8MP rear/1.3MP front cameras, a WiMAX radio, and Android 2.2 Froyo with HTC Sense. A Gingerbread update is reportedly happening, but no firm details are available. The device does have a large (huge even) user base. That means the modding scene will be hopping for some time to come. The Evo is still $200 on contract.
If you can wait for the 8th, the Nexus S 4G brings a really exceptional stock Android experience. Nexus devices are snappy in a way that most users are not accustomed to. You don't have carrier bloatware staring you in the face every day either. The Nexus S 4G will have a 1GHz Hummingbird SoC, a 4-inch Super AMOLED WVGA display, a 5MP rear camera, VGA front cam, NFC, a WiMAX radio, and will run Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread.
If a physical keyboard is a must for you, the Samsung Epic 4G and HTC Evo Shift 4G are still available on Sprint. Both of these devices are running Android 2.2 Froyo. The Epic has the TouchWiz UI, and the Evo Shift used Sense. Sense is probably a better experience, but the Epic has a larger 4-inch screen, and a faster SoC. Both have WiMAX radios as well.
So that's the state of Android right now. If you are looking for a new Android phone right now, let us know what you're considering. If you just bought, are you feeling any buyer's remorse?
Lead image via MobileCrunch