Home > Android Buyer's Guide > Android buyer’s guide: July 2010.

Android buyer’s guide: July 2010.

Which Android phone should I buy?”

This is a question I hear all the time, both online and in real life. If you’re looking to get your first Android phone, or want to upgrade from your old-school G1, choosing the right phone has become quite a challenge. While having Android phones on all 4 major US carriers helps, there is still a wide range of phones to choose from, and it can get a little confusing. Some phones are blazing fast with huge, colorful screens, while others are underpowered and underwhelming to say the least. Which is why I decided to create this quick guide for the average person who may be new to the Android platform, or just doesn’t keep with with the incredibly rapid pace of innovation in the Android space. I’ll also list some phones you may want to avoid. (Unfortunately I can only do this for US carriers right now. Later on I may expand it to other countries.)

T-mobile:

Top pick: Samsung Vibrant.

T-mobile’s version of the Galaxy S phone is super fast, with an amazing 4 inch Super AMOLED screen which gives you all the benefits of AMOLED without the nasty sunlight visibility issues.

Runners-up: Nexus One, MyTouch 3G slide.

The 6 month old Nexus One is still my favorite Android phone, and currently the only phone officially running Android 2.2. If you want an unlocked android phone without all the carrier bloatware, this is still great choice. Hurry though, as Google announced they’re going to stop selling it once their current shipment runs out. Update: The Nexus One is no longer available at Google’s online store.

If the G1 is looking a little long in the tooth, but if you must have a physical keyboard, the MyTouch 3G slide is a great alternative. According to reviews, performance is surprisingly snappy, so it should be able to keep up with the big boys.

Avoid: Motorola CLIQ.

The CLIQ’s slow, last-gen CPU is even more bogged down thanks to the clunky MOTOBLUR UI. To make matters worse, the qwerty keyboard is poorly designed and not very usable.

Verizon:

Top Pick: Droid X.

Massive 4.3 inch screen, fast 1GHz CPU, and decent UI tweaks make this the best  phone in Verizon’s line up for now.

Runner-up: Droid Incredible.

If you think the Droid X is a little to big, the Incredible is a great alternative. A close cousin of the Nexus One, it offers a similar 3.7 inch screen and snapdragon processor, but unlike the N1, it runs HTC’s sense UI.

Avoid: Motorola Devour.

Like T-mobile’s CLIQ, the Devour suffers from the MOTOBLUR UI and poor keyboard design. If you must have a QWERTY keyboard on Verizon, get the original Droid or wait a few months for the upcoming Droid 2.

Sprint:

Top pick: EVO 4G

The only 4G phone currently available in the US has a gargantuan 4.3 inch screen, and it’s one of the few US phones with a front-facing camera for video chat.

Avoid: HTC Hero.

The Hero was a great phone in 2009, but it’s outdated now and has last-gen hardware which can be bogged down by HTC’s Sense UI.

Wait For: Samsung Epic 4G.

The Intercept and the Moment are both both decent, but slightly outdated phones. If you want a hardware keyboard, you’re better off waiting for the Epic 4G, Sprint’s Samsung Galaxy S variant with a hardware QWERTY keyboard.

AT&T:

Top Pick: Samsung Captivate.

Yet another Samsung Galaxy S series phone. Other than cosmetic differences (and at&t’s ridiculous choice to lock out non-market apps), it’s basically the same as T-mobile’s Vibrant.

Runners-up: HTC Aria, Nexus One.

The Aria’s screen is a little too small and low-res, but if you want a compact, easy to carry smartphone, this is the best choice right now.

Like I said before, the Nexus One is still a great phone, and if you want a pure Android experience this is still the best choice. Unfortunately you have to buy it unlocked to use it with AT&T, which means it could be too expensive for most. Also, like I said in the T-mobile section, Google is going to stop selling Nexus One from their online store. Update: The Nexus One is no longer available at Google’s online store.

Avoid: Motorola Backflip.

Yet another poorly designed low-end Motorola smatphone. The reverse-flip design is pretty interesting, but the Backflip suffers from an underpowered processor and the clumsy MOTOBLUR UI. In my opinion, it’s closer to a feature phone than a true smartphone.

So that about sums it up for now. The way manufacturers keep pushing out new Android phones this list may be obsolete much sooner than you expect, so I hope to post an updated guide pretty regularly.

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