Consumer Reports Ratings of the Best Android Phones

consumer reports android ratingsBuying an Android phone this year?  Well now is the time because there is a stellar collection of Android phones available on all four major carriers. Despite the news that Verizon has the iPhone 4 now, we think there’s no better time than to stick it to Apple and buy an Android.  I’ve purchased a Samsung Captivate through Amazon Wireless and it remains one of my favorite Android phones.

The newest edition of Consumer Reports details Android phone ratings (among others) and lays out the best ones. Were going to run them down for you here.

Verizon

droidxMotorola Droid X

The Droid X is one of the biggest Android Phones around as it sports a 4.3″  screen. One cool feature is that is has the wireless hotspot functionality so you can serve up the Internet to 5 of your closest Wi-Fi neighbors.  It also sports a nice 8MP camera and an HDMI port so you can plug it directly into you TV or monitor to display hi-def content.

CR likes: the big screen
CR doesn’t like: heavier than most smartphones.

Price: $200 with a new 2 year agreement with Verizon Wireless. Currently $49 at Amazon Wireless: Motorola DROID X Android Phone (Verizon Wireless)

verizon samsung fascinateSamsung Fascinate

Part of the Galaxy S family, the Samsung Fascinate has a 6-axis motion sensor for great gaming performance and it also has a 4.9 MP camera and a fascinatingly (get it?) bright and easy to see screen.

It has all the standard Galaxy S features like GPS, bluetooth and 3G speeds.

CR likes: it’s thin and light.
CR doesn’t like: nothing.

Price: Again, $200 at Verizon, and $39 and Amazon Wireless – Samsung Fascinate Android Phone (Verizon Wireless)

Sprint

Samsung Epic 4G

sprint samsung epic 4gThe Epic is also a member of Samsung’s Galaxy S family, but is different in that it has a physical keyboard, making it a good choice for people who like to text a lot.

It features a Super AMOLED screen, which means is pretty easy to see in bright light.

The Epic also features Sprint’s super-fast 4G WiMax network, so you can download video and browse the web pretty much without waiting.

Finally, the coolest feature I think is the 720p HD camcorder.

CR likes: the sweet keyboard and bright touchscreen
CR doesn’t like: heavier than most

Price: It’s quoted at $199 at Sprint and the time of this writing, and $39 and Amazon Wireless – Samsung Epic 4G Android Phone (Sprint)

sprint htc evo 4gHTC EVO 4G

The EVO is the monster of the bunch, and by monster, I mean monster in features and in size.  It feels like a small, powerful computer in your hand.  The biggest, baddest feature is the beautiful extra large display with the front-facing camera for video chatting.  It also features Sprint’s $G WiMax network so it’s amazingly fast doing everything.

It’s got a kick-stand so you can prop it up to watch movies, and 8MP camera and an HDMI port to complete the package.

CR likes: the extra-large display
CR doesn’t like: the heaviness and size

Price:$199 after mail-in rebate at Sprint, $99 at Amazon Wireless – HTC EVO 4G Android Phone (Sprint)

T-Mobile

tmobile samsung vibrantSamsung Vibrant

The Vibrant, another in the Samsung Galaxy S brotherhood, has a large 4.0-inch, high-resolution, touch-screen display and a 4.9 MP camera.  It’s also capable of recording 720p high definition video.

One of the coolest features of all the Galaxy S phones is Swype, the keyboard entry method where you don’t even have to lift a finger, literally, to quickly input that you need.  With a little practice, Swype saves you loads of time.

To demonstrate its speed and how awesome the screen is, T-Mobile preloaded the Vibrant with the blockbuster movie Avatar.  Free.

CR likes:  Thin case, excellent screen
CR doesn’t like: Average voice quality, no camera flash

Price: $99 web-only at T-Mobile. $99 at Amazon Wireless with no activation fee – Samsung Vibrant Android Phone (T-Mobile)

tmobile google g2T-Mobile G2

The G2 is made by HTC, the same manufacturer of the EVO 4G on Sprint.  It comes a 3.7-inch, touch-screen display, and a very good slide-out keyboard for you people who like the tactile feel of a keyboard with real buttons.

One of the coolest features is that it’s one of the only phones to come with a built-in version of Google Voice.  Google Voice is a feature-rich web-based voice application that pretty much takes over your traditional voice mail application on your phone.  Among other things, it does voice command, voice dialing, and transcribes your voicemail for you.

The G2 also features a 5.0 MP camera which has a flash, autofocus, supports USB printing, and can record HD video.

CR likes: Bright screen, physical keyboard, Swype
CR doesn’t like: fair voice quality, heavier than most

Price: $199 at T-Mobile,  $129 at Amazon Wireless – T-Mobile G2 with Google Android Phone (T-Mobile)

AT&T

ATT samsung Captivate galaxy sSamsung Captivate

This is my favorite phone of the bunch.  It’s thin,  lightweight, and has a speedy 1GZ processor.  It has built-in Swype,  a 4.9 megapixel camera that takes brilliant pics and bluetooth for easy connectivity to accessories.

It’s big 4.0 inch screen is bright enough to read anything even in directly sunlight.  The first thing that people say when they see my captivate is how beautiful the screen looks.

It features Google Voice search, 2 finger pinch and zoom, bluetooth and up to 8 hours of talk time.  Like the other Galaxy S phones, it features a 720p high-definition video recorder that takes surprisingly detailed video.

CR likes: Intuitive navigation, responsive touchscreen
CR doesn’t like: no voice activated dialing, lacks camera flash

Price: $149 at AT&T, $19 and free shipping at Amazon Wireless – Samsung Captivate Android Phone (AT&T)

ATT HTC AriaHTC Aria

One of the smaller Android phones on the market, the HTC Aria is the perfect phone for those of us want something lighter. It has a 3.2-in touch-screen display that’s large enough to handle most tasks and it takes great pictures with its 5.1 megapixel camera.

The Aria is the phone that my wife uses and she loves it.  It easily integrates with all of Google services and it features the HTC Sense interface, which makes navigation on the phone super easy.

Typing on the smaller screen is easier than you’d think as it features vibration feedback. The voice quality is exceptional as with other HTC Android phones.

CR likes: Strong social-networking integration
CR doesn’t like: no hard-copy user manual, no camera flash

Price: $129 at AT&T, $0.01 and free shipping at Amazon Wireless – HTC Aria Android Phone (AT&T)

Final Conclusion

These are fun times to be a tech-savvy consumer, as we are seeing much more competition in the smartphone market with Android devices leading the way.  Consumer Reports points out in the piece that this explosion in Android phones has resulted in higher quality devices, lower prices, and more choice for the consumer. We encourage readers to shop around, since most of the carriers don’t offer the lowest prices on the devices they are selling.

Happy Shopping!


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