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Updated on 6 August 2014 by Krishna Pérmi
The ReviewGist list of the 'best AT&T Android cellphones' is narrowed down to the cellphones which support the AT&T's GSM network and run on the the latest versions of Android operating system.
While AT&T offers iPhones and based on other operating systems, many of the company's most popular models run Google Android. Buying a high-end Android phone without a contract can cost you a small fortune. However, if you purchase an Android phone from AT&T, chances are good you can find a deal on some of the best models available. Therefore, if using a truly high-end Android phone interests you, review the below list of the best ones available for AT&T subscribers.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 was, and still is, the fastest selling Android smartphone of all time; thanks in no small part to its gorgeous display, slim design and blistering quad-core performance. The Galaxy S5 builds on the best features of the S4 -- the camera, screen, performance and battery life -- and adds a couple of new and unique features.
Samsung Galaxy S5 comes pre-installed with Android 4.4.2(KitKat) which is the latest version of Android as of this article. The only downside is that this Android version, though latest - is customized by Samsung. Quite a few reviewers have called out on this additional bloatware which makes the operations slightly sluggish.
With the Galaxy S5, come the much anticipated thumbprint scanner and the not-so-well-known heart rate monitor. The thumbprint scanner is a security feature that enables you to use a fingerprint to secure and unlock the phone versus a pin code or pattern. The heart rate monitor, on the other hand - well, it measures your rate during walking, running or other types of exercise.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 is a top rated buy with a ReviewGist score of 98%. Expert reviews are overwhelmingly positive, with an average rating of 4 stars from some of the top 8 review sources including GSMArena and PCMag.
Almost all reviewers are pretty happy with the screen/display with only PhoneArena reporting that the colors are slightly unbalanced. The Camera gets top marks as well. Surprisingly most of the reviewers are overwhelmingly negative about the fingerprint scanner - they find it gimmicky and a hassle to use. Even without the fancy new features, though, the Galaxy S5 is a beast of a performer that offers unbelievable talk times and battery life. Dig deeper into what the reviewers are saying at the Galaxy S5 ReviewGist page here.
On the street, an unlocked Galaxy S5 will set you back $600 to $700 depending on if you purchase the 16GB or 32GB model. If you're an AT&T customer, though you can pick up an S5 for a steal at $199 and $299 for the 16GB and 32GB models respectively. Of course, to take advantage of the great AT&T deals on an S5, you must lock in with a 2-year contract.
Based on the aluminum uni-body style of the HTC One M7 -- which captivated the market and set a new standard in smartphone design - the new M8 is even more beautiful than its predecessor. Although the M8 does not win the award for best overall phone on every single review site, it wins the "most stylish" or "most beautiful" phone award virtually without fail.
Another area where no other phone comes close to the M8 is audio playback. The front-mounted speakers of the HTC One M8, coupled with the dual integrated amps for each driver, produce sound that rivals even the most expensive MP3 and music player devices.
Similar to the Samsung S5, the M8 also comes with the latest Android OS version - 4.4.2/KitKat. However, the big difference is that HTC does not slap on additional bloatware and the interface is mostly pristine Android. What is added is the Sense 6.0 interface, which surprisingly adds on to the native Android interface to make it more fluid and intuitive. This has been specifically called out by multiple reviewers as you can find in the ReviewGist for One M8.
With a ReviewGist score of 98% and an average rating of 4.5 stars, the HTC One M8 is rated favorably across all departments across all reviewers. While the HTC One M8 does not offer the best screen, fastest processor or largest resolution digital camera, it performs extremely well in all those areas. Nevertheless, there are a couple of areas in which the HTC One M8 plays second chair to no phone - style and sound.
The only glaring shortcoming of the HTC M8 - is the battery size. At 2600 mAH, it comes a tad lower than the 3000 mAh which has now become the benchmark for the top Android lineup of 2014. Check out how reviewers rated the HTC One M8 in detail at the ReviewGist page here.
As good as the M8 is -- and it is indeed one of the best Android phones available -- the HTC phone is very expensive if you buy it without a contract. In fact, only a few smartphones cost more than the $749 price tag for an unlocked HTC One M8. Again, though, if you're willing to subscribe to a 2-year contract, you can save a bundle. As of the date of this article's publication, AT&T is offering the 16GB HTC One M8 for a mere $199 ($299 for the 32GB model) with a 2-year commitment. If you order the phone and plan online, you can even get free shipping if you order one soon.
When LG released its new G2 flagship smartphone in September 2013, its unique design took the market by storm. A few review sites make the case that the G2 is the best Android phone currently available as of May 2014. While that claim is up for debate, the LG G2 boasts enough high-end features that it certainly deserves to be a contender among the best.
The first thing that jumps out at you with the LG G2 is its unique placement of the power button and volume keys. Instead of placing the buttons on the side of the G2 (as with other phones) LG opted to situate the primary buttons on the rear of the unit just below the main camera lens. While the layout may seem awkward at first, many users report that the placement of the buttons makes the phone easier to use.
While the button placement itself is enough to set the G2 apart from other smartphones, the LG phone offers some other very impressive performance specs. For instance, the LG G2 has a huge 5.2-inch display that supports the highest HD video resolutions, 2GB of RAM and an ultra-fast 2.26GHz Snapdragon processor. If that's not enough, the phone supports all popular connection modes and sports an impressive 13MP camera. The LG G2 though comes with a slightly older version of Android - 4.2.2/Jelly Bean, though it must be said that KitKat has only slightly more improvements over Jelly Bean so this should not be a big deal.
The LG G2 bags a respectable ReviewGist score of 90% with an average rating of 4 stars across 7 different expert reviewers. The screen, handling and hardware are all top-notch. What stands apart is the battery, which scores an impressive 3000 mAh. The LG G2 is bogged down by its speakers though, which seemed just adequate to some and below par to most reviewers.
The LG G2 is spendy and will set you back about $600 if you buy one off contract. With an AT&T 2-year contract, you can purchase the LG G2 for the subsidized price of $199 at any authorized outlet or dealer. For a limited, though, AT&T is offering a "Web only" special that enables you to get the phone for free if you sign up for a two-year plan online - the deal even includes free shipping. This promotion is current as of May 2014, but is subject to change at any time.
The above mentioned AT&T promotions are for new customers. However, if you're already an AT&T subscriber, you may be able to save even more money with customer-retention promotions designed to keep you from jumping ship and switching carriers. Therefore, if you're an AT&T customer and your contract has already expired (or is about to) you have nothing to lose and a lot to gain for asking for a sweet deal on the Android phone of your choice.