Color variety, Simplified Android experience
Sporting an outstanding outright price of $179 for the base model, it's something many people believe to be mind-boggling. Just when we thought $349 for the Nexus 5 was pretty darn good, but this obviously takes the cake. It's unlocked, there's variety with its color casings, and the Android experience is also easy to understand, so it's hard not to like it. All told, Motorola is defining what it means to be an entry-level player.
Great value, Decent screen, Slick interface, Android 4.4 incoming
Motorola is back folks, it's official. It may not be the return we would have predicted - there's no flagship phone stuffed full of the latest tech - but arguably what the now Google-owned firm has done is even better.
The Moto G is a top notch, low cost smartphone and we wholeheartedly recommend this as the best budget mobile currently on the market.
A Google phone for the masses. At long last. Nothing like the enigmatic Nexus, drip-fed through the Play Store, attractively priced but hard-to-get.
OK, go ahead and call the Moto G the poor man's Nexus. Just don't call it cheap. For what it has to offer, this phone is beyond cheap - but doesn't look it. And definitely doesn't act like one, for the most part. Bottom line, it's the Nexus 7 of smartphones - perhaps even better.
Killer price for an unlocked smartphone, Fast next-generation CPU and GPU
Google has delivered an impressive smartphone with the Nexus 5 from LG, an unlocked powerhouse with a palatable price and solid performance, and the new Android 4.4.1 KitKat update largely fixes the phone's initial camera problems.
Great screen, Low price, Blazing performance
Although the issues we take with the Nexus 5 are considerable, they're not enough to keep us from recommending this device.
One of the issues we have, which is the lackluster camera, might be resolved with a software fix. And even if it were a minor fix, it's not so bad that you'll never be able to take good photos with it.
What really gets us here is what we're not used to seeing, and that's a device with these kinds of specs at this price point.
Impressively spec'd smartphone at a bargain price
It's a year since Google made a splash with an impressively spec'd smartphone at a bargain price. The Nexus 4 wasn't a financial success perhaps but making a profit off selling hardware is rarely the first thing on Google's mind. The pure Android experience was the major selling point and getting more people into their cloud services must've been worth the investment - the Nexus price is clearly subsidized, the way Amazon subsidizes its Kindle tablets so it can make profit on selling content.
Great features at a low price with no contract commitment
The Nexus 5 isn't the best smartphone on the market. In fact, there isn't a "best phone", because folks' needs are different: some want a small phone, others want lots of software features and still others want a phablet or a pen. The Nexus 5 is undoubtedly the best smartphone you can buy for just $349 full retail. It has a great mix of features for the price including a very fast CPU, a sharp full HD IPS display and the promise of always running the latest OS.
Pros: Value for money, display.
There's a lot packed into the Nexus 5, particularly given the £299 and £339 pricepoints for 16GB and 32GB respectively. For that money, you get a display that rivals devices that cost some £200 more, and a chipset that is, in many cases, more powerful. In addition to that, you have a Nexus device, meaning it's uncluttered by bloat and first in line for Android updates.
The Samsung Galaxy S III is a spectacular phone. A big part of what makes it spectacular is its incredible specs sheet. Yeah, although its specs can easily be rivaled by strong competitors like the HTC One X, which also has a quad-core processor and the other beloved tech goodies, the Galaxy S III manages to shine brighter, thanks to its superior user experience.
Excellent battery life
So to summarise: if you've been waiting feverishly for the new Samsung Galaxy S3, you will not be disappointed. It's fast, it's sleek and it packs the latest technology that will get your pulse racing.
The recent update has made it an even better phone, and we've been using it out of choice for the last few months - given we've got the choice of most handsets out there, that's a pretty big recommendation for any phone.
Good design and build quality
Subject to further testing, the Galaxy S3 has turned out to be an excellent smartphone. It offers a good design and build quality, despite our small niggles. Samsung has put together an impressive set of hardware resulting in silky smooth performance and extensive software features.
Fast, big display and a great camera
Is the Samsung Galaxy S III an excellent smartphone? Yes it is. Given the millions of preorders, I suspect many of you would buy this no matter what I said about the phone. That speaks of Samsung's momentum in the smartphone market and their excellent track record. Is this Samsung's best Android phone ever? Yes it is, but there is room for improvement. I'd love to see Samsung use high quality materials and cutting edge designs in their top tier phone.
Clean, complete, and thought-out interface
Undeniably, Verizon Wireless customers are surely lucky because the Samsung Galaxy Nexus managed to make its landing this year as opposed to being delayed to next year. Who cares that the carrier missed out with a Galaxy S II model of its own, well, customers have consolation knowing that the Galaxy Nexus makes for a wonderful alternative seeing it's the first device stateside to land with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.
We already knew more-or-less what we were getting with the Verizon rendition of the Galaxy Nexus, and ultimately it delivers. Yes, battery life predictably takes a hit compared to the HSPA+ when you enable LTE, and it's safe to say this version of the phone has a bit more to love than the earlier release, but neither of those are deal-breakers. This, like the other version, is a great phone.
Fantastic qHD display, blazing LTE speeds
If you can look past the battery life on the Motorola RAZR DROID, or opt to disable LTE, then it is a darn near perfect cap to the 2011 smartphone season - and I include the Google Galaxy Nexus in that. This phone has made me much less interested in Google's coming Ice Cream Sandwich wunderkind.
But the battery issues on "true" 4G devices are real, and there's not a Verizon LTE phone available that can make it through a day of reasonable use without a charger.
Stand-out design, materials and build quality
Overall, the Motorola DROID RAZR is indeed a device that'll tangle with the juggernauts in the industry especially when it's packing that all too sweet 4G LTE connectivity with Verizon Wireless. Sure it operates smoothly with its movements, but we're curious to see how its real-word battery handles in the long run. For the $299.99 that Big Red is asking for, it's obviously warranted considering it's everything that we find with the DROID BIONIC, but better!
Super slim yet solidly built
The Motorola Droid RAZR XT910 certainly isn't perfect with its slightly too large body, inelegant raised bezel and pentile AMOLED screen but it has so many other qualities that put it above the competition that on balance it's one we recommend. The screen is dazzling and great for watching video, which the phone excels at playing, there are some great software features and, sure, it's impressively slim too, if you like that sort of thing.
The Droid Razr Maxx greatly improves upon what was perhaps the biggest weakness of the Droid Razr: battery life. If you plan on watching a lot of video or doing some heavy duty gaming on your phone, the Razr Maxx is a good match for you. If you're looking to save money, however, you might opt for the original Razr; it costs $100 less than the Razr Maxx.
No doubt, the Motorola Droid RAZR on Verizon is one of the most unique and sexy phones we've seen. And despite its extreme thinness, it's strong with the help of a metal frame, Corning Gorilla Glass and a Kevlar back. But it's a wide phone, and I suggest that you fondle one in person unless you have large mitts. The phone might be too wide for comfort for those who have smaller to average size hands.
So has Motorola succeeded in reclaiming the prestige that once belonged to the RAZR brand? Unequivocally, yes -- the handset is just physically stunning. It's thinner than almost any phone on the market and makes no sacrifices to attain its slim physique. It's solidly constructed from premium materials like diamond-cut aluminum, Gorilla Glass and a sheet of super-slick Kevlar. Few phones out there can even be put in the same category when it comes to build quality.
Finally a Straight Talk smart phone that uses Verizon!
I got this as an upgrade to the Samsung Galaxy Precedent, which was also through Straight Talk. It used the Sprint network and reception was very spotty to say the least. The Proclaim is one of the first ST Androids to use Verizon's towers and it makes a world of difference! 3G is faster then ever and, so far, I haven't been in an area where I didn't get a signal. The Proclaim comes with 1 gig of internal memory and a 2 gig card that can be upgraded.
Updated HTC Sense UI 3.5
If you like the plum color, then you should take a look at the HTC Rhyme, as it offers a lot, including the new HTC Sense 3.5 interface, 5MP camera, good call quality and battery life. But we can't help but think that some people will be turned-off by the plum color, and would not consider the Rhyme because of it, despite it being a good phone otherwise. Because of this, it would be nice if the Rhyme were available in a few other color choices to appeal to a broader audience.
Speaker dock is a nice addition
At its most basic level the HTC Rhyme is a nice handset. It's simple design is lovely, it has enough performance to get by, and the included speaker dock is a nice addition. However, the Charm accessory and headphones don't really add much to the package, and given you do pay a small premium for them it becomes hard to recommend this phone. It's a perfectly decent mid-range handset, but no bargain.
Sleek and stylish Android phone
The HTC Rhyme Android phone might have intended to target females, but this sleek and stylish Android phone is good enough to appeal to a broader gender base. Excellent build quality, slick software and a generous amount of included accessories -- the best being the docking station make the Rhyme an excellent smartphone for anyone, though we do wish it was a tad faster.
Hardware is beautiful
When the HTC Rhyme first arrived on the scene, Verizon's major focus seemed to be on the marketing angle rather than the meat of the phone. Widely understood to be a lady phone, the Rhyme's promise as a piece of hardware got lost amid stereotypes painting women as ditzes who need a sparkling light to find their phone underneath tubes of lipstick. Surprisingly, HTC has adamantly denied that this is a phone geared towards women.
Very good battery life
I really wanted to love the HTC Rhyme -- even though the techie in me wanted to be insulted by the idea of a phone specifically aimed at women, my heart did melt a little when I first opened up the box and saw that sleek purple exterior. The charging cradle, headphones, and call indicator dangle are great additions to the overall package, but unfortunately the phone itself failed to deliver in key areas.
Ample amount of RAM provide quick performance
The Motorola PHOTON 4G is a bit of a return to form on Sprint for the brand with the "bat wing" logo. It is a solid phone with very little to complain about. While I would love to see a better camera and longer battery life, neither were so bad as to put the PHOTON 4G into the reject pile. Despite the sluggish tendencies of Motorola's interface, the dual-core processor and ample amount of RAM provide quick performance for almost all tasks you can throw at it.
Large, crisp and vibrant qHD display
The Motorola Photon 4G makes a very strong case for being the best phone in Sprint's lineup. It certainly has the horsepower with the Tegra 2 dual core processer, 16GB of memory and brilliant qHD display. The 8-megapixel camera with 720p recording performed well enough to double as a point and shoot for most people. The battery life and call quality was well above average, and overall the build quality and design is very well done.
Google Android smartphone
Despite its fairly pedestrian hardware design, the Photon 4G should appeal to anyone looking for an Android smartphone that stands a good chance of being allowed access to the corporate network - but you do need to be something of a propeller head to get it working consistently in the UK. The 4G WiMax capability isn't worth spending money on, given its virtual non-deployment in the UK and the basic questions about WiMax's future, but the device itself is perfectly good.
Powerful and versatile smartphone
The Motorola Photon 4G is one powerful and versatile smartphone, boasting a first-rate industrial design, brilliant display, excellent gaming performance, and a sharp (albeit sluggish) camera. The HDMI mirroring works smoothly, and those looking for desktop-like functionality can spring for the HD Station dock. Mobile professionals will appreciate the global roaming capability--though not the cost of roaming--as well as the Exchange support and security features.
Sharp and large qHD display
The Motorola Photon 4G is Sprint's latest top tier Android smartphone. It runs Android OS 2.3.4 Gingerbread on a dual core Tegra 2 1GHz CPU. The Photon is both a world phone with GSM for roaming overseas and a WiMAX 4G phone. Reception is above average on Sprint's network for both 3G and 4G, though WiMAX coverage is still spotty and Sprint's 3G EV-DO Rev. A network is slower than the other three big US carriers.
Impressive battery life and solid performance
With its stunning display, impressive battery life and solid performance, the Photon 4G comes very close to dethroning Samsung's mighty Galaxy S II as king of the Android hill. This is simultaneously Motorola's and Sprint's best handset ever -- it takes everything we praised about the Droid X2, adds WiMAX support, a global GSM / HSPA radio and WebTop capability, then wraps it up in a much sleeker package.
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