It’s that time of year again, when we bring you the look at the top five phones on each carrier. We’re kicking it off with a look at the top five phones on AT&T and are including devices that are only available right now. Before we get started, you should know that (at the time of publication) AT&T is currently offering 50 percent off of any of its smartphones that cost $199.99 or less, provided that you’re willing to trade in a relatively new device of your own.
As a side note, we understand that choosing a phone is primarily an opinion of taste. We’re not going to go out on a limb and say Android is better than iOS or vice versa, we’ll let you decide that, and for that reason alone this is a list that should be considered as a whole, not in any particular order. In other words, if you’re looking to upgrade or move to AT&T, take a look at these devices and choose which one fits your lifestyle best.
The HTC One is regularly regarded as one of the best Android smartphones on the market right now. HTC went out on a limb by experimenting with several new features, including an all-aluminum unibody design, a 4-Ultrapixel camera in place of a higher megapixel camera, and several other features including Sense 5, BlinkFeed, Boom Sound stereo front-facing speakers and more. The quality is immediately noticeable the second you pick up the HTC One; it’s easy to navigate with a single hand, the speakers are amazing, and its Utlrapixel camera takes fantastic “Zoe” shots that can be compiled into a highlight reel that includes both short video clips and photos. It offers the best design of any Android phone on the market, though if you want a jumble of other features you may want to consider the Galaxy S4, too.
Samsung Galaxy S4
The Samsung Galaxy S4 is so loaded with features that users originally complained Samsung added too much to the phone that it limits available space. The features are half gimmick and half awesome, though. SmartStay keeps the phone on while you’re looking at it, AirView lets you check calendar events, text messages or emails without touching the screen and SmartScroll lets you scroll through Web sites or photos with a simple hand gesture above the display. Better yet, you can quickly toggle all of these options right from a massive control panel that sits just off of the notification shade. The 5-inch HD Super AMOLED 1080p screen is insanely beautiful to look at – it almost looks fake at first – and its camera provides tons of options. Battery life is excellent, too, so you can really take advantage of everything the Galaxy S4 offers without worrying about a dead phone. A model with a faster Snapdragon 800 option is rumored, and you might want to consider the Galaxy S4 Active if you’re frequently around water or rugged terrain.
LG Optimus G Pro
Looking for a phablet that’s easier to use with one hand? Look no further than the Optimus G Pro. We fell in love with the phone’s snappy performance, thanks to its quad-core Snapdragon 600 processor, and love the gamut of software options that includes QSlide for accessing more than one app at once on the homescreen, QuickRemote for controlling your TV, Air Conditioner, Blu-Ray player and more. It also has a gorgeous 5.5-inch 1920 x 1080-pixel HD IPS display with a sharp 401ppi that’s perfect for viewing movies or scrolling through photos. The device might look too big for some, but it’s slightly slimmer than the $199 Galaxy Note II and has custom keyboards for typing with a single hand. At just $99 with a new two-year contract the amount of hardware you get for the price is unmatched.
How can we forget the iPhone 5? The device may soon be replaced by the iPhone 5S, but it’s still a top contender and worthy of any top smartphone list. The device is starting to show its age compared to Android, but thankfully Apple already announced and released a beta version of iOS 7, which will breathe fresh life into the phone this fall. iOS 7 will add support for AirDrop, a new quick settings panel that’s accessible from the bottom of the screen, Siri enhancements and an entire “flatter” user interface revamp. The iPhone 5 currently costs $199.99, but you can find discounts from Best Buy or other retailers, which often sell the phone for as little as $149.99. It’s available in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB models and offers a 4-inch 1136 x 640-pixel display that’s still one of the best for one-handed use.
Galaxy S4 Active
The Galaxy S4 Active recently arrived in our offices and we’re already in love with it. The phone offers most of the features that the Galaxy S4 does, but has a lower-resolution 8-megapixel camera instead of a 13-megapixel shooter. That sacrifice isn’t too big of a deal when you consider that the Galaxy S4 Active is water and dust proof. Yes, you can take this phone in the shower or go for a dip in the pool and snap photos underwater with its Aqua mode, so long as you don’t dive under 3-feet or leave it in the water for longer than 30 minutes. Samsung also swapped out the HD Super AMOLED screen for an LCD panel, but the Gorilla Glass adds more strength so it can withstand drops better than the original S4. The housing is slightly thicker, but we love the shiny teal model that AT&T is currently offering. If you plan on being around water this summer, the S4 Active should be a no-brainer.
There are several phones that are rumored for AT&T in the coming weeks and months that you might want to consider before making a purchase. We expect Apple’s iPhone 5S this fall, Nokia’s 41-megapixel EOS phone could come as soon as July 11 and the Galaxy Note III is expected during IFA in September. You may want to consider waiting three months to see what hits AT&T’s shelves, though we strongly believe you’ll be very satisfied with the choices above, too.