It’s that time of the year again! Every quarter we want to bring you the top five Android smartphones on the market, and now it’s time for our July report. We recently published the top 5 smartphones on Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile, though those were not split up by platform. Since there are a bevy of Android smartphones flooding the market at any given time it just makes sense that we compile a quick and easy list.
We’re going to gravitate toward the high-end here. Sure, there are plenty of mid-range and entry-level Android smartphones that are a great buy and that we recommend to plenty of people, but we’re talking the best of the best right now. We’ll even toss in a few wild cards at the end, because as you very well know the mobile industry is moving incredibly quickly right now. In just a few months this list will indeed change. Thankfully T-Mobile and AT&T have introduced new plans that allow us, the core enthusiasts, to upgrade more often. Right?
The HTC One is still a crowd favorite, especially around the TechnoBuffalo offices. It offers an incredible aluminum unibody design, a high-end Snapdragon 600 processor clocked at 1.7GHz, a 4.7-inch display that’s not too big for using with one hand and a full 1080p resolution, the best sounding speakers in mobile, Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, Sense 5 and more. Our favorite part of the One is its stellar 4-Utltrapixel camera that can capture quick Zoe clips and photos and compile them into a highlight reel – it’s amazing for compiling a 30-second clip of a vacation and HTC recently added new highlight filters with a recent update to Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. No, it doesn’t have expandable storage, but that’s a small drawback for the drop-dead gorgeous industrial design. Sprint, T-Mobile and AT&T all offer the HTC One, but Verizon will start carrying it this summer. Want something more pure? Check out the Google Edition HTC One.
Are you a feature buff? Then look no further. The Galaxy S4 offers nearly every feature we could ask for – so many, in fact, that it seems like we still stumble across new options. It offers a svelte design, though it’s made of plastic instead of a high-end material. Samsung opted to allow for expandable storage and a removable battery, which makes the S4 the better choice over the HTC One if those are concerns to you. The S4 packs a 5-inch 1920 x 1080p Super AMOLED display that’s so pleasant it almost looks fake. It runs Android 4.2.2 and packs a 1.9GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor, 2GB of RAM, a 13-megapixel camera – again, with more options than you could ask for – a 2-megapixel front-facing camera and excellent battery life thanks to its 2,600mAh battery. Better yet, the Galaxy S4 is available on all major carriers in the U.S. and there’s even a Google Edition available, which means there’s a model for everyone.
LG Optimus G Pro
The Optimus G Pro on AT&T was a sleeper surprise, but it’s such a great phone that it’s more than worthy of a spot on this list. It packs wireless Qi charging out of the box, a 1.7GHz quad-core processor, a 13-megapixel camera, a 2.1-megapixel front-facing camera, an IR blaster for controlling everything from your TV to your air conditioner, a great 3,140mAh battery, 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage that can be expanded using a microSD card. The 5.5-inch display is huge, but the Optimus G Pro is still easy to use with one hand thanks to keyboard software tweaks made by LG. It also comes with the ability to run multiple apps at once, including a calculator, a calendar and LG’s video viewer. Better yet, it’s just $99 with a new two-year contract, which makes it one of the more affordable devices on this list. We told you it was a sleeper powerhouse!
Samsung Galaxy Note II
The Galaxy Note II has been on our top 5 list for a while, and for good reason, because it’s one of the best phablets we’ve ever used. It also exists in the U.S. as the only device with an S Pen, or a stylus as most people refer to it, which adds an extra level of control and a top-notch note-taking experience. Like the Optimus G Pro, you can run multiple applications at once – though Samsung has enabled support for plenty of third party apps, too, including Chrome and Facebook. The device will still cost you a pretty penny, about $299 with a new two-year contract, but it’s still a solid buy for big-screen enthusiasts that find themselves jotting down notes all of the time. You’ll get a 5.5-inch screen with a 720p resolution, an 8-megapixel camera, a 1.6GHz quad-core processor, a solid battery and much more. You might want to hold out if you can, however, since the Galaxy Note III could land as soon as September.
Sony Xperia Z
The Sony Xperia Z received a best of CES award from us this year and we still stand by our claim. It recently launched on T-Mobile for $99.99 down with 24 monthly installments of $20 each. It runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, is resistant against water (up to 3 feet for 30 minutes – take it in the pool!), and offers a 5-inch screen with a full 1080p HD resolution. Other features include a 13-megapixel camera, 2GB of RAM, a battery saver mode for milking as much life out of the device as possible, HD Voice on T-Mobile, Wi-Fi calling support and expandable storage. T-Mobile is also offering a free wireless speaker with the Xperia Z right now, so you may want to act fast if you’re looking to spruce up your audio kit.
There are so many new phones coming down the pipeline that we wouldn’t be surprised to see a few of these devices knocked off the list in the coming months. The HTC One Mini and HTC One Max could debut in the near future, the Galaxy Note III is rumored for a September announcement, and Motorola has been aggressively teasing the Moto X for a while now. Then there’s the possibility of the RAZR Ultra and RAZR M Ultra, which are also rumored from Motorola in the coming months. As we mentioned earlier, too, if you’re an Android purist you might want to consider the Galaxy S4 Google Edition or the HTC One Google Edition, both of which will get the latest Android updates earlier than most other devices. There’s a lot to choose from, for sure, but as always there’s always so much to look forward to.