2009's Top Android Smartphones
The real iPhone killers?
Kit of the Year From one handset in 2008, Google's Android has become one of 2009's fastest-growing smartphone platforms. HTC continued to support Android with some good new handsets, and Samsung made a good start, but we were particularly taken with offerings from the newer entrants, Motorola and Huawei.
Motorola Dext MB200
The Dext has a gorgeous touchscreen, a fine Qwerty keyboard, a good browser plus reasonable camera and good media players. User friendly, it offers plenty of potential for personalisation, along with growing range of apps and Motoblur's ability to keep you up to the second with your social networks.
After the last few years of underwhelming variations on a Razr theme, Motorola has made a serious attempt to knock back the doubters with the Dext and, in all honesty, we're a little surprised that it has come up with such a strong offering.
Read the full review
Reg Rating 85%
Price Free on two-year £35/month Orange contract
The T-Mobile Pulse is a terrific value Android smartphone for folk who prefer pay-as-you-go packages. Made by Huawei, it may not have the extensive re-skinning that other, more expensive Android phones flash around, but it still delivers a great user experience and has all the customisation flexibility this user-friendly platform allows. There may be some compromises - the camera, for instance - but with Wi-Fi, HSPA, Assisted GPS, a large touchscreen and a decent bundle of applications, the Pulse is far from light on functionality. All round, this Pulse takes some beating.
Read the full review
Reg Rating 85%
Price £147(PAYG) Free with two-year £27.50/month T-Mobile contract
The HTC Hero has a lot of things going for it, with an impressive multi-touch screen, easy-access social networking apps and Google's ever-evolving Android OS, which HTC has customised, adding a few tricks of its own. It's still not quite as straightforward as the iPhone in general use, and the music player would benefit from a few usability tweaks, but it's a fun smartphone that looks great and offers loads of possibilities – well worth checking out.
Best of the Rest
Samsung Galaxy i7500
Hero is NOT underpowered.
ALL of the Hero's UI lag issues were solved with the firmware update released a couple of months ago. Your main criticism of the Hero is no longer valid.
Hero & Eclair
The Hero will be getting Android 2.0 in the near future, that has been confirmed by HTC and is why they haven't released Donut for it. They are re-writing their Sense interface to work with 2.0.
Also the lag thing on the HERO - come on Reg, this was fixed a couple of weeks after your last review and you didn't update the review. I very rarely get lag on the Hero and as it has a multi-tasking OS you may need to close down som eother apps if it starts to stumble (doesn't the iPhone generally only allow 1 app + music at a time?).
Having used an iPhone and a Hero, I think that the Hero wins hands down. The widgets really make a difference - my home screen can give me a quick look at my e-mail, messages, upcoming appointments and weather without having to launch an application. As well as the seven desktops, you can also set up scenes to change your whole phone image depending on what you are doing. You could have a Games scence, a Navigation scene or a work scene and your desktops will all change to reflect it. Far better than pages and pages of icons?
I think you need to re-look at Android
Owning both an iPod Touch and a Hero I can honestly say the Hero UI beats Apples rather plain UI all over. No widgets or backgrounds? No real ability to customise where the icons are placed (just their order) it's pretty bad. Sure it brought in a new generation of smart phones, but it's not as good as many make out.
Same goes for the music player. I find the iPod Touch's rather bewildering. On such an advanced device why can't I rename a playlist _ON_ the device itself? Instead I'm forced to use the nightmare that is iTunes. In comparison the Hero's player is a doddle to use, I'm not following the "needs a few usability tweaks" at all, the only things it lacks are FLAC playback and quickly skipping through tracks, with the Touch lacking FLAC support as well.
The CPU is only underpowered if you use touchflo. Which is nice, but it's a bit slow. Drop back to the default Android UI and you lose minimal functionality (just a few customising and HTC-specific widgets for which there are replacements in the marketplace) and gain a lot of speed.
In short, the iPhone was nice a few years ago, but with the 1.5 release on the Hero, Android overtook it. It would be nice to have a few extra multi-touch features (since Android supports single-touch screens as well, the apps are based around this) but with the Hero you at least have the same pinch-to-zoom as on the iPhone for pictures and browsing.
As far as I know the Droid/Milestone is available already. So shouldn't it be somewhere in that list or at least be mentioned?
We need to invent a new law....
.... for articles with "iPhone killer" in the title. A bit like like Godwin's Law but for smartphones.