Ten... Premium Android smartphones
Product Round-up Android handsets have been steadily stealing Apple’s smartphone thunder for a while now, due in part to their variety – the range runs the gamut from cheap and (not very) cheerful to the heights of the very latest technology. This round-up pulls together the latter type, with the very best on offer from the major manufacturers. Some offer Android in its raw form, but most have been augmented with additional user interfaces and designer tweaks. They’re all deliciously different and offer a snapshot of the state of the art in Android development – be prepared for high-end cameras, retina-searing screens, dual-core processors, HDMI connections and much, much more.
Google Nexus S
So many manufacturers are making an effort to make their Android handsets distinctive these days with standout user interface and features that if you want the unadulterated Android experience, you’ve pretty much got to go to Google. The Nexus S reminds you that, lovely though many of the accoutrements can be, Android itself is a pretty high bar to start from, and what’s more, it should be the first handset to receive OS upgrades. The phone itself is made by Samsung and looks very close to the original Galaxy S, clad in neutral glossy black plastic. It has a startlingly bright 4in Super AMOLED touch screen with 480 x 800-pixel resolution, a 5Mp camera that produces better than expected pics, and 16GB of onboard memory, though there’s no microSD slot to add more. When originally reviewed, this phone clocked up an 85 per cent rating, but the competition has improved since then. However, it’s still worth a look, especially if you like your Android pure or just want a hi-spec smartphone for a good deal less than the top dogs, if you shop around.
Reg Rating 70%
More Info Google
HTC Desire S
The updated ‘S’ version of HTC’s compact little wonder is slightly smaller than the original at 115 x 60 x 12mm and uses the company’s aluminium ‘unibody’ casing, which gives it a classy look, if a slightly cold feel. The 3.7in touch screen offers a decent (if not exceptional in this company) 480 x 800-pixel resolution and the power management improvements to Android 2.3 help to keep the single-core 1GHz processor skipping speedily through the apps. It has a 5Mp camera, so not at the forefront of HTC’s not particularly impressive range of snappers, and there’s an additional 1.3 Mp camera on the front for video chat. While there’s no HDMI link, you can still transfer video to your TV with Wi-Fi using plug ‘n’ play DLNA technology.
Reg Rating 80%
More Info HTC
Next page: HTC Incredible S
Am I being too picky?
All of my friends, every single last one of them, thinks my continued use of Nokia phones is now an unhealthy obsession. And while they all admit that an iPhone is a little on the basic side for me they all continuously push various high end Android phones at me. And with this article I thought I would finally be able to see which ones could be in line to replace my N8 if I give in and jump ship. But. What on earth is going on with these camera's? I had assumed that by now that most of the device makers would of struck deals with Carl Zeiss or someone similar to build them some proper phone camera's. OK so some of them record video at higher resolutions than on my N8 but I'm much more interested in the stills quality, and as far as I'm concerned the video quality from my N8 is not in anyway shape or form bad. I'm not exactly a professional photographer but I do really like having my N8 with me and being able to trust in it's camera abilities. My second point. HDMI out. Does any Android phone come with a standard HDMI mini output socket? What about an adapter to link said socket to a full size HDMI cable in the box? Why no mention of USB on the go features? How many of these support this? I have a 16GB card inside my N8 with music etc. but as far as movies, TV series and podcasts go I have those on a pair of 64GB USB memory sticks. And it's such a boon being able to play whatever I feel like off of one of these. Even when out and about it makes for a commendable entertainment hub. It seems as if everyone has a 2mm Nokia charger in their house, and as the HDMI out also pumps out Dolby Surrond sound up to 5.1 out, my N8 has been plugged into several amp's, plug in either a memory stick, or a powered external HDD and give it a charge and off you go! And don't get me started on Ovi Maps. Although I will now concede that Sports Tracker is out for Android as well now.
Many of my friends say I'm not "getting" the whole point of Android. But I thought the whole point of getting one of these high end devices was that as well as making phone calls and sending text messages etc they also offered all the latest advances in terms of hardware. Or am I really not getting the whole point of Android?
Exactly the same.
Came from a Desire to the S2, and I'm seeing better battery life. The screen's got a lot to do with that I think, no power to the black areas and all that. It's an amazing phone.
Wonder what'll be available...
...when it finally comes time to replace my Nexus One? I think I've probably got at least another year's good use out of it before it's retirement time. I hope by then Google have returned to asking HTC to make their flagship phones.
I really hate the design of all the Samsung models - they're ugly, and feel cheap and flimsy. I rather like HTC phones, but hate Sense. And of course I want to be sure to get OS updates as soon as Google release them, as I've become accustomed to on my N1.
If you are going to list that many phones...
...then we need a chart listing all with frequencies, CPU, RAM, SD Card size, battery life (talk and standby), screen res, etc. Half those phones will not work on my network and I need to know those things to make an informed choice.
I travel a lot and need a "World" phone. From your review I have no idea which ones will fulfill that.
It's not THAT bad
"Meanwhile my antique candybar Nokia 2310 will last the full week, and even makes those, you know, phonecall things..."
If you use a smartphone only for calls and texts it will also last much longer than one or two days. They are not all the same with standby power needs and background apps sucking power but basically these things run down their batteries that fast because you do so much more with them.