Holiday Guide: Best Android Smartphones

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Holiday Guide 2012Google’s operating system for smartphones is the most popular available by a wide margin — it was on 75% of all smartphones shipped in the third quarter of this year.

There are many companies that make Android handsets, as Google gives it away for free. Still, a few companies have risen to the top, including Samsung, HTC, and Motorola.

There are Android-based smartphones available from Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular — virtually every telecom. There is a huge range of options at different price points, but not every device is available from every carrier.


#1 Samsung Galaxy S III


Samsung Galaxy S IIISamsung Galaxy S III might be the best smartphone available today, no matter which operating system it runs. It’s a very powerful device, and one that’s widely available, both in the U.S. and around the world.

It has a 4.8-inch, 1280 by 720 pixel touchscreen — larger and higher resolution than most of its rivals. In all out testing, it has always demonstrated very good performance.

 The Galaxy S III is offered by all of the Big Four U.S> carriers, as well as U.S. Cellular. The base model typically sells for $200 with a two-year wireless service contract. 

Rating Average: 9 out of 10

Read the Samsung Galaxy S III Review

#2 HTC One X



HTC One XThe HTC One X is a bit like Salieri to the Galaxy S III’s Mozart — it’s a very good smartphone, but one that is a bit overshadowed by its more popular rival.

This device sports a 4.7-inch 1280 x 720 (720p) display, an 8 megapixel rear-facing camera, 16GB of storage, and other high-end features.

It is an AT&T exclusive, where it sells for $100 with contract.

Rating Average: 9 out of 10

Read the HTC One X Review

#3 Samsung Galaxy Note II


Samsung Galaxy Note IIThis is a harbinger of things to come. Smartphones have been steadily increasing in size, and the Note II is ahead of this trend, offering a 5.5-inch touchscreen with a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels.

Another thing that sets this device apart from the crowd is its stylus and a collection of stylus-friendly apps. It also has a 1.6 GHz quad-core processor and an 8MP camera.

The Note II is already available from Sprint and T-Mobile. Versions for AT&T and Verizon will be available soon.

Rating Average: 8 out of 10

Read the Samsung Galaxy Note II Review

#4 Motorola Droid RAZR MAXX


Motorola Droid RAZR MAXXAlthough not the newest model available, the Droid RAZR MAXX has one really outstanding feature: the best battry life around. This model can go for days and days without needing a recharge.

This model is built around a 1.2 GHz dual-Core processor, with 16 GB of internal storage and a 16 GB microSD card. Its 4.3-inch display has a 
960 x 540 (qHD ) resolution, and there is an 8.0 megapixel rear-facing camera.

The Droid RAZR MAXX is a Verizon exclusive, where it sells for $200 with contract.

Rating Average: 9 out of 10

Read the Motorola Droid RAZR MAXX Review

#5 Google Nexus 4


Google Nexus 4Looking ahead, a model that’s likely to become a hot seller when it is released is the Google Nexus 4. This is going to be the device Google recommends developers use, as it will be the first to receive every new operating system upgrade. 

Its 4.7-inch display with a 1280 x 720 resolution will be about average for a high-end devce. The device will also house a 1.5GHz quad-core processor.

It is definitely headed for T-Mobile, and might be offered by other carriers as well.

Want to know which models are tops in the minds of Brighthand’s readers? Check out our Most Popular Smartphones list, based on traffic across our site!

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