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Yes, it's true.  Sprint's Palm Pre, in third place on PhoneDog's "Best Smartphones" rankings list since the very beginning, has been replaced by the Samsung Transform.  Why, you ask?  Transform's 800 MHz processor, front-facing camera, 3.5-inch screen, excellent physical QWERTY keyboard, Android 2.1 and Bluetooth 3.0.  Samsung brings high-end features to a mid-range device, and does so without the additional data charges. 

It was a hard decision to make, as webOS is one of the most revolutionary operating systems we've worked with (and webOS 2.0 is right around the corner).  But after almost two years in the public eye (CES, January 2009), the hardware and software is really beginning to show its age in today's fast-moving wireless world.

What do you think?  Check out the updated rankings list below, and as always, hit the comments with your thoughts!

Best Sprint PCS SmartphoneView full product info

1. Samsung Epic 4G

Pros
  • 4-inch Super AMOLED display is beautiful, and offers a balance between "way tiny" and "super huge."
  • 4G (WiMAX) connectivity.
  • Physical QWERTY keyboard is roomy, easy to use, and could appeal to the BlackBerry crowd.
Cons
  • Samsung's TouchWiz user interface, with its colorful icons and large print, isn't for everyone.
  • Battery life is poor.
  • For a flagship device, Epic's 5-megapixel camera pales in comparison to the EVO 4G, DROID Incredible, and DROID X.

Summary

As the second 4G (WiMAX) device available, the Epic 4G is part of Samsung's Galaxy S line.  With a 1 GHz processor, 4.0-inch display, and Android 2.1, it's an awesome addition to Sprint's smartphone lineup.  That said, it falls a bit short in the battery life department, and lacks the 8-megapixel shooter and the Android 2.2 update found on the HTC EVO 4G.

Second best Sprint SmartphoneView full product info

2. HTC EVO 4G

Pros
  • 1 GHz Snapdragon processor
  • Large 4.3-inch touchscreen
  • Mobile Hotspot with connectivity for up to eight (8) users
  • First 4G smartphone available in the United States
  • 8MP camera with 720p video recording capabilities, and additional front-facing camera for video calling
Cons
  • Battery life isn't the greatest
  • Sprint's 4G coverage is still limited to select markets in the US
  • Requires a $10 "premium data" add-on, even if you're not in a 4G market

Summary

With a 1 GHz Snapdragon processor, 4.3-inch display, 8-megapixel camera with 720p video recording capabilities, Android 2.2 with HTC's Sense UI, and 4G connectivity, the HTC EVO 4G is about as jam-packed as an Android device can get, and Sprint's current flagship unit.  Unfortunately, 4G coverage is still sporadic and limited to select markets in the United States, and EVO users are stuck with a $10 "premium data" fee regardless of the data coverage in their market.

Third best Sprint SmartphoneView full product info

3. Samsung Transform

Pros
  • 800 MHz processor and a 3.5-inch touchscreen
  • Excellent physical QWERTY keyboard
  • Front-facing camera for video calling without the $10 "premium data" charge that comes with the 4G devices
  • Bluetooth 3.0
Cons
  • Slow and laggy at times, thanks to Sprint ID's slow performance
  • Battery life is decent, but not great

Summary

The Samsung Transform goes up against quite a few great mid-range devices on Sprint - the Palm Pre, HTC Hero, and BlackBerry Curve 3G, just to name a few.  Where it pulls ahead of the pack and earns a spot in the "Best Smartphones" list is in the inclusion of a front-facing camera for video calling, Bluetooth 3.0 support, and a fantastic QWERTY keyboard.  In a nutshell, the Transform is the Epic 4G for those that want to avoid Sprint's $10 "premium data" charge.


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