Aaron's Top 5 Android phones - December 2010

Aaron Baker
Writer from  Dallas, TX
| December 29, 2010

What's the best Android phone on the market today?  It's a question that I'm asked on a regular basis, and like any "what ___ should I buy?" question, it's tough to answer.  Furthermore, it's totally dependent on what YOU need.  Keyboard?  Epic 4G or G2.  Big screen?  EVO 4G.  Speed speed speed?  myTouch 4G.  In traditional PhoneDog style (at least every few weeks - what can I say, I'm forgetful), I'm proud to present my "Top 5 Android Phones" list for December 2010.

Now, when you look at this in June of 2011 and are all like "this sucks!," it's important to note that this list is effective for late 2010; at the rate which Android devices are launching, it'll change next week.  Not to mention that we're revving up for CES, so who knows what will be out in the coming weeks. 

Whether you agree or disagree with me, I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.  Let me have it below!

Aaron's Top 5 Android Phones - December 2010

1. T-Mobile myTouch 4G

Once reserved for the EVO, the myTouch 4G has edged into the first place slot.  Its 1 GHz next-generation Snapdragon processor consistently outranks any other Android device on the market in speed tests, and has an exceptional feature set.  Android 2.2, HTC's Sense UI, a front-facing camera, and a 5-megapixel rear camera make this a great device for the Android beginner or the advanced user. 

Though the 3.8-inch display is nothing special and may be on the small side, colors are incredibly vibrant.  Plus, it's one of two T-Mobile smartphones to offer HSPA+ connectivity so you can take advantage of those 4G speeds (if you're in an HSPA+ market).

2. HTC EVO 4G - Sprint

Remember when the HTC HD2 launched?  Consumers loved the roomy 4.3-inch display, but everyone I talked to had high hopes for an Android variant.  Enter the HTC EVO 4G.  Six months after launch, the EVO 4G remains one of the best Android devices on the market.  In addition to the 1 GHz processor, 8-megapixel camera, 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera, and Android 2.2, it was Sprint's first 4G phone.

Hardware aside, support after the sale is equally important, and Sprint has been very proactive about pushing updates to the EVO 4G.  It was one of the first non-stock devices in the US to receive Android 2.2, and chances are good that it'll get Android 2.3 at some point in the future.  It's not without its faults, though - it doesn't have a high-resolution display, the battery life is less than desirable, and its 4G status means it requires Sprint's $10 "Premium Data" fee.

3. Google Nexus S - Unlocked

As the new "Google Experience" device, there's a lot to like in Samsung's Nexus S.  It's powered by a 1 GHz processor, packs Android 2.3 (Gingerbread), and offers a beautiful 4-inch contoured Super AMOLED display.  It's not as far ahead of the pack as the Nexus One was when it launched, but it certainly holds its own in today's Android lineup.  Departing from the Nexus One's metal build, the Nexus S sports an all-plastic housing.

Like any other device, it has its own set of issues.  It lacks a notification light, doesn't shoot 720p video, and takes considerably longer to charge than its competitors.  What's more, it's a lofty $529.99 sans contract, and while the decision to sell it at Best Buy provides more exposure than Google's webstore, the lack of availability in T-Mobile retail stores could hurt sales in the long run.

4. T-Mobile (HTC) G2

Powered by an 800 MHz next-generation Snapdragon processor, the G2 zips through everything with ease, and offers a phenomenal QWERTY keyboard to boot.  For those that prefer vanilla Android, the G2 comes with a near-stock build of Android 2.2 (Froyo), and sports a 5-megapixel camera that's capable of shooting 720p video.

The phone offers HTC's new "Z" hinge, but the real highlight of the G2 is the physical QWERTY keyboard.  It's personal preference, but the G2 is the best physical QWERTY I've used on a cell phone.  The island keys are incredibly tactile and easy to type on, but if you text message upside down in bed, you'll be frustrated with the loose hinge.

5. Samsung Epic 4G - Sprint

The Epic 4G is one of Samsung's Galaxy S devices, and the second 4G phone on Sprint.  Like the EVO, it's packed with a 1 GHz processor, front-facing camera, and a 5-megapixel camera, but takes it a step further by offering a 4-inch Super AMOLED display and physical QWERTY keyboard.  The biggest downside is that it's still running Android 2.1.  At this point, it's unacceptable that Samsung hasn't pushed Android 2.2 to the Galaxy S line of devices.  They've promised that it would be available "by the end of the year," but unless it rolls out within the next two days, they're going to miss their self-imposed deadline.

That aside, it's an awesome phone, and the QWERTY is my second favorite after the T-Mobile G2's.