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Months ago, AT&T informed us that they would be moving away from their reliance on the iPhone and branch out their smartphone lineup to offer a plethora of Windows Phone 7 and Android devices. With this movement, a handful of drool-inducing phones have been announced and released.

It should come as no surprise that the two most recent smartphone releases on AT&T have made our list. What may baffle some though, is the order in which they have been ranked. You may argue that the specs of the Atrix 4G outweigh those of the Inspire, and they do. On paper, the Atrix bests the Inspire in many different areas. For instance, the 4-inch qHD display, its Tegra 2 dual-core processor, and 1GB of RAM would theoretically propel this bad boy to the top. However, this shows that being the best of the best in terms of specifications isn't always everything. Sometimes great build quality and a smooth experience are of more worth than over-the-top specs.

Nonetheless, both of these phones are great devices and definitely deserve their spots on our list. They may not have been enough to oust the eight month-old iPhone 4 from its top spot, but they definitely give it a run for its money. The question now is: will they be able to withstand the barrage of the several upcoming handsets headed to AT&T? The Samsung Infuse 4G poses quite a threat and – based on rumors – so does the next generation iPhone.

What do you guys and gals think? Will the current list remain unchanged for months to come? Or will something else come down the AT&T pipeline and best one, or all, of these phones?

Best AT&T SmartphoneView full product info

1. Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket

Pros
  • Offers a killer 1.2 GHz dual-core Exynos CPU, and is incredibly smooth and lag-free
  • Samsung's TouchWiz 4.0 UI is a night-and-day difference from previous builds, and can compete head-to-head with HTC's Sense and Motorola's UI
  • Feature set is fantastic, and it's nice to see it available in subsidized form
Cons
  • AT&T's version has a 1,650 mAh battery, and it struggles to make it through the day with moderate use
Summary

After sixteen months, an Android smartphone has knocked the iPhone 4 out of the top spot (until the iPhone 4S, at least).  The Samsung Galaxy S II is the best Android smartphone out there at the moment, and it's nice to see it available in carrier (and in subsidized) form.  AT&T's Galaxy S II closely resembles the international version and users in some killer specifications like a 1.2 GHz dual-core Exynos CPU, 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus display, 8-megapixel camera with 1080p HD recording, and Android 2.3 with Samsung's TouchWiz 4.0.  It won everyone over at Mobile World Congress, and based on AT&T's current lineup, it's the best smartphone available right now.
Second best AT&T SmartphoneView full product info

2. HTC Vivid

Pros
    •    iPhone 4 builds on a successful formula with a thinner, more luxurious design, higher resolution display, and improved camera paired with a front-facing camera and video-calling software
    •    Improved wireless radio (reception) and better voice quality thanks to dual-mic noise cancellation
    •    Best HD video capture from any mobile phone we've ever tested
    •    Out-of-the-box iTunes compatibility bests offerings by any other mobile platform
    •    Battery life is impressive

Cons
    •    "Death Grip" issue has led to widespread reports of severe signal loss when phone is held a certain way

Summary

Despite its highly publicized antenna problems, iPhone 4 is one of the best smartphones on AT&T. Whatever you think of Apple's approach to smartphones, iPhone 4 is incredibly thin, has the best display ever to grace a mobile phone, and serves up state-of-the-art media capabilities. Some will prefer an Android phone because they prefer Android, and as of right now, the Samsung Galaxy S II offers a better combination of features. For everyone else, though, iPhone remains the smartphone to beat.

Third best AT&T SmartphoneView full product info

3. Apple iPhone 4S

Pros

    •    4-inch qHD display looks nice, and strikes that perfect balance between the "too small" 3.7-inch displays and the "too big" 4.3-inch displays.
    •    First phone to offer NVIDIA's Tegra 2 dual-core processor
    •    With the option of a laptop dock, multimedia dock, and more, Motorola has created a great accessory ecosystem
    •    Android 2.3 and Motorola Applications Platform update make the Atrix 4G a whole new phone

Cons

    •    Somewhat cheap, plasticky feel
    •    Camera is only 5-megapixels, though picture quality appears to be better than Motorola's 8-megapixel devices

Summary

Forget the dual-core 1 GHz dual-core NVIDIA Tegra 2 CPU and 4-inch qHD display.  Thanks to Motorola's old user interface - MOTOBLUR - the Motorola Atrix 4G suffered from a terrible amount of lag when it launched in March.  Thankfully, the recent Android 2.3 update completely rectified the issues that the device was facing.  The lag issues from the past have been completely resolved, and the phone zips through anything thrown at it.  With sideloading enabled, Gingerbread installed, and a much-improved build of Motorola's UI on board, the Atrix 4G is finally ready for primetime.  Combine the updates with a fantastic accessory ecosystem and a powerful spec sheet, and the Atrix 4G moves past the HTC Inspire 4G to become the second place smartphone on AT&T.


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