Top 5: Taylor's top five Android phones (June 2011)

Taylor Martin
 from Concord, NC
Published: June 3, 2011

I made my first top five Android list back in April. Knowing good and well that some of the hottest phones were on the brink of release, the past list was bound to become irrelevant in no time. Here we are at the beginning of June and most of those phones have been released. This caused me to completely change my top five Android phones. 

So of all the Android phones that are out now, which are the best of the best? My top five Android phones for the month of June are as follows:

1. Samsung Galaxy S II

I honestly never though I would see the day that I ranked a Samsung phone as number one on any list. I've never been a fan of TouchWiz or the materials their phones are made of, which typically consists of a ton of plastic. But the Samsung Galaxy S II is simply too sweet to just write off based on past experiences. It is equipped with a 1.2GHz dual-core Exynos CPU, a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus display and the revamped TouchWiz 4.0 (which I actually enjoy ... a lot). On top of that, it is one of the few Android phones that has shipped with Gingerbread.

Not only are the specs and display drool-worthy, the build quality is great, too. It is still made primarily of plastic, but it feels great in the hand without requiring reinforced pockets. On top of that, the problem with most 4.3-inch smartphones is that they are bulky. At a mere 8.5mm thick, the Galaxy S II is everything but bulky. Unfortunately, if you want this device right now, you will have to buy the international version, unsubsidized for roughly $785. It is, however, rumored to be coming to Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint this summer. Stick it out, if you can.

2. T-Mobile G2x by LG

Many were wary of a newcomer to the high-end smartphone game, but LG hit the ground ready to run with the big dogs with their G2x. Also known as the Optimus 2X, this was the first dual-core smartphone in the world. On top of that, the G2x is has an 8-megapixel camera capable of shooting full 1080p video, it runs stock Android (2.2, for now) and comes with HSPA+ capabilities.

If you're on T-Mobile and not waiting on the Sensation, I would strongly recommend the G2x, especially if you're a purist who loves their Android vanilla-flavored.

3. HTC ThunderBolt (Verizon Wireless)

In my last list, the HTC ThunderBolt, easily took the number one spot by being the first LTE phone. Not being equipped with the latest and greatest in terms of specs, the title was bound to be short-lived. Nonetheless, it remains on my top five Android list based purely on network speeds and gorgeous hardware.

The ThunderBolt touts an 8-megapixel rear shooter with 720p video recording, a 4.3-inch Super LCD display, a Dobly Surround Sound speaker around back and it ships with a 32GB microSD card. Pairing that with Verizon's blazing fast LTE network makes the ThunderBolt one of the more powerful media-centric smartphones out there. Just don't buy one expecting to make it through a full day without charging as the battery life isn't exactly the best.

4. Google Nexus S 4G by Samsung (Sprint)

The Nexus S is hardly a new device. It originally launched in a T-Mobile 3G version back in December. But more recently, the device launched on Sprint in a 4G (WiMAX) version. Being the current Google device, the Nexus S 4G is the most tightly-knit Google experience you can get out of any phone available. In fact, it also comes with carrier supported Google voice as the stock voicemail method.

Though it may not top any lists based on specifications alone, the Nexus S 4G is still a slick device that is blazing fast – even with its single-core processor. Other trinkets of goodness that this phone is oozing with is NFC capabilities, just in case the market for NFC ever takes off, and a beautiful Super AMOLED display. If you want fast updates, the Google experience and an all around smooth performing phone, the Nexus S is calling your name.

5. Motorola Atrix 4G (AT&T)

Making a list of the top five Android phones is always difficult, especially considering how quickly things change and how specifications and actual performance vary. But I think the hardest spot to fill is the bottom of the list, number five. There are so many phones that could fit this spot, it's nearly impossible to give it up to just one. But since I can't cop-out and leave you guys and gals hanging, I decided to give it to the Atrix 4G on AT&T's network.

Like I've said plenty of times before, this bad boy should be up top with its heavyweight spec sheet. But being the best phone and being the best on paper are two completely different things. The Atrix has some of the best individual components you can find in a phone and even some crazy gimmicks like a biometric fingerprint scanner integrated into the power button. However, Motorola's custom skin, MOTOBLUR, has earned itself a bad rep for being not-so-beautiful and inducing random, intermittent lag. And considering the fact that this phone is stuck on Froyo, the dual-core processor isn't even being accounted for. Once the Gingerbread update comes around for the Atrix, it might just jump up a spot or two on my list.