Here we are, flying past the midpoint of August and just like that, it's just about time for classes to be kicking back into action any time now. It's time to clean the sand and beach towels out of your book bag, only to replace them with paper, binders, pencils and three or four textbooks that weigh as much as you do.

Heading back to school and waving goodbye summer can be hard. No fear, though! We here at PhoneDog have you covered. The perfect smartphone can help you along the way, either by providing entertainment between classes with pointless YouTube videos and games or by offering an easy way to capture all your notes with productivity apps. Without further ado here are my top five Android handsets for Back to School 2011:


1. Photon 4G (Sprint)

The Photon 4G is the newest addition to Sprint's smartphone lineup and I must say, it has left me impressed. Packing a 4.3-inch qHD (540 by 960 pixels), 8-megapixel camera, 1GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual-core processor and 1GB RAM, the Photon 4G is one serious contender. It isn't the most beautiful phone to date. In fact, it looks a lot like the Motorola i1 (iDEN) Android phone. And the display, though it sports a higher resolution, can show some gruesome pixelation at times.

Despite a few hiccups along the way, the Photon has proven its worth and packs its punches where they really matter: performance. Its direct competition, the EVO 3D suffers from intermittent lag – something that should not be present on a dual-core phone. The Photon, equipped with a little extra RAM and lighter UI changes takes the cake. It currently sells for $199.99 with a two-year agreement.


2. HTC Sensation 4G (T-Mobile)

One of HTC's newest flagship phones, the Sensation 4G, launched on T-Mobile's network back in mid-June. Sporting a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, an 8-megapixel camera with 1080P video recording capabilities, a 4.3-inch qHD S-LCD display (540 by 960 pixel resolution) and 768 MB RAM, the Sensation comes with one of the best spec sheets around. It is a monster of a phone, packed into a light, thin chassis, with hardware that teases the famed Nexus One.

That said, this bad boy also comes with HTC's latest custom Android skin, popularly known as Sense 3.0. Sense has been the deemed responsible for “lag that no dual-core device should have.” Respectably priced at $199.99 with a two-year agreement, the Sensation is the phone for you, if you're on T-Mobile and you can deal with unnecessary lag. Likewise, if you're on Sprint, you should check out the Sensation's close WiMAX relative, the EVO 3D.


3. T-Mobile G2x by LG

The T-Mobile G2x, made by LG, was quickly one of the best phones on the market. Just as quickly, it slipped down to the middle of our top smartphones list. The G2x ships with a 1GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual-core processor, a 4-inch LCD display, 8-megapixel camera with 1080p recording, 512MB RAM and stock Android, which easily puts it ahead of most single-core devices.

I've been using the G2x as my personal device for several months now and it has performed well. It's slim, with decent build quality and I love stock Android. But the battery life is definitely lacking and the camera, despite being 8-megapixels, is mediocre at best. With a little extra effort from LG, this device could have been the phone to have. Instead, it sits comfortably at the midpoint of my top five Back to School list.


4. Motorola DROID 3 (Verizon Wireless)

The latest entry in Verizon's ever-popular DROID line is the DROID 3. It's a beautifully designed phone with a full five-row, slide-out QWERTY hidden beneath the face of the device. With a 4-inch qHG TFT display, 1GHz TI OMAP dual-core processor, 8-megapixel shooter and 512MB RAM, the DROID 3 is a fair upgrade from its predecessor, the DROID 2.

Let me just say that the keyboard found on the DROID 3 alone is enough to place it on my Back to School list. Several Android manufacturers have tried their hand at landscape QWERTYs to no avail. This aspect alone is a success and a major improvement for Motorola.

Although slightly smaller, the DROID 3 shares the same display type as the Photon 4G, in which you may see some pixelation due to the PenTile (RBGW) layout. But the standby time is mind-blowing and the keyboard is absolutely fantastic – I would rate it the best in the business, excluding BlackBerrys. It's a powerhouse of a phone and with minimal changes to the UI, it's fairly snappy. Currently selling for $199.99 with a two-year agreement, the DROID 3 is a great choice for Back to School.


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

Bringing up the back of the pack is the famed Nexus S in its 4G variation on Sprint. The Nexus S 4G comes equipped with a 1GHz Hummingbird processor, a 4-inch Super AMOLED contoured display, a 5-megapixel camera, NFC and 512MB RAM. Spec-wise, this thing should have long been forgotten, but this isn't your run-of-the-mill Android. Being a "Google" phone, the Nexus line is far less susceptible to obsolescence, thanks to rapid software updates from Google and bleeding performance.

Despite being a lightweight in the specification department, the Nexus S 4G has some unique features that give it an air or superiority. Samsung's Super AMOLED display is beautiful. Some argue the displays are too saturated, but there's no denying it makes Android pop like no other. The Nexus S 4G is also guaranteed to be among the first to receive any phone-related updates from Google. Not to mention, it's extremely easy to modify and has unsurprisingly gained the attention of third-party developers all around. It may not be the biggest and baddest, but Google nor Samsung were pulling their punches with the Nexus S. This phone is availble on Sprint for $99.99 with a two-year agreement and can be purchased in 3G versions for T-Mobile and AT&T.

Don't forget to VOTE! Each week, PhoneDog Fans vote for their #1 smartphone in the Official Smartphone Rankings. Vote now and contribute to the industry's most relevant weekly ranking charts

Products mentioned in this Article

eBay prices for the HTC Sensation 4G

Related posts

Comments & discussions  

78 Reactions to this post

"What are your Top 5 Android smartphones?"

Please limit your reaction to 140 characters or use comments for a longer reply :)
Thanks for your participation! :)

Jakob Kocijancic
Jakob Kocijancic where is samsung galaxy s II?????
Jayvone Jones
Jayvone Jones HTC HD2
Sean Mccoy
Sean Mccoy DROIDX. DROID 3 htc incredible 2. Thunderbolt. Possible the bionic
Ron McKenna
Ron McKenna really like my Inspire 4g with gingerbread
Morgan Hill
Morgan Hill HTC Inspire.
Kristopher Davis
Kristopher Davis Wow this reviewer is a bum..photon first and no EVO3d ..stupid..and he talks about lag in the EVO..mine has zero lag..and my friends photon is garbage compared to my EVO 3d
Frank Lazar
Frank Lazar If you really want to chuckle pity those who are now buying Windows 7 Mobile phones.
Tom Parker
Tom Parker As reality sets in for you delusional people, the iPhone is the only way to go. I'm still chuckling at the topic.
Tom Parker
Tom Parker I didn't know there was a top android phone.
Nahyaab Shaikh
Nahyaab Shaikh It's all about the photon
Flako Ramirez
Flako Ramirez Wooo htc eris best oh wait wrong phone lmfao im waiting on SGS2 or Bionic
Tyran Bamn Gray
Tyran Bamn Gray I'm really loving my T-Bolt.
Kevin Calderon
Kevin Calderon Infuse 4g, droid charge, droid 3, damn the iPhone needs to run android. I think I'm going to buy a gooapple. One of the best iPhone 4 replicas out there and it's running android. Check it out!
Niels Swimberghe
Niels Swimberghe Galaxy s2 fcourse! Htc sensation, galaxy s
Brandon Sorto
Brandon Sorto Galaxy s2, nexus s, htc sensation, evo 3d, htc thunderbolt
Micah Madru
Micah Madru 1. Galaxy s2 2. Nexus S 3. Nexus One 4. Droid 3 5. LG G2x
Jacob Brown
Jacob Brown Lg thrive, inspire, captivate, atrix, infuse
Omar Tortorella
Omar Tortorella MT4G; although stock software sucks, but root & flash the MT4G's canadian counterpart's rom + a custom kernel ("HTC Panache" - same phone as MT4G, just runs true HTC Sense) & this phone is unbeatable... People may not know this but the MyTouch 4G & the Thunderbolt have alot of the same insides, from the exact same processor to the exact same battery. Yet the MT4G gets better battery life IMO
Sachin Gurung
Sachin Gurung Galaxy S2..nthing can beat it ryt nw...
Joe Gates
Joe Gates Generic. The differences are minimal. Buy something distinctive like an iPhone, BlackBerry or Pre. Don't follow the herd.
Ron Scott
Ron Scott Galaxy s2 LG G2x Sensation 4g Photon Mytouch 4g slide
Kenny Ray
Kenny Ray HTC Sensation, Evo 3d, Galaxy s2, mytouch 4g slide, and photon 4g.
Sandy Chin
Sandy Chin Galaxy s2, droid charge, infuse, Vibrant, Epic
Anthony Washington
Anthony Washington 1 sensation 4g 2 gs2 3 photon 4g 4 bionic 5 charge
Daniel Rocha
Daniel Rocha 1. HTC Sensation 2. EVO 3D 3. My Touch 4G Slide 4. LG G2x 5. Motorola Photon 4G
Ricardo Lopez
Ricardo Lopez nexus prime htc vigor motorola dinara
Itsok Imawelder
Itsok Imawelder android never was never will be a smart phone. its a free readily available platform for phone makers. my standard feature phones does apps, is it a smartphone??? dont forget who the real smart phones were, palm, bb, nokia N series, Wm, those are the real one. not the a different phone, same software deal like now
Zach Cline
Zach Cline Ehh can't really say. I'm not a fandroid, I'm on the droid x - Had the droid incredible before and android honestly just doesn't do it for me, I'm rooted and i've tried several custom roms along with being stock and it just hasn't impressed me.
Kirk Shannon
Kirk Shannon Its ALL about the Samsung Infuse!
Prabhath Jay
Prabhath Jay sensation s2 astrx
Anonymous it goes like this: 1. HTC Sensation 4G 2. Samsung Galaxy S2 3. Motorola Photon 4G 4. HTC HD2 (all android-ed and everything) 5. Samsung/T-Mobile Sidekick 4G
Valeria Kiss
Valeria Kiss Galaxy S2
Carlos Quinones
Carlos Quinones 1) Photon 4g 2) Galaxy S2(is most likely the best but I'm reserving judgement until I can get a hands-on feel,.. but from footage and scores, it seems no other phone can touch this beast) 3) Sensation(my phone) 4) G2x(would be the best if it had an HD screen of some sort) 5) Nexus S
James Armando Bazan
James Armando Bazan HTC inspire
Shawn Poling
Shawn Poling 1) nexus s 2) inspire 4g 3) droid x 4) droid 3 5) samsung charge
Nathan Shoup
Nathan Shoup Love my photon! Glad to see its number 1
Brent Legendre
Brent Legendre i dont think my any of my top 5 favs are android phones
Joanna Enrique Ramos
Joanna Enrique Ramos Mytouch 4g slide htc sensation galaxy S 4g
Gerald Dawkins
Gerald Dawkins 1st phone must be out, sensation,evo3d,droid charge ,infuse.and g2x. Using a sensation now.
Brian Edwards
Brian Edwards (Followup from above) Then again I'm biased with the Infuse, I make the OC/UV kernel. :P
Equaknox Knox
Equaknox Knox Evo 3D-4G..Droid 3..Samsung gs2..n iphone5...nuff said.....
Kimberly Shrewsberry
Kimberly Shrewsberry Infuse 4G
Cesario Brito Jr.
Cesario Brito Jr. Top phones of 2011..... 1. Galaxy S 2 2. Photon 4G 3. G2X 4. Infuse 5. Droid Charge Thats my list so far. Subject to change.
Jozef Sakac
Jozef Sakac GalaxyS2 Sensation
Tony Frank
Tony Frank i'd just buy the iphone 5 when it comes out
Bill Stack
Bill Stack I just want one that doesnt reboot all the time. BB storm did it, now the DX does it. Two cans and a string might work. With a 4.5" screen if course.
Tim Fuhrmann
Tim Fuhrmann Can't say that I even know 5 people with Android phones anymore. Last Android phone I had was the MyTouch 3G Slide, for about a month then sold it, and it definitely wouldn't be in any "Top phone" list.
Alberto Garcia Flores
Alberto Garcia Flores No one knows when or which career will release the phone. Verizon and AT&T will probably get it and hopefully will hear news about when is coming to the US within the next month.
Alana Hass
Alana Hass Droid 3 Droid X and Thunderbolt
Rani Hinnawi
Rani Hinnawi Evo 3D Galaxy S2 Photon 4G Thrill HTC Sensation
Alberto Garcia Flores
Alberto Garcia Flores Galaxy S II HTC EVO 3D MY Touch 4G Slide Droid Charge Motorola Photon Samsung Infuse 4G
Andrew Prince
Andrew Prince iPhone 4, iPhone 5
Jaime Andrade
Jaime Andrade Droid charge, g2x, evo 3d,HTC thunderbolt, phantom
Mo Kim
Mo Kim when is this galaxy s2 coming out for verizon?
Stephen M. Knipe II
Stephen M. Knipe II Atrix Sensation Inspire Droid HD Bionic
Derrick Wimberly Jr.
Derrick Wimberly Jr. HTC Inspire 4G
Jason Ditangco
Jason Ditangco Samsung infuse 4G baby.
Luis Valentin-Zeno
Luis Valentin-Zeno HD2 (oyea)--HTC Ruby, Sensation 4G, Droid X2, Droid3, HTC HOLIDAY!!
Chris Bridges
Chris Bridges myTouch 4G, SGS2, Sensation, MI-One, Ruby
Michael Balk
Michael Balk G2x is the the best phone I've ever seen
Wutthichai Rit-Uan
Wutthichai Rit-Uan Samsung s2
Ace MiracleBaby Aniton
Ace MiracleBaby Aniton Droid X2, Thunderbolt, Charge!!!
Yuvi Love
Yuvi Love nokia 3310 Motorolla startac Ericsson t series
Rafael Enrique Garces
Rafael Enrique Garces Evo 4G
Marco Arreola Ruiz
Marco Arreola Ruiz Motorola ATRIX Htc inspire DROID 3 Samsung epic Evo 3d
Basil Fearrington
Basil Fearrington Evo 3D, Photon, Atrix, Thunderbolt, Charge
Candida L. Brown
Candida L. Brown Droid x2 'with gingerbread'
Avi Patel
Avi Patel the moto cliq 2 should be on there!
Aydemir Ilker
Aydemir Ilker No love for the Samsung infuse? Love it
Dan Drzewicki
Dan Drzewicki The 3D should be number 1, or at least 2... I've used the Photon and it's alright, but I don't think it really beats out the 3D
Noe Zuniga
Noe Zuniga Sensation!!!
Domanick Dibiaso
Domanick Dibiaso Incredible 2 an I got the ipone 4 to
Brian Edwards
Brian Edwards Hate to say it, but even though it doesn't have GB at the moment, Infuse deserves to be there over the Nexus S due to better 4G and bigger screen....
Jose Ocampo
Jose Ocampo Photon 4G Evo 3D Samsung Charge Droid 3 Samsung Epic 4G(amazing keyboard!)
Wyatt Slate
Wyatt Slate Inspire Inspire Inspire Inspire Inspire
Shannon Smith
Shannon Smith Love my Photon, had a Evo 3d. I definitely upgraded.
Chris Mack
Chris Mack EVO 3D deff needs to be on that list hands down
Daniel Galletti
Daniel Galletti Evo 4g Samsung galaxy s2 Evo 3d Thunderbolt 4g Samsung droid charge

Most popular Videos
Most popular Videos
Most popular Videos

Most popular Reactions
Most popular Reactions
Most popular Reactions

This weeks "People's Choice Rankings" best smartphones
People's Choice Rankings

See all hot devices