Taylor's Top 5 Android phones (April 2012)

Published: April 13, 2012

It feels like my last Top 5 Android list was just the other day. (It was actually just over one month ago.) Nonetheless, it's time for another. A lot of devices have hit shelves and become official since last month and have shaken up my list quite a bit. With so many high-profile devices on the horizon, though, I'm sure this list will only be relevant for a few weeks at most.

But I would be copping out if I didn't create a list every time devices were around the bend. (I'd never get to make a list!) So, without further ado, these are currently my top five Android phones:


1. Samsung Galaxy Note (AT&T)

The Galaxy Note is one huge device – it barely fits in my pocket. But I love its size. It comes with a giant, 5.3-inch HD Super AMOLED display that is perfect for viewing media, touchscreen typing and browsing the Web. Packed with an LTE radio, the AT&T version of the Galaxy Note comes with 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon (MSM8660) chipset, 1GB RAM, 16GB built-in storage with a microSD card slot, an 8-megapixel camera, 2-megapixel front-facing shooter and a giant 2,500mAh battery.

In terms of software, the Galaxy Note is (unfortunately) still running Android 2.3 beneath Samsung's TouchWiz interface. It also comes with a smart stylus, which Samsung has appropriately dubbed the S Pen, which has its own SDK so developers can take full advantage of the Note's extra features.

The downside to the Note is that battery isn't great. The LTE radio and large display are great at chewing through the battery quickly.

The Galaxy Note is available through AT&T for $299.99 with a two-year agreement, and is rumored to be coming to Verizon Wireless and possibly Sprint in the future.


2. HTC One X (AT&T, Unlocked)

The One X is HTC's flagship in their new One series. It's an attempt to put them back on the map and propel them back into the running for the king of Android.

So what's on the inside? Well, there are a few different versions of the One X. The features that all models share is a 4.7-inch 720p Super LCD2 display, an 8-megapixel camera with ImageSense technology and ImageChip, a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera, 16GB built-in memory and 1GB RAM. The AT&T version comes with LTE connectivity in tow, and trades an NVIDIA Tegra 3 for Qualcomm's Snapdragon S4 chip. Both, however, come with an 1,800mAh battery, while Sprint's version, the EVO 4G LTE comes with the S4 and a 2,000mAh battery.

Officially, none of these are available in the States yet. But the global version of the One X (the one with a Tegra 3 processor) is available through eXpansys sans contract. AT&T's version of the One X isn't expected to launch until early next month and the EVO 4G LTE pre-orders will begin May 7th.


3. Samsung Galaxy Nexus (Verizon Wireless, Unlocked)

If you're in search of the purest vanilla Android experience possible with rapid updates, your best bet is the Galaxy Nexus from Verizon Wireless or the unlocked version. It comes with stock Android 4.0 and should be first in line for the next version of Android, believed to be called Jelly Bean.

On the inside, the Galaxy Nexus sports a 1.2GHz dual-core TI OMAP chip, a 5-megapixel camera capable of 1080p recording, 1.3-megapixel shooter around front, 1GB RAM and a beautiful, 4.65-inch HD Super AMOLED display. The global version comes with a 1,750mAh battery while the LTE version on Verizon Wireless sports a 1,950mAh cell.

The Achille's Heel of the Nexus, though, is the camera. It's far from the best on the market. And battery life isn't exactly as great as it could be. Still, the Galaxy Nexus is one of the nicest handsets on the market. It can be purchased through Verizon Wireless for $299.99 with a two-year agreement. The global version can be purchased without a contract, unlocked, and is compatible with both T-Mobile's and AT&T's HSPA+ networks.


4. DROID RAZR MAXX by Motorola (Verizon Wireless)

If battery life and your phone lasting through the entire day on a single charge is your main priority, the DROID RAZR MAXX is the phone for you. Instead of putting battery life on the back burner, Motorola made it the main feature of the RAZR MAXX. It touts a giant 3,300mAh battery that our own Aaron had a difficult time trying to kill in a single day. (You can hear more about that in the above video.)

Other than an enormous battery, the RAZR MAXX features a 4.3-inch qHD Super AMOLED Advanced display, 1.2GHz dual-core TI OMAP chip, 8-megapixel camera, 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera, 8GB storage and a 16GB microSD card included, 1GB RAM and LTE connectivity.

With only 256 pixels per inch, the display on the RAZR MAXX isn't quite as clear as some of the competing devices. For contrast, the One X has 315ppi and the iPhone has 326ppi. But if battery life is what's important to you, the stamina of the RAZR MAXX should more than make up for the not-so-crystal-clear display. It is currently available for $299.99 with a two-year agreement with Verizon Wireless.


5. HTC Rezound (Verizon Wireless)

Last is the HTC Rezound. It's stay at the top of these lists were short, yet it has enough oomph to hang around the bottom before falling entirely to the wayside.

The HTC Rezound touts a 4.3-inch 720p S-LCD display (342ppi), 1.5GHz dual-core Scorpion processor and Adreno 220 GPU, 16GB built-in storage and microSD card slot, 1GB RAM, 8-megapixel rear camera and a 1,620mAh battery. It also features Beats Audio, which was initially accepted as a gimmick due to it solely being an audio profile that wasn't used system-wide. And Rezound owners have been complaining about fairly poor battery life since launch. That's the price to pay for a super high-res display, LTE connectivity and a relatively small battery, I suppose.

What's so great about the Rezound, however, is how quickly the price fell. It's still a great handset. But while it's specs are up there with the best, this device is selling for $199.99 with a two-year agreement and is constantly being offered for much less through various promotions.


There you have it, folks. Feel free to share your top five Android handsets in the comments below, and don't forget to vote for your favorite smartphone in our Official Smartphone Rankings this week!

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