The 5 Best Android Phones You Can Buy Today [Mobile]

Matt Smith 25-03-2011

Google’s Android A Quick Guide To Developing Android Apps With Google App Inventor Read More operating system has grown rapidly in popularity. Although its app store still lacks the sheer volume of apps that you’ll find available on iOS, there is still a wide variety available. Improvements to the user interface have made Android more popular with users, as well.


But the hardware may well be Android’s biggest advantage. If you want iOS, you have to buy an iPhone. Android, on the other hand, offers a wide variety of different devices. Let’s take a look at the best Android phones currently on the market.

Motorola Atrix 4G

best android phone

You may have noticed commercials for this phone recently not because of the phone’s name, but rather because of one particular thing the phone can do – dock with a laptop stand to essentially become a small Android computer.

The laptop dock is pricy, however, and the Atrix 4G as a phone. Fortunately, the Atrix 4G has plenty of features to offer on its own. It is one of the first phones to hit the market with an Nvidia The 3 Best Laptops That Support Nvidia 3D Vision Read More Tegra 2 dual-core processor, so performance is spectacular. It has HDMI-out, as well, so you can potentially stream content from the phone to an HDTV or computer monitor.

The Atrix 4G is only available from AT&T and currently runs $199.99 with contract.


HTC Thunderbolt 4G

best android cell phone

It’s been a while (as in, a few months) since HTC released a new flagship phone, but the HTC Thunderbolt 4G certainly fits that description. Hot off the line (it launched March 17th) the Thunderbolt is loaded with features. It offers a 4.3’ touch-screen display, a 8 megapixel rear camera, and a 1 GHz processor.

Verizon is playing up this phone’s wireless speed and is claiming download speeds of between 5 and 12 Mbps. If history is an indication, reality won’t quite live up to those claims, but the Thunderbolt should prove to be the quickest Android phone currently offered by the carrier.

The HTC Thunderbolt 4G is only available from Verzion and currently runs $249.99 with contract.


HTC Evo Shift 4G

best android cell phone

Sprint’s flagship phone, the HTC Evo Shift 4G is just a few months old. It offers a fairly standard array of hardware that includes a 1 GHz processor, a 5 megapixel rear camera and 3.6′ touchscreen. The Evo Shift is one of only three smartphones on the Sprint network to offer 4G. If you want the latest Android phone, and you’re on Sprint, this is your best choice by far.

The Evo Shift 4G is also one of the few touchscreen smartphones to offer a nice physical keyboard, which some users prefer. If you’re fine using a touchscreen you might prefer the standard Evo Shift 4G. It’s similar, but trades in the physical keyboard for a larger 4.3 inch display and a 1 GHz processor. If you’re comfortable with touch keyboards, the larger Evo 4G would be the better pick.

The Evo Shift 4G runs $149.99 with a contract from Sprint; the Evo Shift 4G is $199.99 with contract.


HTC Desire HD

best android cell phone

Although an older phone by the fast-moving standards of the smartphone world, the HTC Desire HD is still a solid piece of Android hardware. Like most modern cellphones it offers a 1GHz processor along with a 5 megapixel rear camera.

Perhaps the Desire’s best feature, however, is the price. You can find it for about $70. If you’re not a smartphone geek you may want to consider saving some money and going with the HTC Desire HD rather than a slightly new and substantially more expensive phone.

The HTC Desire HD is available from U.S. Cellular for $69.99.


Samsung Galaxy S 4G

what is the best android phone

The Galaxy S 4G is Samsung’s current flagship phone. Most of the hardware is identical to the phones we’ve already covered (1 GHz processor, 5MP camera, etc) but the Galaxy S 4G does have one big selling point – the display.

The Galaxy S 4G features a 4-inch AMOLED touchscreen that is absolutely gorgeous. Although the resolution of 800×480 is the same as most phones, the AMOLED technology is easier to use in direct sunlight and can render dark images more accurately than a normal LED-backlit display.

The Samsung Galaxy S 4G is available on T-Mobile for $149.99 with contract.

Unreleased Android Phones To Watch

best android phone

Motorola Droid Bionic

This 4G phone will be powered by a Tegra 2 processor. The 4.3′ display will offer a higher-than average display resolution of 540×960. Given the quality of Motorola’s previous Droid phones this could be an amazing piece of hardware. Expect it to be released this summer.

Samsung Galaxy S2

An update to the Galaxy S, this phone will retain the amazing AMOLED display but also pack a dual-core Tegra 2 processor. The release date is still a mystery, but those impressed by the Galaxy S may want to hold off for a few months.


The smartphone market moves quick, and it isn’t going to slow down any time soon. This can make it hard to jump in. Obviously, you don’t want to buy something that’s going to be outdated tomorrow.

My advice is to simply buy whatever Android phone above is available on your carrier and try not to worry about future proofing. There is always going to be something new around the corner. These are the best Android phones available today, but I guarantee you that if you wait to buy a Droid Bionic or Galaxy S2, there will be rumors of even better and quicker phones on the horizon by then.

Related topics: Buying Tips, Online Shopping.

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  1. BW
    June 22, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    I have the HTC Thunderbolt, and I love it. It does pretty much EVERYTHING, and the kickstand and front-facing camera are great features.
    If you're trying to decide which phone to get, check out a new website, [Broken URL Removed]. The site has specs for every current smartphone on the US market (all carriers), and also has some reviews and tutorial videos.

  2. Sglongfeng
    May 28, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    Information is wrong. Samsung Galaxy S 4G is not Super AMOLED. It is using super clear LED due to shortage of supply of SAMOLED. That's why it is cheaper.

    Still, it is the best buy in town.

    • Tina
      May 30, 2011 at 6:47 pm

      Thanks for pointing this out!

      Samsung has indeed dropped the Super AMOLED touchscreen in some models and replaced it with a super clear LCD (not LED). But it seems that this chiefly affects the new Samsung Galaxy SL, not the Galaxy S.

  3. Wimdroid
    April 26, 2011 at 10:07 am

    LG P990 ??

  4. Jerome Narine
    April 5, 2011 at 4:55 am

    i will give u all a hint what happens when thunder strikes. It kills everything in site the THUNDERBOLT is the best phone.

  5. Prius41
    April 4, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    i thought htc desire hd has 8megapixel rear camera

  6. Coolbreeze
    March 31, 2011 at 11:37 pm

    I have one beef with this article. The foot symbol, a single quotation mark, it used repeatedly instead of the inch symbol, double quotation marks. Either that, or these phones have 4.3 foot screens, in which case, I'm going to need a wagon to haul my phone around because it surely won't fit in my pocket.

  7. Josh C.
    March 31, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    A 4.3 foot display is rather big don't you think?

  8. Jaffa
    March 30, 2011 at 11:46 pm

    That link for the Desire HD for $70 is actually just for the Desire.

  9. dman977
    March 30, 2011 at 11:22 pm

    And this is what an article from a very unknowledgeable person looks like. You pick the EVO Shift over the original EVO?!?!

    Things the EVO has that the EVO Shift lacks:
    -Front facing camera
    -1Ghz Processor
    -HDMI out
    -8MP camera

    Things the EVO Shift has that the Shift lacks:
    -Physical keyboard
    -2GB ROM

  10. schwit
    March 28, 2011 at 4:44 am

    No Android is worth $100/month when you can get one for $25/month(no contract) on Virgin Mobile and maybe others.

    Evaluating a phone and not including service capabilities and plan costs is like evaluating vehicles without considering fuel economy and maintenance requirements.

  11. Trinae Ross
    March 27, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    Loved the Atrix, but the weir call quality issues and weak battery life were deal breakers for me :(

    • M.S. Smith
      March 27, 2011 at 8:02 pm

      The dual-core phones may have weak battery life for awhile. Hopefully the Bionic will be okay; it has quite a massive battery.

  12. Moitoi
    March 27, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    and the LG G2X on T-Mobile??? 1st dual core Announced and available mid April...Nexus S or Nexus S 4g???
    Very poor representation.

  13. bb939
    March 25, 2011 at 11:29 pm

    Atrix 4G has problem on the talking ; HTC Thunderbolt's battery can only let you talk for less than 4 hours, you call this HTC flagship? it's flagshit

    • M.S. Smith
      March 25, 2011 at 11:54 pm

      Now, that's a bit harsh.

      But yes, the Thunderbolt's battery life isn't good.

      The thing is, it's still the fastest phone for Verizon right now. So maybe you'd like to wait for the Bionic with it's bigger battery, but if you want to buy right now and you want a really fast smartphone, I think you'd have to go for the Thunderbolt.

  14. Czadd
    March 25, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    I just tried the HTC Desire and it was nice, but after three days I gave up because it was too big to fit in my pocket and I hated the fact that the camera sticks out of the phone. I ended up buying the Motorola Atrix instead. Some people hate the Motorola blur interface, but it doesn't bother me at all. It's got a few really nice widgets (my favorite is the contacts quick dial thingy). The phone is fast enough that I haven't seen it lag yet. I'd highly recommend the Atrix. I really enjoy using it.

    • timmyjohnboy
      March 26, 2011 at 6:55 am

      I hear good stuff about the Atrix [Broken URL Removed] too. It shone pretty bright at CES this year. Have you had any issues with call quality? I hear some people are.

  15. tf
    March 25, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    I would also considering testing Huawi U8800, [Broken Link Removed]

  16. Shane Dean
    March 25, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    You perhaps want to check the specs of the Desire HD.....

    • M.S. Smith
      March 25, 2011 at 6:08 pm

      Thanks, I'm going to submit a correction, for this and the Evo processor speed.

  17. Danyah Al Mailam
    March 25, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    any unlocked phones?

  18. tf
    March 25, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    I would also considering testing Huawi U8800, [Broken Link Removed]

  19. Dik
    March 25, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    Thanks for the topic. Ana is very urgent for me. The site has information [Broken URL Removed] a choice of smartphones, many agree that this is not so simple. I think this information will help them.

  20. DarkDuck
    March 25, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    Does HTC dominate this market???

    • M.S. Smith
      March 25, 2011 at 5:04 pm

      I'd say they are dominate right now (when it comes to smartphone), although Motorola isn't far behind.

    • Gary Shipley
      April 20, 2011 at 11:20 pm

      With the thunderbolt,evo,and sensation htc pretty much owns the market.

  21. Specter 504
    March 25, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    The evo shift only has an 800mhz freescale CPU, evo has 1ghz snapdragon

    • Ireadsometimeatoomuch
      April 22, 2011 at 1:40 am

      Evo overclocks to 1.2ghz shift overclocks to 1.8ghz . evo has a 1st generation processor shift has a second generation underclocked processor if it doesn't it's just a beast then . Hears some math for you 1 to 1.2 is .2 and .8 to 1.8 is 1 or 1ghz . Check out the out the android forums such as xda or android central . Beefier processor lol nice one .

  22. James Bruce
    March 25, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    best... android phone LOL, such an oxymoron!

    • M.S. Smith
      March 25, 2011 at 4:45 pm

      Oh no you just didn't!

  23. Shawn Langlois
    March 25, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    Small correction: Both the Galaxy S 4G and Galaxy S2 use a Super AMOLED screen, not the original AMOLED.

    Also, AMOLED screens are decidedly worse in direct sunlight when compared to a LCD screen. The Super AMOLED screen helps against this, but still has harsh viewing angles in the sun.

  24. Trip55
    March 25, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    Horrible List.
    Sprint's flagship will always be Evo!
    And no mention of Nexus S? hmmm!

  25. Fabio Diniz
    March 25, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    Nexus S?

  26. Anonymous
    March 25, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    The EVO Shift 4G section of this article is VERY confusing. I'm assuming that you can trade off the EVO Shift 4G for the EVO 4G, which doesn't have the physical keyboard, but has other benefits, like a beefier processor.

    Speaking of the EVO line, I'm surprised you didn't mention the EVO 4G 3D as an Unreleased Android Phone to Watch. Even without the gimmicky 3D, it's a pretty powerful phone. You should check it out.


    • M.S. Smith
      March 25, 2011 at 4:49 pm

      I don't think the EVO 3D was officially announced at the time I wrote this, since we have a lead time for editing. It looks like a great phone, though.

    • timmyjohnboy
      March 26, 2011 at 6:47 am

      I'm with you. Besides the slide out keyboard, the original EVO is better by most other accounts. Processor, screen size, and even a front-facing camera. At very least it should have had a mention :)