HTC Thunderbolt

“One of the top smartphones on the market right now…”

The HTC Thunderbolt is Verizon’s latest flagship Android smartphone. The Thunderbolt has Verizon’s wickedly fast 4G LTE for download speeds ranging from 8 to 15 megs on the phone and sometimes faster when using the WiFi hotspot sharing utility that provides a broadband connection to your notebook, iPad or other device. We love the large 4.3″ display and kickstand that lets you kick back and watch streaming movies comfortably and the phone’s fast second gen Snapdragon CPU. The 8 megapixel rear camera takes sharp shots and 720p video and there’s a front-facing camera as well. The Thunderbolt isn’t perfect, but it is one of the top smartphones on the market right now.

HTC Inspire 4G

The Inspire quickly become one of our favorite Android smartphones”
HTC Inspire 4G
HTC Inspire 4G AT&T is getting serious with Android now that their iPhone exclusivity is over, and the Inspire 4G is one lovely high end Android phone at a reasonable price. The Inspire 4G has HSPA+ 4G, a sharp 4.3″ SLCD display running at 800 x 480 resolution and a second gen 1GHz Snapdragon CPU. The unibody aluminum alloy body is sumptuous and the 8 megapixel camera with dual LED flash does 720p video with aplomb. The Inspire runs Android OS 2.2 Froyo with HTC Sense software. It’s quickly become one of our favorite Android smartphones.

LG Optimus S

“The LG Optimus S is the fastest and most able to handle this software…”

LG Optimus S is the most affordable of Sprint’s new trio of Android smartphones running Sprint ID software that allows you to quickly and pervasively customize the phone. Sprint ID offers selections from a variety of interests such as sports, business and entertainment and installs free software, widgets and utilities and it installs the whole bucket in one 5 to 10 minute download and install session. We’re still not sold on Sprint ID since it tends to slow down the phone, but the LG Optimus S is the fastest and most able to handle this software load vs. the Samsung Transform and Sanyo Zio (Sprint’s other 2 Sprint ID phones).

Samsung Captivate

“The Samsung Captivate, a superphone running Android…”
Samsung Captivate
The Samsung Captivate, AT&T’s version of the Samsung Galaxy S (T-Mobile’s is called the Samsung Vibrant), is priced the same as the iPhone 4 and currently requires no fiddly mail-in rebates and annoying Visa debit cards: nice. You get a lot for your money and a lot to show off to your gadget loving buddies: there’s a 1GHz Samsung Hummingbird processor with the PowerVR graphics chip (this is basically the same as the iPhone’s CPU and GPU), an outstanding 4” Super AMOLED display, a sharp 5 megapixel camera, gyroscope, GPS, WiFi and Bluetooth. The phone has 16 gigs of internal storage and a microSD card slot under the back cover (no card is included). AT&T and Samsung throw in a decent set of stereo earbuds, a USB cable and compact charger. The Captivate runs Android OS 2.1 Eclair and Samsung’s tasteful TouchWiz 3.0 software on top of Android.

HTC Aria

It might not compete with the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S (Captivate) Android superphone, but at $129 it’s easy on the pocket

HTC Aria

HTC ARIA

The HTC Aria is AT&T’s second Android smartphone looks like a lot like the HTC Incredible, only small, much smaller. These days touch screen smartphones are livin’ large, so if you want something that easily fits in a pocket, the Aria is one of the few. It’s a solid mid-range Android phone with a 3.2″ capacitive multi-touch display running at 320 x 480 resolution. The Aria is powered by a capable 600MHz CPU and it runs Android OS 2.1 Eclair with HTC’s excellent Sense software. Other amenities include a 5 megapixel autofocus camera, a GPS that works with Google Maps spoken navigation and AT&T Navigator, WiFi and Bluetooth.

HTC EVO Shift 4G

“Unlike the original EVO, the Shift 4G isn’t a top of the line superphone, but rather a solidly built mid to high tier QWERTY Android phone that’s well suited to business…

HTC EVO Shift 4G is the keyboarded companion to Sprint’s wildly successful HTC EVO 4G.. It has an 800MHz second gen Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU, an 800 x 480 pixel 3.6″ capacitive multi-touch display and a 5 megapixel camera. It runs Android OS 2.2 Froyo with HTC Sense software. The Shift has both 3G EV-DO Rev. A and WiMax 4G with Sprint’s WiFi hotspot feature.

The HTC EVO Shift 4G has WiMAX for 4G service as well as 3G EV-DO Rev. A and the usual collection of wireless radios for WiFi, Bluetooth and GPS. It shares DNA with the solid and understatedly attractive HTC T-Mobile G2 on T-Mobile, but it lacks the G2′s good looks, metal back and superior keyboard. The Shift 4G does lose the unusual keyboard Z hinge mechanism which may be a good thing given complaints about wobbles and jiggles, but the Shift 4G’s slider is stiff and unassisted, making it seem less than high end. On a positive note, it’s solid with no wobble or play. Granted, the Shift 4G does sell for $149 rather than the $199 or higher price tag we see on their Android superphones, making it clear that Sprint didn’t intend the EVO Shift 4G to compete directly with the Samsung Epic or HTC EVO 4G.

Motorola Droid

“The Droid is a phone for sophisticated types and business people…”

Verizon and Motorola have made a big to do about their flagship Android smartphone and the Moto Droid might just be all that. It’s fast, it’s got a simply huge 480 x 854 pixel capacitive touch screen, it’s skinny and it has a slider QWERTY keyboard. The Droid is the first Android 2.0 OS phone and it’s full of the usual Google goodies like Gmail, YouTube and Maps plus built-in MS Exchange support and other amenities. The Droid has a GPS that works with Google Maps, WiFi, Bluetooth with A2DP stereo and a very good 5 megapixel camera.This review includes a video review. Editor’s Choice Award 2009.

The Droid is a modern minimalist phone, lacking the trademark styling of HTC’s Hero or the slim stone look of the Palm Pre. It’s a basic rectangle, but it’s very slim for a QWERTY slider and it looks like a high class piece. It’s solid and well made, and the slider moves with a smooth motion that clicks when opened or closed fully. The battery cover is made of metal with a grippy soft touch finish. The Droid is a phone for sophisticated types and business people, while the Motorola Cliq on T-Mobile is more of a plastic youth messaging device that happens to run Android OS (ver. 1.5). At 6 ounces the phone feels weighty in a good way, and it’s in the same size class as the iPhone, HTC Imagio and Samsung Moment Android phone on Sprint (though the Droid is thinner than the Moment). It’s infinitely more pocketable than the HTC Touch Pro2 on Verizon since it’s gobs thinner, though it’s wide and tall enough that you’ll want to be careful when sitting down.

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