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.

Motorola Droid X

The Motorola Droid X is a beast, but in a good way…

The Motorola Droid X boasts a gorgeous 4.3-inch touch screen and great multimedia features like an 8-megapixel camera with HD video capture, HDMI output, and DLNA support. The smartphone can also be used as a mobile hot spot. However, the camera is a bit sluggish. Motoblur software is a lot better but still not quite as refined as HTC Sense and it also lacks a front-facing camera.

The Droid X is one of the latest members to join Verizon’s Android army, and just like the original Droid before it, it’s a beast, but in a good way. The smartphone rocks a brilliant 4.3-inch touch screen and offers some great multimedia features, including an 8-megapixel camera with HD video capture, HDMI output, and DLNA support. However, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that it does lack some features that the similar-looking HTC Evo 4G has, such as a front-facing camera and, of course, 4G support.

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


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 Droid Incredible

“If you’re looking for an ultra-fast, extremely capable smartphone that has the guts and gleam to go the distance, the Incredible just might be the Droid you’re looking for…”
Droid Incredible

At this point, the HTC Incredible should seem like pretty familiar territory to our readers. We first caught wind of the device in a ROM leak back in December of 2009, and shortly thereafter saw lots of little snippets on the phone that made it clear it was headed our way. Of course, it’s a potent combination that’s been put together here — an HTC-made, Verizon-locked device sporting a 1GHz Snapdragon CPU, 8GB of internal storage, 748MB of ROM, a microSD slot (with support for up to 32GB cards), an 8 megapixel camera with dual LED flash and autofocus, 480 x 800 AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, and most importantly, Android 2.1 with HTC’s Sense UI on-board. The combo of America’s largest (and some say best) 3G network with a super-fast, Sense-equipped Android phone is a match made in nerd heaven. We’ve seen a near-exact device in the HTC Desire — basically the Incredible for the European market — and the internals and screen technology are almost identical to the Nexus One, but the Incredible has a personality that’s all its own.


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.

HTC Hero

” Yes the reports were true, it is a beautiful device, both inside and out…”

The HTC Hero has been an object of lust for some time now for gadget enthusiasts. Even from the earliest days of leaked hardware shots and blurry demo videos of its UI, smartphone fans seemed to agree that the company had finally achieved what has been missing in the world of Android. Namely, a polished and attractive device — polished enough to go head-to-head with the iPhone — that kept its open source heart. So, here we are months later with an actual, bona fide Hero in our midst. Yes the reports were true, it is a beautiful device, both inside and out (though of course opinions differ on that chin). But does being a beautiful device mean Android is about to move to a bigger stage? Is HTC’s spit-shine enough to overcome some of the hurdles that have plagued the platform? That question — and more — is answered in the text below, so read on for the full review.

In terms of overall design and layout, the Hero is very much a product of evolution. Like its forebears the G1 (or Dream) and MyTouch (or Magic / Ion), the general stats like screen size, technology, and resolution, button placement, unit size and weight, and basic aesthetic are pure HTC. Like those previous devices, the Hero contains a smattering of hardware buttons on the base (or chin as some call it) of the phone, including a home, menu, back, send, end, and dedicated search key. The device also sports a trackball in this area, which shouldn’t surprise any Android aficionados.

Where the Hero breaks from convention, however, is in the overall look and feel of the phone. If the Dream and Magic felt plasticky and cheap (they did), the Hero is quite the opposite — it’s like a solid brick in your hand. The casing is made of a soft-touch material (Teflon on the white version to prevent dirt), and the shape of the device takes a much more severe, almost rectangular slant. The buttons along the bottom are small, evenly spaced ovals (save for the search and back key — we’ll get to that), the earpiece is covered in a stylish mesh, and the volume rocker on the side is a smooth, single button. The screen also uses a new oleophobic treatment (similar to the iPhone 3GS), and thankfully HTC has added a 3.5mm headphone jack to the top of the phone.

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