Top Five Android Phones 2014
As we roll into the New Year waving our credit cards at smartphone makers, everyone is asking, 'What’s the best phone to buy?' If you’re an Apple fan the answer is obvious, even if it’s wrong. If you’re an Android droid, then it gets more complicated. Here's my advice...
Which Android Phone is Best For You?
Market research company Gartner estimates that over one BILLION Android-powered devices will be sold in 2014. Top vendors include Samsung, LG, HTC, and Sony. And then you have to choose a mobile carrier. Will it be Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint or a smaller regional company? That's a lot of choices.
I have friends who love their iPhones. There's no question it's a fine product, but I'm just not an Apple kind of guy. And of course there are Windows phones, but in my opinion that's still a fringe market. (I only know ONE person who owns a Windows phone, and he likes his Lumia 1020 mostly for the 41-megapixel camera.)
If you're in the market for a new Android-powered smartphone, maybe I can make things a bit easier for you. Here are five of the hottest Android phones going, at the start of 2014:
Google Nexus 5: You might call it the iPhone of Android phones, the bar-raising “nailed it” new standard that OEMs will have to beat. That was Google’s intention, after all, when it collaborated (and later bought) Motorola’s smartphone-making division to invent a smartphone that is totally Google-centric. The Nexus 5’s build quality is impeccable. It gets its OS updates directly from Google, with no waiting for equipment makers to customize and push the latest version of Android out to their phones… something they are very lax about. Features include Android 4.4 (KitKat); a 2.23GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 CPU; 4.95-inch 1920x1080 display with a pixel density of 445 pixels-per-inch; 8MP rear camera; 1.3MP front camera; and 16 or 32GB internal storage.
Unlike the earlier Nexus 4, the Nexus 5 offers 4G/LTE for faster internet access. You can buy an unlocked version via the Google Play Store for $350, and use it on AT&T, but Verizon is refusing to sell it, or even allow it to run on its network. The Nexus 5 is available from Sprint for around $149 with 2-year contract. T-Mobile does the "$0 now, but $16.50/month for two years" plan, which works out to $396.
Samsung Galaxy S4: Boy, do I feel uncool, still carrying around a 1-year-old Galaxy S3. The newer S4 has a larger 5-inch Gorilla Glass screen, sports a 13MP camera, a long-lasting 2600mAh battery, and runs Android Jellybean. The S4 is available from all major carriers, and can be had with a 2-year contract for anywhere between $49 and $249, depending on your carrier, whether you're adding a line, upgrading, using a family plan, or other confusing options. Or you can always buy the unlocked version for $749.
The Air View feature lets you interact with the S4 without even touching it. Just hover your finger above the screen, and special sensors enable you to magnify text, preview emails or photos, or pause a video and view it frame by frame. The Dual Shot option lets you shoot simultaneously with the front and rear cameras, so you can take a picture and also be in it. For business users, the Samsung KNOX feature enables enhanced security, and plays nice with companies that want to implement a "Bring Your Own Device" strategy. World travelers will appreciate S Translate, which will translate what you say or type. (That would've been really handy back in 1987, when I ordered escalopes, and was surprised with veal.)
Samsung Galaxy Note 3: The big kahuna for people with large hands and deep pockets, it brings a broad spectrum of improvements to the winning Galaxy Note 2. Plus it’s the only phone or phablet that is compatible with Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smartwatch (support for the Note 2 and Galaxy S3 and S4 should arrive later this year). The Note 3 is available from most carriers, with a 2-year contract price ranging from $199 to $299.
Features Android 4.3 (Jellybean); 2.3GHz Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor; 5.7-inch 1920 x 1080 display with 388 pixels-per-inch; 3GB of RAM; a stylus; 13MP rear camera; 2MP front camera; 4G LTE; NFC (Near Field Communications) for digital walletry; 32 or 64GB internal storage; microSD card slot for expansion. (Sorry, no cup holder.)
HTC One: its biggest distinction are the exciting new Sense user interface and aluminum shell which gives it a sturdier feel than the plastic Samsung Galaxy phones. Under the hood it’s much like a Galaxy S4: 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 CPU; 2GB RAM; 1080p display; 4.7-inch Super LCD, Full HD, high-pixel-density (468ppi) display; 4MP rear camera; 2.1MP front camera; 32/64GB internal storage. (Oh, and I've heard rumors that you can even make a phone call with this thing.)
Sony Xperia Z Ultra: a svelte 6.5mm thin, this phone sets a new style standard for Android-powered smartphones. It sports a supersharp 6.4-inch TFT 1920 x 1080 display, powered by an updated Sony Mobile BRAVIA Engine 2 with 342 pixels-per-inch; Jelly Bean (Android 4.2); 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor; 8MP rear-facing camera; 2MP front-facing 1080p HD video capture; 16GB internal storage; a microSD slot; and it’s compatible with the Sony SmartWatch 2.
Here's some closing advice. Most people are inclined to run to the carrier's retail stores when they're ready to buy a new mobile phone. But that could be a very expensive mistake. Look for deeply discounted offers from Best Buy, Radio Shack, and Amazon Wireless, and you could save hundreds of dollars, when compared to the same phone and plan purchased at the Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile or Sprint store.
What's your favorite smartphone? And where did you buy it? Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 9 Jan 2014
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Top Five Android Phones 2014 (Posted: 9 Jan 2014)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved