Today’s Best Smartphones (February 2012)


Since this article was first written, an updated version has been posted here. Check it out. A lot has changed.

When it comes to overall specs, it's hard to beat Samsung's Galaxy Series

And the Winners Are…

Back in December I created a chart of the top smartphones available at the time. Since then, a lot has happened, so I’ve updated my list. Here are the top five smartphones available today:

 

HTC Rezound

LG Nitro HD

Motorola Droid RAZR Maxx

Samsung Galaxy Nexus

Samsung Galaxy Note

Processor

1.5 GHz dual-core

1.5 GHz dual-core

1.2 GHz dual-core

1.2 GHz dual-core

1.5 GHz dual-core

RAM

1GB

1GB

1GB

1GB

1GB

Storage

16GB

16+4GB

16+16GB

32GB

TBD

Screen size

4.3”

4.5”

4.3”

4.65”

5.3”

Resolution

1280×720

1280×720

960×540

1280×720

1280×800

Pixel density

342 ppi

 329 ppi

256 ppi

316 ppi

285 ppi

Rear cam

8MP

8MP

8MP

5MP

8MP

Front cam

2MP

1.3MP

1.3MP

1.3MP

2MP

Network

LTE

LTE

LTE

LTE

LTE

5GHz Wi-Fi

No

No

No

Yes

Yes

Bluetooth

3.0

3.0

4.0

3.0

3.0

NFC

No

No

No

Yes

Yes

Thickness

 13.65mm

10.4mm

8.99mm

9.47mm

9.65mm

Weight

164g

128g

145g

150g

178g

Battery

 1620 mAh

1830 mAh

3300 mAh

1850 mAh

2500 mAh

OS

Android 2.3.4

Android 2.3.5

Android 2.3.5

Android 4.0.2

Android 2.3.5

Carrier

Verizon

AT&T

Verizon

Verizon

AT&T

    Comments

  • Although the Rezound is the thickest phone here, it has the highest pixel density, and a very fast processor. For now, it stays on the ‘best’ list.
  • You could argue the Droid RAZR belongs in the above chart because it’s thinner and lighter than the RAZR Maxx, but battery life is such an important issue on LTE phones. The RAZR Maxx’s 3300mAh battery has 85% more current than the 1780mAh battery in the original RAZR. Even with the extended battery, the RAZR Maxx is still the thinnest phone in the above chart.
  • Sprint will be releasing a Galaxy Nexus in the first half of this year that is rumored to have a 1.5GHz dual-core CPU, 2100mAh extended battery and a functioning Google Wallet. The original Galaxy Nexus is capable of supporting NFC, but Verizon blocks users from downloading the Google Wallet. Smart users know of a trick which allows Verizon users to download and install Google Wallet from the Android Market.
  • Although the Galaxy Note became available in Europe last year, it’s rumored to go on sale here in the U.S. on February 19th.

Although iPhone 4 sales are better than ever, it no longer competes when it comes to most specs.

Close, But No Cigar

You may have noticed that some phones which were included in my December list, have fallen by the wayside. This includes the iPhone 4S and several other phones which are still good, but no longer compare with the best phones. Each has at least one major flaw.

 

Apple iPhone 4S

HTC Vivid

Motorola Droid RAZR

Motorola Droid 4

Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket

Processor

800MHz dual-core

1.2 GHz dual-core

1.2 GHz dual-core

1.2 GHz dual-core

1.5 GHz dual-core

RAM

512MB

1GB

1GB

1GB

1GB

Storage

16GB, 32GB, 64GB

16GB

16+16GB

16GB

16GB

Screen size

3.5”

4.5”

4.3”

4.0”

4.5”

Resolution

960×640

960×540

960×540

960×540

800×480

Pixel density

326 ppi

245 ppi

256 ppi

275 ppi

207 ppi

Rear cam

8MP

8MP

8MP

8MP

8MP

Front cam

0.3MP

1.3MP

1.3MP

1.3MP

2MP

Network

HSPA

LTE/HSPA+

LTE

LTE

LTE/HSPA+

5GHz Wi-Fi

No

No

No

No

Yes

Bluetooth

4.0

3.0

4.0

4.0

3.0

NFC

No

No

No

No

Yes

Thickness

9.3mm

11.2mm

7.1mm

12.99mm

9.40mm

Weight

140g

177g

127g

179g

132g

Battery

1420 mAh

1620 mAh

1780 mAh

1785 mAh

1850 mAh

OS

iOS 5.0

Android 2.3.5

Android 2.3.5

Android 2.3.5

Android 2.3.4

Carrier(s)

AT&T, Verizon, Sprint

AT&T

Verizon

Verizon 2/10

AT&T

    Comments

  • You could argue the Droid RAZR belongs in the first list because it’s thinner and lighter than the Maxx, but battery life is such an important issue with LTE phones that I favored the RAZR Maxx over the older Droid. It’s 3300mAh battery has 85% more current than the battery in the original Droid Razr.
  • I debated whether the soon to be released Droid 4 belonged in the first chart, but it’s lacking a HD screen and it is one the thickest and heaviest of all of these phones. If you’ve just got to have a real keyboard, you might be willing to overlook these problems.
  • I also debated whether the Galaxy S II Skyrocket belonged in the first chart, because it has such a fast processor. I left it out because it has the worst screen of any of the phones here.
  • Windows Phone fans might ask why the Titan isn’t in this chart, because it has a 1.5GHz processor and a 4.7″ screen. I left it out because it doesn’t have a HD screen and the Titan II is just around the corner..
  • Why The iPhone 4S Is No Longer One of The Best

    Some of you are probably wondering why the iPhone 4S is no longer listed in the chart of best smartphones. The answer is easy: The iPhone 4S hasn’t been competitive for a while. It has an under-clocked processor that runs at almost half the speed of the best Android phones. While it’s true the iPhone does well in some graphics-related benchmarks, the fastest Android phones kill it in side-by-side real world speed tests. If you want to see just how much faster the Droid RAZR is than the iPhone 4S, watch this video.The iPhone also doesn’t have a 720p HD display, and believe it or not, it’s not a real 4G phone. That means its data speeds are 5-10x slower than most 4G LTE phones. If you’re a hard-core Apple fan, you’ll probably buy the iPhone 4S anyway, and that’s O.K — just don’t say you weren’t warned. Two years is a long time to own a non-4G phone.

    Several new quad-core phones will be demonstrated in Spain next month. As soon as new phones are released, I’ll update this chart.

    If you think I missed a phone that should be considered, please let me know.

    – Rick

    Copyright 2012 Rick Schwartz. All rights reserved. Linking to this article is encouraged.

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About Rick E. Schwartz
Rick Schwartz is blogger from San Diego. You can learn more about Rick by clicking on the "About" tab at the top of mostly-tech.com.

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