The smartphone market is heating up once again as Microsoft and Nokia finally have a hero device out to push the Windows Phone platform, and it's priced quite competitively to boot. Also a handful of Android devices announced back in CES and MWC are finally seeing the light of day.

In the near term, the U.S. smartphone market is shaping up to become a three horse race. The iPhone is topping sales charts on every carrier it's available from, quite an accomplishment considering it does have some formidable competition. Android devices from Samsung and Motorola are selling well -- especially the Galaxy S II, Galaxy Note, and Razr -- while the Lumia 710 briefly broke into the top three at T-Mobile. Nokia is hoping to repeat that feat with the Lumia 900 on AT&T. BlackBerry devices have failed to impress lately, so you'll note they are all but absent on this update.

Without further ado, check out our selection of the hottest devices currently out there (or those that are a short few weeks away from release). Each phone is listed alongside its feature highlights, specs and prices, from newest to oldest. To further aid you in making well-informed decisions on your next purchase, we've also added metascores from our Product Finder along with links to reviews besides each phone.

Samsung Galaxy S III

Available: May 29 in Europe, TBA in US

Samsung has officially taken the wraps off of the long-awaited Galaxy S III smartphone. The new flagship handset packs a quad-core 1.4GHz Exynos processor and a GPU that is said to be 65% faster than the chip found inside the Galaxy S II, along a 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED screen (1280 x 720 resolution) with a 306 ppi density, 1GB of RAM, an 8MP rear shooter, 1.9MP front camera and storage options in the neighborhood of 16GB, 32GB and 64GB. There’s also a removable 2,100 mAh battery, a micro-SD card slot, support for Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi Direct, DLNA and NFC. Samsung also included a Siri-like voice assistant as well as a technology is called Smart Stay to detect if you are reading the phone's screen and prevent it from going to sleep. The phone will ship with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich with a TouchWiz layer on top.

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Carrier: TBA Talk Time: -
Price: TBA Standby Time: -
Manufacturer: Samsung Weight: 4.69 ounces
Platform: Android 4.0 with TouchWiz Wireless: 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC
Network: GSM, HSPA+, LTE (coming soon) Storage: 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, expandable via microSD


HTC Evo 4G LTE

Available: May 18, 2012

The successor to the popular HTC EVO 4G released in 2010 is a doppelganger of the HTC One X arriving soon on AT&T. It has the same 4.7-inch HD Super LCD 2 screen, 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 8MP camera, and Android 4.0 with Sense UI. However, HTC threw in a few extras that make this device stand out. That includes a shift from the One X's plastic body to anodized aluminum, the familiar Evo kickstand, a dedicated camera button, an improved battery, a microSD slot, and dual microphones to support Sprint's new HD Voice feature, which promises to reduce background noise and deliver the best audio quality possible. Pre-orders for this phone begin on May 7.

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Carrier: Sprint Talk Time: -
Price: $199 with two-year contract Standby Time: -
Manufacturer: HTC Weight: 4.73 ounces
Platform: Android 4.0 with Sense 4 Wireless: 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC
Network: CDMA, EV-DO Rev. A, LTE Storage: 16GB, expandable via microSD


HTC One X
Available: April 2012 in Europe, May 6 in US - Review

87 108 Reviews HTC's new flagship smartphone features a beautiful 4.7-inch, 720 x 1280 resolution display and single-piece polycarbonate body that's unique in the Android world. It will ship with the latest Ice Cream Sandwich release of Google's mobile OS and a refreshed Sense UI on top. Keep in mind that there will be some critical differences between the European phones announced recently and those coming to the U.S, however. Most notably, the AT&T model will have a Qualcomm processor instead of a quad-core Tegra 3 chip and supports LTE.

Additional views:

Carrier: AT&T Talk Time: -
Price: $199 with two-year contract Standby Time: -
Manufacturer: HTC Weight: 4.59 ounces
Platform: Android 4.0 with Sense 4 Wireless: 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0
Network: GSM, HSPA 21.1 Storage: 32GB


HTC One S
Available: April 2012 in Europe, April 25 in US

84 80 Reviews The One S features an ultrathin (7.8mm) single-piece aluminum body, a 4.3-inch qHD (960 x 540) AMOLED display, an 8MP camera, and is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 dual-core SoC clocked at 1.5GHz. In terms of specs it almost matches the US version of HTC's One X flagship, save for the lack of LTE (it supports T-Mobile's fast 42Mbps HSPA+ network), lower-res display and a slightly smaller battery. The device will ship with Android 4.0 and HTC's newest Sense UI.

Additional views:

Carrier: T-Mobile Talk Time: -
Price: $199 with two-year contract Standby Time: -
Manufacturer: HTC Weight: 4.22 ounces
Platform: Android 4.0 with Sense 4 Wireless: 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0
Network: GSM, HSPA+ 42.2 Storage: 16GB


Nokia Lumia 900
Available: April 2012 - Review

78 75 Reviews The Lumia 900 is one of the most affordable flagship devices AT&T has ever sold thanks to what is reportedly a huge investment from Nokia and Microsoft. It features 4.3-inch ClearBlack AMOLED display, a 1.4GHz processor, 512MB of RAM, an 8-megapixel Carl Zeiss camera lens, a high capacity 1830 mAh battery, and a sleek single-piece polycarbonate body. The phone ships with Microsoft's Windows Phone 7.5 OS and is compatible with AT&T's LTE network.

If you you prefer a smaller 3.7-inch display, the Lumia 800 has everything that the 900 has save for a 4G radio. However, in the US at least, it's only available without carrier subsidies as part of an expensive (~$899) bundle deal in Microsoft stores.

Additional views:

Carrier: AT&T Talk Time: 7 hours
Price: $50 with new two-year contract ($120 extension) Standby Time: 14.6 days
Manufacturer: Nokia Weight: 5.6 ounces
Platform: Windows Phone 7.5 Mango Wireless: 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1
Network: GSM, HSPA 21.1 Storage: 16GB


Sony Xperia S
Available: February 2012 in Europe, US TBA

81 95 Reviews The Xperia S is Sony's first smartphone since it parted ways with Ericsson. The device's stand-out features are its pixel-dense 4.3-inch 1280 x 720 HD screen and a 12.1-megapixel camera featuring Sony's Exmor R sensor. It also packs a 1.5GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM. However, the absence of ICS (an update is reportedly on the way) and its plastic enclosure detract from what would otherwise be a nicely designed phone. A larger, 4.6-inch Xperia Ion model with LTE and unibody construction is scheduled to arrive sometime this summer.

Additional views:

Carrier: TBA Talk Time: 7.5 hours
Price: TBA Standby Time: 18.8 days
Manufacturer: Sony Weight: 5.08 ounces
Platform: Android 2.3.7 Wireless: 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC
Network: GSM, HSPA Storage: 32GB


Motorola Droid 4
Available: February 2012

76 15 Reviews The venerable Droid QWERTY line has admittedly lost its luster in recent years but for those that can't live without a physical keyboard the newest model is a solid choice. Now equipped with 4G LTE speeds along a host of minor spec bumps, the Droid 4 delivers great overall performance and decent battery life. That said, there are a few compromises to be made. The slide-out keyboard makes it a bit bulky, the 4-inch, 960 x 540 PenTile LCD display isn't quite as nice as those found on other Android phones, and it lacks the latest version of Google's OS.

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Carrier: Verizon Talk Time: 12.5 hours
Price: $50 with new two-year contract ($150 extension) Standby Time: 8.5 days
Manufacturer: Motorola Weight: 6.31 ounces
Platform: Android 2.3.5 Wireless: 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0
Network: CDMA, EV-DO Rev. A, LTE Storage: 16GB, expandable via microSD


Motorola Droid Razr Maxx
Available: January 2012

78 37 Reviews Motorola upset a few people by releasing a follow up to the Razr just three months after the latter was launched. The two are practically identical -- same 4.3-inch AMOLED display, 1.2Ghz processor and 1GB of RAM, 16GB of integrated memory, and the same Moto-flavored version of Android Gingerbread. The only real difference, however, is the enormous 3300mAh battery that will keep you going longer than pretty much any other smartphone, let alone one that supports 4G LTE network speeds. It's thicker than its predecessor but not by much.

Additional views:

Carrier: Verizon Talk Time: 21.5 hours
Price: $199 with new two-year contract ($229 extension) Standby Time: 15.8 days
Manufacturer: Motorola Weight: 5.11 ounces
Platform: Android 2.3.5 Wireless: 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0
Network: CDMA, EV-DO Rev. A, LTE Storage: 16GB, expandable via microSD


Pantech Burst
Available: January 2012

76 6 Reviews The Pantech Burst is an affordable LTE phone (actually, free on contract) that packs a few welcome goodies for a device in its price range. It may not match up to the latest Samsung and Motorola devices in terms of design or hardware, but it still has a terrific 4-inch Super AMOLED display, a good 5-megapixel camera, a dual-core 1.5GHz processor, and some interesting design touches. It runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread but an update to ICS should arrive "in the coming months", according to AT&T. Battery life isn't its strong suit, though.

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Carrier: AT&T Talk Time: 4.5 hours
Price: Free with two-year contract Standby Time: 10 days
Manufacturer: Pantech Weight: 4.32 ounces
Platform: Android 2.3.5 Wireless: 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0
Network: GSM, HSPA, LTE Storage: 16GB, expandable via microSD