Smartphone Buying Guide: Q3 2011By
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If you are in the market for a smartphone there are plenty of great options to choose from. An overwhelming majority is powered by Google's Android platform, which continues to extend its lead in terms of total users thanks to a growing lineup of devices covering a wide range of features and form factors. But there's also stuff going on elsewhere.
Apple didn't release a new iPhone this past June as it has in previous years, however the company is expected to bring out the guns sometime around September with new hardware and the next version of iOS -- which is enough reason to be excited about. Meanwhile, Microsoft is slowly getting more Windows Phone 7 devices in the market, and with the arrival of Mango this fall and Nokia on board as its shiny new partner things are about to get much more interesting.
Meanwhile, things have been pretty stale on the BlackBerry and webOS camps. The former has been losing market share quarter after quarter, and it doesn't seem like a QNX-based handset will be out soon to push things forward. HP has been focusing on the recent TouchPad launch, but the company is expected to launch a third-gen Pre smartphone soon.
As with previous editions of this guide, we've put together a selection of the hottest devices out there to help you navigate through the sea of new smartphones getting released week in and week out. Each phone is listed alongside its feature highlights, specs and prices, from newest to oldest. Some devices listed here are not yet available but will be in a relatively short time span. We hope this will help you narrow down your purchase, and as usual your feedback is always welcome.
- New & Upcoming Releases :: Nokia N9 * iPhone 5 (or iPhone 4S?) * HTC Eternity * LG Thrill 4G * HP Pre 3 * Motorola Droid 3 * Samsung Galaxy S II
- Current Popular Smartphones :: HTC EVO 3D * HTC Sensation 4G * Sony Ericsson Xperia Play * Samsung Droid Charge * Samsung Nexus S 4G * T-Mobile G2x * HTC Arrive
- Early 2011 and 2010 Phones :: HTC Thunderbolt * Samsung Galaxy S 4G * Motorola Atrix 4G * HTC Inspire 4G * HTC Evo Shift 4G * Samsung Focus * BlackBerry Bold 9780 * Apple iPhone 4
The N9 is Nokia's first phone to sport the MeeGo operating system. It features a 3.9-inch AMOLED display with Gorilla Glass and no front-facing buttons; instead, Nokia has implemented a swipe feature for switching between screens and functions. Under the hood, a 1GHz processor and 1GB of RAM powers the device. There's also an 8MP Carl Zeiss wide-angle camera on the back end even NFC connectivity. But with Nokia abandoning MeeGo this phone is going to be a tough sell.
|Carrier: TBA||Talk Time: 7 hours|
|Price: TBA||Standby Time: 19 days|
|Manufacturer: Nokia||Weight: 4.76 ounces|
|Platform: MeeGo||Wireless: 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1 +EDR|
|Network: GSM, WCDMA , HSPA+ 14.4||Storage: 16GB/64GB|
iPhone 5 (or iPhone 4S?)
Apple's next generation iPhone has been rumored for months and yet nothing about its release can be confirmed as of this moment. However for such a relevant product that has the potential of being a game-changer, we couldn't update our guide without bringing to your attention the likely announcement from Apple come this September. Rumors point to a thinner and lighter design, an eight-megapixel camera, and the same A5 processor used in the iPad 2. The only thing certain is that it will run Apple's updated iOS 5 with wireless sync, iCloud, iMessage, revamped notifications and over 200 new features.
The Eternity is HTC's upcoming Windows Phone 7 smartphone and should be among the first to run the platform's "Mango" update -- meaning it won't be out until this fall. Known features include a large 4.7-inch display, the biggest we've seen so far not counting the Dell Streak which was marketed as a tablet, a single-core 1.5GHz processor, 8MP auto-focus camera with dual-LED flash supporting 720p HD recording, a 1.3MP front-facing camera, and 16GB of internal storage. In terms of connectivity, it has the usual Wi-Fi, DLNA, GPS, and Bluetooth support.
LG Thrill 4G (LG Optimus 3D)
The Thrill 4G, known elsewhere in the world as the LG Optimus 3D, boasts an impressive specification list that includes a dual-core Texas Instruments OMAP4 processor and a 4.3-inch touchscreen capable of displaying 3D content without the need for special glasses. It also has a dual-lens 5-megapixel rear camera to record 3D photos and videos, as well as HDMI 1.4 and DLNA to stream content to other 3D-capable devices. Naturally, the device will also support 2D high-definition video and LG says it will have four times more video decoders than competing designs. There's no official price point so far and availability is estimated for Q3 2011.
|Carrier: AT&T||Talk Time: 4 hours|
|Price: TBA||Standby Time: 4 days|
|Manufacturer: LG||Weight: 5.9 ounces|
|Platform: Android 2.2||Wireless: 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth|
|Network: GSM, HSPA 14.4||Storage: 8GB internal, 8GB microSD card included|
HP Pre 3
Available: July 2011
The Pre 3 is an upgraded version of the Pre 2 featuring a 3.6-inch 480x800 display, a 1.4GHz processor, a front-facing camera, a redesigned keyboard for larger fingers, and the same sleek, yet under-appreciated webOS. There will also be some synergy with HP's TouchPad, which will be able to take the Pre 3's calls and touching the two devices together will let you share URLs and other data. Availability is set for this summer but no carrier has been announced.
|Carrier: TBA (AT&T and Verizon likely)||Talk Time: --|
|Price: TBA||Standby Time: --|
|Manufacturer: HP||Weight: 5.5 ounces|
|Platform: webOS 2.2||Wireless: 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR|
|Network: --||Storage: 8GB / 16GB|
Motorola Droid 3
Available: July 14, 2011
Motorola brings a powerful new option for anyone seeking a phone with a slide-out keyboard. The Droid 3 sports a 1GHz dual-core processor, a 4-inch qHD (960 x 540) display, 16GB of storage, an 8-megapixel camera, a full QWERTY keyboard and Android 2.3 customized with the newest version of Motorola's Blur UI. There are lots of very solid spec improvements all around over the Droid 2, though the lack of LTE may disappoint some.
|Carrier: Verizon||Talk Time: 9 hours|
|Price: $200 with two-year contract||Standby Time: 12.5 days|
|Manufacturer: Motorola||Weight: 6.5 ounces|
|Platform: Android 2.3||Wireless: 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1 +EDR|
|Network: CDMA, EVDO Rev. A||Storage: 16GB internal, expandable via microSD|
Samsung Galaxy S II
Available: April 2011 in Europe, July 2011 in U.S. - TechSpot's Review
The Galaxy S II is one of the sleekest smartphones in the market at just 0.33 inches thick and weighing 4 ounces. Samsung's hot selling Android handheld features a 4.27-inch (800x480) Super AMOLED Plus display, dual-core 1.2GHz processor, an 8MP primary camera with 1080p video capture and a 2MP camera in the front, as well as integrated NFC support on some versions. There's also Bluetooth 3.0+HS and HSPA+ connectivity, as well as Samsung's custom UI TouchWiz 4.0. The version released on Sprint will be called the Samsung Within, on AT&T the Attain, and on Verizon the Function. It is speculated to be released in the US in mid-July.
|Carrier: Verizon, AT&T, Sprint||Talk Time: 8.5 hours|
|Price: TBA||Standby Time: 25 days|
|Manufacturer: Samsung||Weight: 4.1 ounces|
|Platform: Android 2.3||Wireless: 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0|
|Network: GSM , HSPA+ 21 / CDMA, EVDO Rev. A||Storage: 16GB/32GB|