Verizon

In the past year, Big Red has gone from having a smartphone lineup almost completely dominated by Windows Mobile and BlackBerry devices, to arguably the forefront carrier for flagship Android devices. The Motorola Droid series of phones has been so aggressively marketed that it's virtually synonymous among laypeople with Android itself, nearly to the point of creating confusion.

Regardless, the choices we recommend on Verizon are differentiated by personal taste. If you want a huge screen, the Droid X is the phone for you. The device is now thankfully running Android 2.2 (we reviewed it when it was running 2.1 after launch), and there's very little to hold against the phone. I loved the hardware android buttons and the form factor and still think Android is completely usable without a hardware keyboard, especially thanks to Swype and Motorola's own multitouch keyboard being included. The other thing to mention about the Droid X is that its OMAP3630 supports 720P HD video encodes, whereas the OMAP3620 doesn't - the result is that the Droid X can shoot 720P video and the Droid 2 can't. The Droid X is currently $49.99 from Amazon Wireless or $199.99 from Verizon on contract.

If you want a keyboard however, the Droid 2 is the next best option. As I noted in our review, very little which is changed from the original Droid hardware wise except for some welcome changes to the keyboard which improve usability, and a slightly different shade of soft touch material. In the wild, the two are difficult to tell apart unless you know what you're looking for. To that extent, it's not really a necessary upgrade from the original Droid unless you absolutely need a faster platform, especially considering the original Droid is running stock Android 2.2. There's also a Droid 2 Global version which packs GSM support and a slightly higher clocked 1.2 GHz SoC as opposed to the 1.0 GHz OMAP3 in the Droid 2 sans Global. We haven't had the chance to fully review a Droid 2 Global yet, so jury is still out whether the $50 difference from Verizon ($199.99 for Droid 2 Global, $149.99 for Droid 2) is worth it, especially considering Android enthusiasts can root and overclock on their own. The Droid 2 Global is also available from Amazon Wireless for $79.99 on contract, curiously enough the Droid 2 is no longer available on Amazon. There’s also the BlackBerry-targeting Droid Pro, though this is another of the Droid newcomers we haven’t taken a look at.

The other tier-1 options on Verizon are the HTC Incredible and Samsung Fascinate. We reviewed both and liked the Incredible's form factor, and it's even better now thanks to Android 2.2. The Motorola Droids' OMAP3 bests the Droid Incredible's Snapdragon SoC in the performance space in almost every category save FPU heavy tasks, but the Incredible is by no means a weak performer. Likewise, the Fascinate bests both with its Hummingbird SoC. The only problem with the Fascinate is Verizon's conscious decision to mandate Bing throughout and strip the phone of almost all mention of Google. Again, the other problem is that the Fascinate like other Galaxy S devices still isn't running Android 2.2. Size and user preference is again what really dominates here - if you want a small Android 2.2 phone, the Incredible is your pick, whereas the Fascinate packs a 4" screen. The HTC Incredible can be had for $0.01 from Amazon Wireless, or $149.99 from Verizon, both on contract. The Fascinate is $39.99 from Amazon Wireless and $199.99 from Verizon on contract.

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  • TareX - Saturday, December 04, 2010 - link

    Actually, I think the best advice is to wait, since the new generation of dual-core smartphones is less than a month away. The era of HD flash-acceleration and dramatic battery life improvement is upon us.

    Nexus S vs Motorola Olympus
    Reply
  • enealDC - Saturday, December 04, 2010 - link

    I partly agree with you. Manufacturers and re/e-tailiers are trying to get rid of the previous gen smartphones. Even the great ones like the EVO before the next-gen phones and platforms arrive. But I don't see the promised land quite yet. Battery life will improve, but marginally and as always, users will have to decide what devices provides them their own suitable balance of performance and power consumption. Reply
  • Marvel soniya - Thursday, July 11, 2013 - link

    I can provide smartphone APQ451W+ at only USD129.0, it is Quad core ,MOQ is 5K, without sample on hand .
    Another new model APB401W+ at only USD68.0, it is Dual core, using public housing, MOQ 3K .
    Marvel Electronics Limited
    Phone: 86-13058001063
    Fax: 0755-8318 7023-639
    E-mail: soniya.huang@marvelelectronics.com
    MSN: soniya.huang@hotmail.com
    Skype: soniya.marvelelectronics
    Website: www.marvelelectronics.com.hk
    Reply
  • StormyParis - Saturday, December 04, 2010 - link

    The best advice is *always* to wait. Technology in general, mobiles in particular, are obsolete 6 months after they came out.

    Unless something revolutionnary comes out (in my case, it would be a dock that morphs my phone into a very basic PC), I'll be getting a slightly outdated smartphone that fits my needs (huge screen, good sound, android) for a bargain, instead.
    Reply
  • vol7ron - Saturday, December 04, 2010 - link

    All comments pretty much on point, though it's not 6 months, I'd say it's closer to 9. Huge hardware revisions every year (like the iPhone) and by "obsolete", I'm sure you did not literally mean obsolete.

    I'd still like an infrared transmitter on my phone so I could control the damn TV and DVD player.

    My smartphone wishlist:
    - infrared transmitter
    - pico projector
    - better sound
    - larger screen (we bought the smartphone for a reason, if we didn't need the screen real-estate, we would be using mini phones).

    My iPhone wishlist:
    - same as above, but seriously, how many times are you going to refute Flash? Jobs has a personal vendetta that he's letting get in the way. If the new iPhone does not have flash come next July, I'm switching over.
    - better software
    Reply
  • azmodean - Monday, December 06, 2010 - link

    > My smartphone wishlist:
    > - infrared transmitter

    I'm always confused from an engineering standpoint that every portable device with a half-way decent interface doesn't have an IR transmitter. We're talking literally a few cents of additional hardware, though admittedly designing around one more conveniently placed component in a phone enclosure may be non-trivial.

    But then I put my cynical business-person hat on and I realize that they want remote control of your devices to be a "premium feature", and they haven't figured out how to make that a reality yet, so you get nothing.

    Wonder how small I can make an IR emitter that attaches via micro-usb...
    Reply
  • iannet - Sunday, December 12, 2010 - link

    The Nokia N900 has a IR port, and it also has a great UI. I have one and love it. It even has better integration with Google Talk than Android; GTalk Voice and Video chat are supported by the built-in chat software. Reply
  • TareX - Sunday, December 05, 2010 - link

    Yeah you see but "waiting" now -as the best advice- is different than "waiting" for better technology in general.

    I mean, these coming few weeks, stores and carriers will want to get rid of all heir old-gen hardware before the new gen rolls (Tegra 2, Orion...etc)

    We're talking about a leap in battery life, performance, and general capabilities in mobile phones. The worst time to buy a current gen phone is when the new gen is days away (unless you're looking for the best price).
    Reply
  • blueboy_10 - Thursday, December 23, 2010 - link

    Totally agreed. Why the hell get an Android phone now when you can get the lastest cutting-edge tech for a smartphone just mere months away. IMO, I wouldn't waste $200 on an Android phone, and then shell out another $200-250 for another phone 6 months down the road. Just doesn't make sense, but if I'm not tech-savvy, then I guess these phones will do. Just my 2 cents. - BLUEBOY Reply
  • Marvel soniya - Thursday, July 11, 2013 - link

    I can provide smartphone APQ451W+ at only USD129.0, it is Quad core ,MOQ is 5K, without sample on hand .
    Another new model APB401W+ at only USD68.0, it is Dual core, using public housing, MOQ 3K .
    Marvel Electronics Limited
    Phone: 86-13058001063
    Fax: 0755-8318 7023-639
    E-mail: soniya.huang@marvelelectronics.com
    MSN: soniya.huang@hotmail.com
    Skype: soniya.marvelelectronics
    Website: www.marvelelectronics.com.hk
    Reply

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