How to pick the perfect smart phone

September 24, 2010 By Bridget Carey

In the past few months we've seen more than a dozen new high-quality smart phones with powerful hardware -- and tested them.

So which should you buy? First, decide which you want to use. Not every phone is available from every carrier, and costs for monthly plans can vary significantly. Most phones cost about $200, after rebates and two-year contracts.

That said, software changes quickly, and the carriers are constantly coming out with software upgrades users can download to fix bugs and add features.

But for now, these are the winners in my book:

• Larger-than-average screen: HTC Evo 4G on Sprint. Compared to its larger brethren, it's got the best interface and a second camera on the front for video chatting.

• Slide-out keyboard: Top-of-the-line choices are AT&T BlackBerry Torch, Verizon Droid 2 and Sprint's Samsung Epic 4G. My pick: Epic for its sharp graphics, spacious keyboard layout, quick and smooth response. It also has an extra camera on the front if you want to video-chat.

• Photo-video sharing: The iPhone 4 and HTC's Aria (both AT&T), Evo (Sprint) and Incredible (Verizon). Others new this season, such as the Samsung Galaxy S line of Androids (available on all major carriers), have great cameras, but current software forces all vertical photos to be shared horizontally.

• Video watching: It's a toss-up between the iPhone 4 and the Samsung Galaxy S line of Android phones. The iPhone 4 offers Netflix (coming soon to Android), and Android has a Blockbuster app for instantly downloading movies. The Galaxy S is soon to feature a Media Hub -- which is like an iTunes for Samsung.

• Video chats: Three phones -- AT&T's iPhone 4, and Sprint's HTC Evo 4G and Samsung Epic 4G -- have front-facing cameras that allow video chatting. It's easiest on the iPhone, but as of now, you can only chat with other iPhone 4 users using Wi-Fi. The video chat apps for the Evo and Epic can use improvement, but they have more flexibility on whom you can chat with and where you can chat.

• Mostly business: Any of the latest can sync Outlook e-mail and calendar. Still, the new BlackBerry Torch is especially popular with businesspeople who are addicted to its messaging interface, keyboard with raised keys and blinking red alert light -- though it offers limited multimedia functions and few apps.

• Overall Champ: When you compare hardware, screen size and sharpness, battery life, an easy-to-use interface and wide choice of apps, the iPhone 4 tops the list (as long as you solve the known antenna problem with a case). A close second: Samsung Galaxy S phones with Android.

Explore further: As Android challenges smart-phone rivals, consumers benefit


Related Stories

Samsung Epic 4G Coming to Sprint

July 6, 2010

Sprint and Samsung today introduced the second 4G-capable handset from Sprint, Samsung Epic 4G, a Galaxy S smartphone and Samsung Mobile's first 4G Android-powered device.

BlackBerry Torch no challenger to Android, iPhone

August 18, 2010

Research In Motion, which has specialized in making messaging-friendly devices with physical keyboards, has struggled to come up with an answer to touch-screen devices such as Apple's iPhone and HTC's Droid Incredible.

Recommended for you

Cryptocurrency rivals snap at Bitcoin's heels

January 14, 2018

Bitcoin may be the most famous cryptocurrency but, despite a dizzying rise, it's not the most lucrative one and far from alone in a universe that counts 1,400 rivals, and counting.

Top takeaways from Consumers Electronics Show

January 13, 2018

The 2018 Consumer Electronics Show, which concluded Friday in Las Vegas, drew some 4,000 exhibitors from dozens of countries and more than 170,000 attendees, showcased some of the latest from the technology world.

Finnish firm detects new Intel security flaw

January 12, 2018

A new security flaw has been found in Intel hardware which could enable hackers to access corporate laptops remotely, Finnish cybersecurity specialist F-Secure said on Friday.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Sep 25, 2010
I have a phone that is attached to a wire that comes to my house from the phone company; what a concept.

I don't need to be any more "in touch" than that. And yes, I'm older than dirt, but my life is much more peaceful than folks who can't stop being in touch.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.