The Best Android Phones

We’ve heard your cries over the past month or so -- the latest next-gen devices from Samsung and HTC are now on the market, so what’s the best Android phone you can buy? With Android 4.1 Jelly Bean arriving imminently on the Galaxy Nexus, is that phone once again worth considering, despite its ageing hardware? And what of the other contenders from manufacturers like Motorola, LG and Sony?

You’ll find answers to all these questions and more as we seek out the best Android smartphone, as of July 2012.

The Top Three (in no particular order)

Android Central

Samsung Galaxy S III - fastest phone, best battery life, best features

Say what you want about TouchWiz (and we have), Samsung’s Galaxy S III is a beast of a smartphone. The software design may be growing a little long in the tooth, but there’s no denying the speed of Samsung’s 2012 flagship. The quad-core Exynos 4 chip (or Snapdragon S4 for those in the U.S.) delivers staggering performance whether you’re browsing, gaming or just rapidly multitasking. Samsung also brings a shedload of functionality to bear in the S III, including a full-blown video and photo editor, DLNA sharing options and unique innovations like Smart Stay, which uses the front-facing camera to work out when to dim the screen.

In a smartphone world where battery life is readily sacrificed in favor of thinner, lighter designs, Samsung manages to deliver both, with an 8.6mm thin chassis and a 2100mAh battery, which should be more than enough to see most users through most working days.

The S III’s HD SuperAMOLED panel is no longer the king of displays, but it looks great regardless, and photos and video quality is improved thanks to some selective sharpening and contrast enhancement tweaks. Add in a top-notch 8MP camera, and it’s easy to understand the hype surrounding the Galaxy S III. It might not boast the sleek software design of stock Android, or the elegant build quality of the HTC One S, but that doesn’t change the fact that this is a fast, feature-packed phone without any serious weaknesses.

Android Central

Samsung Galaxy Nexus (GSM) - best software, best support, best value

If you’d asked us just a week or so ago, this phone probably wouldn’t have made the list. But Jelly Bean changes all that, putting the Galaxy Nexus on par with 2012’s latest and greatest, and underscoring the importance of software in the process. The Gnex, as we’ve come to know it, becomes a new phone with its Android 4.1 update. Gone are the subtle delays that presented themselves in Ice Cream Sandwich, replaced with instant responsiveness and buttery transitions. And we should also mention Google Now -- the replacement for the standard Google Search app, which brings in useful background info based on your Google account history.

But the focus of Jelly Bean is speed, and the optimizations that’ve been made as part of Google’s “Project Butter” elevate the Galaxy Nexus to new heights in terms of performance. To most consumers, the Nexus with Jelly Bean will feel just as fast as the Galaxy S III. The phone’s Achilles’ heel? That 5-megapixel camera wasn’t particularly impressive last November, and it’s looking decidedly ropey alongside the latest 8MP setups from Samsung and HTC. And HD SuperAMOLED has since been surpassed by rival SuperLCD2 and IPS panels. In our not-so-humble opinion, though, none of that matters. Jelly Bean, and the pure Google software experience more than compensate for the phone’s other shortcomings.

Pricing is important, too, and the fact that you can buy a Nexus outright for $350 from the Google Play Store means it’s by far the best value Android phone out there. Being a Nexus device also guarantees you speedy updates from Google, and that’s actually why we’re singling out the GSM version for praise here, as opposed to the CDMA variants. Verizon’s Galaxy Nexus has been plagued by update delays, and we’re certainly not holding our breath for that device to receive Android 4.1 anytime soon. If you’re after a Nexus, we can heartily recommend the unlocked GSM model.

Android Central

HTC One X and One XL - best display​, best camera

Despite HTC’s precarious financial results, the veteran Android-maker came out fighting this year, with its flagship HTC One series, lead by the flagship of flagships, the One X. With it, the Taiwanese manufacturer brought stellar performance and a new version of its Sense software, which builds upon the Android 4.0 design language with welcome, user-friendly additions.

The One X also sports the best display on any smartphone, bar none. Its SuperLCD 2 panel boasts exceptional brightness, clarity and daylight visibility, besting rival AMOLED and IPS panels. What’s more, HTC’s ImageSense tech and dedicated image processor result in some seriously impressive still photos from the phone’s 8MP rear shooter.

Internationally, the One X delivers impressive speed and gaming performance with a quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 CPU (albeit at the cost of battery life), while AT&T in the U.S. gets a similarly speedy dual-core Snapdragon S4 with support for 4G LTE networks. And with a chassis molded from a single piece of polycarbonate, it’s one of the lightest, best-looking plastic phones we’ve used. If you’re in the market for a high-end Android phone, you shouldn’t overlook this 4.7-inch monster from HTC.

The Android Central Recommendation

Samsung Galaxy Nexus (GSM) - ​t​he best Android phone you can buy

It was never going to be anything else, right? Since we first got to play with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean on the Galaxy Nexus at Google I/O, it’s reminded us of the real advantage of owning a Nexus phone. The Gnex -- in its undiluted GSM form, at least -- has delivered on the promise of a top-notch “Google experience” smartphone with timely updates straight from Mountain View. Buy one directly from the Google Play Store for $350 from now on, and it’ll ship with Jelly Bean, likely months before any skinned or carrier-branded handsets. It’s unlockable and completely open to hacking and development. And speed-wise, the Galaxy Nexus with Jelly Bean matches its Galaxy S III and One X competition. What’s more, vanilla Android still beats anything we’ve seen in the way of an OEM skin in the past seven months. That’s why the GSM Samsung Galaxy Nexus, with Jelly Bean, is the best Android smartphone you can buy in July 2012.

Android Central

Also worth a look...

The Galaxy Nexus gets our vote this time around, but there are plenty of Android smartphones that may be the best fit for you. Here are a few you may want to consider --

  • HTC EVO 4G LTE: If you’re on Sprint in the U.S. and the Galaxy S III isn’t doing it for you, this is probably the phone you’ll want to pick up. It’s pretty much the HTC One X in a redesigned shell, with CDMA and LTE radios and a funky red kickstand.
  • HTC One S: If the One X’s little brother shipped with a higher-resolution screen, it may well have made our top three. The One S, available on multiple European carriers, and T-Mobile USA, is an absolutely gorgeous piece of technology, with an exquisitely-designed 7.6mm-thin aluminum unibody and HTC Sense 4.0, backed up by Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. If you can get past the qHD-resolution SuperAMOLED screen, there’s a lot to like about the One S.
  • Motorola (Droid) RAZR MAXX: OK, so maybe we weren’t being 100 percent truthful when we said the Galaxy S III had the best battery life of any Android phone. The eight-month-old Motorola Droid RAZR MAXX, and its international cousin the RAZR MAXX, both ship with a stonking 3300mAh battery. On Verizon’s 4G LTE that’ll get you through a full day of extremely heavy use, while on European HSPA+ networks you’re looking at multiple days from a single charge. And it’s just been updated to Ice Cream Sandwich, too.
  • LG Optimus 4X HD: LG’s latest Android offering is a bit of a wildcard. Currently only available in parts of Northern Europe, it shares many characteristics with the HTC One X -- a quad-core Tegra 3 CPU, a super-clear 4.7-inch screen (IPS this time around) and a thoughtfully-designed skin atop Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Based on LG’s track record, however, we’re not holding our breath for a North American release, or any timely update to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.
  • Sony Xperia GX: Sony’s really dropped the ball this year when it comes to high-end Android smartphones in Western markets, and we can’t recommend either the Xperia S in Europe or the Xperia Ion on AT&T in the U.S. However, if you’re in Japan, we might suggest taking a look at the Xperia GX, aka the NTT Docomo SO-04D. It sports a sleek, Xperia Arc-like design, with Android 4.0, a 4.6-inch HD Reality Display and a Snapdragon S4 CPU, putting it on par with most of the high-end phones we’ve mentioned in this article.

Looking ahe​ad ...

We’re in for an interesting few months in the Android universe, as we move forward into the latter half of 2012. Motorola’s just announced the Atrix HD, along with its first batch of Intel-powered smartphones towards the year’s end. The successor to Samsung’s Galaxy Note is rumored for launch at IFA 2012 in Berlin, Germany in August, and we’re still expecting a refreshed flagship phone from Sony at some point.

Then there’s the question of the next-generation Nexus phone (or phones?), in whatever form they may take. We’ll be waiting with bated breath this November, expecting a new flagship from Google and its hardware partners, and perhaps a new version of Android to go with it.

In the meantime, for the current crop of Ice Cream Sandwich and Gingerbread phones, those Jelly Bean updates can’t come soon enough.

We’ll look once again at the best Android phones you can buy in a few months, or whenever the Android phone market significantly changes. Be sure to keep watching Android Central in the months ahead.


Reader comments

The best Android phone you can buy, as of July 2012


Not very soon!! the source code was just released. maybe 3-4 months and its just a guess.
i would buy Nexus or wait for the next nexus devices this year end.

I think it will actually be a good test of Google's new developers update package that supposedly will make updateing faster. Also, this is a dot release and nothing close to the magnitude of a full version release as it was from 2.x to 4.0.x

Your 110% wrong if you think it is a measly .1 release. Project Butter alone is singly the best improvement that the android team has ever done to the Android platform and anyone that has used it for 10 minutes would disagree to it being a .1 release. Then you add in Google Now which no OEM including apple has been able to match and this is leaps and bounds better than ICS which was leaps and bounds over any skinned Android phone out right now. In my eyes your not just 1 .1 release behind you are two and two big releases behind. Of course we all have our opinions and I respect yours, but this article is spot on and JB is really that good. No longer has Google been just releasing small updates like GB this is a completely different OS and as everyone can see every site that has reviewed it feels the same way.

Although I agree that the butter tastes sweet, the major upgrades (2.0, 4.0) are the major UI overhawls.

Also, I think that the Verizon G-Nex should at least be on the "others worth considering list." Not only is it super easy to install true AOSP 4.1.1, it beats the GSM version with double the storage and most importantly Verizon LTE support!

Given Samsung's previous record on updating:

If you're outside the U.S., probably in 3-6 months.
If you're in the U.S., probably in 6-9 months or a month after Key Lime Pie/the SGS4 is released, whichever comes first.

I don't mean for this to be a joke either...

I'm afraid your right. It has come to the point that if you own a skinned device you will always be at least one version behind just ask Razr owners as they have never been up to date and never will as I am sure the development will stop at ICS and I would actually be surprised if even the HD gets JB. Samsung is right there with them. Anyone buying a GS3, one x, Razr, or anything right now will be waiting easily 6-12 months and most outside of the one x and gs3 won't ever see JB. Not to mention a new nexus has to be right around the corner (if not multiple) and that means more than likely another version of Android. I don't see how anyone that is a fan of android can buy a phone and expect the most up to date software they better just buy the phone for the software and skinned experience that the OEMs give them as they won't see the latest.

I wouldn't hold my breath but I would guess that some smart dev will have a JB Rom to flash pretty darn soon. That is what so great about the Samsung phones they are extremely hacker friendly.

I mist disagree. In my experience, Samsung phones are only hacker friendly if they say "Nexus" on the box. I owned the epic 4g and could never get a ROM to stick. I own an epic Touch 4G GS2 and they still don't even have a fully functioning ICS rom that gives acceptable battery life. Why? BECAUSE SAMSUNG STILL HASNT RELEASED THE SOURCE for ICS. Besides that you have to deal with all this ODIN garbage all the time. My OG EVO was 100 time easier to hack and mod. My nexus s 4g however was easier than any of them, of course .

And to add, my USCC mesmerize is running a fully function AOKP ICS rom, and my phone is a beast. Is buttery smooth and get's amazing battery life. So moot point? I believe so. It's also gonnna get Jelly Bean. Very soon.

The Mesmerize never received the credit it deserved. It was everything the Fascinate should have been if Verizon would have kept its paws off it.

As a formEr Captivate owner I can also say that you never had that many great ROmS to choose from. You may have been able to flash ROMs but if you don't have many then there is nothing to flash.

As a formEr Captivate owner I can also say that you never had that many great ROmS to choose from. You may have been able to flash ROMs but if you don't have many then there is nothing to flash.

I also disagree I've had a very easy hacker friendly Galaxy S2 (AT&T SGH-i777). Plenty of ROMs available both for this phone and the Euro version (via hellraising). No issues here I don't know what you're talking about...

Samsungs are the easiest to hack. Period. Each device has its own set of ROMs. If your model/variant wasn't as popular as the others, that's not really Sammy's fault. Not every developer is going to be able to create a custom ROM for each carrier version of a phone.

I would have agreed. I can no longer say they are easiest PERIOD. Considering the wrestling I've had to do to get around the encrypted signature on the bootloader of the Verizon GS3, I'd say that the statement should be a little less definite.

The Evo LTE is better than the OneX.
Sure there is a international quad but if you compare apples to apples the LTE has Sd, bigger battery and yes the kickstand.
Both are awesome but the review could have @ least paired the two as one choice outta the three.


Always appreciate the reviews though.

Zing FTW! Sadly this is true and why I left Sprint for AT&T for the One X. While it may not have the battery life of the MAXX or multitasking of the SGSIII I can view it in daylight under 50% brightness and I get between 1-7Mbps on my 3G connection.

well, for those of us in one of the LTE coverage areas, we only have 5 days left until they turn it on.

You can't call it LTE if you don't even have a network to run LTE. Not to mention the phone is dog ugly there is no way they put the time and effort into that plastic monster the way they did with the One X.

No but its clearly getting B.J.'s here.

I remember how rabid fanboys were about Androids's removable battery, removable micro SD cards, and having four buttons to garner superiority over the iPhone. And I agreed.

I won't be getting anything other than Galaxy S2 until features are added back or I find a different Mobile OS to embrace.

for awhile i was torn between the Galaxy S3 and the Evo Lte and chose the Evo being i hate Samsung lol, and the screen of course

Same here. I could not get another pentile display. Even though everyone says it isn't noticeable they said that about the galaxy nexus and that is noticeable.

After using a One X for over a month, the pentile is immediately noticeable when I look at a SGS3. (and to anybody who says it's not, you are only fooling yourself). However, if you haven't used the One X (or EVO LTE) or you don't know what to look for, you would never notice it.

Your correct. At the time of the Nexus release we didn't have HD screens to compare to (outside of the iPhone which is still one of the best screens on a mobile device, too bad it's so small) now that the One X is out it does make every other screen look not as great. Still, the pentile screens on samsungs nexus and gs3 are leaps and bounds over the poor piles of garbage that Motorola is passing off these days.

I am a Verizon customer but I went to a T-Mobile store a few days ago for a hands-on comparison of the SG3 and OneS (their version of the OneX). After about 10 minutes of playing with both, I confirmed that the SG3 was better, and it wasn't even close.

Regardless of what people say about the alleged pixelation of the Pentile display, I saw no difference in clarity and the sheer size and color of the SG3's display blew away that of the OneS.

I also took several pictures with both phones and again the SG3 was the clear winner. Although the OneS's was not slow by any means, the absolute zero shutter lag of the SG3 was phenomenal and really makes a difference. Further, I actually noticed a slightly better picture quality and color in the SG3's photos, and of course the bigger screen makes the pictures look even better on the phone.

I think the hate one TouchWiz is exaggerated, and the version on the SG3 is Samsung's best yet. I couldn't discern any major advantage from HTC's Sense during my brief test between the two.

Gonna pick up the SG3 in two days. After comparing the two phones, the only way I'd take the OneS over the SG3 is if it was offered to me for free.

The HTC One S is not the same as the One X. The screen is lower res and lower quality. It's more of a mid-range device, so it's no surprise that you found the SG3 to be a better device. The One X or LTEvo, on the other hand, give much stiffer competition. I can't think of a single reason why I'd want an SG3 over my LTEvo.

You are correct - my bad. The sales guy at T-Mobile said it was "basically the same thing" but after looking up the actual specs online, I realize now it was not a fair comparison. However, I can think of a few reasons why you'd want an SG3 over an Evo LTE: 2GB of RAM instead of one, more media formats supported, and better battery life. Oh, and a bigger screen of course :)

The GS3 does not have better battery life. And almost nobody will notice a 0.1" screen size difference on screens this large.

However, the Evo LTE also has a kickstand, a dedicated camera button, a better quality case and build, a MUCH better screen, and (according to most reviews) a better and faster camera.

The only two advantages of the GS3 are a swappable battery (which is not really an advantage for many people), and double the RAM (and that *is* a nice advantage).

Both phones are beasts.

I totally agree... the phones are neck in neck, both awesome products. I went with the GS3 simply because the multi-tasking is better for ME, and I liked the feel of the phone better. Coming from a launch day Epic 4g, either one would have made me feel like a superstar... lol

I'm pretty sure the one S has a pentile display and it is much lowr res so it is no wonder you saw no difference.

Is the Galaxy Nexus a worthy upgrade though from a Nexus S? Both will get Jelly Bean (though I guess the Nexus S won't get face unlock) and the elder Nexus is still speedy in its own right.

Ah choices! The fun of being in the Android ecosystem. :)

I'm not a Nexus man, but if I were I would wait for this year's version coming late fall. The hardware on that device should be spectacular, coupled w/ JB.

Well I AM a Nexus man and with that said I say get the Galaxy Nexus...I mean I just wouldn't be able to wait and who knows if a new Nexus will ACTUALLY be released this year?!?!?! Think about it; instead of having an amazing, soon to run JellyBean smartphone in your hands tomorrow to might wait 6 months for a new Nexus phone which never comes out and then you'll think back and say "Man I wish I bought that Galaxy Nexus" cause you could have been rocking this jellyBean actions for months already. I know people are kinda hating on the hardware specs BUT I'm still running ICS and this phone is freakin GREAT so I can't even imagine how awesome it's gonna be with JB. Get the Galaxy nexus dude, you won't regret it. just don't do what i did and sell you Nexus S. I had the Nexus S as well and I sold it when I bought the Galaxy Nexus thinking "Oh I'll never need this lil thing" but it's always good to have a back up phone. I've really wanted to try some of these leaked versions of JellyBean BUT i care too much about my Galaxy Nexus to install anything but the ofiical Google OTA update so i wish i had my nexus S just to I could mess around and install a bunch of crappy versions of JellyBean on it. Anyway, 1 Nexus S owner to another, I upgraded to the GNexus and never looked back, it was great.

If I needed to upgrade my device on verizon, had the grandfathered unlimited data, and did not want to move to the new plans, I would unequivocally purchase a used/preowned/whatever Galaxy Nexus. If I had the option of inspecting the phone in person prior to purchasing, I would. I say this because some of these phones have issues with their radios, regardless of which update their phone is running. My phone has a rough time switching between 4G and 3G, and sometimes the signal is a little crummy. I just need to get my phone back to stock, call verizon, and have a refurb sent out to me.

Great post. I need help please. I purchased a Galaxy Nexus Verizon two days ago. With Google putting it back on AOSP does it not make it on par with the GSM Galaxy Nexus?

I can still return so I want to make sure I am doing the right thing here.

Another option would be to get the S3 and root Therefore, having the best hardware and software with Jelly Bean ROMs sure to come soon. And is the battery life significantly better on the S3? Thanks in advance.

The S3 is locked down tight and while there is already a work around for the kernel I can't imagine going back to a locked down device. Messing around with the Nexus is a joy, messing around with my last locked down device was a chore.

@thejuiceman is correct: the Verizon (and Sprint) version of the GNex had a licensing issue with the CDMA radio drivers and, as such, was not *officially* supported by the AOSP build of Android.

and here's a better explanation of "why":

I thought I read something a few weeks back about working on getting the CDMA licensing issue being sorted out (but I can't find the AC article now) and there was something today about the driver binaries themselves being made available for download.

I'm thinking you still can't just build the AOSP Android from Google and have it fully working on your CDMA GNex without having to add additional binaries.

No, he's thinking of the Verizon Gnex, that once again has AOSP support as of yesterday.

VZW GNex (Toro) had 4.1 about 1 hour after the GSM version. We also have 32GB instead of 16GB.

Edit: And I read that you can build Toro directly from AOSP again now.

I have a Verizon Galaxy Nexus running Jelly Bean. It took me all of an hour from factory stock to rooted JB using the XDA forums. Frankly, it was pretty easy compared to some of the processes I've gone through in the past. If you know how to put your phone in fast boot and plug it into your computer, you've got the necessary skills.

Google Now is quite fun.

If you're willing to root just keep the Nexus. It's the best phone out there for those who use custom roms, and I'm quite sure both cdma versions have Jellybean roms already. On that topic, Jellybean on my gsm Galaxy Nexus is awesome, I highly recommend installing a JB rom.

Will at least one of the next generation nexus phone(s) Verizon (CDMA) compatible?

Locked in to Verizon (unlimited data)....but would buy a next gen nexus from play store in a heartbeat if compatible with Verizon network.

I'm pretty sure the Galaxy S3 as well as the Evo 4g Lte and Htc One X will all see jellybean eventually. Meanwhile if you own the GSM GALAXY NEXUS yes you should get jellybean immediately that's expected. Otherwise Google should make sure that ice cream sandwich is on 75% of all android device before ushering in the new jellybean update to the entire platform. Ice Cream Sandwich is great in it's self a beautiful platform to learn real nice and smooth.

Two of the phones in your "contest" aren't even available on the USA's largest and best network, Verizon. You can't get a GSM GNex or an HTC One X on big red, which you failed to mention as a down-side to those phones.

For those people living under an AT&T cell tower who never leave home, AT&T might be as good as Verizon. But for those of us who have mobile phones because they are, well, mobile, you'll pay the price for AT&T in lost signal, poor voice quality and dropped calls during your journeys. These are realities that GSM GNex users and HTC One X users cannot escape from, ever. These things matter.

I've got a GNex in my pocket right now, sporting Jelly Bean. It's a nice experience, and it does make the GNex more usable. But usable today doesn't mean usable tomorrow, and the GNex's hardware makes it a temporary solution. Saying the camera issues don't matter or failing to even recognize connectivity issues in the GNex doesn't make them less important. It just skews your analysis. For hackers, the GNex is best--I agree. But for most, it falls a bit short of other offerings.

I think the SGS3 and HTC1X are neck-and-neck in most respects, except for the 1X's lack of availability on Verizon. So if you're on Verizon, the SGS3 is the clear winner. If you're on the other major carriers, it's probably a toss-up. We Verizon folks would love to have that dilemma to deal with.

doesn't the VZW SGS3 have a signed bootloader? Maybe in a little bit the VZW SGS3 will beat the GNex, but as of this moment, I'd much rather have the GNex on 4.1 than any other phone.

It does, which makes it inferior to the same phone on other carriers, but the Verizon network, in my opinion, is a bigger deal than the signed bootloader. We've got root and recovery, which makes it usable from my perspective. I'm confident a worthwhile 4.1 ROM will be along within a month, so my net downside is doing without JB for a month or so. Small price to pay for better battery life, bigger screen (I'm old and have poor eyesight), SD card, 2G RAM and a kick-butt camera.

If you see 4.1 before October, I will be shocked. If you see it before the beginning of next year, I'll still be pretty surprised. Anything less than 3-6 months for a carrier supported (and locked) phone is unlikely.

If you're going to run a custom ROM, that's a different story. Not sure I'd be ready to void the warranty on an SIII yet :)

I don't worry too much about warranties since at least half the fun I get out of my phone requires rooting. Haven't been burned by that yet. Definitely assuming the ROM method for 4.1 of course. I agree with your estimates on an official roll-out. They could surprise us, but they seldom do.

Note that the author declares himself "the resident Brit" and focuses some on the scene there. Also, not everyone lives in the U.S. or is trying to get a green card by blogging.

Thanks for showing everyone on AC what an idiot you are. YEP, lets alll run out and get an s3 so VZW can immediately END our grandfathered unlimited data plan. AND your s3 is locked down very tightly....congrats. As far as ATT coverage YOU are living 10 years ago.....I travel all across the USA (even in the Dakotas and Montana) and my coverage IS ALWAYS GREAT! So, climb back in your time machine and come back when you have something truthful and relevant to add. I am keeping my GNEX.......and loving it!

First of all, when you call people that you don't know "idiot" on the web, you call into question your own seriousness. Ad hominem attacks are the first resort of those who lack the wit to argue effectively.

Second, any subsidized phone you buy from Verizon on June 28th or later will end your unlimited data, including the Galaxy Nexus. This is not a unique property of the S3.

Yes, the S3 has a signed bootloader on Verizon (all bootloaders are "locked", even GNex), but it won't stop anyone from rooting or ROM'ing their phone. Is it a problem? Yes. It will take longer to get new ROMs and other things on the Verizon S3 than it will on the other carriers.

Congratulations on being a world traveler. I'm sure that you picked up your penchant for using all caps for emphasis in one of the many exotic locations you've traveled to. However, I don't have to rely on your exhaustive flyover safaris to form an opinion on the relative merits of the AT&T network, as I spent time on AT&T late last year and early this year on my work account, using an iPhone 4S and a Galaxy Note. I also have the benefit of plenty of online surveys and exposure to countless anecdotal references from others via the internet whenever my own experience is insufficient to make generalizations. My experience + the experience of everyone on the internet > your experience.

I think the GNex is a great phone. I have one. I love it. I just don't think it's a better phone than the S3 on any carrier for non-hackers. If you disagree, that's fine. Perhaps you can use your GNex to research time machines so that you can travel back in time (like I do!) and ask your mother to teach you some manners.

As in coverage you mean you can make a phone call and text right? What about sending out an important email? Maybe posting a nice picture on FB after taking a great picture of your nice scenery you are passing while your wife drives? Yeah my kids have great 1X coverage on Tmobile on our trips, but they tether off my VZW GNex for everything else.

this is hilarious. absolutely hilarious.

there is already a forum out for verizon phones only...maybe you'd be happy over there.

Don't be a network fanboy.

The Verizon galaxy nexus EASILY had the worst call quality of any cellphone I have had after the TDMA Nokia I started with.

GSM > CDMA when it comes to voice. Don't forget simultaneous data and voice.

Verizon is the biggest, and currently has the most LTE but it certainly has holes, their new charge everything data plans and policies for hardware are terrible.

If the razr maxx had a better display it would be no contest, but since it does have just an okay screen i would say the GS3 is the best android phone. It is better than the Galaxy Nexus even. (i traded the galaxy nexus for the razr maxx because of pathetic battery life)

I love my Galaxy Nexus except for the camera and the fact that I had to install an extended battery to make it through a day with moderate usage. Really though its an amazing phone, just give me a better camera the next time around and I'll be even happier with it.

For now I'm happy with my Galaxy Note. I have it rooted to stock ICS, and will upgrade to Jelly Bean when a ROM becomes available.

For those who love the Note, there really is not competing phone. I had one for a couple of months, but the AT&T network in my part of the world is too patchy and I finally had to get rid of it.

Interesting points and perspective, especially since I am considering an upgrade in the next 3-6 months. I admit that after seeing the official AC super best smartphone recommendation, I had to double-check that the author was not Phil Nickenson.

In 3-6 months, we'll have a much better idea of when/if other phones are getting 4.1. If you already have an SII, for instance, and we find out the whole Android update alliance 18 month thing is a reality, we may be looking at a carrier supported upgrade to 4.1 early next year. That might even allow you to put off an upgrade for another year or two.

I would definitely wait for the next nexus phone if you are in the 3-6 month wait period.

I really love my VZW GN, I have unlimited data and even though the Verizon tag around her is like being the red headed step child, it is a great device that I am looking forward to throwing JB on as soon as I get the courage to. (My phone is already unlocked, I am just a wimp). And although I am not Ansel Adams with the thing, the pictures are not horrible, it is just that it could have been much better if they decided to use better parts for the camera.

I just upgraded to the Galaxy Nexus from a Galaxy S2. I really wanted to Galaxy S3, but was unwilling to sign a new three year contract, I was able to sell my S2 and buy a brand new Nexus for $40 more than I got for my S2. As far as value goes the Galaxy Nexus can't be beat there.

I'm happy with the Galaxy Nexus(but the s2 was a better phone), I had to change it over to Yakju and flash stock 4.0.4 and change the radio, but now I find the battery life is much better.

Yet I still sigh and drool when I walk by the cell store and see that Galaxy S3 in the window.

After using devices with all the major skins except any of the LG devices I have never been happier than with the Nexus line. The hardware isn't the top of the line when it debuts but the software stays at the top in terms of performance and official rom/custom rom support.

Nothing that HTC or Samsung makes will ever come with the same ease of "hack-ability" and peace of mind you need for a full 24 month contract.

I’m shocked, just shocked that AC would pick the GNex. Didn’t see that one coming! Who would’ve thought? ;)

Honestly, I see little use to these types of “best” articles as it’s entirely subjective. For me, my one+ year old Thunderbolt with its single core, 32GB SD card, removable battery, native kickstand and Gingerbread with Sense is still the winner in my book. I’d still buy one at full retail today if need be.

Loving my Evo LTE. I came from stock ICS on a Nexus S 4g and Sense isn't bothering me at all. In fact, I dare say it adds a lot to the experience.

I've been rocking the early builds of JB on my Verizon GNex since the day after the I/O release. All I can say is that although I was really happy with ICS, Jelly Bean really does make this thing shine! Anyone with a GNex really should head over to RootzWiki and pick a JB ROM. It's well worth the time and very easy to do. Now that the source code has dropped, AOKP, CyanogenMod, Liquid, and all the other excellent ROM families will be cranking out their JB ROMs so everyone else out there with other phones will be able to play with it soon too! Poor IOS guys just don't know what they're missing :)

While the Gnex is recommended as the phone to buy right now, what is the time frame? In other words, If I keep my phone for two years is the Gnex really going to be better in two years than the GS3 despite it's 2011 hardware?

And for the record, there is ABSOLUTELY no comparison between the GNex screen and GS3 screen lol. GS3 way better

I was shocked how much better the screen on the GS3 was compared to the GNex. It's amazing what a good pentile display looks like compared to an average one. I was a major pentile hater going back to the Nexus One but I have been made a believer after seeing the GS3.



Yes, if this guy win's the Nexus 7 Tablet, I would be sad.

That saying, I can understand why he posted that. I am sure I could speak for everyone that we all want to jump up and down and so OO OO OO PICK ME PICK ME!!! (myself included) LOL

I think the Rezound should probably get the best value award especially if they drop the price even further and sell it for $50 again.

I really wish there was a way to buy a VZW-compatible GNex from Google.

As far as having the latest software I'm running 4.04 on my Fascinate and thanks to AOKP should see 4.1 in the near future ... crazy (awesome) world.

No surprise there.You would think being actually able to function great as a phone would carry some weight but it seems the nothing matters past the OS. The Rezound has the hardware to embarrass the GNEX and can be Rooted & ROM'd to match the GNEX or any other device available now. And thanks to Verizon's ignorance towards this device you can find it at bargain basement prices.

I like how they say now that they can't recommend the ION but if you look back at the review it did pretty well. Certainly for the $99(or less) it's a great deal.And Sony's UX Android skin overlay is even lighter & faster than Moto's new "Blur".

Anyone who chooses the HTC One X over the S3 because of screen alone is being way to anal about the screen. 99 out of 100 could not tell the difference without an expert and magnifying glass. The wireless charging, removable battery, MicroSD expansion, and smart stay are real features with real value that make the S3 the clear choice. The S3 also provides up to double battery life for video viewing if that is your thing, otherwise about the same. BTW... The S3 also has a better camera despite what the author believes. The X produces too much noise in the pictures, I was actually very surprised to see how much better the S3 camera is...

I have to wonder if the EVOLTE would have gotten its rightful recognition if this came out after Sprint starts rolling out the LTE goodness.

With the ICS update, I think the SGS2 and/or Skyrocket are still worthy of a look. Even more so, if you take into account the potential for CM10 ROMs.

The GNex definitely has a leg-up on the competition as far as Android software updates. But like the Nexus S before it, the hardware just seems a day late and a dollar short. It almost seems like Google deliberately watered down the specs in order for other OEMs to have the spotlight for the bleeding-edge hardware. It's okay, if that's the case, because it makes the decision purely based on whether one is looking for the best OS software or the best hardware.

One aspect of the GNex that doesn't seem to come up often is the onscreen navigation buttons. Do people realize it takes up 96 pixel lines (7.5%) of the screen when the buttons are displayed? You're really left with a screen resolution of 1184x720 unless you're in full screen mode. It takes away screen real estate. IMHO,of the three negatives for the GNex (5mp camera, no microSD, onscreen buttons), I'd say the onscreen buttons is what's preventing me from getting it.

The point's you have mentioned regarding the on screen buttons, probably do not bother people, hence the reason it's not mentioned. I have no issues with this format and prefer their implementation over for example the HTC One X, having the bottom of the screen being used for the "Setting" button in some apps is far worse IMHO.

These points are also the reasons you and others who haven't purchased the Nexus, may list for choosing otherwise, but others who do own this phone have considered these factors and are fine with it.

No one phone will ever meet everyone's requirements, but having JB has given my phone a new lease of life.

I am not loyal to any one mobile OS. (Android, iOS, or otherwise) I prefer to buy whichever phone that has
the absolute best/biggest screen. At the moment, the winner is Android.

Having said that.... I'm wondering if Apple will come out with a BIG screen(at least bigger than Galaxy Nexus)
with better resolution?

The deal breaker on the GNex is the lack of an SD card slot. I really hope Google finally adds one to the next model.

Article Fail: The USA Galaxy S III is not faster than either the USA HTC One X or the HTC Evo LTE. They are identical processors in all three. But we shouldn't let facts get in the way of headlines....

So we shouldnt let truths like how touchwiz is smoother than Sense 4, and actual multitasking get in the way of 'facts'.

Touchwiz "smoother"? Sorry, but that is not a fact.

But there *are* issues with multitasking/memory management in the current One X/Evo LTE factory ROM's (hope it gets fixed). However, that has nothing to do with speed. So you will have to try again :)

honestly, i just bought a one S on tmo US and every DAY there is a WOW moment for me. I FRIGGEN LOVE THIS PHONE. Yes, the screen resolution is low if you are looking at just specs, but there hasnt been a time that i thought "wow, this screen could use a little higher res".

Coming from a Nexus (nexus s) i was a little hesitant, but i have been SO impressed by the phone, and even sense 4 for that matter!

All 3 phones are awesome. You can't go wrong with any of these I tried all of them and currently have the galaxy s 3 which is a beast but I do miss the nexus aosp experience and the on.screen button and the HTC one x incredible display. But the S3 is honestly the best phone you can get in my opinion.

I have the HTC EVO 4G LTE and love it. I probably won't upgrade again until next year when the FHD 1080p phones are released. For now, HD 720p is awesome. It is much better than qHD 540p.

I wouldnt recommend the international Galaxy S3. The thing is starved for ram and im very disappointed with it. 1gb is no where near enough for touchwiz and ics.

i have the intl gs3 and i dont have any problems with ram whatsoever. tw take about 300mb but ics doesnt need much. heck the nexus s with 512mb of ram runs ics just fine

You guys are suckers for the latest Android release.

The Gnex is the slowest out of all the phones mentioned, its camera is below par for a phone a year older than it and the omap processor leaves me and most people uninspired.

Choose the HTC One X or the GSIII. Root them and have Jelly Bean on them thanks to the fantastic efforts of our amazing community and be truly satisfied with your lot.

My personal choice would have to be the One X which I never thought I'd say but it just looks and feels better.

Great article and as we can see from the replies, ammunition for debate.

I personally own the Galaxy Nexus and have owned it from release day in the UK and loving it especially since the gift of Jelly Bean too. So much smoother and feature rich, just loving it.

On hardware alone my leaning would be towards the Samsung Galaxy SIII (having tried and had hands on with all 3) I just loved it's overall speed and smoothness of operation and implementation of ICS over the HTC One X version (although not prefered over stock ICS)

Please note people, before I get flamed (lol) I have not stated anywhere in this comment that phone A is better than phone B or C, far from it, I am just saying IMO "RIGHT NOW" the Galaxy Nexus with Jelly Bean is one fine beast and more than worthy of consideration.

I agree with the OP comments, although the other 2 examples used are faster with bigger screens and better specs, for me the GNEX is just too fine and my No.1 choice.

I don't understand this growing trend with overly-large screens. I think 4.65" is the absolute biggest screen I could possibly want; otherwise, it's like I'm holding a darned tablet up to my ear when I'm on a call! Tablets have their place, absolutely, but not as something to carry in your pocket.

Also, for as much as I love the Android OS, phones designed for Android are really just an arms race. Honestly, how much of the market needs a quad-core processor in their phone? Or even a dual-core processor, for that matter? It seems like the majority of the market just wants them because we're told they are "the latest and the greatest." I'm still using my HTC G2 (which is phenomenal, by the way!) and I'm only thinking about upgrading so I can have ICS or JB.

As for the battery life in the GNex, there's a particularly good company that makes extended batteries for phones. I don't know if I can say the name here, but let's just say that it rhymes with "fugen power." (Replace the first letter.) I've got one in my G2, and it could last a couple days without a charge on moderate to heavy use. Just be sure to turn off things that you're not using, and use WiFi over 3G/4G when you can. Most people just leave all the wireless adapters on constantly and install apps that suck battery. (Words with Friends!!)

Anyway, just the opinions of someone who works in technological customer support. Happy Androiding, all!