The other day my brother-in-law told me he has an upgrade coming up and he asked me for some suggestions on what device he might pick up. He’s currently on AT&T, and it just so happens that 4 out of my top 5 devices on my DogGone Best Phones of 2012 are carried/usable on AT&T, so I thought I would address this post to him. So really, these are the Android devices I would suggest to someone who would certainly be able to hold me accountable if I offered them terrible advice. Hopefully, if you’re shopping around for a device, you can get something out of this too…
In my opinion, here are the best devices out right now. I’ll try and provide some pros and cons for each, and then you can make a decision for yourself.
5) Nexus 4
This is one of my favorite devices of 2012 simply because it’s a Nexus device. I love pure Google devices, and this one is it. The Nexus 4 has a beautiful 4.7″ 720p display with a pixel density of 320 ppi. It has the 1.5 GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 Pro under the hood with 2 gb of ram. On top of that, it’s always going to have the latest version running on it. It’s going to have Android 4.2 out of the box, so the device is super smooth. However, I haven’t been a giant fan of Android 4.2, but another huge plus for the device is the development support for the device. If you don’t like something about the stock ROM, chances are someone else has the same beef and you’ll be able find a tweak to fix it.
Cons? One bummer is that is doesn’t have LTE, so data speeds on AT&T aren’t going to be super slick, but probably not different from what you’re used to. The other bummer which I strongly dislike is the glass back. This almost makes me upset. I feel like Google/LG succumbed to peer pressure from people wanting a device with “high build quality” and decided to make the back of the Nexus 4 glass. In my opinion, it’s a poor materials choice. It looks great, and feels great in the hand, but it’s nowhere near as robust as the rest of the devices I will suggest. If you want your phone to survive normal life and kids, you’ll need to cover the device for sure, sacrificing the beautiful look and feel.
If you’re willing to deal with those cons, I have one other thing to say about the Nexus 4. It’s an unlocked device at a great price which is obviously a pro, but you can’t get it through AT&T. I would probably suggest finding an awesome deal on one of the following suggested devices, buying that device with your upgrade, never open up the box and sell the device. Then, use that money to get yourself the Nexus 4 for $350 from Google and pocket the rest. And yes, pay the $350 and get the 16 gb device.
4) Galaxy S III
This device, along with the next two, I had a really hard time deciding the order on. I’m not sure I love the order that I picked, but just know that these are all awesome devices and it’s going to come down to personal preference. That being said, the Galaxy S III is the most popular Android device out there right now. You can’t go wrong with it. It also is running the 1.5 dual-core GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro under the hood and has 2 gb of ram. It has a 4.8″ Super Amoled display that is also 720p but is using Pentile technology, meaning you get a third less subpixels, and not as crisp of a picture. What I love about it is the size; not too big, not too small. Samsung has also done some really cool stuff with their Android overlay, TouchWiz. If you’re planning on not rooting/messing with your device, going with this device is a really great way to go. Lastly, the S III has an awesome 8 MP camera on it loaded with features for taking pictures with the kids.
Now, if we were discussing the international S III, the phone might be farther up the list. The international S III is powered by Samsung’s Exynos quad-core 1.4 GHz processor which sounds amazing. I’m a huge Exynos processor fan. I suppose, if you really care, which I’m pretty sure you don’t, you could do the same thing you could do with the Nexus 4. You could use your upgrade, sell the device new on ebay, then get yourself the international version with no extra pocket money. However, if you think you’ll be happy with the AT&T version, shop around. I’m sure you’ll be able to find a killer deal.
3) HTC One X+
The HTC One series are interesting. When the HTC One X and Samsung Galaxy S III were coming out, the One X out does the Galaxy S III spec wise, but HTC hasn’t been able to compete with the Galaxy series. I think the difference maker has been business and marketing practice more than the devices themselves. However, I haven’t met anyone with an HTC One X that doesn’t love their device. Here, I’m talking about the One X+ because of it’s gnarly specs. It sports a 1.7 GHz quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor with 64 gb of on-board memory and 1 gb of ram. The display is a 4.7″ HD 720p super LCD2 with a pixel density of 312 ppi. The display technology is arguably better than the S III, and the device feels great in the hand. It’s a solid device due to its unibody design, with the downside of not having a replaceable battery. One last cool thing about the One X+, or even the One X, is the camera. It’s got a different camera than you’ll find on other devices with a 8 MP, f/2.0, 28 mm wide angle lens. It’s pretty spectacular and again, great for taking pictures of the kids.
Downsides? I haven’t played around much with Sense 4+, but it’s not quite up to snuff with TouchWiz. So if you’re down with custom launchers or ROMs you’ll be good to go and super happy with this device.
2) Galaxy Note II
I think this device is amazing. So smooth. So fast. My only beef with Samsung’s Galaxy Note II is that I’m undecided on the size. I’ve never used one as my personal device. So when I get to play with Note IIs, it feels awkward. I’m sure I could get used to it, but they’re big. Here are the specs: 1.6 GHz quad-core Exynos processor, 2 gb of ram, and a 5.5″ 720p Super Amoled display with a pixel density of 264 ppi. Now, Samsung dropped the Pentile technology for the Note II which is great, but in my opinion the display still doesn’t hold up in terms of crispness to the Nexus 4. Samsung brings lots of great features on the Note II similar to the S III with TouchWiz. Additional features include the S Pen, and something the AT&T device just got, multi-window. I think multi-window is so cool and extremely handy. If you do a lot of multitasking, it makes it a breeze.
1) Droid DNA (not on AT&T)
So, unfortunately at number 1 I don’t have an AT&T device, but Verizon’s Droid DNA by HTC. So this isn’t an option you’ll probably choose, but I think this phone is the complete package. I can’t say enough about the display: 5.0″ ImageChip ISP S-LCD 3 screen with an insane 441 ppi. It’s 1080p. You’re not going to find another phone display like this anywhere right now. Under the hood it has a Qualcomm quad-core 1.5 GHz processor, 2 gb of ram, and 16gb of on-board memory. Unfortunately, it has a similar unibody design to the HTC One X series, so the drive space is not expandable, but I think you’ll be fine with 16 gb. Lastly , we’ve seen the commercials, Verizon’s LTE coverage is amazing and this device has it. I just think the size, the display, the hardware, and Verizon’s service make this device the complete package. That’s why this device is my number 1 pick of 2012.
So there you go… Fortunately, you have lots of amazing options. Unfortunately, you have to choose only one. So hopefully this helps!
Let me know if you have any questions, comments, or like/hate my selections by commenting below. Happy New Year!