In the interest of keeping cool this summer, we've put together a list of the hottest products out right now. From smartphones to e-readers and everything in between, there's no time like the present to re-up that post-spring-cleaning stash. So grab a popsicle or a cold one and dive in -- the water's just right.
As you prepare for adventures with friends and fun in the sun, just remember that a great smartphone should be at the top of your gear list. Whether you're looking for travel tips, a new place to hang or even directions to get there, your smartphone will have you covered. It can help you check-in for flights, rent a car and even get great deals on places to stay. Go ahead and leave your point-and-shoot camera at home, because many of today's best smartphones excel at photography and allow you to immediately share your memories as they're captured. If you plan to travel abroad, be sure to spring for an unlocked handset to avoid those nasty roaming fees. Whatever your particular needs, our smartphone selection is geared to make your decision as painless as possible - and more importantly, ensure that you have a fun and rewarding summer. Dive in on the other side of the break.
If you're truly wanting to start your summer off with a bang, look no further than the HTC One X, which is available in an unlocked, international model (approx. $600), or domestically through AT&T for $199 -- the latter of which sports longer battery life and comes with LTE connectivity. The One X best represents many of the qualities that we look for in a handset, and along with its stellar build quality and gorgeous, 4.7-inch 720p display (of the non-PenTile variety), it also features one of the best cameras available in a smartphone and boasts wicked performance. Put simply, the One X adheres most closely to the ideals of the ultimate Engadget smartphone.
Price: $200 (on contract) at AT&T
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We're big believers in unlocked handsets 'round these parts, and now that the Galaxy Nexus is available directly from Google on the Play Store for a mere $399 -- with a full warranty, mind you -- it's a deal that you'd be hard-pressed to refuse. In addition to providing users deliverance from carrier bloatware and being first in line for updates, unlocked smartphones offer owners the unique advantage of using their mobile phone on any compatible network. This particular Galaxy Nexus features a pentaband HSPA+ radio, which means that you'll be ready to roll on either T-Mobile or AT&T, along with a large number of international carriers.
Price: $400 at Google
Many Engadget editors use the iPhone 4S as their daily driver, and for good reason -- it offers simplistic integration with Apple's incredible ecosystem and access to a selection of apps that's beyond reproach. The phone's famed Retina Display remains a hallmark in the mobile industry for its stunning clarity, and while some may scoff at its 3.5-inch screen size, the iPhone 4S is easily the best choice for those who'd like a compact handset. We're also big fans of its excellent camera and Siri voice assistant. The 16GB iPhone 4S is available from AT&T, Sprint and Verizon for $199, along with a number of regional carriers. Frequent international travelers should seek out the unlocked model directly from Apple, which starts at $649.
Price: $200 to $850 at Apple
If you'd like to dive into summer with an excellent handset, yet don't want to blow your budget along the way, the Nokia Lumia 900 will be the savior of the season. At just $100 on-contract through AT&T, it's unequivocally the best smartphone deal by a country mile. The vibrant, 4.3-inch ClearBlack display features a polarization filter that'll let you view content in direct sunlight, and its 8-megapixel camera will go a long way toward accurately preserving the memories of your travels. What's more, the Lumia 900 can also access AT&T's speedy LTE network, which you can then use to provide an internet connection to your laptops and tablets.
Price: $99 (on contract) at AT&T