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ArmpitOfDeath

What is the best Android phone to be buying now? (and by now, I mean right now - i.e.

not waiting for CES-announced handsets to be released, etc)

I was supposed to buy one late last year to test some stuff out, but the whole thing went on the back burner.

I'm now looking to get back into Android. Given the difficulty in getting a legit SIM-free WinPho7 here that I actually want, I'm going to let that stew on the burner for a while - and perhaps wait for the HTC 7 Pro to finally make its way to our shores.

I like physical keyboards, which brings the Milestone 2 into contention. The Galaxy S seems very popular and still perfectly viable, and while I'm not the worlds greatest fan of HTC the Desire HD seems to be as good a choice as any.

Which should I pick?

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22 replies
frankspin

I think it largely depends on location and preferred carrier. I know a lot of people still have high regards for the Evo & DInc but your dislike of HTC nixes those two I guess; if I may ask, why do you dislike them?

Looking at SIM free type phones via the gdgt finder there are a lot of non-htc options. There is that company Synapse that lets you customize your own Android phone if you want to check that out, which might actually save you some money since you can cut out certain "higher" end options that you may not need for testing.
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ArmpitOfDeath

I should have added that I'm buying in Europe - so most leading Android phones which are GSM are available SIM-free.
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JasonTsay

The Galaxy S and Desire HD are both definitely great choices for your situation. With the Samsung, you're getting better performance but worse build quality than the HTC. If you're not into rooting and custom roms, you should know that the S runs Touchwiz, which can be annoying for some users. The HD runs the new version of HTC Sense which seems to be pretty decent. I'm not saying the Milestone 2 is a bad phone but it's not as good as the other two you mentioned unless you really want the physical keyboard that bad.
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ArmpitOfDeath

How bad, and in what way? I mean - I quite liked the Milestone as a handset and the 2 seems to be more of the same. Whether that's good or bad is what I'm not sure of at the moment.

In terms of a keyboard, I can still be more productive (as far as mobile phones can be productive) in text-heavy tasks on the N900 than the iP4 for example - so I am still in favour of a keyboard.
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JasonTsay

Then the M2 is your only choice no? I believe its more than last gen hardware at this point though.
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happyschneider

how about the htc desire z? Keyboard, not too big and good build quality. Not the fastest processor but I understand you don't go for gaming... Defenitly the one I will check out if I get this new job...
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JasonTsay

The Synapse is only a concept, might possibly be a scam/never make it to market as well.
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ArmpitOfDeath

Why don't I like them? History mainly - if you check out my Had list, you'll notice quite a lot of HTC handhelds - and I've burned through more HTC radios (the most common failure for me by far) and endured more falling-apart handsets than any other maker.

I had a build and possibly radio-related issue on the HD2, my last HTC - sadly it didn't get that fair a shake after it came back from warranty, as it suffered a watery death.

I know they have a good rep these days - but I find that quite often, and not just in mobile phones but in tech in general, your regular joe's (aka the 'engadget take') impressions of build quality and mine often diverge - I look at things more from an engineering perspective, whereas most tend to go on look & feel - I know HTC has that down quite well these days.
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happyschneider

Then, I think you will not be happy with any available phones ;) I still am waiting for a decent phone with a decent weight. I want to feel it. I want it to survive falls onto concrete and I want it to last forever... Remember those satellite phones? That was build quality :D
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alainrj

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brett

Is the Nexus S out of the question? Is it available over there?

I don't like the Galaxy S because they put a terrible skin over Android that also drains battery life. The Desire HD would probably be a better bet since HTC did a decent job with Sense and the Desire HD is also much more solidly built than the Galaxy series.
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JasonTsay

I don't believe the Nexus S is available with Euro 3G bands.
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brett

Oh that's true. TMobile definitely uses different bands.
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Trong

Despite the plastic-y build quality, I would go with the Samsung Galaxy S. Most of the phones, that are out there right now, might not be able to run the games of next year. The PowerVR SGX540 in the Galaxy S should be able to handle almost all graphic intensive games over the next few years.

If you really care about the feel/build quality of the phone, then I'd suggest the Desire HD. It's general performance is said to be pretty good and it has a solid GPU with the newer Qualcomm chipset.
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ArmpitOfDeath

Games aren't really a concern, although partially GPU-bound stuff like augmented reality would be of interest. Right now I'm quite evenly split between the HD and the S (since there's little buzz about the Ms2) - and was looking for some compelling comment that would push me one way or another, as well as mentions of anything interesting from the leftfield.
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ArmpitOfDeath

I managed to get a look at the Galaxy and the only concern is Touchwiz. Sense seems to make more... sense, although I would prefer an unskinned Android, if only for quicker upgradeability's sake.

Has either party been particularly tardy with OS updates? That would be an issue as well.
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tdanbrown

I have the VWZ Incredible with Sense, and I love it! I remember hearing rumors that when Froyo was released, it would be a long time until the Sense phones got the update, but I remember getting it fairly quickly. It may have been two weeks behind my wife's unskinned Moto Droid.

IMO, the positives Sense has over unskinned android (at least as of 2.2) are certainly worth waiting an extra two week. Better keyboard and txt messaging interface more specifically.
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StevenWay

I would say Desire HD, but I am partial to the Evo form factor. With Swype or the 2.3 keyboard, hardware keyboards become less of a necessity. The only problem with the Desire is once to get a phone with a screen that big, it is hard to go back to anything smaller.
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tdanbrown

A lot of good answers here. Like all the others have said; it really depends on your carrier. Secondly, it depends on whether or not you need a hardware keyboard.

HTC is the true leader IMO. Evo being the "best" Android phone out... I have the Droid Incredible with VZW and absolutely love it. Still on the stock rom, I for one really like Sense UI. My wife has the original Droid, and to me the UI seems outdated. ...don't take that too far though, the few Moto droid phones with motoblur look awful to me. Motorola looks great with the Droid2.

I know you said you don't want to wait for CES release phones, but you should seriously consider the very soon to be released LTE phones... HTC Thunderbolt (and other variants depending on carrier). ...front facing camera, LTE "4g", 4.3" screen, snapdragon... I've been drooling over the Thunderbolt, wishing there was a way to get it before my new every 2... 18 month limit with vzw.

EDIT: I just realized the author of this post added below that it's a European needed Android phone... Obviously the CDMA Thunderbolt will not work for that... HTC is releasing a GSM version for AT&T with a different name.
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alainrj

If you really like the HTC Thunderbolt check out my article. HTC Thunderbolt a 4G beast coming to Verizon! exm.nr­/gEGEcc and Verizon’s new LTE/4G phones, will you buy one? exm.nr­/h0JIO7
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tdanbrown

Just checked it out! Thanks, I'm always interested in new tech blogs, I'll check your site out from time to time.
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matbush

I have a HTC Desire and I would recommend it to anyone but stay away from the sony erricson xperia x10 mini, I think it's called that, my mum has it and all I have had is problems with it. The small screen does help things either. Just got to a shop and pick the phones up and ask if you can try them from that make your decision, think you might have to put up with it for a long time!
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