4 carriers and 4 super smartphones; which is your favorite?

Summary:Each of the four major US wireless carriers have, or will soon have, outstanding smartphones this summer so you can easily stick with your preferred carrier and be quite happy with your device selection. Take a closer look at the top smartphone on each of these carriers.

A few weeks ago I posted my Top 10 smartphones of 2010… for now article and after trying out the Sprint HTC EVO 4G along with seeing the iPhone 4 announcement I would say my top four are still good choices with the iPhone 4 replacing the iPhone 3GS in the second spot. We have enough information now that I can present you with the top smartphone for each carrier that will be available this summer for you to enjoy. The mobile phone market moves fast though so I imagine by the time we get ready to head back to school there will be more Google Android devices, maybe a new Palm webOS device, and possibly a new BlackBerry or two.

For now though let's take a closer look at the top smartphones on AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon that are either now available or should be by the end of June. As you look over this list, I think you can see that the choices were quite easy to make and obvious for the most part.

AT&T: Apple iPhone 4

We just saw Steve Jobs lay it on thick (too much rhetoric IMHO) at the WWDC and officially announce the iPhone 4 device. AT&T has some older Windows Mobile devices, lame Google Android devices, and several BlackBerry models, but the iPhone 4 is easily going to be the best smartphone on this carrier and if you are on AT&T I see no reason why you wouldn't want to get this new iPhone device.

The Retina Display looks amazing and I heard from many friends that it is better in person than you can really imagine. I heard the same thing about the slim, sleek size and solid construction. A new back camera and front facing camera are also included on the new device. The iPhone 4 also rolls out with the new iOS 4 operating system with some multitasking support, folders, advanced Exchange support, iBooks, iAds, Face Time video calling and more. I am a bit leery of the iAds and really have no desire to have ads served up on my smartphone since I get enough of them on TV, no matter how great they may look. I was a bit surprised that Apple did not announced a 64GB model, especially with a high resolution camera and HD video capability.

The 16GB iPhone 4 will be available for $199 and the 32GB model for $299, which are now actually priced at the high end of the powerful smartphone devices. You will also see a 2GB cap on your $25 monthly data service, additional pricing for text messaging, additional pricing for GPS navigation, and minimum $39.99 individual voice plan.

Sprint: HTC EVO 4G

I personally just paid the ETF and canceled my Palm Pre Plus on Verizon after waiting in line for a couple hours last Friday to buy my own Sprint HTC EVO 4G. I guess I just answered the question in my post about the EVO 4G possibly being a carrier changer, huh? The HTC EVO 4G has some of the best specifications on any current device and has outstanding Sprint service offerings to boot, even with the additional $10 monthly data premium.

The HTC EVO 4G has a large 4.3 inch 800x480 pixel resolution display that looks awesome and is perfect for web browsing or reading. The device is rock solid with a solid metal kickstand, 8 megapixel camera and dual LED flash, front facing 1.3 megapixel camera for video calls, HDMI out, 3G and 4G WiMAX radios, and a fast 1GHz Snapdragon processor with Google Android 2.1 and HTC Sense. Sprint has some of the best plan options and for just $79.99 per month you get 450 minutes to call landlines, unlimited calling to any U.S. mobile on any carrier, unlimited text messaging, TRUE UNLIMITED (aka no 2GB or 5GB cap) 3G and 4G wireless data, free Sprint Navigation service, NASCAR Sprint Cup Mobile, and Sprint Football. You can also turn on the WiFi hotspot functionality to share your connection with up to 8 devices at once for $29.99 per month. The EVO 4G is available for $199.99 after a $100 mail-in rebate.

The HTC EVO 4G sold out across the country in the first couple of days and is backlogged on sites and in stores for a week to three weeks so you may have a tough time finding one to buy.

T-Mobile: Google Nexus One

I was thinking of putting the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S here for T-Mobile that is rumored to be coming at the end of July, but I personally cannot stand Samsung TouchWIZ user interface and with the Google Nexus One running Android 2.2 (Froyo) I think this 6 month old device is still tops on this carrier. The Android 2.2 update is easy to install and adds some great functionality to the Nexus One, including WiFi hotspot tethering, support for Adobe Flash Player 10.1, better Exchange support, easy Gmail account switcher, new task switcher, improved Android Market, and much more.

The Google Nexus One still has awesome specifications with a 1 GHz Snapdragon processor, 3.7 inch OLED display, 5 megapixel camera with flash, multi-color trackball, and more. The Nexus One feels great in your hand and is extremely well constructed. There are desktop cradles and automobile docks for the device too so you can trick out your Nexus One. You can find the Nexus One for $529 unlocked or $179 with a 500 minute plan.

Verizon: HTC Droid Incredible

I almost swapped my Palm Pre Plus for an HTC Incredible because this smartphone may actually be the best Google Android device currently available. If not overall, it clearly is the best on Verizon Wireless. I took a look at the Droid Incredible and loved the sleek form factor, 8 megapixel camera, HTC Sense user interface, and powerful RF reception on Verizon Wireless.

The HTC Droid Incredible has the now familiar high end Google Android specifications of 1 GHz Snapdragon processor, 8 megapixel camera, 3.7 inch 480x800 pixel resolution OLED display, and more. In a bit of a departure, the Droid Incredible does have an 8GB integrated flash drive with support for expandable memory via the microSD card slot. The HTC Droid Incredible also sells for $199.99 with a 2-year contract and minimum voice/data plan.

Which is my favorite?

It is quite amazing to see three of four of the devices above are Google Android devices that are all made by HTC. I sincerely think Apple could take a huge lead over everyone if they would launch an iPhone on every carrier, but it looks like there will be no carrier expansion in 2010. This leaves the door wide open for Android to dominate the other carriers and they are doing just that.

I have a five phone family plan on T-Mobile that I have had for almost 10 years so am primarily using the Google Nexus One with that SIM. I just signed up for Sprint and am really enjoying the HTC EVO 4G, especially since I live and work in areas covered by 4G. As I said, I almost swapped to the Incredible, but found the Sprint pricing plans more attractive. I have been debating about getting a new iPhone 4 and am sure it will be a wonderful piece of hardware, but I will not go back to AT&T and their constant dropped calls and high service fees since I rarely even use my iPhone 3GS as it is on T-Mobile. I do have an Apple iPad and prefer to use my iPhone apps on the larger display of the iPad.

[poll id="13"]

Topics: HTC, Android, Google, Hardware, iPhone, Mobility, Smartphones, Telcos, Wi-Fi

About

Matthew Miller started using a mobile devices in 1997 and has been writing news, reviews, and opinion pieces ever since. He is a co-host with GigaOM's Kevin Tofel on the MobileTechRoundup podcast and an author of three Wiley Companion series books. Matthew started using mobile devices with a US Robotics Pilot 1000 and has owned over 200 d... Full Bio

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