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UPDATE: The "The Best Android smartphones (September edition)" is now available.
Looking to replace your aging Android companion with something newer and with a little more "oomph"? Here are five excellent Android-powered smartphones from Google, Motorola, and Samsung.
No matter whether you are looking for a consumer handset or something that will be suited to a BYOD role, you're bound to find something of interest here.
The handsets are arranged in no particular order. My current favorite continues to be the Nexus 4. It's a powerful package that delivers what I believe to be the best, purest Android experience possible. However, I have to admit that some of the features present on the Samsung Galaxy S4 make it a great choice for the BYOD crowd.
Google Nexus 4
The Nexus 4 is the smartphone that Google thinks Android should be loaded on.
One of the downsides to the Nexus 4 is that it doesn't come with LTE support, despite having a supporting integrated modem. According to LG, the manufacturer of the Nexus 4, the LTE modem requires a signal amplifier and filter to work, and these components have been omitted to keep the cost of the handset down.
Despite this, the Nexus 4 is a solid, well-made Android handset.
- Jelly Bean (Android 4.2)
- 1.5GHz quad-core Krait processor
- 4.7-inch WXGA IPS display
- 8MP rear camera
- 1.3MP front camera
- 8/16GB internal storage
Samsung Galaxy S4 "Google Play Edition"
Like the idea of a Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone, but prefer a device that gives you a more pure Google Android experience? Or maybe you just want an unlocked handset. Either way, take a look at the Samsung Galaxy S4 "Google Play Edition."
This is the same hardware as the Galaxy S4, but with all the Samsung bells and whistles removed. Some people love this, others hate it. But if you want it, it is yours, unlocked, for $649.
- Skinless Jelly Bean (Android 4.2.2), which means the same experience as the Nexus
- 1.9GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600
- 5-inch Super AMOLED high-pixel-density (441ppi) display
- 13MP rear camera
- 2MP front camera
- 16GB internal storage
- MicroSD slot