Five Android alternatives to the iPhone 5

Five Android alternatives to the iPhone 5

Summary: There are several very good Android handsets that are just as good -- if not better -- than Apple's latest flagship handset, the iPhone 5.


Time to answer a popular question hitting the Hardware 2.0 mailbox.

I don't want an iPhone 5. Can you recommend an Android-powered alternative that will handle my work and home duties that you think is as good as the iPhone?

I can do better than recommending one Android-powered alternative. Here are five alternatives, all more than capable of handling a busy work and home life.

Samsung Galaxy S III

Without a doubt the flagship Android handset -- no matter what Galaxy Nexus owners say. With its 4.8-inch HD screen, the Galaxy S III is a real handful. It's great for viewing video and photos, but due to its small size, it may not be the sort of handset that's at home in tight jeans or small bags.

Samsung Galaxy S III

The Samsung Galaxy S III features a dual-core processor and can be connected to the high-speed 4G LTE data networks. It runs the Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich" operating software, but rumors suggest that Android 4.1 "Jelly Bean" is on the way. 

For the photographers, the Galaxy S III comes with an excellent 8-megapixel camera.

Pricing: Starts at $199 for the 16GB model, which is available from Verizon, Sprint and AT&T.

Why it's better than the iPhone 5: Larger screen that still rests comfortably in one (large) hand.

Read more: CNET review.

Galaxy Nexus

The Galaxy Nexus is Google's idea of what an Android smartphone should be.

Galaxy Nexus

The Galaxy Nexus comes with a 4.65-inch 720p AMOLED HD display, powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, and runs the latest Android 4.1 "Jelly Bean" operating system. The camera is only 5-megapixels but is optimized for low-light use.

Pricing: An unlocked 16GB Galaxy Nexus will cost you $349 from Google, but if you're willing to be hooked up to a two-year contract, you can pick up the 32GB model from Sprint of Verizon for $99.

Why it's better than the iPhone 5: Great handset at a more reasonable price.

Read more: CNET review.


Motorola makes some very good handsets, and the DROID RAZR M is bar far no different. The handset features a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED edge-to-edge display that is 40 percent larger than the screen on the iPhone 4S. It runs Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich" but is upgradable to Android 4.1 "Jelly Bean".


The only downside to the DROID RAZR M are the storage options: 8GB, no more, no less. The DROID RAZR M features a 1.5GHz dual-core processor and an 8-megapixel camera.

The exterior matches that of the internals. The diamond-cut aluminum frame is sandwiched between a scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass screen and a durable Kevlar back. The internal electronics are protected from splashes by a proprietary nano-coating.

Pricing: The DROID RAZR M is available from Verizon for $99 with a two-year contract.

Why it's better than the iPhone 5: Amazing finish, great hardware, good price.

Read more: CNET review.


There's a lot to like about the HTC One X. A 1.5GHz dual-core processor (quad-core available in the global version) pumps the pixels to a 4.7-inch super-LCD 720p display, all of which is run by Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich".


The 32GB of storage offers plenty of space for photos and video taken using the 8 megapixel camera. The camera even allows you to take photos while recording video, and to take panoramic photos -- something the latest version of Apple's iOS 6 lets you do on the iPhone 5 and new iPod touch devices. 

Pricing: The HTC One X is available from AT&T for $99 with a two-year contract.

Why it's better than the iPhone 5: Easy-to-use curved screen, great camera.

Read more: CNET review.

Motorola Photon Q 4G LTE

If you're looking for a smartphone with a physical keyboard, then look no further than the Motorola Photon Q 4G LTE.

Motorola Photon Q 4G LTE

Physical keyboard aside -- which is excellent, and makes you realize what a compromise virtual keyboards are -- the Photon Q 4G LTE features a 1.5GHz dual-core processor and a 4.3-inch ColorBoost TFT LCD display. Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich" currently runs the show, and while we expect that it will get an upgrade to Android 4.1 "Jelly Bean" so far there's no word on when.

Pricing: The Motorola Photon Q 4G LTE is available from Sprint for $99 with a two-year contract.

Why it's better than the iPhone 5: Physical keyboard.

Read more: CNET review.

Image credits: SamsungGoogleMotorolaHTC; Motorola.

Topics: Android, Google, Hardware, HTC, Samsung, Smartphones

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  • I Simply Use What's Fits My Needs Best

    iPhans and PhanDroids should be along to do battle in 4, 3, 2, 1....
    • Bein an iOS proponent

      and a former Samsung user Samsung has not impressed me with it's offerings. HTC however IMHO makes the best hardware of all the Android OEMs followed closely by Motorola. The only real disappointment I've had with my HTC TBolt is the constant delays in upgrading to ICS - that however seems to be a carrier issue.

      I also have to admit I'm not quite as motivated to upgrade my iPhone 4 to iOS6 due to lack of a tethered jailbreak and the fact that the iPhone 4 gets nothing all that different. When my contract is up for my iPhone 4 I might consider going with an iPhone 4S as it gets all of the bells and whistles of the new OS and all of my cases and accessories will fit... and it's less expensive than the iPhone 5.
      • Good decision

        I got my iPhone 5 on the day one, but I am totally disappointed, because all of my investment in chargers, adapters and cases is just wiped out. I should have gone with iPhone 4S, but I decided to go with iPhone 5. If you are not prepared for losing your investment on iPhone 4 and enjoy all the facilities of iOS, I think iPhone 4S is the best choice out there, not iPhone 5.
        Ram U
        • No offense, but...

          How did you not know that before you bought it?
          • @piousmonk

            Yes, good question. I bought the phone because I wanted to have latest hardware to test my apps. I am eligible for upgrade. I had thought about it for a while before buying. And I think it was right choice for me as a developer. But if you are not for developing and not ready to lose your investment, I think iPhone 4S shouldn't be a bad phone. You could continue your investment. But you sure have to think about getting ride of those next year.
            Ram U
        • iPhone 5 charging

          Perhaps you haven't noticed, but the same charger you got with the iPhone 4 will charge your iPhone 5 with the cable included. If fact ALL my chargers for my iPhone 4S will charge the iPhone 5. I don't think you know what you are talking about.
          • I should have been clear

            I was talking about the cables. I have two cables in car, 3 at home and one in my laptop bag. All these 6 cables are now used only for iPad, for which I don't need those many number of cables. I have 3 iPhone 5s at home and thats why I have so many cables. Now i have to invest into iPhone 5 cables at least one in car, one at home one in laptop bag for each phone. I could wait for cheapter alternatives to come in, but if someone is not really looking into speding $19 for each additional cable, I think they have to wait. I keep the original cables intact to get max value at trade in time. And my cases are another waste because I can't just trade them in.
            Ram U
          • Why so many cables

            You have already addressed a couple of items I replied to in your earlier post but my response is further down. Sucks you can edit on this "tech" site.

            You have 6 cables and bought 3 phones with each came with a cable so you are half way there. Why do you need two cables in the car? One should be more than enough in one vehicle even if you have to stagger charging two devices. Three at home, you could certainly get away with on in the same house but I can understand, convenience. Since you have six cables now which based on your previous posts include for use with iPad why would you all of the sudden need 9 cables for 3 phones? For example you mention having to have one for each phone in the laptop bag. Why would you need to carry around 3 identical cables?
          • Sherlock Holmes

            how do you charge 3 devices overnight with 1 cable?
        • Bullpatties!

          You only prove you didn't have an iPhone 4S or any previous version by such an obvious rant.
          • @DWFields

            I do have iPhone 4. I had iPhone 3G prior to that. How do you charge your iPhone 5 with iPhone 4 cable.
            Ram U
          • Can't..

            For now. The closest you can come is the usb to lightning cable or the adapter that will be coming out in October.
        • The Phone Monster

          The last time we heard from you, you were going to replace your Samsung Focus and your HTC Titan with Lumias. Do you actually have that many phones, or do you just spew whatever FUD might help sell Lumias?
          Robert Hahn
          • @Rober Hahn

            I do carry good number of phones. I am a mobile app architect. I am not spewing FUD.
            Ram U
          • That makes you an excellent source of comparison info

            Thanks Rama, great to know. Unlike many others here, you actually do have a lot of experience with multiple phones and platforms. That does seem to fit the pattern. Pretty much everyone who is incredibly gung-ho on the iPhone has only ever used the iPhone and thus have absolutely nothing to compare it to. They like the iPhone out of ignorance. People who have actually used competing devices tend to be much less impressed. It isn't that the iPhone 5 is a bad phone, it simply doesn't deserve the hype it gets from people who have never used anything else.
          • +1.

            A lot of fanbois, whatever platform they are struck to, think that their choice is right, of course there is nothing wrong about it. I too do get into that mindset many times. They just don't think the alternatives are also better in a lot of other areas. Afterall technology evolves constantly and is human produced. Bugs will be there always.
            Ram U
          • Well said

            To each their own, no device or OS is one size fits all. No matter the OS/device, the fanboys are all the same, small minded and unable to look at the alternatives.
          • Excellent source in your opinion, for now

            I agree that somebody with cross platform experience is a good source for comparisons but we all know that you are only posting he is an excellent source because he isn't posting pro Apple comments. If he were you would never call him an excellent source.

            An contrary to your claim I am not a fanboy but am gung-ho about the iPhone and do have experience with other platforms. Is the iPhone perfect, of course not nothing is perfect but many people do prefer it and it's not simply because they have never tried anything else.
          • @non-biased

            "..An contrary to your claim I am not a fanboy but am gung-ho about the iPhone and do have experience with other platforms..."

            [x] fanboy
            [x] gung-ho about iphone
            [ ] non-biased
          • Not quite true.

            Prior to my getting an iPhone 5, I had an LG Optimus and a NextBook tablet. Which I still use, (the optimus as a home remote controller for the most part) I've downloaded iOS versions of the major apps I used in Android and without exception, I find the iOS versions of those apps to be a superior experience. The Nextbook has a CPU comparable to that of the first generation IPad and I bought a 32 gig to expand it's memory. (Not that helped much when the core memory started gettng crowded)

            The apps are better (and far more plentiful) in IOS, I don't have limitations on what memory is actually available for apps. The Apps are the tipping point for me.