Today's top phones that money can buy (gallery)

Today's top phones that money can buy (gallery)

Summary: Here's a list of the top smartphones you can buy today. But don't forget this could change tomorrow.

SHARE:

 |  Image 1 of 5

  • Thumbnail 1
  • Thumbnail 2
  • Thumbnail 3
  • Thumbnail 4
  • Thumbnail 5
  • CNET reviewer Jessica Dolcourt takes a look at the top smartphones that you can buy right now. But don't forget, this list could change radically by tomorrow.

    In the world of smartphones, the Droid Razr Maxx is Methuselah--only much, much hipper. Its 3,300mAh battery keeps the top-notch specs at hand when you need them, like that 4.5-inch screen and 8-megapixel camera. The Kevlar backing and angled design make it a beaut.

    Read full review

    Price: $199.99 - $299.99 (check prices)

  • The HTC One S is a lean, mean Ice Cream Sandwich machine. Not only is it a looker, it takes great pictures, too. It's the most affordable.

    Read the full review

    Price: $199.99 (check prices)

Topics: Hardware, Mobility, Smartphones, Telcos

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

18 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Nokia Lumia 900 is among 'the best money can buy'??? Doubt it.

    The Nokia Lumia 900 is provocative choice. Microsoft has publicly said that the overwhelming majority of WP 7.5 (Mango & Tango) phones won't be upgradable to WP 8 (aka Apollo) and that only the most powerful phones will be considered for an upgrade at all.

    Given this, it seems unlikely that the single core Nokia Lumia 900, with its anaemic Adreno 205 GPU, will be chosen for a Windows Phone 8 upgrade, which is rumoured to be released in October this year.

    (The Nokia's lack of computational bang is presumably why it can only film and replay 720p video, compared with 1080p on an iPhone 4S and the Samsung Galaxy SII.)

    In short, the Nokia Lumia 900 may well be obsolete in six months!

    Meanwhile, you have to deal with the very poor colour balance and picture quality of the Lumia 900's camera, despite its respectable pixel count and Zeiss lens.

    Then there is Windows 7.5 with its huge 'tiles' or a list of apps (almost all in the same colour, like the tiles) and with no icons that you can spot easily. This makes it hard to quickly spot the app or web page link that you want.

    While this is a partly a matter of taste, I think that the (lurid and) completely 2D graphical user interface on WP 7.5 is an obstacle to usability. Android and iOS phones use shading to create a faux 3D effects. These effects are very useful when displaying user interface elements such as a 3D buttons, which appear to stand out from the screen, and hence provides the user with a visual cue that they should 'press the button' to do something. Similarly, text entry boxes often appear recessed, suggesting that users should enter data INto the boxes.

    I truly cannot see what virtues this phone has to warrant its inclusion in a list of the "Best Phones that money can buy."
    StandardPerson
    • Wp8 is being tested on Nokia's right now on Nokia 610

      More disinformation from WP7 haters. No sense wasting energy in a lengthy rebuttal. You can't see the virtue of L900 because your facts are inaccurate. Typical.
      erichon99
      • Disinformation?

        Where have I written anything that's false?

        The last three paragraphs are subjective, but I did warn readers that what I wrote was a "matter of taste" so how can you disagree?

        FACT: It is unlikely that the Lumia 900 will be upgraded to WP 8.
        FACT: Every review of the Lumia 900 camera that I've read has complained about the picture quality.
        FACT: The Lumia 900 cannot film or play HD 1080p videos, unlike the best Apple and Samsung phones.

        OPINION: Icons are easier to spot than lists of identically coloured rectangles containing text.

        [quote] erichon99: You can't see the virtue of L900 because your facts are inaccurate.[/quote]
        Which of my "facts are inaccurate"?

        P.S. [quote]Wp8 is being tested on Nokia's right now on Nokia 610[/quote]

        I missed this before. From what I could find, there are [i]rumours[/i] of this being the case, but the same sources say that the 610 is too slow to run WP 8. Given six months of tweaking, Nokia and Microsoft may get it working, but I wonder whether the upgrade process will be the seamless iOS 4-5 upgrade that Apple provided.
        StandardPerson
    • WP tiles vs icons

      YOu can't really call an OS superior just because it has little pictures (icons) to click. All iOS has is a flat screen with little pictures to click. Other than siri the os does nothing. There is no compatibiity with existing top rated software, it forces the user to do things the "apple" way with it horrible conversation based email client. You can't share between devices. Android at least does allow sharing but it too is limited and doesnt play well with existing applications that are used on computers every day. I personally think WP is a great option and makes sense as a top 5 thats different from the other 2 options on the market. The more choices the better I say.
      mterry@...
      • Re: WP tiles vs icons

        [quote][i]YOu can't really call an OS superior just because it has little pictures (icons) to click.[/i][/quote]
        I could if, as stated, that is my opinion.

        However, [b]I did not[/b] claim that iOS or Android devices were superior because they "have little pictures (icons) to click"; that comment clearly concerns the GUI of the OSes.

        [quote][i]Other than siri the os does nothing[/i][/quote]
        That is just absurd. iOS does all the things that any OS does: it arbitrates between hardware and software; it handles IP connections; it provides text rasterization for user code; it provides services for a virtual keyboard and speech-to-text, etc. It does all the things that any OS does.

        [quote][i]it forces the user to do things the "apple" way[/i][/quote]
        Just as WP forces users to do things the "Microsoft way" and Android forces users to do things the "UNIX way." I fail to see your point.

        iOS is a little unusual, because it doesn't hide the object-oriented nature of the file system as deeply as WP 7.5-8, but I'm not sure that's a flaw.

        [quote][i]You can't share between devices.[/i][/quote]
        You certainly can. If you believe this then you're simply ignorant of the iOS architecture.

        [quote][i]I personally think WP is a great option and makes sense as a top 5 thats different from the other 2 options on the market. [/i][/quote]
        You're entitled to that opinion, just as I'm entitled to my comments about WP 7.5-8, which were all preceded with the caveat that the comments were 'partly a matter of taste.'

        However, this doesn't change the fact that the Lumix 900 hardware is: almost certainly underpowered for a WP 8 upgrades; has a poor camera that cannot handle full HD, and that it will probably be obsolete in six months.

        The hardware alone is not among the "top.. that money can buy" and even if you love WP 7.5, the HW/SW combination is not among the "top.. that money can buy." It's just not a top ranking phone.
        StandardPerson
    • Nokia Lumia 900 is the best LTE smartphone in the market

      1. The Nokia Lumia 900 is a very popular phone in the market. It is selling out in AT&T stores in the U.S.

      2. The Lumia 900 is the best LTE smarphone in the market today. It offers super-fast upload and download speeds. The best iPhone in the market can support 1/5th the download speed of a Lumia 900, at best.

      3. The Lumia 900 is the best phone I have ever used. I have used an iPhone 4S and a Samsung Galaxy S Captivate before.

      Customers who are willing to break from the herd and try a new phone will realize that the Lumia 900 is the best in its class and at a good price.
      The_observer
      • Re: the Nokia Lumia

        1) Given the tiny market share of WP, the fact that it's "selling out" at one Telco does not necessarily make it a "a very popular phone in the [smartphone] market."

        2) There are Android phones with 3G/LTE capabilities. The forthcoming iPhone 5 is said to also have 3G/LTE connectivity.

        3) This is a personal opinion that I cannot dispute with facts.

        (Well, the Lumix 900 does have a bad camera that is limited to 720p HD video, unlike some Android and Apple counterparts, and if you didn't find the the iPhone 4S' ubiquitous speech recognition and Siri capabilities useful, then you must really love WP 7.5. That's fair enough.)

        [quote]Customers who are willing to break from the herd and try a new phone will realize that the Lumia 900 is the best in its class and at a good price.[/quote]

        Given MS's dominance in IT departments, surely it's the Apple customers who are "breaking from the herd"! Buying a phone with a MS operating system makes you a 'maverick' of the sort who bought IBM mainframes in the 1970s.
        StandardPerson
      • Superfast LTE

        Fact is, this 'super fast LTE' is mostly hype, because of the weak CPU. The other phones with LTE too, have relatively weak CPUs, albeit faster than the Lumia 900.

        Other than in synthetic benchmarks, there is no real benefit from the "super fast" LTE. Ok, there is one undisputed benefit: it drains your battery way faster and it is known that Lithium-ION batteries have to have electrons flow or they degrade with time. ;-)
        danbi
      • Then why do you fear it so much StandardPerson?

        You're putting so much effort into trying to discredit other's view or like of the Lumia 900, it almost sounds like you fear it of something? Could it be that reviewers on a whole tend to really like it? Could it be that Woz placed it far above Android?

        And you haven't even told us one single reason as to you think any Android phone should be in this list.

        Your view of the Lumia 900 is way off.
        William Farrel
  • Ms. Dolcourt

    What you've just written is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent article were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.
    ktell
    • If that's directed at my post, may I ask why you think these things?

      If that post was directed at my note, may I ask why you think these things? I could bash out some invective about your post, but I prefer to back up my comments with evidence.
      StandardPerson
      • troll much?

        Its pretty obvious you dont use a WP7 device and all you do is read anti Microsoft propaganda. So go back to your buggy inferior platform with that knowledge that your device cant do anything natively other than requite the need for 100's of apps and none of them work nearly as flawlessly as the integrated functions on a WP7 device!
        simianthe liver
      • simianthe liver: Re: Troll much?

        No, I don't troll at all.

        Everything that I wrote before was (or could be) backed up with sources. Everything that I wrote was logical. The fact that you've chosen to abuse me, rather than address any of the points that I made, suggests that you are the zealot.

        I have used WP7 and WP7.5 phones, but I do not like the OS.

        I have not used the Lumix 900, but I did read a number of articles about it before commenting.

        [quote]So go back to your buggy inferior platform with that knowledge that your device cant do anything natively other than requite the need for 100's of apps and none of them work nearly as flawlessly as the integrated functions on a WP7 device![/quote]

        I'm not sure whether you're referring to an iOS or an Android phone, but neither is 'buggy' and both come with many integrated functions (e.g. email, web browsers, twitter, videophones, messaging, calendars, To Do lists based on times and locations, etc. etc.)

        I can see you have no interest in a rational discussion, so I'll leave you with your touching faith in MS's ability to dominate any market they choose.

        Of course, historically MS have been able to dominate any market they chose via anti-competitive means. I see MS are up to their old tricks by requiring that WP8 "compatible" hardware use locked-down firmware (the successor to the BIOS) that will prevent any OS other than Windows 8 from running. I trust the European anti-trust laws will put an end to that idea very quickly.
        StandardPerson
      • StandardPerson why bother?

        Historically, Microsoft has never understood the difference between an OS and UI. They think, both are the same. This religious revelations are passed to their worshipers and there is no point to argue. You will be condemned.

        Of course, Microsoft is seeing the light (once again, since they absorbed NT) and attempt to build more or less a sane OS, with APIs and UIs on WinRT. Whether it will have the fate of NT, we will have yet to see...
        danbi
  • Do you shop for your phones at 7/11

    Another failed gallery blog pseudo opinion of someone who has no idea what is in the international market place. There are other phones other than what is available when you re-fuel your car.
    impost
  • WHAT!!!! Where is the Galaxy Note?

    You left out the super beauty ---> GALAXY NOTE!!!
    OpinadorObjetivo
  • what?!

    How in the world can iphone 4s be the best phone for media when it has a small screen thats not 720p HD, doesn't have SRS surround, doesn't play flash video, and doesn't have 4G?! This list is a joke!
    trob6969
  • Re: Then why do you fear it so much?

    I don't "fear" any phone, for God's sake.

    I do resent posting some facts and some clearly marked personal opinions, only to be called a "troll", "insanely idiotic", etc.

    Why does this site even have a chat board if nobody is interested in sane and reasoned conversations?
    StandardPerson