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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. Unfortunately, it now seems discontinued while we await for the Nexus 5. That's a shame.
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.
While internationally the Galaxy Note 3 has been available for some time, it is only just hitting stores in the U.S.
The Galaxy Note 3 is, as you can probably gather, a sequel to the Galaxy Note 2. It brings a whole raft of improvements to the table, and it is currently the only phone or phablet that's compatible with Samsung's new Galaxy Gear smartwatch (support for devices such as the Note 2, and the Galaxy S3 and S4 should arrive before the end of the year).
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 . 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. Unfortunatly, it is now discontinued, presumably while we wait for the Nexus 5. Still, for now it is my ffavorite Android handset.
The all-new HTC One is the first of two new kids on the block in terms of Android-powered smartphones.
Under the hood, the HTC One isn't all that different to Samsung's new Galaxy S4 — it features the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 CPU (although it runs a little slower), 2GB of RAM, and a 1080p screen — but it is also a very different beast thanks to Sense, the bold new user interface HTC has loaded into the smartphone. It also features an aluminum shell, unlike the Samsung Galaxy S4, which has a plastic shell.
This handset is confirmed as .
The second new kid on the block — Samsung's long-awaited update to the Galaxy S3, the Galaxy S4.
There's an awful lot to like about the Galaxy S4 — the powerful CPU, plenty of storage space, a user-replaceable battery, the microSD slot, the fact that it can be used as a remote control for a DVR. It is very much like HTC's new One handset, except marginally better in almost every way (except, perhaps, for the plastic shell).
Another quality handset from the company that is now the king of the Android smartphones.
A newcomer to the list. Sony's Xperia Z Ultra packs a lot of cool features under the hood, sporting the sharpest LCD panel on the market, and a 13-megapixel camera capable of capturing HDR video.
This handset is also thin, coming in at a svelte 6.5-milimeters. But don't the thinness fool you, the Xperia Z Ultra is tough, featuring tempered glass, and a dustproof and waterproof build, rated to with IP58.
This is the smartphone you need if you want to be able to submerge it in 1 meter of water and still have a working handset.
The Samsung Galaxy Note II is the Android smartphone for those people with large hands to hold it with, and large pockets to keep it in.
The Samsung Galaxy Note II really is a solid handset packed with an array of high-end features. It even comes with the S Pen that can be used to copy text, crop images, and to share content.
Perhaps not the best — or best made — handset around, but the Razr i is nonetheless a decent, solid smartphone that won't break the bank.
The DuPont Kevlar fibre and Corning Gorilla Glass construction gives it a good feel in the hand, and it comes with an SD-card slot for storage expansion, something that the Nexus 4 doesn't have.
Smartphones are getting bigger, and the Optimus G Pro from LG is a real handful. The huge 5.5-inch display, combined with a quad-core Snapdragon processor makes this a serious piece of kit, but the overall size of this phatlet might put some people off.
Some people love the flexibility that a dual-SIM handset can offer, and not only does the Karbonn S5 Titanium some kitted out with dual-SIM support, but it is also a solid, decent-spec handset that's functional enough to please most users.
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.
Here's a handset to watch out for over the coming weeks – Motorola's new Moto X.
I used to be pretty partial to Motorola handsets back before the iPhone. They were well built, and while they relied heavily on gimmicks, delivered decent performance and long-term reliability.
The Moto X is interesting, not because it is manufactured by Motorola – now owned by Google – but because it takes a new approach to computation power. Rather than one chip with multiple cores doing the work, the Moto X has a total of eight cores spread over four different chips, each doing a different thing. This is supposed to both speed up the handset and make the battery last longer.
Do you think that other smartphones are small and puny? Do you have large hands? Large pockets? Carry around with you a large bag?
Answered "yes' to one or more of these questions? The Galaxy Mega may be for you!
It's clear that Samsung is carpet-bombing the marker with handsets in a variety of sizes, and this 6.3-inch phablet (cross between a phone and a tablet) is at the high end for what's possible – and plausible – for a smartphone in terms of screen size.
The mega is certainly not for everyone, but if you want a smartphone that you can use as a tablet, then this might be worth a look.