It's still not too late to get that special someone or yourself a shiny new smartphone for the holidays. Or perhaps you've received some gift cards that you're dying to use? The sales keep getting better-- T-Mobile just took $50 off the Samsung Vibrant and Galaxy Tab a few days ago and Best Buy keeps cranking out deals to bring up their Q4 sales.
Here's a list of top phones on the big 4 US carriers (some are available on smaller carriers as well). We've selected our favorite high end phones and a few lower priced smartphones that offer a lot of bang for relatively little buck too. Click on the phone's name to read our full review.
iPhone 4 (AT&T) Apple's smartphone and pocketable toy needs no introduction. There are a gazillion apps, tier 1 games and it even makes phone calls when you hold it properly .
Samsung Galaxy S phones: Samsung Vibrant (T-Mobile), Samsung Captivate (AT&T), Samsung Fascinate (Verizon) and Samsung Epic 4G (Sprint). No matter which carrier you use, there's a high end Android phone from Samsung for you. These phones feature a 1GHz CPU and a 4" Super AMOLED display that's the nicest on the market. Best Buy has specials on the Fascinate and T-Mobile is taking $50 off for the holiday season.
The Captivate, Vibrant and iPhone 4.
Motorola Droid 2 and Droid 2 Global (Verizon) The second gen Droid with a slide-out keyboard has a quality design that's prefect for those who detest plasticky phones. It's fast, the Android OS is fairly clean and the hardware keyboard isn't bad. The Global version adds a SIM card slot for you world travelers.
BlackBerry Torch (AT&T) RIM has taken a lot of grief for not being as shiny and modern as iOS and Android (or Windows Phone 7 for that matter). But OS 6 on the touch screen Torch is much more up to date that most Berries and we know lots of you are still BlackBerry addicts (or you boss says you have to be).
Samsung Focus (AT&T) Our favorite Windows Phone 7 model sports pretty much the same specs as all other Windows 7 Phones (and those are pretty good given Microsoft's high minimum requirements). We like the Samsung's 4" Super AMOLED display, slim design and user accessible microSD card slot (though you have to make sure you get a compatible card).
HTC HD7 (T-Mobile) It's hard not to like a smartphone with a 4.3" display, kickstand for kicking back and watching videos and HTC's usual quality design and materials. This Windows 7 Phone might look a lot like the HD2, but the software experience is all new and good.
HTC G2 (T-Mobile) Got keyboard? The G2 is the spiritual sucessor the the original Google phone, the G1. But the G2 is a lot more high end and unlike the G1, it ain't ugly. An 800MHz second gen Snapdragon CPU, nearly pure Android OS 2.2 Froyo, HSPA+ 4G and one of the better keyboards on a smartphone.
T-Mobile's high end Android smartphones: the T-Mobile myTouch 4G, Samsung Vibrant and T-Mobile G2.
T-Mobile myTouch 4G (T-Mobile) For those of you who don't want a keyboard on your HTC Android smartphone, there's the myTouch 4G with HSPA+ 4G. It has a front-facing video camera, a 1GHz CPU and Froyo with a customizer user interface that's not too bad.
HTC EVO 4G (Sprint) This bad boy has been around since the summer, but Sprint's flagship Android smartphone still sits at the top of their heap. A 1GHz CPU, WiMAX and a 4.3" display are among the EVO's finer points.
HTC Aria (AT&T) An affordable Android smartphone that still has some of HTC's special sauce. Good software and it doesn't feel cheap in the least.
The HTC EVO 4G, HTC Aria and the iPhone 3GS.
LG Optimus S (Sprint), LG Optimus T (T-Mobile) and LG Vortex (Verizon). LG's budget Android smartphone has been a surpise pleasure to use. It goes by the Optimus name on most carriers, though Verizon went with Vortex rather than Optimus V. The phone sells for less than many features phones and it has 3G, a capacitive touch screen, Android OS 2.2 Froyo and a solid build. Performance is very good for an entry level phone and it starts at $30 with contract, depending on carrier.
The LG Optimus S and its sibling, the LG Optimus T.
-------------------- Lisa Gade Editor in Chief, MobileTechReview