Best 6 Smartphones in 2011
|A few of the best: The iPhone 4, DROID Incredible and Evo 4G|
Why lug a laptop when a modern smartphone — hardly bigger than a wallet — will let you check e-mail, take pictures, browse the Web, and even play games and watch videos? And although no one dwells on such a prosaic, retro topic, smartphones will also let you make and receive calls, as they connect to the world through cell-phone networks.
Harry Wang, director of mobile research at Parks Associates, a consumer technology research firm in Dallas, Texas, shared his choice of the best six smartphones on the market today with TechNewsDaily.
Wang led off with the Apple iPhone 4 , noting that its 3.5-inch high-resolution touch screen (960 by 640 pixels) easily exceeds the display quality of all its competitors. And there's a vast amount of apps and entrainment material for it.
Wang said Motorola’s ATRIX Android smartphone was his second choice. The ATRIX impressed him through its speed, thanks to a dual-core processor. (Quad-core phones will be out by the end of the year, he predicted.) The 4-inch touch screen (540-by-960-pixel resolution) is bigger than Apple's (and the camera has a better flash, he noted), and while its Android 2.2 operating system is not the latest, Wang still liked it, especially for its Google-promoted apps and supported content. And he liked its MOTOBLUR interface with its social networking access.
Third in Wang's eyes was the Samsung Galaxy S series, which has a separate model for each carrier network. He really liked the 4.3-inch touch screen, which is about as big as they get in smartphones. The resolution is 480 by 800 pixels, but more interesting, in his opinion, was that it was the first smartphone to use the latest active-matrix organic light-emitting diode (also known as AMOLED) low-power display technology. It also uses the Android 2.2 operating system.
Getting to fourth place, Wang said he liked the Sprint HTC Evo 4G . Its 4.3-inch touch screen (480 by 800 pixels) is nice, but it also has both front-facing and rear-facing cameras for see-you-see-me interaction. The 4G name means it can use the latest, high-speed fourth generation wireless technology, which, however, has limited coverage, but Wang noted that the device can also access earlier WiMAX and EV-DO networks.
Fifth is the HTC Droid Incredible on the Verizon network. Wang liked the speed, coverage and reliability of the Verizon network, but he also liked the unit's custom-user interface, called HTC Sense, which he said allows intuitive use of popular features. The 3.7-inch touch screen has a resolution of 480 by 800 pixels.
Up to now we've been talking about smartphones for tech-minded individuals, but in sixth place Wang picked a unit for business use: the Blackberry Torch . Its use of both a screen keyboard on a 3.2-inch touch screen (480 by 360 pixels) and a slide-out physical QWERTY keyboard make it practical for business users. Plus, there's a wealth of business-related apps, he added.
As for pricing, they're a few hundred dollars each, but what you pay is between you and the carrier, as the unit will be deeply discounted if you get a multi-year service subscription. The carrier's monthly data overage charges may have a deeper cumulative impact on your wallet than the up-front phone price, so don’t walk out of the store until you understand what you have signed.