Smartphones: The Big Four’s Top Four
Cell phone carriers like to have exclusive devices to draw in more customers where their network quality can’t. Each carrier has its own flagship Smartphone, so we decided to take a look at the Big Four’s offerings. Of course there are plenty of other devices to choose from, so take a look at our Cell Phone Reviews to help you find the best Smartphone prices.
Verizon Wireless: Motorola Droid X
Verizon Wireless not only has the largest subscriber base, but also the most 3G coverage in the US, even though its 3G network speeds are often the slowest amongst the other carriers. Verizon’s flagship Smartphone is the Droid X, and for good reason. It is a monstrous device with a 4.3 inch screen and one of the most powerful Smartphone processors on the market.
It’s also extremely feature rich, sporting an 8 Megapixel camera with dual LED flash and native HDMI output. Engineered with a dual antenna design for improved reception and noise cancelling microphones for excellent call quality, the only thing the Droid X really lacks is a front facing camera.
AT&T: Apple iPhone 4
AT&T basically launched the modern Smartphone market with the iPhone; however, AT&T was a victim of its own success. AT&T has the fastest 3G network, but because of its large Smartphone user base, its network is often bottlenecked by too many connections. Despite its relatively poor network, AT&T has the most popular Smartphone on the market, the iPhone 4.
Having been around for over three years, the iPhone has matured very well, making it suited for both work and play. Paired with powerful hardware, 5 Megapixel camera with LED flash, front facing camera, and high resolution display, the iPhone 4 truly is one of the best Smartphones on the market; unfortunately, its antenna design leaves it susceptible to dropped calls and poor reception.
Sprint: HTC EVO 4G
Sprint is a significantly smaller carrier than either Verizon or AT&T, so its primary focus is on the east coast, though coverage is still suitable nationwide. Even with its small subscriber base, Sprint was the first US carrier to offer 4G coverage as well as the first 4G Smartphone, the EVO 4G.
Sprint’s EVO 4G is arguably the most feature rich Smartphone on the market, hosting just about every feature available, starting with 4G connectivity and going on to an 8 Megapixel camera, LED flash, front facing camera, native HDMI output, and 4.3 inch screen. Packed with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processor, there isn’t much the EVO 4G can’t do.
T-Mobile: HTC G2
T-Mobile is basically the west coast version of Sprint; it offers nationwide coverage, but focuses the bulk of its services in the west. Also like Sprint, T-Mobile is rolling out an enhanced data network capable of 4G speeds, and the G2 will be the first device to make use of the new network. The G2 is the newest of these four devices; it’s also the only one with a physical QWERTY keyboard.
As a brand new device, it’s uncertain how well its processor will perform, but it is expected to compete well. Apart from the 4G capabilities, the G2 has fairly standard equipment compared to other high-end Smartphones, such as a 5 Megapixel camera, LED flash, and 3.7 inch screen.
Honorable Mention: Samsung Galaxy S
Samsung’s Galaxy S is actually available on all four of the major US carriers, granted in slightly different flavors. Verizon’s Fascinate, AT&T’s Captivate, and T-Mobile’s Vibrant are all essentially identical, short from varying case design. Sprint’s Epic 4G has a few extra features, though, such as 4G connectivity and physical QWERTY keypad.
All four versions house the same Samsung Hummingbird processor (the same chip used in the iPhone 4 as well). The Galaxy S takes honorable mention simply because it cuts too many corners, housing just a 5 Megapixel camera with no flash and lacking additional features like native HDMI output.