Number 1: Samsung Galaxy S II
The Samsung Galaxy S line of smartphones had variants on all four major US wireless carriers, and on several regional carriers, and is an extremely successful line. The Samsung Galaxy S II takes the best of the Galaxy S line and improves it with an amazing 4.3 inch Super AMOLED Plus display, dual-core 1 GHz processor, 8.49mm form factor, 21 Mbps HSPA+ support, Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) OS, 8 megapixel camera, integrated memory and microSD card, 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 3.0, and more.
The amazing Samsung display itself might be a reason to buy this device and if it comes to T-Mobile then I will likely be buying one for myself. You won’t have to worry about an OS upgrade since the Galaxy S II launches with Gingerbread already loaded too.
Number 2: Motorola Droid Bionic on Verizon
Verizon’s LTE network is the only network in the US that can seriously be considered a 4G network and the upcoming Droid Bionic may just be the best smartphone on the nation’s fastest network. The Droid Bionic sports a high resolution (540×960 pixels) 4.3 inch display, dual-core 1GHz processor, 8 megapixel camera, large capacity 1930 mAh battery, integrated 16GB of memory and microSD card slot, and support for the LTE network.
The device is scheduled to launch this quarter for an undisclosed price. It will likely launch with Android 2.2, but hopefully gets an update to 2.3 (Gingerbread) soon after release.
Number 3: T-Mobile LG G2X
LG really hasn’t focused on the high end Android smartphone market, but this year they will be offering several compelling candidates. One of the first ones that we should see will launch on T-Mobile as the LG G2x. This is the US model of the LG Optimus 2X and is a dual-core NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor smartphone running Android 2.2 with support for T-Mobile’s fast HSPA+ network. It will include an 8 megapixel camera, 4 inch display, enhanced audio technologies, front facing 1.3 megapixel camera, and 1080p recording capability.
T-Mobile has a high powered lineup of Android devices and the G2X looks to be at the top of the heap.
Number 4: HTC EVO 3D
I selected the HTC EVO 4G as my top smartphone two times last year and still think it is a fantastic device. The upcoming HTC EVO 3D takes the familiar EVO 4G form factor and improves several aspects with things such as a 4.3 inch 540×960 3D touch screen display, 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, a 1730 mAh battery, Bluetooth 3.0, dual 5 megapixel cameras for 3D photo and video capture, and a 1.3 megapixel front facing camera.
It will launch with Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) and HTC Sense. It will support Sprint’s WiMAX data network too. I honestly almost put this into my top three and it arguably could be placed there. This is one device that is causing me to evaluate my HTC Thunderbolt purchase decision.
Number 5: HTC ThunderBolt
You may have read that I purchased the HTC ThunderBolt on launch day last week. Again, this is a device that is similar to the HTC EVO 4G that I loved with some key improvements. It has a second generation Snapdragon single core processor, more included RAM and integrated flash memory and Bluetooth 3.0 support (via a coming update).
The MAJOR reason I purchased the ThunderBolt was the blazing LTE wireless data network support where I am seeing regular downloads from 13 to 20 Mbps and that is easily at least double any other carrier data network in the U.S. If speed is your need, the the ThunderBolt is the only current answer.
One reason it is up higher on my list than other devices with high specifications is the LTE network and the fact that you can go buy one of these now. The ThunderBolt is priced at
Number 6: Sony Ericsson Xperia Play
If gaming is your thing, then the SE Xperia Play may just be the smartphone you are looking for. It is fully optimized for gaming with a display that slides up to reveal full gaming controls. Sony Ericsson makes some high quality products and it will be very interesting to see what they do with the Play and PlayStation Android functionality.
The Xperia Play will launch as the first PlayStation certified Android smartphone with Android 2.3 (Gingerbread), 854×480 pixel display, 5 megapixel camera and VGA front facing camera, 3G wireless radio, stereo speakers, and more. I would like to try one out, but I am not a heavy gamer so having controls dedicated to gaming is not for me.
Number 7: Google Nexus S and 4G
Samsung was the maker of the second official Google development phone, known as the Nexus S. Google and Sprint recently announced the Nexus S 4G that has the same specs as the Nexus S with support for Sprint’s WiMAX data network. The Nexus S/4G is a pure Google phone and is generally the first to receive any OS updates.
The internals of the Nexus S are what you could find in the Galaxy S line from last year with the addition of NFC. It is a solid smartphone, but the lack of 4G, lack of expandable storage memory, and last year’s processor only make it a device to consider if you want a device that is easily upgradeable.
You can buy the Nexus S for $529.99 from Best Buy and if it had T-Mobile HSPA+ support I would seriously consider one. The Nexus S 4G is not yet available.
Number 8: HP Pre 3
HP purchased Palm last year and at a February event HP announced the HP Pre3 coming sometime this summer. While I think webOS is one of the slickest and most fun mobile operating systems to use, after two years they still have one of the lowest market share numbers of any smartphone maker and not having their new phones available for several months after announcing them does not instill much confidence in fans.
The Pre3 isn’t a revolutionary device compared to the Pre Plus or Pre2 with the major differences being a larger 3.58 inch display, faster 1.4 GHz dual-core processor, and 5 megapixel camera. It has the same slide up display revealing a portrait QWERTY keyboard and the skipping stone look and feel.
There looks to be some cool integration with their upcoming webOS tablets, which may end up being a major bonus for those looking for a 2 device solution. Unfortunately, we have no pricing or availability information.
Number 9: Dell Venue Pro
I know that some readers will slam me for including a Windows Phone 7 device in my top 10 list, but I personally have had my T-Mobile SIM in a WP7 device since last July and honestly love using the slick operating system. My favorite WP7 device is the Dell Venue Pro as I clearly stated in my review. The Dell Venue Pro hardware is fantastic and the device has been rock solid for me since I purchased it and inserted my own 32GB microSD card.
I put it down at number 10 since the specifications are 2010-era like all of the other WP7 devices. However, the OS is fun to use and a breath of fresh air in the mobile space. I honestly almost put the Dell Venue Pro at number 5 in my list and maybe I should have because the OS really is THAT good.
You can buy the Dell Venue Pro for $449.99 (8GB) or $499.99 (16GB) as an unsubsidized device or just $99.99 or $149.99 with a 2-year T-Mobile contract. Here is a tip for you, you can buy it with a contract and cancel by paying just a $200 ETF to T-Mobile and still come out cheaper than an unsubsidized device.