With cell phone use so prevalent, it’s almost as though it’s an extension of you. It goes everywhere you go and keeps track of some of the most important aspects of your life. Therefore, it only makes sense that you choose a phone that not only works well with your carrier, but fits your lifestyle.
With so many to choose from, it’s often tough to figure out which one is best for your needs. However, the following list will take out the guesswork and determine for you the best phones this year according to a range of factors.
Longest Lasting Battery
Motorola Droid Razr Maxx
Remember when the super-thin Razr clamshell phone was all the rage when it was introduced back in the early part of the millennium? Well, it’s back. Actually, the Motorola Razr Maxx is the second iteration of the newly redesigned Razr phone, adding a big, beefy battery into a super thin chassis powered by the Droid network.
Motorola has set the bar high in terms of battery longevity by throwing a 3,300 mAh battery into this phone, promising to keep you connected to all that is dear for days on end.
- Carrier: Verizon Wireless
- Pros: This smartphone has the longest battery life of any phone on the market today. Period. Motorola has managed to stuff what should be a bulky and awkward-looking battery into an extremely thin and attractive body that is as tough as it is beautiful. The display is bright, colorful, and highly responsive to the processor and lightning-fast network speeds. This is a multimedia powerhouse.
- Cons: The main issue I have with this phone is the lack of Android 4.0. I think that this phone is truly capable of much more than it currently has access to. The battery is awesome, but not user-replaceable, which is a huge drawback. And the integrated camera is a little less than impressive.
Overall, having the Motorola Razr Maxx with you is a blessing if you find yourself without a readily available power supply. Both the communications aspect as well as the multimedia aspect of this phone are fully functional and are, for the most part, impressive. The only way that this one can get any better is by upgrading the operating system (OS).
Best Android-Based Phone
Samsung Galaxy Nexus
Android lovers, listen up. If you love Android OS and want to make the most of what it has to offer, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus is the phone for you. This phone offers users the perfect marriage between the Android Ice Cream Sandwich OS (code name for the most recent OS) and the world’s fastest wireless network. Of course, this is the only U.S.-based phone that offers the new OS technology, but it delivers it well.
- Carrier: Verizon Wireless
- Pros: As previously stated, this is currently the only phone on the market that offers Android 4.0, which gives it a significant edge over other Android-based phones. This will likely change as more phones enter into the market. However, that said, this is one slick phone. The display is gorgeous, and the phone appears to be equipped with everything it needs to handle anything you can throw at it.
- Cons: I wish that Samsung would have taken the time to add an expandable memory slot. The internal memory designation simply isn’t enough to hold everything that this phone is capable of. Also, I did notice that there is an obvious lack of support for Google Wallet, which is disappointing.
The Samsung Galaxy Nexus phone was the ace in the hole that Verizon needed to overcome the fact that it no longer had the Apple market cornered. Of course, the iPhone wasn’t exclusive to Verizon, but with only one other competitor in the marketplace, it was easy for Verizon to hold on to customers. And that’s where the Galaxy Nexus comes in to play. This is a great Droid phone, and it is completely exclusive to Verizon – at least, for now. So, if a great Droid is what you seek, this is it.
Best Multimedia Smartphone
Apple iPhone 4S
As a recent iPhone convert, I can say that hands down this is the best phone for just about anything. It sings, it dances, it goes to the movies, it cruises the Internet…as a matter of fact, I really can’t think of anything that I’ve wanted to do that I haven’t been able to find an app for.
- Carriers: Sprint, AT&T, Verizon Wireless
- Pros: The 4S comes with much more than just Siri – the iPhone’s proprietary personal assistant – though having her around is pretty awesome. The 4S also has a faster processor, a truly awesome camera, great call quality, and a slick browser interface. The screen resolution is great, and the function controls are simple and easy to use. This is just a great phone.
- Cons: So, here’s the bad news. This phone, while awesome, is also extremely expensive. Apple needs to come up with a larger display, but it’s just a matter of time.
The iPhone has remained a fan favorite ever since it came to market and there’s a reason why. It is simply just a good all around phone. Of course, Apple has lost some market share thanks to Android and Windows OS, but at the end of the day, consumers know that if you purchase an iPhone, you won’t be disappointed.
Best Windows-Based Phone
Samsung Focus S
There’s just something comforting about seeing those familiar Windows icons on your phone and knowing exactly what to do with the OS without having to read the 300-page manual that accompanies most phones these days. However, while the Windows OS has been released on a number of different phones, none of them have really risen to the status of the Droid or iOS – until now with the Samsung Focus S.
- Carrier: AT&T
- Pros: This phone is probably the lightest smartphone I’ve ever had the pleasure of holding in my hand. This can be both a good thing and a bad thing. The 4.3-inch responsive super AMOLED (active-matrix organic light emitting diode) Plus touch screen offers users a beautiful display for movies, YouTube videos, and everyday use. The AMOLED display is the latest and greatest technology available when it comes to cellphone displays, and offers one of the most brilliant displays available. I have to say that I love the larger screen and front facing 1.3-megapixel camera. No more guessing whether my new Facebook profile picture is shareable.
- Cons: The major issue here is that the chassis simply feels cheap and fragile. That’s not to say that it is, but that’s the way it feels.
Overall, with the exception of the fragility of the chassis, the super-brilliant display and strong hardware pedigree makes this the best Windows phone to hit the market since the Windows OS was introduced.
Best Non-Smartphone Phone
Is there really a market out there for a phone that just makes calls? Apparently. Catering to the older cell phone carrying population, the main claim to fame for the Samsung m370 is that it only does one thing, but it does it well.
- Carrier: Sprint
- Pros: This is a basic phone that delivers exactly what it promises: great voice capabilities. The over-sized keypad makes it a great phone for old and young alike. This phone carries the familiar clamshell design that makes using it extremely comfortable, and the call quality is second to none.
- Cons: This is a no frills, no features phone. Calling is all it does, which will help lower your monthly cell phone bill. Samsung didn’t even add an expandable memory slot for music storage. So, if calls is all you want, there are no drawbacks here. But if you need any other capability at all, you won’t find it in the SPH-M370.
This phone is great for what it was designed to do: make and receive calls. It is inexpensive and easy to use and has superior call quality. Enough said.
Finding the right cell phone for your needs can be a tough endeavor. What phone is right for you? The answer depends on what you want your phone to do and what you type of cell phone plan you’re looking for.
It’s easy to get lost among all the claims by manufacturers and carriers alike regarding who has the best phone. However, knowing exactly what you need your phone to do will go a long way to help you find the device you need.
Have you had a bad experience with a phone that you thought would be perfect? Have you ever found a diamond in the rough?
(photo credit: Shutterstock)