Android Authority smartphone buying guide: July 2012

by: Brandon SobottaJuly 16, 2012

Smartphone Buying-guide july

A lot has happen since we published our June’s Smartphone Buying Guide in this crazy world we know as Android. Verizon has seen the addition of a few new phones, something that was definitely needed, considering that Big Red’s last major launch was the RAZR MAXX back in February.

Also, the release of the Samsung Galaxy S3 across all carriers was probably the most notable happening since we posted the last edition of our buyer’s guide. So let’s get to it, and find out what are the best phones that potential customers can buy in July 2012.

Sprint and T-Mobile

Samsung Galaxy S3

This month’s recommended smartphone for both Sprint and T-Mobile is the much buzzed Samsung Galaxy S3.

The Galaxy S3 is the first Android phone to be released across all major carriers in the US with little difference between variants. This uniformity can benefit us in one way particularly, and that is with accessories. With so many identical Galaxy S3’s in people’s hands, there is a a great variety of accessories for you to choose from.

The second reason we recommend the Galaxy S3 is its camera. The rear camera on the S3 has an 8MP sensor, and features continuous auto focus, zero shutter lag, face detection, high dynamic range mode, burst mode, and more. The most stand out feature is probably the burst mode — the Galaxy S3 can take up to 20 photos at a rate of 6 per second, which definitely comes in handy for fast action shots.

Last is the software/user overlay. The Samsung Galaxy S3 comes with many unique software features that can make the user experience a pleasing one. Features such as S Voice (voice commands), S Beam (sharing feature), and eye detection (to keep the screen on while you’re looking at it) are all welcomed additions to stock Android.


HTC Incredible 4G LTE

Verizon hasn’t had a major phone launch on its network since the Razr Maxx. This month we see two phones come to life on Big Red, the HTC Incredible 4G LTE and the Samsung Galaxy S3. We’ve already covered the Galaxy S3 for Sprint and T-Mobile, so let’s take a look at another great option that can be had on Verizon, the Incredible 4G LTE.

The Incredible line dates from all the way back in 2010, when the original Incredible was launched. With its smallish 4-inch display, the Incredible 4G LTE by HTC bucks the current trend of phones having increasingly large displays, which is good news for those who want an easy-to-handle device. Although the screen is smaller, the insides of the phone are worthy of its moniker. The Incredible 4G LTE has much of the same specs as the One X, HTC’s flagship phone on AT&T: a powerful dual core processor, 1 gig of RAM, and a great camera (although not quite up to par with the One X). For those of you looking for a phone that is a little smaller, but very much capable, the Incredible 4G LTE is the best choice for you.



AT&T is the only carrier that kept the HTC One X in its original form (from the international version), perhaps because they realized there’s no point in changing a perfectly good design. That being said, it is kind of disappointing that HTC did not have the clout to release this phone across all carriers, like Samsung did with the Galaxy S3.

In my opinion, the HTC One X is the closest thing to “perfection” that a non-Nexus phone can get. It has great build quality, an amazing screen (that puts everything else to shame, yes even better than the Galaxy S3), and stellar specs. Much like the Samsung Galaxy S3, this phone has raised the bar for Android phones across the board.

Galaxy Nexus

All Carriers

Even with all the great phones mentioned above, it’s hard to forget about the Galaxy Nexus. Eight months have passed since the launch of the Galaxy Nexus, but this phone is still the flagship of all Android phones, and rightfully so. It has the most up to date Android software, an amazing design, and a large, high-quality screen. While it may not match up spec to spec with the phones mentioned above, it really is hard to recommend any other phone over the Galaxy Nexus, especially if you’re looking for the pure Android experience. And, with the release of Jelly Bean, Google has stepped up its game in terms of the user experience of Android. The interface has become buttery smooth (pun intended!) and the interaction with the phone itself has become more intuitive thanks to Google Now. To read up more on what Google Now is and the latest version of Android known as Jelly Bean, click here.

Rumored Phones

Currently there are two  phones on the radar that are of interest, the Droid RAZR HD and an unknown HTC phone.

Droid RAZR HD 

The Droid RAZR HD is believed to have a 4.6″ HD display, a 1.8 dual-core  CPU, and a SGX544 GPU. While none of these specs are official, they look in line with many of the other phones that have been released recently. For this phone to be successful, it definitely needs to launch with the same battery as the RAZR MAXX. If the demand for the Droid RAZR HD is anything like it was for its older brother, it is definitely going to be the phone to get when released.

Unknown HTC Device

Last on this list is an unknown HTC device with very impressive specs. What we know so far is that the device is going to have a 1080p display, is clocked at 1.5GHz, and possibly has an Adreno 320 GPU. If those specs are not impressive enough, benchmarks found at GLBenchmark show that this new beast absolutely crushes the HTC One X and the Samsung Galaxy S3. Everything else I have read about this phone is pure speculation, but if true HTC might just take the lead in the Android pack once more

  • You’re too much U.S. centric. What about covering say Canada in your buying guide?

    • [email protected]

      yeah, and Zimbabwe as well please

  • CarterMorgan

    I’m so excited for my HTC One X, I just got it and started getting it set up exactly how I want it. I switched from T-Mobile to AT&T for their LTE network after my coworker, at Dish, showed me his HTC One X. I love to stream TV and recordings to my phone wherever I go with the Dish Remote Access app and a Sling Adapter connected to my receiver, and this phone has done perfect so far. It seems to stream my programming seamlessly, I can’t wait until football season so I can watch my games wherever I go.

  • So why does the ONE X win for AT&T but not for Sprint? All they did was change colors and add a kickstand and micro sd slot.

    • Sobr0801

      The EVO and the Galaxy S3 are both great phones, but the Galaxy S3 is a bit more new and exciting hence it earned two spots. Last months the one series had 3 different spots :)

      • I understand what you are saying, but why wouldn’t it be in 4 spots? If they are willing to put it over the One series in one spot why wouldn’t you put there in all the spots. Also it should have been there on Verizon instead of the Incredible.

        • Sobr0801

          I put many of my reasons for the questions you ask in the article itself. The point of the article is to educate the average consumer. So the reason I put the Incredible 4G over the Galaxy S3 was to inform the consumer, I do mention ”
          This month we see two phones come to life on Big Red, the HTC Incredible 4G LTE and the Samsung Galaxy S3. We’ve already covered the Galaxy S3 for Sprint and T-Mobile, so let’s take a look at another great option that can be had on Verizon, the Incredible 4G LTE.”

          That being said I think recommending the GS3 over the EVO is hardly a problem even if I recommended the One X over the Galaxy 3 on AT&T. Particularly because the EVO is kinda ugly.

  • Any rumors for a new Nexus or “Nexues”, “Nexii” I can’t decide if I should pick up the Galaxy Nexus or wait for the new crop. One problem is that the HTC One X puts the Nexus to shame in the screen department. I hope the new Nexus has a better screen. What to do?!

    • Sobr0801

      I have not read up any rumors as of recently. The screen is exactly why I picked the Rezound over the current Nexus.