Best Android Portrait QWERTY’s for Sprint Compared: Bye Bye, Blackberry

May 13, 2011
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Sprint is really on an Android handset blitzkrieg this year! They started out January with the HTC EVO Shift, then rolled on to the first ever dual screened smartphone – the Kyocera Echo in April. Recently, we compared the newest upcoming high end slate handset offerings; the Google Nexus S 4G, Motorola Atrix 4G, and HTC EVO 3D. But, it seems alternate form factor love is spreading, and potentially could mean the rein of the slate or landscape QWERTY is over – but we doubt it. So, If you know any Blackberry lovers who are getting fed up with their tired old Blackberry OS but love that form factor, steer them to Sprint for some new Android offerings. They’ll have plenty of portrait QWERTY options by the beginning of June. In the next 30 days, Sprint will be rounding out their offerings to three, and among the three options they pretty much cover it all. Like we said, they’ve got it all coming: From “eco-friendly”, to global traveling business types, to walkie talkie ruggedized handset tough guys. Read on to find out what the options are.

Samsung Replenish – Andy the Android dressed up like a frugal Captain Planet.

The newly released Samsung Replenish has just been made available this past Sunday 5-8-2011. It is the most cost effective of the new portrait QWERTY phones, and its specs reflect the frugal price of $49.99 on the contract you’re getting. However, what is nice is that the phone isn’t overly small and actually has a good size to it. One of the most interesting things about the Replenish is the fact that right now, Sprint is waiving the $10 Premium Data requirement so it’ll provide a cost savings to the tune of $120 a year. The other selling point is the optional Solar Panel battery cover which recharges the phone at the rate of 20 minutes of talk time for every hour in the sun. I don’t mean to downplay the fact that the majority of its construction is from recycled materials, but that is not something you’ll actively deal with over the course of your stay with the handset, so its really a secondary bonus. Overall, its specs are geared towards being a low end offering.

Specs

4.84″ x 2.36″ x .45″, 4.1oz
2.8″ TFT, 280×320, capacitive multi touch
MSM7627-2 600 MHz, 512 MB RAM
1600 mAh battery
2.0 MP Camera
EVDO Rev A.
Light sensor, Proximity sensor
Micro SD slot
Android 2.2 Froyo with Sprint ID
2GB memory card included, supporting up to 32GB

Pros
Cheap monthly plan
Powerful MSM7627 600MHz processor
Sufficient RAM at 512MB
Optional solar panel

Cons
Small screen size at 2.8″
Low QVGA resolution screen
Low mega-pixel rear camera
No flash on rear camera
Relatively small battery

Motorola Titanium – Andy with a rough and tough construction job.

The Titanium is the successor of the i1, with its Push To Talk iDEN radio, and Military Spec 810G certification. This would be the perfect handset for the construction worker or anyone working in an environment where their phone needs to take some damage. This is because it holds the 810G certification, which is rated for dust, shock, vibration, low pressure, solar radiation, high temperature and low temperature. Not much is known about the processor or the amount of RAM powering this particularly ‘tough’ Android handset, however the specs that are known represent a significant step up from the older iDEN phone – the i1.  But, the version of Android provided leaves much to be desired with its dated 2.1 version of Android, and the iDEN network in general tops out around 70Kbps which is just too slow to be a true everyday smartphone powerhouse. It occurred to me when considering this handset, why didn’t  they outfit their iDEN phones with the optional 4G WiMAX radio to provide improved network speed while still having the push to talk feature? Honestly, that might be something that is totally livable to me because you don’t need much more than 70Kbps to receive an email or send/receive an MMS, and then for surfing the internet you could just throw  on 4G.

Specs

4.71 x 2.44 x 0.53, 5.20 oz
3.1″ TFT, 320 x 480, capacitive multi touch
Processor and RAM unknown
1820 mAh
5.0 MP, LED flash,
iDEN radio
Micro SD slot
Android 2.1 Eclair
2GB memory card included, supporting up to 32GB

Pros
Ruggedized body
Large battery size
Good mega-pixel camera
LED flash

Cons
Small screen size for the price
Unknown Processor and RAM
Slow iDEN radio
Dated Android 2.1 build

Motorola XPRT – Andy the professional global traveler.

The Motorola XPRT is Sprints re-branded version of the Verizon Motorola Droid Pro, and the specs haven’t changed at all, nor has its global ability with an HSDPA 10.2 Mbps, HSUPA 5.76 Mbps radio built in. However, being that it is on Sprint’s network means it will cost less over the life of a two year contract than the Droid Pro. The XPRT probably has the most attractive spec sheet out of all three phones and could actually be considered a mid grade handset competition, unlike the others. It’s a funny time for innovation when a handset with a 1.0GHz processor, 512 MB RAM, and 5.0 MP Camera is thought of as mid grade. But, if you’re looking for a Portrait QWERTY phone with good specs and don’t have being eco-friendly as your driving force or needing a handset to survive a rugged (abusive) lifestyle – then this is your phone. However, I do find it ironic that the 10200Kbps HSDPA GSM radio for global compatability is actually faster than the primary EVDO Rev A radio which tends to top out around 700Kbps.

Specs

4.69 x 2.36 x 0.46
3.1″ TFT, 320 x 480, capacitive multi touch
TI OMAP3620 1000 MHz, 512 MB RAM
1860 mAh
5.0 MP, Dual LED flash, 720×480 30 fps
EV-DO rev.A, HSDPA 10.2 Mbps, HSUPA 5.76 Mbps
Micro SD slot
Android 2.2 Froyo with Motoblur
2GB memory card included, supporting up to 32GB

Pros
Fastest processor out of all offerings
Large battery size
Dual LED Flash
DVD quality video recording
Global GSM radio compatability

Cons
Small screen size for the price
Dated design originally launched on Verizon in Nov 2010

Conclusion

I hope this helped you guys (and gals) out if you’re in the market for one of the newest Android portrait QWERTY offerings. Each of these phones have key points that I really found interesting because I actually have a lot of love for the portrait qwerty touchscreen layout. I like the fact that the Replenish lacks the required Premium Data charge and the fact that you can get a solar panel battery cover charger. But, I also like how the Titanium is ruggedized and is pretty much the same mid grade phone as the Droid Pro with an iDEN radio, which unfortunately is too slow for me. If it had an optional WiMAX radio I probably would get one of those over the Nexus S 4G I plan on ordering tomorrow. Then, I also considered the XPRT because it is the best of all three portrait QWERTY options currently available. Unfortunately, I’m not a fan of it being a very dated design that isnt interesting anymore, and the fact it doesn’t have a WiMAX radio means it’s a no go for me. Either way, it looks like this particular form factor is making a strong comeback, and will probably be enough to pull even more Blackberry’s from the pockets of people everywhere. Once they start releasing 4G versions of these phones I’ll end up getting one for sure!

What do you guys think? Any of these offerings belong in your pocket? Let us know in the comments.

Sprint product fact sheets; Samsung Replenish, Motorola Titanium, Motorola XPRT

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