The Best Android Phone in 2011

February 2, 2011
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The development of technology has hit near insanity. Only one year ago, a 550Mhz Phone like the Motorola Droid was considered a hot piece of kit. Today, people are going ballistic for dual core 1Ghz to 1.2Ghz phones with shockingly high resolutions, massive 1930mAh batteries, and a jaw dropping 1 gigabyte ram on board to handle the users every whim.

That being said, everyone wants to know: What is the best Android Phone in 2011? It’s hard to definitively say this before World Mobile Congress in Barcelona, but as it stands right now, in the beginning of January 2011, and after all the CES madness, we have a pretty good idea of what to expect for the next 6-8 months or so.

The Best Android Phone in 2011:

It is this author’s personal opinion that the most rocking, and technologically sophisticated phone in the world is going to be the Samsung Galaxy S II i9100. The phone is absolutely ridiculous. It’s packing incredible hardware, a beautifully appointed screen, some cool new goodies for expansion and use down the road (MHL – Mobile High Link Interface for charging with future HDMI cables through your HDTV), and a really solid, large battery. It is the Android Phone of Android Phones! Plus, it is rock solid, having received near military grade construction via Corning’s Gorilla Glass which is almost impossible to break. To make it even more enticing, it’s the most powerful phone in the world, the thinnest phone, and features arguably the most advanced, most amazing display – Super AMOLED Plus.

Check out the specs on this ridiculous phone below:

The Best Superphone of 2011: the Samsung SII (Samsung S2)

After months and months of teasing, and through digging through rumor after rumor, the Samsung Galaxy SII finally looks like the real deal. This phone has everything a superphone should have, and more. Featuring a super svelte 8.49mm profile, it feels sublime in the hand. With a massive 4.27 inch SAMOLED display, colors literally appear to pop right off it. To top things off, it can record in 1080p video via its delightful 8 megapixel camera. Finally, to truly seal the fate of our techno-lust, it packs an incredible Dual Core Orion processor, which is reputed to have performance superior to that of the Dual Core Nvidia Tegra 2. A very tempting proposition indeed.

According to Sylvia Chind, the Head of Branded Devices, Samsung is very much interested in increasing the number of handsets with Gingerbread on board. The runaway success of Samsung Galaxy S demonstrated to them the viability of success in selling Android Smartphones, and they are eager to grow this end of their business. They are even more excited in launching the Samsung Galaxy SII. The Samsung Galaxy SII is the slimmest one yet built and with the latest in mobile screen technology. The screen is the (Soon to be famous) Super Amoled Plus display. Thankfully, it is also built with the latest version of Android 2.3 Gingerbread, which features significant upgrades over 2.2, and enables faster performance.

The Samsung Galaxy S II features an industry leading Super AMOLED Screen

Quick Profile

Some of the key features of the Samsung Galaxy SII are its 4.27” Super AMOLED display, its 8 mega pixel camera with 1080p video and LED Flash, a convenient front facing 2 megapixel camera, 16GB memory, a 1650mAh battery to support the dual core processor, Full HD recording and playing, a very slim body made of metal, Bluetooth 3.0, and a Dual Core processor with the speed of 1GHz.

Camera

Moving on to the camera, the Galaxy SII is packed with 8MP autofocus camera with LED flash (supports 1080p video record and playback at 30FPS ) and a 2MP front camera for video calls.

Connectivity

The smartphone is blessed with all connectivity options such as HSPA+ 21Mbps, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA 1.5, Bluetooth 3.0, USB 2.0 OTG. The Galaxy SII will be available within this month to Europe and Asia, no price information is provided yet, but you know we will keep you posted as soon as we know!

The 2nd Best Phone: the Motorola Atrix

Talk and Standby Time1 Usage Time/Talk Time: 3G = 9 hrs; GSM = 8.8 hrs
Standby Time: 3G = 250 hrs; GSM = 264 hrs
Bands/Modes WCDMA 850/1900/2100,
GSM 850/900/1900/1800
Weight 135g
Dimensions 63.50mm wide x 117.75mm long x  10.95mm thin
OS Android 2.2 – upgrade to 2.3 is planned for later this year
Processor 2 ARM Cortex A9 cores running at 1GHz each
Battery 1930.00 mAh
Connectivity 3.5mm, micro USB 2.0 HS, Corporate Sync,  BOTA,  Wi-Fi 2.4GHz & 5GHz 802.11b/g/n  Bluetooth2 2.1 EDR
Display 4.0” qHD (Quarter High Definition) (960 x 540)
Messaging/Web/Apps MMS,  SMS, Email (Corporate Sync,  Google Mail,  POP3/IMAP embedded,  Push Email)
Audio AAC,  AAC+,  AAC+ Enhanced,  AMR NB,  MP3,  WMA v10
Video HD 1020 p capable
Capture – 720p MPEG4 and H.264 at 30 fps
(1020p will be supported via SW upgrade post-launch)
Playback – 1020p MPEG4, H.264, WMV, Xvid/DivX at 30 fps
(Playback through HDMI is 720p at launch and will be upgraded to 1020p via SW upgrade post-launch)
Streaming – VGA in MPEG4, H.264, H.263 at 30 fps
Camera 5 MP AF, Digital Zoom with LED Flash , 2nd VGA imager for video chat self image capture
Storage 16GB on board – supports up to 32GB microSD
Memory 1GB LP DDR2 RAM
Form Factor Touch screen
Sensors Accelerometer, Ambient Light, Proximity
Antenna Internal
Address Book/Calendar MOTOBLUR aggregates Facebook®, MySpace, TwitterTM and GmailTM messages and contacts as well as syncs and merges your work contacts, email and calendar
Browsers Android Web Kit with Adobe® Flash® Player, Mozilla 3.6.13 in Webtop Application
Location Services eCompass, aGPS with Google Maps™, Google Latitude™, Google Maps Street View

AT&T is one lucky company to receive, exclusively, the brand new Motorola Atrix. The Atrix sports a 4.0” qHD (960 x 540) LCD display.  This is an extremely high resolution to have on a mobile device, and should provide the user with unprecedented quality and clarity for everything they choose to look at.

The phone itself is a serious technological leap in the right direction. As one of several new Android phones with dual-core processors, it is able to go round for round, pound for pound, with the likes of the other Dual Core Champions, like the Motorola DROID Bionic, The LG Optimus 2X, the LG Optimus 3D, and the Samsung SII (or Samsung S2).

Overview

First, the Atrix has some impressive specifications. The Android 2.2 device is powered by NVIDIA Tegra 2 1GHz dual-core processor AP20H (one of the first mobile dual-cores available) and has an impressive 1 GB of DDR2 RAM, 16GB of internal memory, a powerful 1930 mAh, and a delightful 540 × 960, 4-inch multi-touch LCD, with Gorilla Glass (zero and resistant to breakage), a VGA front facing camera, a 5MP camera that can record video back to 720p, and a proximity sensor for auto-off.

Assuming AT&T doesn’t get totally greedy and charge ridiculous sums of gold for the Atrix, it will undoubtedly be a huge success. It is a sign of the future, folks.

The 3rd Best Phones Is: The Motorola Droid Bionic


One of the best phone of 2011 is most likely going to be the Droid Bionic.  Another Dual-Core 1Ghz Superphone, it too comes with NVIDIA’s Tegra 2.

Here are the detailed specs:

Software Platform: Android 2.2 WLAN: 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n
Messaging/web/apps: MMS,  SMS, Email (Google Mail,  POP3/IMAP embedded) IM (GTalk), WebKit w/ Flash Location Services: eCompass,  sGPS (simultaneous) with Google Maps™, Google Latitude™, Google Maps Street View
Audio: AAC,  AAC+,  AAC+ Enhanced,  MIDI,  MP3 Form Factor: Smartphone
Video: Capture/Playback/Streaming,  HD Video (1080p decode/playback, 720p encode/capture), H.263,  H.264,  MPEG4 Processor: 2 processor cores running at 1GHz each
Camera: 8 MP, VGA P2P Video, Digital Zoom, Auto Focus, LED Weight: 158.00 g
Memory: 512MB DDR2 RAM Dimensions:  66.90(x) 125.90(y) 13.30(z)
Storage: 16GB on board – supports up to 32GB microSD (Total 48GB) Display: 4.3” qHD (Quarter High Definition) (960 x 540)
Connectivity: 3.5mm, USB 2.0 HS, Corporate Sync,  DLNA,  Motosync,  OMA DM, HDMI (with Mirror Mode) Baseband: Motorola 4G LTE (Band 13)
Bluetooth1: Stereo  Bluetooth Class 2, Version 2.1+EDR, HID (Keyboard, mouse) Battery: 1930.00 mAh

The Droid Bionic will be a Verizon LTE device wth a 4.3” qHD (960 x 540) LCD display and 1930mAh battery. Physically this phone is a bit larger in all dimensions and heavier than the Atrix 4G.  It also has half the memory (512GB vs 1GB on the Atrix) and doesn’t feature any of the webtop capabilities.

The screen, at 4.3 inches on the Bionic vs. the 4.0 inches for the Atrix is a nice plus for sure, but both have the exact same resolution. Sure enough though, you can look forward to incredibly crisp, sharp icons and text, and will certainly be a noticeable upgrade for everyone who is lucky enough to own one.

Design wise, the Droid Bionic breaks from industrial inspired design of the Motorola Droid and Droid X. Previously popularized by the other high-end Motorola Droid devices, there are few, if any traces of this aesthetic left. Gone are the squared-off edges in favor of soft, rounded corners. It brings to mind the Samsung Galaxy S series of devices.

Another plus is that the Bionic offers the same 8MP rear camera as the Droid X and adds a front facing camera to get your video chat on. Unfortunately, most will be sad to learn that the Bionic has lost the physical camera button. That being said, this phone is such a powerful beast that there is virtually no lag when using the camera software in Android.

As for the flavor of Android available, both techno-treats are slated to launch with Android 2.2 and receive an OTA Software update to Android Gingerbread 2.3 in the “near future”.

Other Things to Consider:


The LG Optimus 2X is an equally impressive device, with a 4.0 Inch screen and 1080p video recording, but will most likely be hindered by its smaller 1500mAh battery, its lower resolution screen at 480×800 pixels, and its lack of experience in producing high end phones. Also, the LG Optimus 3D is packing some serious hardware, apparently superior to that of either the Motorola Atrix and the Samsung SII (Samsung S2). We are waiting to receive our review unit before we can say for ourselves.

We’ve also compared the most powerful, most amazing superphones of 2011 in the following comprehensive articles:

HTC EVO 3D vs. Samsung Galaxy S II: Extreme Android Superphone Standoff!

HTC Sensation vs. Samsung Galaxy S II: Flagship Superphone Fight!

The Android Superphones of 2011 [Spreadsheet]

Enjoy, and let us know what you think!

Conclusion:

Either way, it’s going to be an amazing year to have an Android Phone. Most of you, including me, are going to have unquenchable techno-lust for the time being. The only cure will be buying a new phone, and even then, it will only be a temporary fix judging by the rapid advancement of technology these days.

Stay tuned for the latest and greatest in Android Phone news!

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