Remember when you got your first cell phone? Unless you’ve been living off the grid (or under a rock) for the past several years and have only just joined the mobile world, chances are great that your first phone was drastically different from what’s on the market right now.
We’re sure you’re not too nostalgic about your old flip phone and its retractable antenna, so we dove into the great big sea of mobile options to present you with the latest and greatest.
The increasingly competitive smartphone market is going to continue to evolve and reach unfathomable levels of cool, but as of December, these are the best smartphones you will find.
iPhone 4S - $199 to $399
Let’s get the inevitable out of the way and talk about the latest iPhone first. It would be insane to discuss the market’s best smartphones without mentioning the iPhone 4S.
Sure, everyone was eagerly awaiting the iPhone 5 when Apple faked us out with the iPhone 4S, but that doesn’t mean the iPhone 4S is a slouch.
The iPhone 4S is the last Apple product Steve Jobs helped to develop and its not-so-humble slogan, “picking up where amazing left off,” is a testament to its appeal.
It looks exactly like the iPhone 4 on the outside, but delivers more power with a dual-core A5 chip, has an upgraded camera that shoots HD video and comes with Siri—the amazing automated voice control system that lets you control pretty much every iPhone 4S function with your voice.
There’s a reason the iPhone 4S sold four million units in the first three days after it was released—pretty much everyone wants an iPhone. Now that its availability has opened to include AT&T, Verizon, C Spire and Sprint, pretty much everyone can have one.
Samsung Galaxy Nexus – $299 with contract
For those who aren’t slaves to the Apple craze, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus is a phenomenal smartphone choice.
With a 4.65-inch screen and Super AMOLED HD curved display, the Galaxy Nexus is a gorgeous phone that’s built and lived up to a considerable amount of hype.
The arrival of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus has been eagerly anticipated, as it is the first phone to premiere with the Android 4.0 operating system, aka Ice Cream Sandwich. Android 4.0 allows for visually engaging, simple multitasking—a must for any busy smartphone user.
While the typical smartphone makes you remember a PIN or pattern to unlock, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus gives you a more personalized option. Its state-of-the-art Face Unlock feature uses face recognition technology and a front-facing camera to register a user’s facial structure before unlocking.
HTC Sensation 4G - $199 with contract
The HTC Sensation 4G is a smartphone with a lot of power at a great price. Its 1.2-GHz processor coupled with T-Mobile’s 4G network allows for multitasking and rapid downloads of even large files like movies.
In fact, this phone is a perfect match for those who look to their device for all entertainment options. It comes with HTC Watch; an online video service that lets users rent or purchase movies, TV shows and games, and its built-in FM radio is great for music lovers.
Its most impressive feature, however, is its camera. At 8-megapixels with autofocus, LED flash and video recording capabilities with 1080-pixel resolution, the HTC Sensation 4G camera is one of the most developed on the market.
Motorola Photon 4G - $199.99 with contract
If you’re a Sprint customer, this is the smartphone for you. The Motorola Photon 4G is the best android Sprint has to offer.
Equipped with Android 2.3 Gingerbread and a dual-core 1GHz processer, the Photon 4G is a standout powerhouse.
Its shape and design is futuristic and unique and unlike most phones, it includes a kickstand on the back to allow for optimal hands-free media viewing. A Corning Gorilla Glass screen with dual anti-reflective display definitely improves the experience.
The Photon 4G also comes with Motoblur, Motorola’s continually improved social networking-based service that gives users access to widgets that combine all their social networking portals in one place and perform a remote wipe if necessary.
Motorola Droid RAZR - $299.99 with contract
Motorola’s RAZR update is light years ahead of the old RAZR model.
Even though it’s the world’s thinnest smartphone and its sleekness is unmatched, the Droid RAZR can stand up to the toughest phone abusers. Its external casing is made with Kevlar fiber and its Gorilla Glass screen defends against scratches. Even the electrical boards inside are protected from water by a force field of water-repellent nanoparticles.
If all of that isn’t enough to make you want one, you should be sold by the fact that the Droid RAZR is one of Motorola’s “business ready” smartphones and it comes equipped with a range of security features that will protect your password and sensitive business information. Plus, Motorola’s developer network MOTODEV allows you to build custom apps for your business.