The Ultimate Superphone Smackdown
This year has seen the explosive birth of a new kind of mobile device. Dual-core superphones are almost impossibly powerful compared to even the immediate previous generation of handsets. There's a reason the Atrix launched with a laptop dock as a key feature. 'Mobile' doesn't mean 'underpowered' anymore. If you want more out of your smartphone, you want one of these six behemoths.
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Samsung's Galaxy S 2:
This is my favorite Samsung phone ever. It's deliciously thin, three times as powerful as its predecessor, and even beautiful to look at. And you can't fault the hardware. There's a 1.2 GHz processor, 1 GB of RAM and 16 GB of on-board storage. The S 2 can take a microSD card and the display is a 4.3" Super AMOLED. By some measures, it is the most powerful smartphone in the world right now.
Buying One: If you live under the coverage of Orange or T-Mobile UK, the S 2 will be available on April 27th. US availability hasn't been revealed yet, but rumors have it hitting Verizon at least in May. If the S 2 follows the pattern of the original Galaxy S, all four carriers will receive their own branded version of the phone.
The Motorola Bionic:
Here is Motorola's dual-core answer to the HTC ThunderBolt. The Bionic is a dual-core 1 Ghz-packing LTE smartphone with a mighty 4.3" qHD display and an 8 MP camera. Verizon's 4G network is definitely the prime selling point on this baby. But not the only one. Unlike the Atrix, the Bionic feels solid- comforting, in your hands. Moto did well with this one.
Of course, Moto's delay of the Bionic doesn't bode well for the handset's future. Issues with battery life seem to be endemic with LTE devices right now. And the Bionic adds the strain of a dual-core processor to 4G's vampiric embrace.
Buying One: The Bionic is currently scheduled for release in "summer", with Verizon as the only carrier.
The HTC Sensation:
The Atrix was a bust, and the Sensation is HTC's attempt to prove they can do better. This beast of a smartphone has a dual-core 1.2 GHz processor and a 4.3" qHD display. It has a slick aluminum unibody frame and brags the ability to shoot 1080p video at 30fps. For multitasking power, there's 768 MB of RAM. The Sensation falls down on storage though- only 4 GB onboard with an 8 GB microSD card included.
Buying One: HTC's first dual-core foray is only available through T-Mobile. It is expected to launch on June 8 and will run on T-Mo's HSPA+ network.
The Motorola Droid X2:
If at first you don't succeed, try try again. Motorola's taken this bit of advice to heart with the X2. It packs a dual-core 1.2 GHz processor and 768 MB of RAM. There's a 4.3" qHD display and, of course, an 8 MP shooter. That would sound a lot more impressive if it weren't so damnably similar to the other phones on this list. Come on folks- at least give us a keyboard.
Buying One: The X2 has leaked out in both video and screenshot form, but still lacks a set release date. My guess? Sometime this June. Leaked price sheets indicate it will cost $199.
LG's Optimus 2X:
This "with Google" beauty was supposed to launch with Android 2.3. As of now, it only packs Android 2.2. The processor is a (now commonplace) dual-core 1 GHz Tegra 2. It can record 1080p video and display it on a 4" WVGA screen. There's only 512 MB of RAM though. Early reviews describe it as solid but uninspiring.
Buying One: You can get one now from T-Mobile for $199.
The EVO 3D:
This smartphone is at the tip of HTC's latest spearhead. If there's a smartphone more perfectly placed to grab attention and attract early adopters, I haven't seen it. The Evo 3D has everything we've seen earlier on this list- a dual-core 1.2 GHz processor and a 4.3" display and the ability to handle 1080p video. It also happens to support glasses-free display of 720p 3D video. And 3D recording with dual-5 MP cameras.
Buying One: The Evo 3D will be available "soon" from Sprint. It will launch with Android 2.3.
So Which Should YOU Buy?
Options are great- but you want pointed buying advice. If you want the most powerful Android smartphone around, go with the Galaxy S 2. It has an unmatched build quality, superior graphics performance and 16 GB of on-board storage to boot. Samsung can be unreliable about 'future-proofing' their devices with regular updates. If this is a concern for you, I'd recommend the HTC Sensation as an alternate.
But if you're an early adopter- someone with a lust for technology and a need to have the shiniest possible gear on their person at any given time- the Evo 3D is your phone. Embrace the impractical future.