Best Android phones in the world today

So you've finally got bored of the Nokia, BlackBerry, Apple or Windows Mobile phone you've been using for some time and have decided to go Android.

But what are the best Android handsets out there for you to spend your hard earned cash on, regardless of price? Here are what we believe to be the best Android handsets in the world today.

HTC Desire

The HTC Desire is, it has to be said, leading the pack when it comes to giving you an amazing Android experience, with the added bonus of HTC's Sense UI on the top.

Packing a 3.7-inch touchscreen, Snapdragon processor, 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and all the other tech you can think of, it currently runs on the 2.1 flavour of Android. Those looking to complain that it's not the latest build can be shut down with the argument that HTC has already promised an update to 2.2 later in the year.

The HTC Desire will live up to its hype for many. As an alternative to the iPhone, you'll find it offers plenty of power, an excellent browsing experience and plenty of customisation opportunities. Aside from a few minor points, there is little fault with this superphone.

Availability UK

Operators Vodafone, O2, Orange, T-Mobile, Orange, Virgin Media

Read our HTC Desire review


Samsung Galaxy S

The latest Android flagship from Samsung is the Galaxy S. It packs a 4-inch Super AMOLED screen (bigger and better than the Desire), Android 2.1 with Samsung's TouchWiz 3.0 interface over the top, a 5-megapixel camera and a 1GHz processor. 720p video capture and playback is also offered, making this a veritable media powerhouse.

Connectivity is offered via Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n), Bluetooth 3.0, DLNA, and a hot spot creation feature that Samsung has built-in itself.

The Samsung Galaxy S is certainly a competitive device, with the Super AMOLED screen being a real star, making your content look sensational. It might not be constructed from premium materials like the HTC Desire, but we like it all the same: comfortable to use, and a great device for consuming media.

Also known as AT&T Samsung Captivate, Verizon Samsung Fascinate, T-Mobile Samsung Vibrant

Availability UK, US

Operators Vodafone, O2, Orange, T-Mobile, Orange, 3 in UK/T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon in US

Read our Samsung Galaxy S review


Google Nexus One

The Nexus One was initially available directly from Google, but is now only available via operators like Vodafone. It's virtually identical to the HTC Desire, however rather than sporting the Sense UI skin comes with a vanilla version of Android.

While that means it misses out on some of the niceties, like interactive weather, it means that it's ready and waiting to get the latest build of Android - currently 2.2. You get to play with all the toys the new OS can bring to the table months ahead of everyone else. If that wasn't enough to get you excited you also get noise cancelling software, voice command capabilities and a host of other tech specs making for a very compelling package.

Yes, you could argue that there's a lack of imagination in terms of its physical design, and the keyboard doesn't quite touch HTC's Sense one, but none of that takes away from the achievement that is the Nexus One, and what an achievement it is. Philip K Dick would be proud. 

Also known as HTC Nexus One, Nexus One

Availability UK, US

Operators Vodafone

Read our Google Nexus One review


Motorola XT720

The Motorola Milestone XT720 is an Android 2.1 device with a 3.7-inch, 480 x 854, touchscreen and is capable of shooting 720p video at 24fps.

There's an HDMI out so you can watch your videos back on your HDTV and it's all powered by an ARM Cortex-A8, 720MHz chip. 

The specs don't stop there though, the XT720 also packs an 8-megapixel camera that comes with geo-location features, autofocus, a Xenon flash, and has smile and face detection.

If you're a Milestone/Droid fan, there's no doubt that the XT720 might tempt you if you're fed up with that keyboard, although if you want QWERTY input you might have to wait until the Droid 2, Milestone 2 comes out.

Also known as XT720

Availability UK, US

Operators Online retailers only in UK, rumoured to be T-Mobile in US

Read our Motorola Milestone XT720 hands on


Dell Streak

Blurring the boundaries between what you class as an internet tablet and what you class as a smartphone, the Dell Streak packs a massive 5-inch touchscreen display so you can do proper surfing and video watching. 

Besides the big screen, there is a powerful processor running the Android 2.1 operating system, and of course you get all the usual connectivity options too.

It sports two cameras, one 5-megapixel offering on the back and a forward facing one on the front so you can video call if you really must.

Yes, the Streak sits awkwardly above smartphone dimensions, without really establishing a position for itself compared to that other "tablet" on the market, but overall if you are looking to go big this is the way to do it.

Also known as Dell mini 5

Availability UK, US

Operators O2 in the UK, Rumoured to be AT&T in US

Read our Dell Streak review


HTC Evo

Only available in the US thanks to its blisteringly fast 4G surfing speeds on the Sprint network, the WiMAX connected handset, is another Android superphone.

For your money you'll get a 4.3-inch 800 x 480 pixel resolution display, Android 2.1 and HTC Sense skin. Add that to the 8-megapixel camera on the back, 720p video capture and an HDMI port on the bottom of the phone that lets you plug straight into your TV to watch 720p movies and you'll be on to a winner.

That's before we even start to mention the 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 1GB ROM, 512MB RAM and all the connectivity you could want (except GSM…) of course. Dang.

Also known as HTC Ace

Availability US

Operators Sprint in US

Read our Sprint HTC Evo - First Look review


Acer Stream

The Acer Stream, the new flagship handset from the company, brings Android 2.1 and a 3.7-inch AMOLED, WVGA display with 1.67 million bright colours and a 2000:1 contrast ratio to the party.

Those tech specs continue with it packing 512MB of RAM along with a speedy 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, HSDPA 7.2, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and 2GB of flash memory, but you can upgrade with a microSD (there's an 8GB card in the box).

Its camera is none to shoddy either - HD video shooting is 720p and it has a 5-megapixel sensor with geotagging included. You can even output it using a its mini-HDMI port.

Available in UK

Operators TBC

Read our Acer Stream Android hands-on


Droid X

Droid X is an evolution of the original Droid, which launched just over 8 months ago. With its 4.3-inch 854 x 480 pixel screen and full 720p HD video capture and playback via HDMI, "the Droid X screams video".

To help it do that the Droid X includes a 1GHz processor, 8GB memory, and a 16GB card - expandable to 40GB, features an 8-megapixel camera with 1/1000 second shutter speed, autofocus, touch focus, panoramic capture and a dual LED flash so the picture quality is phenomenal.

If that wasn't enough, this Droid has 3 microphones, which can be adjusted to different settings for optimal video recording.

Swype, the ability to double it up as a Wi-Fi hotspot for up to 5 devices and the promise of an environmentally friendly build makes this one to consider.

Also known as Motorola Droid X

Availability US

Operators Verizon in US

Read our Droid X review


Motorola Milestone

All of the above aren't that great if you are looking for a slide out QWERTY keyboard. So as a remedy in steps the Milestone, or the Droid, as it is know in the US, that delivers just that. 

The key tech specs include a 3.7-inch screen, slide-out QWERTY keyboard, Android 2.1 and a processor fast enough (550MHz) to power it all. Storage is offered by a 16GB microSD card that comes pre-installed (not hot swappable) and there is of course the usual bevy of connectivity technology such as GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and quad-band, and unlike the Verizon US version it has GSM capabilities so you can run it on any network in the UK.

Like the Motorola Droid, where the Motorola Milestone succeeds is that it offers you a state-of-the-art experience of Android 2.0 and 2.1 on any network, as it isn't currently locked as an exclusive to any one operator.

Also known as Motorola Droid

Availability UK, US

Operators Unlocked UK, Verizon in US

Read our Motorola Milestone review

 


 

HTC Legend

It's not as powerful as most of the phones we've featured but that's not to say that it shouldn't be considered when going Android. That all-in-one metal shell is beautiful, and add that to the phone's capabilities, and you're on to a winner. For your money you will get a 3.5-inch touchscreen display, Android 2.1 and HTC's Sense UI skin on the top. 

The HTC Legend has the looks and offers the type of user experience that will turn heads, without a doubt. It takes what the HTC Hero started and continues, offering a compact device with plenty of power and an interactive experience that sets the pace for smartphone manufacturers to follow. Overall the HTC Legend offers a user experience that is an absolute joy. From set-up to everyday use, it is intuitive, fun and engaging, making the Legend a serious contender for your hard-earned cash.

Also known as HTC Leg-end

Availability UK

Operators Vodafone

Read our HTC Legend review


You

What do you think are the best Android handsets out there at the moment? Let us know in the comments below.



>