Aug 28 AT 9:19 AM Nick Gray 7 Comments

Back to school Android smartphone buying guide

back-to-school-with-android

The back to school season is in full swing. High school and college students are on a buying spree to find all the supplies they need for the 2013 school year. While pencils, pens notebooks and a good backpack may be what most people think of this time of year, we happen to believe that a good smartphone can play a very important role in a student’s day-to-day school routine.

We’re not here to give you tips on how your smartphone can be used to improve your study habits or help you with your projects, but we will tell you what phone you should buy. Over the past few days we’ve asked our readers and our staff to identify the best Android powered smartphones on the four major US service providers. There are certainly a lot of options out there, but the numbers we got back clearly show that only a few phones are actually worth looking at.

The clear winners are the HTC One, Samsung Galaxy S 4, Google Nexus 4 and the new Motorola Moto X. These four phones have dominated Android headlines for most of the year and certainly offer the best Android experience. If you’re on the market for a new phone, we’re hoping our staff and reader picks will help you choose the perfect phone for you. We’re also interested in your feedback. Don’t like our choices or have another recommendation that we missed? Be sure to let us know in the comments.

Happy back to school shopping!

tmobile-best
Staff picks

  1. HTC One
  2. Samsung Galaxy S 4
  3. Samsung Galaxy Note II
 Reader picks

  1. Google Nexus 4
  2. HTC One
  3. Samsung Galaxy S 4
att-best
 Staff picks

  1. HTC One
  2. Motorola Moto X
  3. Samsung Galaxy S 4 Active
Reader picks

  1. HTC One
  2. Motorola Moto X
  3. Samsung Galaxy S 4
sprint-best
Staff picks

  1. HTC One
  2. Samsung Galaxy S 4
  3. LG Optimus G
 Reader picks

  1. HTC One
  2. Samsung Galaxy S 4
  3. Samsung Galaxy Note II
verizon-best
 Staff picks

  1. HTC One
  2. Motorola DROID MAXX
  3. Samsung Galaxy S 4
 Reader picks

  1. HTC One
  2. Samsung Galaxy S 4
  3. Motorola DROID MAXX

  • An unlocked section would be cool too.

  • RobGuest 12 months ago

    The HTC one should not on the top of anyones list, in fact it shouldnt be on the list at all, I bought this instead of the Galaxy S4 and I regret it. No removable battery means you will be tethered to a charger…just like an iphone. No removable storage means you will have liited space for your music/movies/photos just like an iphone. And just as an aside to those pushing cloud services, most students dont have unlimited celular data and you cant always count on having good reception for data or access to wifi, so if you count on the cloud, plan on something you want being not accessible at least part of the time.
    The sense interface and HTC’s back end (settings notification area etc etc) is…and i cant believe I am saying this …worse than touchwiz, which i didnt think was possible. Even if you opt for a replacement home launcher you will still have to deal with a convoluted back end which makes you press 5 buttons for what you should be able to do with 2, just like an iphone.
    The killer feature for the HTC one, which was supposed to wow everyone, namely blinkfeed is a useless mess. NOw I am willing to admit i am not a huge social media user so I probably dont see the point of this, but a page where all your social media updates…even one you dont really care about will appear hodgepodge all over the page randomly changing places so if you go back t try to locate something you really want good luck finding it. You cannot disable this “feature” and it sits in the back ground using up data. And for that matter if you dont use some of the social media services like either facebook twitter or linked in, too bad because all you can to is diable rather than uninstall. They are on there permanently taking up space on a phone with linited storage.
    As for the supposed build quality…yeah the metal feels nice if your into that sort of thing but who cares. If you are smart you will put it in a protective case anyways…this phone is expensive and drop tests show that the metal construction, while it does kick the iphones but in terms of sturdiness, doesnt mean if it slips out of your hand. So it’s a case…or prepare to lose that huge invstment, which means the supposed premium feel is rendered moot.
    Does this phone have good qualities, sure the screen is nice and bright with a very sharp resolution, and the camera takes great pics. But do these two factors make up for what is obviously a poorly thought out phone, from a company which has fallen to second place and obviously doesnt have any knowledge of real world needs and value….a resounding NO. Dont make the same mistake i made, buy a phone from another company. You can find many powerful, useful models worthy of your hard earned student dollars that will serve your needs better and wont let you down. In terms of a back to school phone the HTC gets an F even before the term has started

    • AlanGuest 12 months ago

      The reason it is on the list and tops most of them is because others disagree with you – that’s the nature of a poll.

      I never have a problem with my battery life – my current phone has a removable one but I have never ever had to swap out a battery in ANY phone. Also for my use removable storage is not a must have. I can put a SD card in my phone but have never bothered…and I don’t use the cloud either.

      I could say the Galaxy should not be on the list as I had a poor run with my S3 but obviously others disagree.

      Maybe the problem is some people are forgetting that it is a PHONE foremost and not a Game Machine, desktop/Tablet or a Home Theatre…horses for courses.

    • StanGuest 12 months ago

      All I can say is they shouldn’t let donkeys leave comments.

  • DaveGuest 12 months ago

    Nothing against the HTC One, I know it’s a great phone, but the Galaxy S4 seems to be getting short shrift in these polls. I’ve had my 32GB version packed with apps for several months now and it’s still blazing fast with superb battery life and a brilliant camera. It deserves a little more respect imo.

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