Mar 26 AT 1:20 PM Taylor Wimberly 29 Comments

Best Android phones on Sprint: March 2012


Welcome to our regular buyer’s guide column where we break down each carrier to let you know about current promotions and pick the best devices. Each week we rotate between the big four US carriers, so that each buyer’s guide gets refreshed every month. Read on for Sprint’s best devices and deals.

Current Promotions and News

Amazon's Spring Into Sprint: We already mentioned it earlier this month, but Amazon has all Sprint 4G phones on sale for only $0.01 as part of their Spring Into Sprint promotion.

HTC EVO 3D for free: Sprint is now offering the HTC EVO 3D for free when you open a new line with Sprint or add a line to your account.

Sprint Data Storm Sweepstakes: Sprint announced a new contest called the Data Storm Sweepstakes, where they are giving away 30 free Galaxy Nexus smartphones. Enter once daily through 4/5.

Free Code Factory for the blind: Sprint announced the Code Factory applications will be available for free (typically costs $99 on Google Play) for postpaid Sprint customers with Android 2.1+ smartphones activated on a monthly service plan that includes data, such as the Everything Data plan starting at $79.99. Code Factory is a series of apps for people who are blind or visually impaired and for elderly individuals or those who cannot read print on smartphones because of physical, perceptual, developmental, cognitive or learning disabilities.


Sprint terminates Spectrum Hosting Agreement with LightSquared: Sprint had signed a deal with Lightsquared to offer LTE coverage over their 1.6 GHz spectrum, but now it's dead. "Due to these unresolved issues, and subject to the provisions of the agreement, Sprint has elected to exercise its right to terminate the agreement announced last summer." Sprint still plans to launch their own 4G LTE network with their own spectrum this summer.

Enhanced 3G coverage: Since last month Sprint announced enhanced 3G coverage in St. Louis, Atlanta, and Michigan.

More deals and offers: Sprint doesn't have many current promotions, but follow them on Facebook and Twitter for future deals.

Samsung Epic 4G Touch

Best Android Phone: Galaxy S II Epic 4G Touch

Not much has changed since last time. I said it back in October when I first reviewed the phone and the same thing still holds true; The Samsung Galaxy S II Epic 4G Touch is easily the best Android phone on Sprint.

Sprint still sells the Epic 4G Touch for $199 with 2-year contract, but Amazon has it on sale for only $0.01.

There is a reason Samsung has already sold 20 million of their Galaxy S II series. The Super AMOLED Plus display is unmatched among Android phones and the dual-core 1.2 GHz Exynos processor is still one of the fastest around.

Samsung has already said the Galaxy S II will receive Android 4.0 in the coming months, so this device will continue to improve with new software updates.

I've already recommended this device to several close friends and they have all been very pleased with their purchase. If you want to know more about the device, just check out our full review.

Best Android Phone with Keyboard: None

Sprint currently lists nine Android phones on their website with physical keyboards, but I can't in good faith recommend any of them. Their only high-end phone with a keyboard is the Samsung Epic 4G, which came out almost two years ago. That device will not be upgraded to Android 4.0 and you want to avoid it.

We only like to suggest smartphones with the latest versions of Android, or those that we believe will be updated soon. If you really want a keyboard phone, I'd just wait till Sprint announces their new spring lineup.

ZTE Optik

Best Android Tablet: ZTE Optik

Let me repeat what I said in our previous buyer’s guide. Because of the current data plans, I’m not a huge fan of carrier branded Android tablets. However, if you need an Android tablet with wireless connectivity, then the ZTE Optik should be your pick.


Sprint currently sells the Optik for $99 with 2-year agreement, so you won't break the bank on this purchase. A monthly data plan is required, but Sprint has some affordable options. Sprint offers four plans designed specifically for tablets, starting at $19.99 for 1GB of data, $34.99 for 3GB of data, $49.99 for 6GB of data, and $79.99 for 12GB of data.

Highlights of the ZTE Optik include 3G data connection, Android 3.2 Honeycomb OS, 7-inch touchscreen display with WXGA 1280×800 resolution, dual-core 1.2 GHz Snapdragon S3 processor, dual cameras, 1 GB RAM, 16 GB storage, WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth 2.1, expandable memory slot, and 4000 mAh Lithium-ion battery.

We don't know if this device will receive Android 4.0 yet, but it was just released in February. Hopefully Sprint supports it with at least one major software upgrade.


Best Android Phone on a Budget: HTC EVO 3D

Last month we recommended the HTC EVO Design 4G, but now that Sprint has the HTC EVO 3D for free we are switching our pick.

The EVO 3D is a great Android phone that features a 4.3-inch 3D qHD touchscreen and dual 5-megapixel auto-focus cameras on the rear that can capture Full HD 1080p video in 2D as well as 3D video at HD 720p. It also includes a dual-core 1.2 GHz Snapdragon S3 processor, 1 GB RAM, 4 GB internal storage, and an 8 GB microSD card.

Currently the EVO 3D still runs Android 2.3, but HTC has stated it will receive an upgrade to Android 4.0 in the future.

Check out Nick's HTC EVO 3D review for more details.


What’s Coming Next: HTC Jet (One X)

If you don't mind waiting another month, I would suggest holding out for one of Sprint's first LTE phones.

The Samsung Galaxy Nexus has already officially been announced for Sprint and a registration page is up, but we still don't have a release date yet. Rumors suggest the Galaxy Nexus could be available around April 15th.

Also coming soon is a device codenamed HTC Jet, which we believe is Sprint's version of the HTC One X. Sprint and HTC are holding a press event on April 4th, so we should have more details in a couple weeks.

The HTC One X will have a better camera and faster processor than the Galaxy Nexus, so it should eventually become our top pick. However, rumors suggest this HTC device might not be in stores until June 10th.

The LG Viper 4G LTE was also announced as coming soon, but we see no special reason to suggest this device when compared to the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and HTC One X.

Sprint will launch their LTE network in the first half of 2012, so we should get a release date for these phones in the coming months. Dallas, Atlanta, Houston and San Antonio are expected to be among the first markets to benefit from Sprint's 4G LTE and improved 3G coverage.


Our hardcore audience lives and breaths Android, so most of them already know what device they want to buy next. However, I realize that for most of the public, reading our blog is like trying to read Swahili or some other foreign language. The purpose of these guides is to try and help the average consumer.

I ask for your help by sharing this guide with your friends on Sprint and leaving suggestions in the comments below.

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • spintrex

    Great post hopefully we get to see some Sprint Nexus info coming soon!

  • james morgan

    yes i been playing data storm for awhile now just hoping to win

  • fletchtb

    I agree with the above analysis completely, but it highlights the fact that no carrier is keeping up with Verizon on the variety of Android handsets offered.

    Sprint’s Samsung Galaxy SII is a great phone, but at this point it is really long in the tooth and it is sad that Sprint customers don’t have any better option until the Samsung Galaxy Nexus or HTC One X arrives.

    • swazedahustla

      You do realize that by the time the Gnex is released on Sprint it too as you say “will be a bit long in the tooth”?

      Sprint customers have the option of getting whichever phone they want now, or waiting for new unreleased phones later in the year. Pretty much like every other customer of every other carrier. Verizon isn’t killing the game with the hottest phones…..Fanyboys need not suscribe to this thread because there are only a few of you who have no common sense.

  • jeff donuts

    once again terrible phones for sprint except the s2

  • dbest180

    If you fancy doing a Best of for UK please do.

    • Taylor Wimberly

      Don’t live in the UK so will need help with that.

  • Ray

    Sprint sucks. Their customer service sucks harder. Please excuse my language.

  • Nathan D.

    I have a friend that might be interested in this article, so thanks :-)

  • Jason Berardi

    The Epic 4G is still available with the sliding keyboard. I am completely satisfied with mine still, even after almost 2 years. It runs better than it did the day I got it.

    There isn’t a single phone in the current Sprint line up that I would consider trading it in for.

    • Taylor Wimberly

      Glad that you are still satisfied after 2 years. But would you really want to go another 2 years with your device running an outdated OS? That’s why I can’t recommend it now.

      • squiddy20

        “But would you really want to go another 2 years with your device running an outdated OS?”
        He doesn’t have to. Just slap CM 7.2 on it, and you’ve got the most stable, up to date ROM for the device currently, with CM 9 on it’s way soon.
        Not to mention that the average Android user has no clue about version numbers, updates, or anything like that. If it works, it works. Think about it this way, Windows XP is well over 10 years old, yet there’s still plenty of people using it. The OS isn’t everything…

        • jeremy

          Got cm9 on my epic 4g. Ii would recommend it to someone who wants a keyboard.

        • honourbound68

          Very true squiddy. Cm7 gave it a new life. I haven’t tried cm9 on it yet since I’m just using it for games/music now.

      • Hector

        not everything is about the OS dude. the phone is great and does the same things android 4.0 does, like surf, flash player, videos etc but looks different and has an awesome screen too so its kinda dumb to not recommend a phone just because it wont be “updated”

      • Jason Berardi

        Already running CM9 and am not having any issues. I don’t plan to go two more years, but I can easily make it through 2012 or until we see the Galaxy S III, without feeling left behind.

        Whether you recommend it or not, it’s still the best phone available at Sprint with a hardware keyboard.

    • Bill

      Yep, true. The Epic rocks, and with apps like Dolphin Mini, ROM Toolbox, Superuser, Roam Control, and EVA the virtual assistant, the Epic really rocks.

  • uknowme

    I still love my Evo 3D, but I have been entering the contest everyday for the Galaxy Nexus. Mainly cause it would be a free phone, but I’m also curious to see how good LTE is going to be.

  • Paul Atreides

    Shattered my EVO 4G and the replacement days later(what luck) so I have my fingers crossed for that Nexus April 15th, Can’t wait for any rumored phones at this point.

  • Lori

    When is the Galaxy S Epic III coming out. I dont want to buy the current Galaxy and when is 4LTE coming to New York on sprint?

  • ZzX44

    GSII E4GT is the best phone you could get on Sprint but it does have its fair share of flaws. I personally have one and its a great phone when you need it to be. However some features are missing and are completely overlooked.

    Headset button automatically brings up call log instead of controls music when the phone function isn’t in use. This is really annoying since the both 3 button and 1 button V-Moda headset cords don’t work like they did for my EVO 4G Shift. I’ve seen that some headset buttons work but unfortunately it’s sketchy across other headsets and very picky. It could be a problem on V-Moda’s end but I’m guessing its Sprint and Sammy that have dropped the ball. I have no idea why I’d want to press the button on my headset to bring up call log as that seems pretty useless.

    There is no option to turn off the screen without locking the device. One of my favorite things about my Shift is that the lock button functions as a screen on/off toggle and won’t automatically lock your phone when you turn it off. This is most likely a Touchwiz UX design oversight but I don’t want to have input my lock code every single time I press the device lock button instead of the timed approach dual lock of the Shift. As my Shift was my first Android and cellular device I assumed all devices had the time lock feature (which they should imo). I actually disabled my lock screen since I want to be able to check my messages and other updates without unlocking it and inputing my passcode every 10 seconds.

    No option to turn off camera shutter, zoom, and focus sound. Sammy this isn’t Japan, fix this. I miss covertly snapping pictures of all the hot college guys and taking pictures of my pets while they aren’t looking.

    Before you all jump me and tell me to “just root it bruh”. ICS is on its way (and taking its sweet time), I’m a college student and don’t feel like bricking my 500$+ phone, and I don’t want a ROM which halfass works when I need it to. Maybe if this phone had more community support comparable to say the EVO 4G or GSII Intl. I’d probably consider it.

    This is a great phone and yes the best phone you could get on Sprint. The screen is absolutely gorgeous and preinstalled/default apps and menus are really good and take advantage of the screens power-saving tactics since they use a black background which doesn’t draw power/as much power. This phone is ridiculously fast when downloading apps on Wifi and 3G compared to other phones I’ve tried on the Sprint network. Battery life is frickin amazing I can usually go one day without charging it with moderate use (5 hrs music, 30m gaming, a bit of browsing).

    Minus the small gripes and oversights, this is great phone rivaled by only the Gnex, Note, and the unreleased GSIII and possibly the HTC One X (Not sure why people want a non-removable battery given HTCs track record and no expandable storage). If you had to get a phone today get the GSII E4GT if you can wait just wait for the GSIII.

    • ZzX44

      There is also another process which plagues this phone called Mediaserver. It will decimate your battery if you listen to music running any other music player other than the stock from my experience. I’m no Android dev or expert so I don’t know if music functions are handled by another process usually but seeing Mediaserver eating up 24+% of my battery puts a bad taste in my mouth. It only happens when using other media players especially media players that use folder based organization and sorting methods. I’m not sure how to work around it but the default music player (which isn’t that bad) gets around the process without relying on mediaserver and still manages to use sort by folder.

  • michael v

    hello, will sprint be getting the samsung note?

    • ZzX44

      Both my sister and I would love to see the Note on Sprint. That screen is so massive. Sprint should step up their game and stop advertising all these cheap ass feature phone / wannabe smartphones from the likes of Kyocera, Huawei, Blackberry, Sanyo, old LG phones and worst of all Apple.

  • bl

    Doesn’t matter, I’ve had it with Sprint. I bought the Evo 4G a couple of months after its release with the understanding that they would continue to expand their wimax network, now it turns out they are scratching it so not only do I not get 4G where I live, I never will. My 4G phone is a 3G device that I am paying an extra $10 a month for no reason. For that, I will be leaving Sprint in 2 months and I won’t be back.

    • honourbound68

      best hope you get good tmo coverage in your area with hspa+. am loving lte speeds but verizon is very expensive. am actually considering ebaying my GN since I only paid 99 for it and using the money to pay off early termination with vzw. I only paid $70 a mo with Sprint and have paid $120+ each of the last 2 mos on vzw. really missing the free mobile to mobile. not all my frequent contacts are on vzw, so my minutes have been used up pretty quickly :(
      so my tradeoff has been way better 4g for way more $$.

  • spazby

    New LTE phones will better be great for sprint…. I have been with them for a while and i like the coverage and i love the unlimited plan…

  • taco lover

    still love my evo shift :D waiting for another keyboard phone but not desperate for an update

  • tkarel

    Any chance this could get updated?
    Ideally every four to six weeks a table showing the best phone, it’s name at each carrier, and a small review of what may become available at each carrier in the next three months. That’d make it very easy to make decisions on what phone to get and whether to wait or not.
    Also, it’d make sense to put in special information such as the Sprint fee-less early termination for the next three weeks or discounts which typically appear at specific times of year.
    Thanks for considering my suggestion.