Mar 19 AT 4:02 PM Taylor Wimberly 41 Comments

Best Android phones on T-Mobile: 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 T-Mobile’s best devices and deals.

Current Promotions and News

Latest TV Ad: Don’t Carry Stacks

Magenta Deal Days: T-Mobile just kicked off a two-week sale called Magenta Deal Days, that offers up to $150 off select 4G devices. Head over to the site for the full details or check out the chart below to see which devices will be on sale.

500,000 fans promo: To celebrate 500,000 fans on their Facebook page, T-Mobile is giving away coupon for 30% off any one accessory at a T-Mobile store. Offer expires 6/30/12.

Even more deals: If you are not quite ready to buy yet, make sure you follow @TMobile on Twitter and like T-Mobile on Facebook for the latest offers.

Best Android Phone: Galaxy S II

Not much has changed since last month and this pick was easy. The Samsung Galaxy S II is the best Android phone available on T-Mobile. We polled our staff, readers, and even some T-Mobile employees who all unanimously agreed upon the Galaxy S II as their favorite device.

T-Mobile normally sells the Galaxy S II for $229 with 2-year contract, but you can find better deals if you look around online. Our favorite online store Amazon currently has it for $199 with new service or upgrades.

The Galaxy S II was one of the best Android devices of 2011 and most of the team here uses one of the versions as their daily phone. Our very own Angie has this model on T-Mobile and she loves it. The main selling points of this device are the gorgeous 4.52 inch Super AMOLED Plus display, stellar 8 mepapixel camera, support for 4G HSPA+ 42 Mbps, and Samsung’s excellent build quality.

We never posted a full review of the T-Mobile version, but we did review the Sprint model and I suggest you check that out. The major difference is that the Sprint model used a dual-core 1.2 GHz Exynos processor which has a faster graphics processor, and the T-Mobile model has a dual-core 1.5 GHz Snapdragon S3 processor.

The Snapdragon processor doesn’t have as fast a GPU as the Exynos, but it has other unique benefits like GLONASS location services and support for T-Mobile’s HSPA+ 42 Mbps network.

Currently the Galaxy S II ships with Android 2.3, but Samsung has already promised that upgrades to Android 4.0 will begin in Q1. T-Mobile’s model might not be the first with the update, but it will eventually receive it.

Runner up: We absolutely love the Samsung Galaxy S II, but if you are partial towards HTC then go with the Amaze 4G. It also supports T-Mobile’s HSPA+ 42 Mbps network and features an equally amazing camera. The only downside to this phone is the sub-par battery life. Check out Edgar’s review of the Amaze 4G for more info.

Alternative pick: T-Mobile does not sell the Galaxy Nexus, but if money is no object you can buy one online and use it on their network. The Galaxy Nexus is the best Android phone available thanks to shipping with Android 4.0. Amazon currently has the GSM Galaxy Nexus listed for $528 (that’s $100 cheaper than last month). Check out Anthony’s review of the Galaxy Nexus for more info.

Comparison of top T-Mobile phones: To see a complete comparison of the Samsung Galaxy S II, HTC Amaze 4G, and Samsung Galaxy Nexus head over to

Best Android Phone with Keyboard: MyTouch 4G Slide

If you have a thing for QWERTY keyboards, then the myTouch 4G Slide is your device. T-Mobile currently sells this device for $199 on contract, but you might find a better deal if you shop around.

Notable features of the myTouch 4G Slide include 3.7 inch Super LCD, 8 megapixel camera, front facing cameara, dual-core 1.2 GHz Snapdragon S3 processor, and support for T-Mobile’s 4G HSPA+ network.

When this phone launched last year, T-Mobile advertised it as having the most advanced smartphone camera. Highlights include improved low-light performance, zero shutter lag, SweepShot, ClearShot HDR, and burst shot. Comparisons against other high-end devices even showed it bested the iPhone 4S by a slim margin.

This device still ships with Android 2.3, but it is expected to eventually receive Android 4.0.

Best Android Tablet: Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus

Let me repeat what I said in my Verizon 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 Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus should be your pick.

T-Mobile currently sells the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus for $249 with 2-year contract. Monthly data plans include 2 GB for $39, 5 GB for $49, and 10 GB for $79.

When it comes to 7-inch Android tablets, the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus is our current favorite. Just ask Clark, this is his mini tablet of choice. It features a dual-core 1.2 GHz Exynos processor that turned in some of the fastest web browsing scores we have ever seen. Another selling point is the IR port, which works with applications like Peel Smart Remote to control all the gadgets in your living room.

Check out our hands-on with the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus for additional details.

Best Android Phone on a Budget: Exhibit II 4G

Now that online stores offer high-end devices for $99-199 with new 2-year agreement, it is becoming harder and harder to suggest a budget phone. The lower priced devices generally don’t receive major software updates to newer versions of Android and are outdated as soon as you buy them.

If you wait for a big T-Mobile sale, you can normally score one of their high-end phones for free. They just had their Valentine’s Day sale, and I’m sure there will be another sale next month.

However, if you need a budget Android phone right now, then we would suggest the Samsung Exhibit II 4G. T-Mobile is selling the phone for only $29 on contract, which is a nice price for a mid-range 4G phone.

Highlights of the Exhibit II 4G include Android 2.3, 3.7 inch display, 3 MP rear camera + VGA front camera, 1 GHz processor, 4 GB internal storage, and all the usuals like WiFi, GPS, and Bluetooth 3.0.

We doubt this device will ever be upgraded to Android 4.0, but that’s what you get with budget smartphones.

HTC One S.

What’s Coming Next: HTC One S

If you don’t mind waiting another few months, we suggest holding out for the HTC One S. T-Mobile already announced they would carry the device this spring and you can sign up for more info from T-Mobile or HTC.

When it becomes available, we expect the HTC One S to be our pick for the best Android phone on T-Mobile. It will have a better camera and faster processor (Snapdragon S4) than the Samsung Galaxy S II, and we think it has more style.

Also launching later this week is the Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G. This device will retail for $149 with 2-year contract, but that’s after a $50 mail in rebate. Given the current pricing, we would suggest going with the Samsung Galaxy S II, which is a better device. If T-Mobile lowers the in-store price, this could become our new best Android phone on a budget.


We have long wanted to maintain buyer’s guides for every carrier, but it’s just something we have failed to produce. As one of the most influential sources of Android information on the web, we realize that our opinions are valuable and the average consumer just wants to know what phone they should buy without having to do all the research.

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.

Having said all that, consider this first guide as a rough draft that will continually be updated and improved over time. We would love to hear your feedback on what other sections or information should be added to the next version. Our lead developer Clark has some amazing site features that are coming down the pipe (like the new profiles), and we are 100% committed to this community.

I ask for your help by sharing this guide with your friends on T-Mobile 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

    Most Tweeted This Week

  • Vance

    Any news on the rumored One X coming as the next in the G series for tmo?

    • Taylor Wimberly

      Still rumored. I expect we will here more after the One S launches.

      • ablkida

        I love tmo… yes I love a brand… but they need to release the One X. @taylor Wimberly, do you know why they never released the Galaxy Nexus? Smh…

        • bruin81

          I see that Sprint is supposed to be coming out with the Galaxy Nexus on April 15, hope that means end of the Verizon exclusive and that also means the pentaband GSM version will be sold in the US. I’d like to be able to get one with a US warranty. I hope its available at Best Buy or other retailer like with Nexus S if not sold by T-Mobile.

  • Nick Gray

    If you’re an HTC fan, the smart money’s on the HTC Amaze 4G (if you can’t wait for the HTC One S). Only problem is that the phone is officially discontinued, though in-store and online inventory should last a few more weeks.

  • haz

    I’m pumped for the new LTE plans T-mobes just announced. With the rumored LTE integration in the exynos processor the SGSIII might be a good catch. One X S looks like the tits though. Decisions decisions…

  • B

    Not sure if I should get the one s or just get the unlocked one x

  • spazby

    HTC One S looks awesome but I think it may be 2nd to galaxy s3 when released…

    • Joel

      Everything will be 2nd to the GS3 when released.

  • Mark

    Wife has the MyTouch 4G Slide and loves it, but I wish the hacking/dev community was a little more active. They’ve lost a lot of dev’s and only 2 or 3 are working on it, doesn’t make for many custom ROM’s. But the phone rocks. My brother is getting a used G2X on craigslist for like $180, and I will be putting CM7 on it which runs nice and stable. This will easily hold him over for a year until the GSII or Blaze4G or Amaze4G can be had for ~$200 used. Right now the Amaze 4G is like $350-$400 used.

    Anyways, I gave up on Simple Mobile’s $40 unlimited talk/text/web plan, their data speed blew. I switched to Family Mobile, another T-Mobile “MVNO’ but not fully, and the data speeds are much much better and their “data caps” or speed which they rate limit you, is much higher than Simple Mobile’s. So all around win for the same cost (2 lines). The beauty of Google Voice and it’s Android integration is not caring what your new number is or who your carrier is.

  • McLovin

    Is there anything coming down the road that has a keyboard that will best a MyTouch 4G Slide. I gotz the “wanna new phone” jealousy and am looking for something to replace my G2. 7 months to go until the G3 is a LONG time!

    • Albert

      is there a G3 coming out in 7 months? where did you hear this?

  • R.S

    It’s nice seeing my phone number one on the list again. In fact, I believe you guys listed the Galaxy S II as the top phone on Sprint and AT&T as well?

    That means Samsung is at the top of the list on all four major US carriers with the Nexus being listed as Verizon’s top phone.

    Go Samsung!

  • Ironzey Lewis

    As a true fan of T mobile, I’m going to sit this year out. I’ll probably wait around for the next Nexus phone.

  • Dr.Carpy

    Man, Carly Foulkes is a hottie! +1 if you hear me…;)!

    • Max.Steel

      She’s rather anorexic. She needs to stop starving herself.

  • Maximus

    Any idea on whether or Not the Galaxy Journal/Note is coming to TMO????

    Traditionally I only buy Flagship Google Phones ie Nexus Phones so next week i was going to say buy to my Nexus S and Purchases the Unlocked Galaxy Nexus.

    With that Said i fell in Love with the Galaxy Note and am still tempted to buy the At&T version and Hack it to use with Tmobile’s 3G band

    I could do with out the At&t logo on the Note but they haven’t found a hack for the international Note and i dont like the dedicated home button..too Apple like for me

    I think im going to just bite the bullet and purchase the Galaxy Nexus and wait until the next galaxy Note comes out on T Mobile

    • Taknarosh

      The Canadian LTE version (on Rogers/Bell/TELUS) is exactly like the AT&T (sans AT&T logo of course) LTE version and also sports no physical home button.

  • BigCiX

    I think TMO has the weakest line up of them all.

    • Naitsaves

      Sadly I do too. They need to step up their game.

  • techvudu

    I’m all about 7″ Android tablets. I wish the + had the display of the 7.7 or it would be mine. I can agree with the entire post. Still loving my SGS2 like I did on day 1.

  • seabass978

    I second that too, T-Mobile has the weakest line up of phones, where’s the galaxy nexus, no Motorola, Sony or Asus transformer tablet. They say they are getting lte but they should have better coverage first,.

  • WlfHart

    Still holding my breath for Galaxy Note II, a guy can dream can’t he?

  • cb2000a

    The Samsung Exhibit 2 was one of the first phones to offer wifi calling and texting. It’s a sweet phone at an incredible price ($200 retail).

  • Nathan D.

    Well at least they are getting the one s and hopefully the one x

  • J

    The amaze is a far better phone for tmo then the GS2. I’ve had both.

    • alex

      I had the HTC amaze 4g and sold it, I now have the galaxy s 2 from sprint and wish I never sold my amaze, I do love my sgs2 but prefer the amaze.

  • Brandon V. Fletcher

    i live in a fantasy world where the Padfone comes to TMO

  • JJ

    Exhibit2 sucks & sadly Taylor never emailed me back. Ive had half dozen Tmo techs admit phone has known issues — on phone, in emails, even on their TwitterSupport. It freezes daily, power cycles & like other Tmo handsets, has sporadic 4G SMS failures. Ive done every troubleshooting step imaginable, including 2 manufacturer repairs in 2 months. Tmo — again in writing (check Tweets) says “nothing we can do” yet they keep selling handset & even increased price to $350. Dont want others to face the same headaches

  • JJ

    Also Exhibit2 doesnt have 4Gb storage?! It has 1.6 to someone who actually uses phone day in and day out

  • GE 918

    I just renewed my contract on T-Mobile when I got the Galaxy S2 back in December, hopefully T- Mobile will have a newer version of the Galaxy Note by the time my contract expires. I love that phone.

  • Homncruse

    I find it disappointing that the current “best phone” on T-Mobile was also the “best phone of 2011″ – i.e., T-Mobile hasn’t released anything worth anything this year. That makes me a sad panda.

  • DroidPower

    galaxy s2 all the way!

    “way” defined as “until s3 comes out”

    … on a related note, if only Tmobile will move along with the ICS update…

  • Anurag Sharma

    i am glad i get this information thanks


  • jay

    Ive been with tmobile for almost 9 years. I dont know about the rest of you but every time Im due for an upgrade, I see tmo ads everywhere offering new customers killer deal on the newest released phone, only to find out that its not being offered to current customers as an upgrade at that time. so i wait a few weeks and when it does become available, its priced $100 to $199 more than the killer deals given to new customers a few weeks prior. No matter how you look at it, im left with a bad taste in my mouth, but i brush those disgruntled feelings aside and order the upgrade(and renew my 2 year contract) and low and behold it happens every time; no more than a week after ive had my new upgrade, Tmobile announces the arrival of its newest top of the line smart phone! for the same price this now aged upgrade i just recieved… anything that will suck the funds slow and steady from people, like letting us bleed out till they get every last drop, thats exactally the thinking of the big companies and buisinesses.

  • Piter

    Accordingly to user votes – the best smartphone nowadays is Sony Xperia S.

  • Jeff

    The “one x” unfortunately went with an “in house” power plant. I was interested in this phone at first, however, not being able to swap out a dead battery for a freshly charged one…sucks, telling me that it will end up living on a charger sooner than later

  • lovinmyAndroid

    I totally agree with you! If you can’t pull a battery, OR swap out the SD card in my onion the device is crippled! Let’s face it guys, the stock battery is NEVER known to last very long! First thing I do is swap to a longer lasting battery and upgrade my SD card for MORE memory as do most of us smartphone owners! It will really suck not to be able to do that! The above writer is completely accurate in saying it will eventually be stuck to a charger! I would not personally have this phone for that reason and the reason that you can not actually S off the device, meaning no bloat wear removal, no custom Roms, no mod at all! I’m sticking with my HTC SENSATION 4g. I can run the newest operating systems, yes ics, and flash very cool custom roms to the device. Keeping it up to date and then some! I also have a 32 possibility for SD storage even though I’m only running 16 right now the option is there, I also have a long lasting battery 1900 that keeps me off the charger all Day long up till midnight! So the grass is not always greener with this new device! People need to do some research on its limitations because for me, they are a deal breaker. But if you don’t mind never being able to switch out a battery, and are satisfied with the memory that comes with the SD, and never want to mod or actually s off root the device, then the device is for you! For me and others do agree its a handicap.

  • Melissa

    Thanks Taylor for the thorough details on the best android phones. Would love to see if HTC One x make it through the list. So far, I have the best experience with SIII and HTC One X.

    Melissa Anderson
    Editorial Staff

  • daniel

    thank for information

    i will buy Exhibit II 4G

  • Zubi

    I purchased samsung exhibit II 4G without a contract. Fail. They preloaded over 30 apps that can’t uninstall and constantly use almost 3 full quarters of RAM causing constant freezes and force closes. Samsung informed me that it is good to turn off the phone and remove the battery for 15 seconds REGULARLY for a “soft reset”. Still same issue. I can’ t wait for my warranty to finish and might just break it anyway just to root the spamload of preapps.