Mar 09 AT 11:59 AM Taylor Wimberly 65 Comments

Best Android phones on Verizon: 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 will rotate between the big four US carriers, so that each buyer’s guide gets refreshed every month. Read on for Verizon’s best devices and deals.

Current Promotions and News


Double Data: This month Verizon keeps their Double Data promotion that gives users double the data allowance for the same price. With the special promotion, subscribers will get 4 gigabytes for $30, 10 gigabytes for $50 and 20 gigabytes for $80. Double Data also applies to mobile hotspot plans where subscribers can now get 6 gigabytes for $50 and 12 gigabytes for $70 a month. We don't know how long this promotion will last, so take advantage of it while you still can.

12 Day Droid Sale: For the next couple weeks, Verizon if offering a 12 Day Sale that has several Droid phones on sale at only $9.99 for new activations. Sale devices include the Droid Charge, Droid X2, Droid Incredible 2, and Droid 3.

St. Patricks Day Sale: From now until March 17th, Verizon has the HTC Rhyme on sale as part of a special St. Patricks Day Sale. The device is FREE for new activations. HTC already said the Rhyme would be upgrade to Android 4.0, so this is a nice little phone for free.

Expanded 4G LTE coverage: This month Verizon announced expanded 4G LTE coverage in New Hampshire, MassachusettsConnecticut, and Mississippi. Verizon also said that 4G LTE is coming soon to Naples, Florida.

Ice Cream Sandwich updates: This month Verizon announced 14 devices that were scheduled to receive Android 4.0. No exact dates were given, but it's nice to know these devices will be upgraded.

Even more deals: If you are not quite ready to buy yet, make sure you follow @VZWDeals for the latest Verizon offers.

Best Android Phone: Galaxy Nexus

Galaxy Nexus

For the second month in a row, Samsung retains the top pick. Verizon's Samsung Galaxy Nexus is the best Android phone on any carrier and that's why I picked one up on launch day. I've been extremely satisfied with my purchase and so have many others.

Verizon normally sells the phone for $299 with 2-year agreement, but Amazon has it on sale at $99 for new customers, and $259 for upgrades.

The main selling point of this phone is Android 4.0 and the promise of speedy software updates from Google. Their Nexus line of phones are always the first devices to receive the latest version of Android, which has many benefits. For example, Google just rolled out their Chrome Beta browser that is only available on Android 4.0.

Even though this is my favorite phone, there are still some weak areas that we should point out incluidng camera quality, battery life, and the external speaker. I'm quite happy with the 5 megapixel camera, but I have noticed it is not quite as good as some other Android phones, like the 8 megapixel shooter on the Galaxy S II. For the battery life, I would suggest picking up the official 2100 mAh  extended battery. Verizon had it on sale for $25, so shop around and see what offers are available. Leaked details also show that Google will improve the sound volume in their Android 4.0.4 update.

Check out Anthony's full review of the Galaxy Nexus for more details.

Runner up: It's worth nothing that the Droid RAZR MAXX is also an awesome device, but it still runs Android 2.3.x at this time. We reviewed the original RAZR last year and found it to be a quality purchase, and Motorola has improved upon that with the new model that has a 3300 mAh battery with all day battery life.

Comparison of top Verizon phones: To see a complete comparison of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Motorola RAZR MAXX, HTC Rezound, and LG Spectrum head over to

Best Android Phone with Keyboard: Droid 4

Droid 4

Once again, this was a pretty easy choice. Many Verizon customers consider the original Droid one of their all time favorite devices, and Motorola has continued to innovate with each new model. Our very own Sean Riley will be posting his full review of the device soon, but we are confident enough in the Droid series to go ahead and recommend this device now.

The Droid 4 just launched today on Verizon, where it is being sold in stores for $199 with 2-year agreement. Like always, Amazon has it priced cheaper at $49 for new customers ($50 cheaper than last month), and $199 for upgrades.

The most notable features of the Droid 4 include support for Verizon's 4G LTE network, LED edge-lit 5-row QWERTY keyboard, 4 inch qHD display protected with Gorilla Glass, and Motorola's new Smart Actions app.

Verizon is shipping the Droid 4 with Android 2.3.5, but Motorola already announced that the Droid Bionic, RAZR, and Xyboard would be receiving Android 4.0. We expect the same treatment for the Droid 4. Motorola just delivered on their promise to upgrade the Xoom tablet to Android 4.0, and if their merger with Google goes through we should see improved software updates.

About the only negative thing we can say about the Droid 4 is its locked bootloader, something that is comment with Motorola phones. If you want a fully unlocked phone, then go with the Galaxy Nexus.

Best Android Tablet: Droid Xyboard

Droid Xyboard 8.2

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 4G LTE connectivity, then the Droid Xyboard should be your pick.

Verizon currently offers five different Xyboard models with different sizes and storage options to fit multiple budgets. The 8.2 inch Xyboard is selling at $429 for the 16 GB model and $529 for the 32 GB model. The 10.1 inch Xyboard is priced at $529 for 16 GB, $629 for 32 GB, and $729 for 64 GB. All prices are with a 2-year contract and require a data plan.

As you can see these tablets are some of the most expensive around, but they are the best tablets on the largest and fastest 4G LTE network.

If you would rather purchase a WiFi-only tablet and tether it to you phone, then I'd suggest the Asus Transformer Prime 32 GB model (available at $499 from multiple retailers).

Best Android Phone on a Budget: Incredible 2

Droid Incredible 2

Now that online stores offer high-end devices for $99 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.

However, if I'm forced to pick a budget phone on Verizon then I'll go with the HTC Droid Incredible 2. As mentioned above, Verizon has it on sale for only $9.99, but Amazon has it on sale for $0.01.

Highlights of the Droid Incredible 2 include 4-inch WVGA display, 1 GHz Snapdragon S2 processor, 8 MP rear camera, 1.3 MP front camera, 16 GB internal storage, and support for Verizon's 3G network.

Verizon already announced this device would receive Android 4.0, but we are still waiting on the exact timeline..

What's Coming Next

Only leaked images of the Incredible 4G.

Not many leaks have appeared for Verizon phones launching in the next 1-2 months. The only thing on our radar is the HTC Droid Incredible 4G (aka  HTC Fireball), which is likely to be a high-end device with 4G LTE. We don't know much about the specs, but it is expected to launch around April 26th.

Mobile World Congress took place last month and we saw plenty of new phones, but nothing announced for Verizon. HTC said their One X is coming to a record number of carriers, and we suspect it will eventually land on Verizon. This will be the dual-core Snapdragon S4 version that has integrated LTE.

We also saw the LG Lucid leak out, but this just looks like a refresh of the LG Spectrum. It still features the older Snapdragon S3 processor and we see nothing else about the device to make it stand out from the crowd.

The next big event when we might see new devices is CTIA Wireless, which takes place on May 8-10 in New Orleans. We expect Verizon to announce new devices at this show.

Finally, everyone is still waiting on the official announcement of the Samsung Galaxy S III. Verizon never carried the official version of the Galaxy S II, but they did have the Galaxy Nexus it its place. Hopefully Verizon can deliver a pure version of the Galaxy S III, and not some nerfed up Droid variant.


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.

We would love to hear your feedback on what other sections or information should be added to the next revision. Our lead developer Clark has some amazing site features that are coming down the pipe, and we are committed to this community. I ask for your help by sharing this guide with your friends on Verizon 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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  • jaxidian

    Good write-up! Unfortunately (or fortunately since it’s likely due to the Galaxy Nexus?), there’s not a whole lot of movement happening at Verizon right now. Honestly, it would be hard for me to recommend anything over the Galaxy Nexus with the only exception being for those who require a keyboard, then Droid 4 it is.

    • Jeff

      I wouldn’t expect any major announcements from American carriers until CTIA in May. It’s also likely that that’s where we’ll see the Galaxy S III, assuming Samsung is sticking to its word that it wants to see a more global launch this year.

      • redraider133

        Hopefully verizon picks it up this time around since they skipped on the sgs2 for the nexus.

  • txbluesman

    Thanks Taylor! Perfect timing. My dad is switching from AT&T to Verizon next week, so now I have him some good reading.

  • thaghost

    I love verizon. If they didnt charge for using the hotspot i would switch from tmobile.

    • djembeman

      If you root your phone you can WiFi Tether/HotSpot for FREE!!! As a side note, on my now stock non-rooted DROID Bionic, built-in USB Tethering is free and requires no special software on a Windows 7 PC. For the MAC side there are a few USB Tethering apps.

      • erik knudsen

        Clockworkmod tether doesn’t require root :)

  • David

    This is a great feature each month. I came to the same conclusions. It’s not a great month to have my upgrade come up. To make matters worse, as you stated, there’s seemingly nothing on the horizon.

    • Will

      Unless you think you REALLY need a quad core beast of a phone this is a great month for an upgrade. Two words, Galaxy Nexus!

      • David

        If I’m committing to a new phone for 2 years, I want it to be as future proof as possible. The Nexus is definitely appealing, due to its fast upgrade path, but we’re at the end of the Cortex A9′s lifecycle.

        • Androidess


    • HiyaBuddy

      Buy it off of Amazon it is only $99.99 and you could in theory save up money for the next nexus. Its better than spending 300+ Tax and then spending 650-700 again next year.

      • David

        $99 on Amazon without a contract renewal?

        • redraider133

          With a new contract renewal.

  • HiyaBuddy

    Taylor I want to agree with you that the galaxy nexus is probably the best phone Verizon has to offer. I did have a couple of practical issues that I would like to point out, however. The volume wasn’t loud enough for notifications and one big issue in my house was signal strength. I would consistently get one bar and have dropped calls and have no data connection. Before anyone bashes me, I don’t like to root my phones because I have had simple things go wrong in the past and don’t want to have any headaches with re-flashing. It wasn’t a lemon because I ordered 3 of them off Amazon and had the same results on all my lines inside my house. I got Amazon to do an exchange for DROID RAZRs and my results were much better. I had full bars and no dropped calls or network connection failing and for some odd reason the RAZR actually had a longer battery life than the nexus. So I went with RAZRs instead. Despite the lack of ics I like the RAZR but I do miss the nexus. So if anyone has weird indoor coverage issues with a nexus try a different model phone and see if you ahead better results. I live in the Boston area which should have great coverage, so no its not like I’m out in the sticks. Motorola made a fine product, now if they could just update it to ics I’d be a happy camper.

    • HiyaBuddy

      Ahead, oh auto correct touche. It should be have.

    • redraider133

      the radios samsung uses aren’t the best it seems all their phones struggle in spotty reception areas where as that is where moto and their radios excel.

    • Susan

      I had terrible reception with the galaxy nexus, at my house. My mifi usually is 4g. They replaced the sim card then the phone. I finally had to find another phone. My rezound works much better here and I always hear the alarm! I do miss a few of the nifty ics features though.

  • leroy

    The title should be the most popular cellphone not the best. Unless functionality is not a concern. On Verizon the best all around phone is the Rezound. The Razr Maxx has less issues than the Galaxy Nexus. Samsung Galaxy Nexus wins because of ICS and the first to get updates makes up for all the issues it has is getting old. Bootloader unlockable so, so is the Resounds bootloader. I have 11 lines between 2 accounts and have had the privilege of trying out a couple of each so I have some experience before people start flaming me. We have now 4 Resounds, 2 of them rooted and rommed, 1 Razr Maxx, had 2 Galaxy Nexus got rid of one and kept the other as a toy and backup phone. Fun phone but to glitchy for me.
    Popular, The fastest updates, doesn’t mean the best. Can’t say newest OS anymore because there are phones out with newer.

    • trob6969

      Leroy i agree with you 100%. This article is a prime example of why i do my own research on smartphones before deciding which one to get. I never buy based on what these ‘reviewers’ deem to be best. After doing a spec-to-spec and feature-to-feature comparison of all the phones on the market right now, the htc rezound clearly stood out as the best choice.

      • redraider133

        now hopefully htc learned from it and make their future devices a little thinner and put a little larger battery in then it would really be the perfect phone.

        • trob6969

          Thinner?! No, not thinner! For 2 reasons: the ultra thin phones aren’t as comfortable to hold, and more importantly, by making phones so thin space within the phone is sacrificed that could’ve been used for added features INCLUDING bigger batteries! This whole thinner-is-better perception of smartphones is just plain stupid.

          • danny

            I’m with you here, Rezound kicks ass, I don’t want to mention Beats Audio headset, and the best part is thick !!! Don’t get me wrong, I got also HTC One S on T-mo, but when I hold thin phones I have feeling that I’ll drop it any second…

    • hawk24

      only buy the rezound if you want crap build quality

      • danny

        He he, you never seen the phone, don’t ya?

  • SED

    I’m seriously looking at the Note. Too bad Verizon doesn’t carry it. While I like what I see from the Nexus, it just seems like too many corners were cut on it.

  • sunrise

    “Their Nexus line of phones are always the first devices to receive the latest version of Android, which has many benefits.”

    That may be true when you purchase the most latest Nexus hardware, and I may be mistaken but aren’t some carrier variants of the Nexus S still waiting for ICS? That should be a crime in the Android world.

    • Tony

      Hello, welcome to Sprint.

  • BigCiX

    Nice to see 14 devices scheduled to receive 4.0. Wish at&fee would be the same with their android handsets.

  • spazby

    the new HTC phones look awesome and will give nexus run for its money

  • Richard Yarrell

    Well I must say I am happy with my Galaxy Nexus after 3 months of use. I look forward to future updates rather it be 4.0.3 or 4.0.4 lets see what this up date brings. On Verizon their is no question that the Galaxy Nexus is the BEST DEVICE on this carrier

    • leroy

      I have a Galaxy Nexus on Verizon and its not the best phone on verizon. Best toy maybe but no way is it the best phone on verizon.

    • squiddy20

      You’ve been saying the same crap about every smartphone you’ve owned since “the grandaddy” Evo 4G, to the “legendary” Evo 3D that you said would be “Sprint’s flagship phone well into 2012″, and now to this “bitch/pimp slapping” or “BOSS” Galaxy Nexus. What you’ve failed to realize in these 2 years is that technology improves and nothing, I repeat *nothing*, stays “on top”, “the best”, or a “flagship” device for long. You also fail to realize that Nexus phones are not about cutting-edge hardware or top-of-the-line specs, they are about timely updates to Android OS. I can guarantee you that within 3 or less months, Verizon will have a “better”, higher speced “device” than your “bitch/pimp slapping” Galaxy Nexus. What an old, ignorant fool. Go back to the Bowery Mission for more education, like how to use common sense.

    • trob6969

      Specifically, tell me what makes the galaxy nexus better than the htc rezound? Does it have the highest pixel density of ANY phone on the market?! can its front cam record HD video?! can it switch the order of its homescreens with one long-press?! can its homescreens rotate 360 degrees in both directions?! can it record slow-motion HD video?! can it edit and trim video straight from the gallery?! does it have the best audio capabilities of any phone?! does it have expandable memory?! does it have a 2meg front & 8meg rear cam?! Unless you can say ‘yes’ to all these questions, the galaxy nexus is NOT on par with the rezound!

      • danny

        Galaxy is poor choice compared to REZOUND, unless the only reason to get it is design. When I saw technical specs for this phone, I was laughing, if it was 8 months earlier in the past, could be a choice, ICS is nothing if phone is crap.

    • Steam

      “I look forward to future updates rather it be 4.0.3 or 4.0.4…”. The word that should be used there is “whether”, not “rather” . I’m not a grammar Nazi, but you transcend grammar; you use words in places where they don’t even make any sense.
      We all know just how happy you are with your phone, Richard, especially after your post about how you like to “push-up, quick-like” on smartphones. You are seriously mental.

    • snowbdr89

      Im already running 4.0.4 dickhead. : )

      • leroy

        A leaked unfinished unofficial update! Your the man! I have several phones including a GN rommed with leaks. Whoopy! Calling people dick heads don’t bother me at all! Shows your intelligence! ;)))

        • snowbdr89

          Uh that was directed to dick yarrell moron leaked or not its still 4.0.4 so neener neener douchebag. : )

          • leroy

            Still same reply back to ya! +1. I understand when you’re missing a brain and equipment between your legs you wake up each day with hate and a horrid mouth! I feel sorry for ya.

          • snowbdr89

            Let me know when you have something better!!

          • leroy

            I have a GN as you do. But I also have 4 Rezounds, Razr Maxx, Dinc2, and a few others. 2 of the. Rezounds Bootloaders unlocked. All are daily drivers but for Dinc 2 we use overseas and the GN I play with only. Got rid of stock GN. Issues issues etc. Unless you think your precious GN is better than my GN, I have 4 Rezounds and a Razr Maxx that’s a better overall PHONES than my Galaxy nexus!!!

          • snowbdr89

            Well you special but I to also have a unlocked rezound and nexus but I could careless about you and what phones you have!!

          • leroy

            Then shut your nasty fowl mouth! Anyone talks the way you don’t belong behind a keyboard!

          • snowbdr89

            Eh I’m not going to shut my mouth douchebag but nice try dickhead. : p

  • leroy

    I have never been on sprint or have had an EVO! And I sure wouldn’t mind seeing an update to my Galaxy Nexus soon! There are phones coming out on 4.0.3 while the GN is still on 4.0.2. The Galaxy S I believe started on GB and is still on it. Timely updates? I prefer a phone that works in all aspects and works when I need it to.

    • redraider133

      Agree. I think people are forgetting first and foremost these are phones. It doesn’t matter how many updates it gets and how quick it gets them, it seems like for some reason the nexus just can’t really do to well(for many) in areas such as getting a signal and holding it. No matter how much you hate moto you have to give it to them, they put good radios in their phones. I think for being a nexus the galaxy nexus just wasn’t up to par. Not to mention look how long it is taking for them to update it and the nexus s.

  • Jake

    I have to say the rezound is the best on verizon untill those htc one phones trust me I observed these phones longer then those nerds who do those videos aka phonedog

    • dusty

      I looked at the rezound and ended up getting the thunderbolt.. wish I would have gone with the rezound . Seems like a nice phone but I’m due for a upgrade soon holding out for new phones to see what beast comes out next lol

  • josegb2011

    I’m waiting for the nexus bug fixes update ..if it solved most of the problems it has, than is clearly the best on Verizon until the quad core beasts come out..

  • canuckgiant111

    Had the GSM version of the Nexus on T-Mobile but then had to switch to the Nexus on Verizon for work. Never had a single issue with the GSM version but the LTE version has a crappy radio to say the least. I live in the NYC area and when in the city it would hold the 4G signal but go even a bit outside the city and forget it- hit and miss. I was so disappointed as I am a fan of all things Google and loved the notion of pure ICS and frequent updates. However the other person is right that we forget that they are phones as well until they don’t work! Exchanged for a Razr Maxx and I must say I am impressed with the phone and battery life. LTE network is crazy fast and the radios hold the signal in the exact areas the Nexus did not, like 3-4 bars vs no bars in the same exact area. Just be careful if you are thinking of the Nexus and take a look at the Maxx- actually a great phone. Blur is not as horrible as I thought either but still not as good as pure ICS.

  • jrizk07

    Taylor – You guys are saying 2 different things in this article. About how the Droid Incredible 2 is not guaranteed to receive android 4.0, even though by your own link you show

    Guess which one is listed there?

    You guys should really make sure that your information is correct before posting up a “guide” that others should follow. I’m not hating, i’m just saying. I would hate to see this blog go because of the lack of details. I’m also surprised that no one else has posted this yet.

    • Taylor Wimberly

      Thanks for pointing that out. It was an overlook and I fixed it.

  • snowbdr89

    I’d say the rezound is the best phone on big red or the razr maxx

  • Max

    How is the Xyboard better than the ASUS Transformer prime???

    • leroy

      It has to do with verizon.

  • Squatly

    Put me in the camp who prefers the Rezound. I’m not sure how so many reviewers have overlooked the greats features, performance, and comfort of this device. To each his own, but to me the Nexus comes up short in basic categories like ability to hold a signal and sound quality. I think the best on Verizon title should be between the Razr Maxx and the Rezound because each device delivers on it’s promises. The Nexus seems more like a tease.

    • snowbdr89

      Leaked updates have helped big time with sound quality I flashed a radio hydrid 4.0.3 and 4.0.4 radios and I’m getting a lot better signal an less drops

  • Andrew

    That was great smartphone there!
    By the way, I love to play my Galaxy Nexus.
    Verizon always bring better Android smartphone than all!

    visit my website for latest Android news too

  • Dirge

    I personally tried the Rezound out for a few weeks before I had the GN. Honestly, the Rezound isn’t all that great. I found myself annoyed with the screen due to its crappy viewing angles, annoyed with the light leakage of its capacitive buttons through the bottom of the screen, and lag(less than my Charge, but more than my GN). I have to admit, the camera on the Rezound was better, but as for radio quality and maintaining a sinal, I found them to be about equal.

    Unfortunately, due to certain circumstances, I had to return my GN. I’m up for an early upgrade now, so I’m waiting to see if Verizon announces anything soon. If not, I’ll definitely get the GN again.

    • trob6969

      Crappy viewing angles, light leakage and lag?! C’mon now! I get the impression that your ‘looking’ for faults rather than actually having problems. I have the rezound and i have NO gripes about viewing angles. Even when i tilt the phone slightly the images still look very good. And the “light leakage” you speak of from the capacitive buttons can ONLY be seen if you slant the phone at an almost completely horizontal angle while holding your face right up to the screen and looking down the length of the phone!!! Lol! That’s not a problem with the phone, its CLEARLY you trying to find fault in the device! And i don’t experience lag on mine; it’s VERY responsive when performing tasks.

  • Trevor Cameron

    This is a great section and a great addition to your many informative features that you already have in place. It’s nice to have all of the information in one place, I have a lot of people that come to me and ask for advice on what phone to buy and this will really help me!

  • Ross

    The best Android out there today is the Razr Maxx. I had the Nexus and ditched it for the Maxx on day 29. The Maxx can go two days without a charge and the display can be easily seen in daylight and is not prone to burn in as the Nexus is. ICS is nice and will come to the Maxx very soon.

  • robinthoms2

    i already have galaxy s2 one..very nice smartphone even compared to iphone per my knowledge Samsung is one of the most innovative company in the world now. ~ $40 billion into R&D (2012) is a huge investment. Samsung has just claimed a breakthrough in graphene development, by creating a semiconductor from the, plan to get one galaxy s3..hope this smart galaxy s3 will be more powerful..
    check Galaxy S II Price Guide: Which has the highest resale value and why? here

  • logan

    I am not happy with samsung Nexus. I bought 2 brand new phones from verizon store. The phones are fast – software is very good.

    Sound quality – very poor

    The phones gets hot very quickly even without using 4G/3G

    I might switch to droid razr