The Next Wave of Hot Phones
Verizon: Motorola Droid Bionic. Announced at CES 2011, the Motorola Droid Bionic sports a 4.3-inch 540-by-960-pixel qHD (Quarter High Definition) display and a dual-core CPU. Like the HTC ThunderBolt, the Droid Bionic is a 4G phone. Its processor may be more powerful than the ThunderBolt's, but it has less RAM (512MB versus 768MB). The phone also offers a front-facing video camera, videoconferencing capabilities, HD video capture, and a slew of business-friendly features (data security, encryption, and Quick Office for document editing) that make it ideal for enterprise users. The Bionic is due later this year, but Verizon has not yet announced pricing.
Sprint: HTC EVO 3D. The first 4G phone with a qHD 4.3-inch 3D display, the HTC EVO 3D will have a 1.2GHz dual-core CPU and dual rear-facing 5-megapixel cameras for 3D photo and video capture. The processors will support advanced 3D technology, including full 1080p, 30-fps HD video, and stereoscopic 3D video capture and playback. The EVO 3D's display has a parallax barrier that lets it show a stereoscopic image (meaning a 3D image) without requiring 3D glasses. The EVO 3D ships with Android 2.3 (Gingerbread). The included 4G hotspot lets you connect five Wi-Fi-enabled devices to it. The EVO 3D will be available this summer.
AT&T: Samsung Infuse 4G. The Samsung Infuse 4G (set to run on AT&T's HSPA+ network) tests the smartphone/tablet boundary. Due out this summer, it has a 4.5-inch screen that uses Samsung's Super AMOLED Plus technology, a superthin display that produces gorgeous colors and high visibility indoors and out. The display will have 50 percent more subpixels for better clarity and readability outdoors, Samsung says. The Infuse 4G runs Android 2.2 on a 1.2GHz processor. Other enticing specs include an 8-megapixel camera with HD video recording, and a front-facing 1.3-megapixel camera for video calls. Pricing hasn't yet been announced.
T-Mobile: HTC Sensation. The next big thing on the horizon for T-Mobile users is the HTC Sensation-a Qualcomm dual-core phone that will run Android 2.3 (Gingerbread), the latest version of Android for mobile phone use. The Sensation's 4.3-inch qHD display will have a resolution of 960 by 540 pixels arranged in a 16:9 aspect ratio. This excellent screen resolution is the equivalent of one-quarter of a full high-definition 1080p frame and three-quarters of a 720p frame. Like Sprint's HTC EVO 3D, the Sensation will run the latest version of the HTC Sense user interface. T-Mobile has not announced pricing or a definite release date for the Sensation.
Best gaming: The Sony Ericsson Xperia Play (Verizon) has a directional gamepad and control buttons. It plays PlayStation Certified games and some enticing mobile games.
Best camera: The 8-megapixel camera on HTC's Droid Incredible 2 (Verizon) captures stunning photos with rich color and sharp details. The flash is powerful, but not too powerful.
Best keyboard: The T-Mobile Sidekick 4G just wouldn't be a Sidekick without an excellent physical keyboard. The keys are raised, have a satisfying click to them, and feel nice against your fingers.
Best display: The Samsung Galaxy S II has one of the most beautiful displays we've ever seen. On-screen colors look bright, details are crisp, and the viewing angles are very good.