Best Android phone - which should you buy?

There's one key way in which Android is massively different from its Apple-branded smartphone competition - the number of phones out there running Google's hot mobile OS.
Samsung makes loads of them. Sony Ericsson makes a few. Then you've got Android-powered phones from Acer, LG, Huawei and many others, while HTC releases more in a month than all the rest added together manage in a year.
The many variations in screen size, processor power, software features and design makes finding the best Android phone for you extremely tough.
Do you physically and emotionally need a QWERTY keyboard? Are you the sort of oddball who prefers the rough pressing needed to make resistive touchscreens work? Are you struggling to work out which are the best Android Widgets?
To help find the best Android phone for you, we've rounded up the ten best Android handsets out there today, rating the phones on hardware performance, OS upgrade potential and, of course, how shiny and nice they are to have and boast about to work colleagues.
So here they are - the ten best Android phones money can buy today. For many, many different reasons.


10. Orange San Francisco

This one defies all logic. You can currently pick up the Orange San Francisco for £79 on a SIM-free basis, which means it costs around one quarter the price of some of today's top-spec Android phones.
But what you get here is no cost-cutting budget phone. The San Fran has a high-res 3.5" capacitive touchscreen, features Android 2.1, does a relatively good job of copying the high-end sleek designs of HTC and quite simply works way, way better than anything else at this entry level price point.
Quick verdict:
Get one as a spare, or just to use at home on Wi-Fi. A stunning amount of kit for an impulse-level purchase price. Sadly it looks like this won't receive an official update to 2.2 or 2.3 over here, which is rather a shame.
Orange San Francisco review
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9. Motorola Atrix

Another of 2011's dual-core phones. A huge 1930mAh battery makes this a bulkier handset than the likes of the Galaxy S II or Xperia Arc, but then again it's nice to have the reassurance of extra longevity. Motorola's Motoblur user interface won't be to everyone taste, visually speaking, but if you can live with the odd colour choices the numerous widgets offer good functionality - and many are resizable.
Elsewhere you get a snappy 5 MP camera that produces acceptable results and records 720p video, a front-facing camera for video chat, fingerprint recognition and DLNA support for streaming media.
Motorola's crazy "Lapdock" accessory turns the Atrix into something resembling a netbook, but Android isn't ideal for working with and editing documents, so it's not a killer feature. Weird laptop aspirations aside, Atrix is a comprehensive and versatile device.

Quick verdict:
Big and powerful, the Atrix is fast to use with a very sharp 4" screen. Arriving with Android 2.2 onboard is a bit of a faux pas as far as enthusiasts are concerned, though.
Motorola Atrix review
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8. Samsung Galaxy S

A bit like owning a fancy imported sports car, this. The screen on the Galaxy S is among the finest out there today, high-res and dazzlingly sharp and bright.
The problems come from Samsung's fiddlings with Android itself. While many of the TouchWiz user interface tweaks on the Galaxy S are welcome, they come at a price - the phone can be a little glitchy in operation, with quite a few annoying bugs and mini lock-ups.
Happily, Samsug is in the process of rolling out Android 2.3 to existing Galaxy S users, making it a phone that's still relevant and worth investing in today.




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