Itís that time of year again. Family gatherings, time off, expanding waistlines and hopefully; phones, phones and more phones! People often ask me what to get, so here are my recommendations for each Canadian carrier.
On TELUS itís really a question of Samsung Galaxy S II X or HTC Amaze 4G
. While itís true the Samsung has a bigger better display you canít go wrong with the HTC Amaze 4G. I reviewed one recently and called it one of my favourite Android phones of the year. Itís fast, has a decent camera, useful software and a great form factor.
If youíre on a budget or donít want to spend too much each month consider the Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray
. The Ray combines great battery life, an extremely portable form factor with just enough power in a package that wonít break the bank.
On Koodo consider the Blackberry Bold 9790. It has the power of the Bold 9900 in a smaller form factor and more importantly, a bigger battery. While itís not cheap the 9790ís pricing is more palatable than the 9900ís.
The LG Optimus One is a no-brainer if youíre looking for a cheap phone with no strings attached. Iíve seen it as low as $80 with no Tabs or contracts. Interestingly, The LG Optimus 2x which came out roughly the same time as the Optimus One is still running Android 2.2 (at least up here in Canada) while the LG Optimus One received a Android 2.3 update earlier this year.
While Iím tempted by the Galaxy S II LTE
and HTC Raider
Iíd say the most interesting phone on Rogers right now is the Motorola RAZR
. Yeah, itís not an LTE phone but overall the RAZR is a more compelling package. Itís durable, has a nice display, a great camera and media enthusiasts will love the Motocast software.
While RIMís been getting a lot of bad press lately itís easy to forget that Blackberries are second-to-none when it comes messaging. On Rogers check out the Blackberry Curve 9360. Itís solid device with raised keys and Blackberryís under-rated Blackberry OS 7.0.
On Fido itís a no-brainer - get the Sony Ericsson Xperia Pro
. Itís got a great slide out keyboard, plus itís easy to hold. Donít let the lack of a dual-core processor hold you back. I showed the Xperia Pro to a lot of people and none of them thought it was slow.
On Bell itís easy to get the latest and greatest with the Samsung Galaxy Nexus
. Itís the first Ice Cream Sandwich Android 4.0 phone and itís also one of the first phones to have a 720p display. Iíve been using one for a few weeks now and everyone who sees me use it wants to check it out. If you need/want LTE check out the LG Optimus LTE
, it also has a 720p display.
Another Samsung to consider on Bell is the Galaxy GIO. Decent specs plus Iíve seen them on prepaid for as low as $100.
Like Bell, Virgin also carries the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. If thatís too much also check out the Galaxy S II
. I own one and even though itís been around for nearly half a year now itís still a great phone that I love to use. I actually prefer it to the Galaxy S II X and LTE mostly because the regular S II has a better form factor.
On Mobilicity Iíd go with the HTC Amaze 4G. Itís not cheap but itís worth it. I already talked about it in the TELUS section but another benefit of the Amaze 4G is that if you unlock it, it will work on virtually any Canadian wireless carrier. Bell, Rogers, TELUS, Wind, Mobilicity, etc. Plus, you can put some of the money you save on Mobilicity towards the Amaze.
Just like TELUS and Mobilicity Iíd recommend the HTC Amaze 4G on Wind. If the ability to work on any Canadian HSPA carrier isnít enough the Amaze also has NFC support. While you canít do much with it now there will be a lot of uses for it next year.
Finding a less expensive Wind is a trickier task. I canít really recommend any of their really inexpensive Android handsets.
Sitting between their entry level Android handsets and the HTC Amaze are LG Optimus 2x
and the Samsung Nexus S
. Software-wise the Nexus SE is a more up-to-date device plus it also has NFC. Still, on paper the Optimus 2x has the edge; a dual core processor, a higher megapixel camera, 1080p video recording and HDMI out. The big problem with the Optimus 2x is that it currently comes with Android 2.2 (FroYo). While itís true the jump from 2.3 to 2.2 is not as dramatic as the jump from 2.1 to 2.2 was itís still telling that the 2x has been out for almost a year and LG still hasnít brought 2.3 to the Optimus 2x. Still, itís worth pointing out that 2.3 is rolling out to some 2xís in Europe. LG has also announced that the 2x will be getting Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0). Hopefully the Wind LG Optimus 2x variant will get these updates too.
Any Holiday gift guide has one wild card. The iPhone 3Gs, 4 and 4s
. While the 3Gs is now 3 years old it has aged remarkably well. I still actually have one that I use from time to time and it still provides a good user experience. Itís not horribly slow, it runs most apps and it has the most recent version of iOS. The 4 has also aged very well. If you switched my 4s with a 4 I probably wouldnít notice right away. Itís still a very capable device. Itís still fast, has a camera that is still among the best.
If you can afford it itís hard not to recommend the iPhone 4s. It has a very consistent user interface. Itís great for gaming, itís easy to user and there are tons and tons of accessories for it.
To me, in Canada there are only 2 tablets with 3G/4G to buy: The Apple iPad 2
and to a much lesser extent the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
. To be honest, I donít advise anyone to buy an Android Tablet right now. First off theyíre too expensive. While itís true that their prices have been dropping a lot lately I feel thereís still a lot of room. Another problem is that most of them run Honeycomb. Honeycomb is a bit of a disaster. It has an inconsistent user interface, there aren't a lot of apps that are made for it (it can still run Ďregularí Android apps too).
I do like that there is more hardware selection on Android but generally speaking, more hardware causes a weight penalty. Just look at the HTC Jetstream and Acer A501. While theyíre actually not that much heavier than the Tab 10.1 they FEEL much less portable because theyíre too thick and heavy.
One benefit to the dropping price of Android tablets is that it will create downward pressure on the iPadís price so really itís not a great time to buy a tablet period. Thereís also talk of the next generation of tablets having quadruple the screen resolution.
Letís not forget; Tablets are ideal for consuming media - but outside of the iPad there isnít a Tablet thatís does this really well. So if you can, itís better to sit back and see what happens.
Okay, due to request Iíve included some smaller regional carriers. Please note, while I have used these phones I havenít tried any of these carriers. So I canít comment on how these phone work with these carriers.
On MTS try the iPhone 4s. If money is a concern take a look at the Blackberry Curve 9360. Whatever you do, donít get the Motorola Spice
My picks for SaskTel are the Apple iPhone 4s, Samsung Galaxy S II 4G and Curve 9360.
Check out the iPhone 4s or Motorola RAZR on tbaytel. If you donít want to spend so much check out the Sony Ericsson Xperia Mini Pro. My budget pick is the Blackberry Curve 9360.