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Help A Blogger Out! Which Android Phone/Tablet Should I Get Next?

Eric McBride
27

As someone who’s owned over 11 Android devices (not at the same time), it’s pretty safe to say that I like keeping my phones and tablets up to date. Normally, I have a pretty good idea when September comes around as to which phone and tablet that I will sell my existing devices for to put towards new purchases, but this year guys, I’m completely stuck. There is simply too much awesome on the horizon in the Android world, and making a fixed decision is getting damn near impossible. So I wanted to ask for your help! Many of our readers and commenters are Android experts, and I would like to ask YOU: Which Android phone and tablet should I pick up next? Maybe some of you are thinking the same? Help me out guys! Here’s my dilemma....

What I have now

Currently, I’m rocking a Galaxy Nexus and an Asus Transformer Prime. I absolutely adore my Galaxy Nexus, and I’ve always been more a fan of stock Android vs skins. With the tablet, Asus, the keyboard dock, the internal storage, expansion options, the integrated mini HDMI, and Tegra 3 had me sold from the beginning.

That being said, a couple of months have been by, and Android is moving at such a fast pace that I am very much interested in multiple devices.

The toss up

I was tempted to go to the Galaxy S3, but in the end I didn’t . The reason for this is because I thought that Samsung might release a Nexus device this year, which would basically be a Galaxy S3 (same hardware) running stock Android. So I decided to wait. Then I learned the news that multiple OEMs might receive Nexus devices this year, and all of a sudden I remembered how awesome my HTC Nexus One was. So now I'm already debating between Sammy’s Nexus device, or HTC’s.

Then I remembered that Google bought Motorola, and that they have the potential to release the most insane Nexus phone EVER. But after seeing the Razr releases as of late, I’m beginning to wonder if that will happen at all this year. Then I got a hands on of the Note 2 at IFA, and was then thoroughly convinced that this would be my next smartphone. As of an hour ago, it was still my top choice for a phone....

...on the tablet front, the Nexus 10 is what I looked forward to the most (not a fan of 7 inch tablets) due to its stock experience, powerful hardware, low cost, and simply the fact that it would be the first 10 inch Nexus tablet. Then I got the Note 10.1 in my hands and was absolutely blown away by it. Such a truly useful device, and the fact that it’s running Samsung’s Exynos 4412 quad core chip with 2GB of RAM already made it seem like a significant upgrade from my Prime. Then again, it costed more, doesn’t come with a dock, has less storage for the price, and doesn’t feel as premium. I debated on getting the Prime Infinity, but due to its extremely high resolution, many report that it lags. But then....

...the Asus Padfone 2 happened. The hardware specs for this thing are NUTS. I’m talking about a phone with the Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, 2GB RAM, 13MP camera, HD display, AND a release in 3 weeks. All of a sudden, the concept of the Padfone became an option that could possibly kill 2 birds with one stone (phone and tablet), as the hardware in this device makes it a lot more appealing to me than the last model. Then yesterday we reported on a device that Samsung is testing that sports the new Exynos 5 processor, and very much looks like it could be the Nexus 10 tablet. A Nexus tablet coming from Samsung running this chip could be EPIC, which adds even more to the madness.

See how confusing this is getting?

The positives and the negatives

Nexus devices will always hold a special place in my heart due to the fact that they run stock Android. I have really really enjoyed every Nexus device ever released, but when it comes to tablets, the Nexus 7 didn’t quite cut it for me. I need a bit higher of a build quality when it comes to a tablet, and I’m not comfortable with the bulky feel of it. That being said, that doesn’t mean a Nexus 10 will feel the same way.

The Galaxy S3, Note 10.1, and Note 2 all use Touchwiz, and even though it’s improved, I’m still not a huge fan of it. If I want to use the S-Pen properly, I have to get used to it though, which is something to consider, and I really did enjoy playing with the Note 2 and the Note 10.1 that I brought back to the office after attending the Samsung release event. A hybrid device like the PadFone 2 however, is a new concept. What if I’m not crazy about an Asus phone despite the crazy hardware? What if Motorola releases a Nexus device, but it still has those God awful ugly corners? There is so much to consider here!

Narrowing it down

So I have to slowly narrow this down. As of now, I’m leaning towards the Note 2, any Nexus device from Samsung, HTC (even though they seem to be focusing more on Windows 8 now) or Motorola, or the Asus Padfone 2. With the tablet, I’m narrowing it down to the Note 10.1 or once again the Padfone 2 (depending on the design of the Padfone 2). I also need at least a 4.5 inch screen, as I really don't like "small" phones".  I could also make this easy and just get an iPhone 5 and the new iPad coming out later....

HAHAHHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAAHAHH...

….that was a good one. But seriously, I’m still really having issues coming to a conclusion. What really makes it hard is the fact that out of all the devices I’m considering, only 2 or 3 of them actually exist right now! I’m sure many of you are saying “Eric you dumbass...you can’t make any decision until seeing the phone and holding them in your hands”. That’s true guys...but by the time all of them are out, something better will be on the way! My mind is blown. Maybe I should just buy a Blackberry (LMAO).

What do you guys think? Surely it’s not just me considering which device/devices to upgrade to this year. What are you planning on upgrading to (phone, tablet, or both) and why?

Help a blogger out and let me know in the comments below!

Picture credits: www.connectbrilliantly.com (edited by myself)

Comments

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  • Patrick R. Sep 21, 2012 Link

    I am in the same dilema as you Eric. I was looking forward to the Note 2. BUT since Sammy was nice enough to update the Note firmware, I really have no reason for the upgrade to a Note 2 as I have 2 mobile lines and can simply use my note as my back up. Now I have the the flexibility to pick another model. Narrowed it down to the next nexus or lumia or an iPhone 5 (my girlfriend's idea - if she gives me one as a gift, iPhone it is haha) or the Padfone. Well, if I do get an iPhone from my gf though, gonna sell my note and buy a note 2.

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  • Baron Tankhe Sep 21, 2012 Link

    Padfone 2 no contest ;-) and otherwise a nexus if only for the updates.

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    DaBartonator Sep 21, 2012 Link

    Look into the surface tablet by Microsoft its rumored to have an i5 Intel wit a 128 gb model that still has a usb3.0 drive that can be attached. So you'll be able to get as much done on that as a laptop because it IS a laptop

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  • Dvoraak Sep 22, 2012 Link

    Be my GN2 buddy Eric :)

    Least you can do since it was one of your videos that convinced me to buy the stupid thing......

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  • Stefan E. Sep 22, 2012 Link

    I'd suggest waiting. If you are still happy with your GNex, and the small storage doesn't bother you, there really isn't much better for you out at the moment or the near future. Heck if they just put 32GB in it I would have bought it months ago.

    Also on the tablet side, nothing really happened you miss out. The upcoming generation change to Cortex A15 probably changes the game, but right now, Tegra 3 isn't far from optimal. The Transformer Prime has its flaws, but still is a good device.

    My guts tell me, early next year there will be more interesting stuff out or at least known to be out soon - opefully one or more with Nexus tag.

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  • Keith Manns Sep 22, 2012 Link

    Asus Infinity Would be your best choice

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  • Dogukan Sep 22, 2012 Link

    @Patrick R.
    Girls really like the iPhone. I mean at least in my country (Turkey), its always like that. I really dont know why, maybe its beacuse of the popularity and maybe the screen size looks more comfortable to them compared to the flasgship Androids. My girlfriend got iPhone too, but it was a gift so she didn't really had a choice :D
    I'm guessing mostly the popularity is what keeps the iPhone going.
    Anyway back to topic, I have an Evo 3D now but really looking forward to new Nexus. If all the OEM's are going to release their Nexus, then I'll go with whoever has the awesomest battery and Tegra because I really like games :D

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  • David Irwin Sep 22, 2012 Link

    Think quad-core and Tegra...if it doesn't have these, don't bother looking at it. I just got the Asus Prime Quad-core Tegra 3 and it is totally awesome. It's thin and light weight, Gorilla glass, 8mp camera, and can play all the most awesome Nvidio games being made exclusively for Tegra equipped androids!

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  • Anna F. Sep 22, 2012 Link

    I have a similar dilemma so I'm gonna wait a few months, probably till the new Nexus device(s) is released. I'd suggest you do the same. You really can't decide on a phone based on rumors.... So wait till December or January and you can decide then but then your decision will be based on facts and actual specs :)

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  • chinu Sep 22, 2012 Link

    Its nice Eric to write on your blog after long time...

    In simple words, for current devices I should suggest you to go with

    Note 2 as a smartphone and tablet note 10.1

    And for future,
    If the padfone 2 is true then surely it will be the choice and one of thenext google oems will be the smartphone provided they mention good features...

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    Christopher Silva Sep 22, 2012 Link

    Galaxy Note II --- Nuf said :-)

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  • Anna F. Sep 22, 2012 Link

    Oh, also, I'd go for the Padfone 2 if the price is better than the price of the last one. Two birds with one stone, right? ;P

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  • Tim Sweeney Sep 23, 2012 Link

    Eric,

    For me, the choice is easy. My #1 motivation is basically, price. In fact, if I could just find a way, to get this stuff for free, that would suit me just fine. So, that is what I did. I found this little wireless communications company 18 months ago that does zero advertising, they have no retail locations, the only way you or anyone will ever hear about them is by word of mouth. Because they offer all customers free wireless. After spending the last ten years, overpaying for wireless and argueing about my bill every month, when I found this company, offering me free service if I would help them gather customers, that really appealed to me. Right now I have a Samsung Galaxy 7.0 Tablet. I also have a Samsung Epic Touch Galaxy SII phone with 4G service. The phone was free, because I "won" the phone in August because I referred 3 new customers who becames a Rep, just like me. It costs $325 to become a Rep at Lightyear. But all Reps can their basic monthly service for free on the Sprint network, ,including real unlimited data, nationwide calling, unlimited text, and unlimited internet. That same monthly service will cost you $59.99 a month if you are just starting out, or if you are a customer you can still get free service but customers need to help gather 5 other customers in order to get their service for free, from then on, Reps only need 3. With my Hotspot activated on my Galaxy SII phone my tablet works anywhere and everywhere. Together the two devices really Rock! It did take some time invested and some effort for me to get some more customers, was it easy? No. Was it worth it? Yes! Because now I get free wireless service and even my phone was free, I can and usually do, burn vast amounts of data and spend the majority of my waking hours, looking for ways, to burn more. And I never have to worry about paying for all this stuff because on top of the free wireless, the free phone, instead of me paying a cell phone bill every month, my cell phone pays me. I made $683.00 last month,
    which may not sound like a lot to some people, but it sure beats paying!
    please call me if you would like more information I look
    forward to hearing from you. 512-762-5896 cell
    www.sweeney.mylightyear.net

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  • Tim Sweeney Sep 23, 2012 Link

    did I mention that Reps earn monthly residual income from all the customers they bring in. Look at it this way: who do you know, that would like to pay less, for their wireless service? hmmm that's what I thought. Ok, then, who do you know,that would like to get their service for free?

    see all the phones and plans here: www.sweeney.lightyearwireless.com

    or if you have 34 minutes to learn more visit: www.neverpayagainforcellphone.com


    is this a great idea? or what?

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  • Elmar Sep 23, 2012 Link

    Easy choice! Galaxy Note 2 and Galaxy Note 10.1.
    If you do not like Samsung stock ROM use Cygenmod10 on Note 2 or even better Paranoid ROM (which uses as base Cygenmod10) and you can set the dpi for each app as you want and you can even set your desktop in "phablet" mode, as on Nexus 7. If you really want to use the stylus I think stock is still better (which I regret).
    But the huge screen of the Note 2 and the possibility to change dpi on app level without reboot makes a lot of fun.
    To make it short:
    Galaxy Note 2 with Paranoid ROM 2
    Galaxy Note 10.1 with stock Samsung.

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  • chris robinson Sep 23, 2012 Link

    I love my DROID x!!

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  • Eric McBride Sep 24, 2012 Link

    Guys, you are all AWESOME. Thank you for your input!

    @Patrick - Sounds like a solid plan! Note 2 is still looking good for me, but that damn Padfone is also getting really tempting. Don't want to wait for the new Nexus lineup?

    @Baron - I completely agree, but I'm tempted on the Note 2 as well!

    @Dabartonator - I got to play with Samsung Win 8 tablets at IFA, and they are pretty bad ass. And yeah, while it is a PC in many ways, its lacking in apps. I have bought so many apps for Android that I MUST have an Android device at all times. The Surface tablet could possibly replace my netbook though.

    @Dvoraak - LOL! Are you looking to get a Note 2 as well? I'm glad the power of hands on videos worked on someone :-D

    @Stefan - Dammit dude..why do you have to always make so much sense?? :-D The thing is, I am still VERY happy with my GNexus (16GB is enough for me on a phone..for now) , and in all honesty, what you said about Cortex A15 is a damn good point. When it comes to tablets, I should definitely wait for those to drop first.

    @Keith - Its basically a Prime with a better screen, no GPS and wifi issues. But I heard that the high res on that device is really hitting Android performance wise. Do you know anyone who has one? I'm yet to play with an Infinity.

    @Doqukan - True, but Android is also gaining popularity with the ladies as well. But yeah, new Nexus devices should hopefully start popping up soon. Once those are out, I think my phone decision will be a LOT easier.

    @David - At this point, quad core is a MUST for me in any tablet or phone (that is until the dual core Exynos 5250 dual core beast drops). Tegra does have the advantage of having lots of exclusive games though. Samsung should do an "Exynos Zone"!!!

    @Anna - December is so far away! I hope we hear more about Nexus devices before that. But your right...patience is a virtue :-D And yeah...that Padfone changes a lot. Lets see when its launched in a few weeks if it lives up to the hype!

    @Chinu - Welcome back buddy! I thought about getting both Note devices, as they are both amazing. It's still a very tempting upgrade as well. I want to hear more about Samsungs new tablet with their new Exynos chip before doing that though. Hopefully we will get more info on it soon!

    @Christopher - Loving the confidence! It is after all the most powerful smartphone/phablet in the world. It's also already available for pre-order here in Germany, so I could have it in literally 4 or 5 weeks. It's still really high on the favorites list!

    @Tim - Thanks for the info and for the nice offer Tim! I was born in the States, but I live in Berlin Germany now, which uses a completely different subsidization system. I pay 39 euros a month for unlimited calling to every carrier in all of Germany, unlimited to all home phones in Germany, and 1GB data per month (throttled when I go over). So I would basically need to buy my next phone cash. I would most likely sell my Galaxy Nexus and put it towards a new phone, so price will, as you said, be a huge factor.

    @Elmar - I considered this, but do you know if they have stock ROMS for these 2 devices that can utilize the S-Pen? It seems to me like a stock ROM on a Note might take away some of these features...or am I wrong in thinking that?

    @Chris - LOL. So I guess you think I should wait on a Motorola Nexus? :-D

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  • Robert Jansen Sep 24, 2012 Link

    To me personally, the choice is easy. Nexus all the way. They just run better with the Android devs using them as the devices Android should work on first =).

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  • Eric McBride Sep 24, 2012 Link

    @Robert - They really do run sooooo much better! That's what makes this so hard! I love stock Android, and no matter what phone I get, it's getting rooted to run stock. The dev support is also a huge plus.

    **sigh**

    This is really hard!

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  • Robert Jansen Sep 24, 2012 Link

    This fanboy is running a Galaxy Nexus, and still very happy with it =) Project butter gave it at least 6 months of extra lifespan imho.

    Also bought the Nexus 7. Wasn't sure if I'd like the whole 7 inch size thing, but guess what: loving it. Did patch it towards full tablet UI though. It's just crazy fast, and really portable.

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  • Eric McBride Sep 24, 2012 Link

    @Robert - Project butter is indeed AWESOME. My Galaxy Nexus flies as well! It's really like a whole new phone now.

    I also debated a Nexus 7, but I need the 10 inch screen (and a bit more premium of a feel). Hopefully a Nexus 10 will come sooner rather than later.

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  • Patrick R. Sep 25, 2012 Link

    @Dvoraak what part of the video did you in? Pop up play?

    @Eric one thing is for sure, I have to have a note. Either this or the Note 2. I got too spoiled. haha I set up a friend's S3 and got to use it for a bit. I realized I miss the screen real estate. It may be only half an inch or so but it makes a hell lot of diff for me.

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  • Dvoraak Sep 26, 2012 Link

    @Patrick - That gorgeous oversized screen is almost all it took.

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  • Eric McBride Oct 1, 2012 Link

    @Patrick & Dvoraak - I'm leaning more and more towards a Note 2 as well. I NEED that big pretty screen!

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  • Dude Guy Oct 3, 2012 Link

    I recommend avoiding Motorola like the plague at this point after what will come to be known as "The Great Update Fiasco of 2012" where people were actually lucky if the update for their device was delayed. The unlucky ones were the ones that were strung along for 7 months on an ICS update just to have the update cancelled, and those that got a completely botched update and were left stranded for months limping along on half working devices.

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  • Eric McBride Oct 3, 2012 Link

    I read about that. Man oh man..Google has a lot of work to do with Motorola!

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  • Mindi Erickson Mar 22, 2013 Link

    I had a similar dilemma except that I was looking for what kind of tablet would be best for a student. I researched for a while (I'm a very careful shopper!), and www.androidtabletspecs.com ended up being the best resource I found. There are plenty of informative articles there and you should be able to find something to help with your blogging question.

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