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The Latest Batch of iPhone Competitors
Whether you’re buying one for yourself or someone else, this holiday season is a great time to be purchasing a new smartphone since so many cutting edge devices have been released this fall including the new iPhone 4S in October. As popular as the new iPhone is, keep in mind that Motorola, HTC, Samsung, and Nokia are still manufacturing some powerful devices to compete with the iPhone. The Apple iPhone 4S, Motorola Droid RAZR, Samsung Galaxy Nexus, HTC Titan, HTC Rezound, and Nokia Lumia 800 all represent some exciting new phones.
Apple iPhone 4S Has the Apps But No 4G
It may seem like everyone you know has an Apple iPhone and the new 4S even adds some unique new features and an improved user interface that make it a safe and versatile gift. With an upgraded dual-core processor and new camera optics, Apple has revamped their line to keep up with the competition. It runs iOS 5, which incorporates a new notification system and Siri, a voice recognition assistant that allows natural communication with your phone. However, there are new phones like the Rezound that have larger screens and more pixels per inch than the iPhone. The iPhone 4S also lacks the latest, fastest 4G data standard found in many new Android phones.
Samsung Galaxy Nexus
The much anticipated, Samsung Galaxy Nexus, that had been due to go on sale on December 8th will be the first phone released with Android 4.0, a major update for the OS. The new operating system called Ice Cream Sandwich has been completely redone – likely in an effort to boost user experience and decrease OS fragmentation. An app switcher, color scheme, and personalized Notification Bar raises the standard for Android and makes it feel closer to the quality of iOS and Windows. Besides the new OS, it has a monstrous 4.65-inch screen (the iPhone’s is 3.5-inch), 4G LTE, and a dual-core processor. However, users with small hands may find this phone difficult to wield as its size may make it feel somewhat like a tablet.
HTC Rezound
Another hi-res Android phone comes in form of the HTC Rezound, which squeezes the same 720p resolution into a 4.3-inch screen, which results in a display that shows 342 ppi (pixels per inch). This is markedly higher than the iPhone’s 326 ppi and makes the user experience very pleasant indeed. The Rezound not only packs a Super LCD display but also a dual-core processor and 8MP camera. This 4G LTE phone is a great idea for any tech enthusiast who wants to one-up the iPhone.
Motorola RAZR
Motorola has continued the legacy of the super skinny RAZR phone with the release of an insanely thin and robust Droid RAZR. It has a 4.3-inch qHD Super AMOLED Advanced display with Gorilla Glass, a dual-core chip, and a slick Kevlar / Aluminum build. It should be noted that the RAZR is one of the thinnest smartphones released … ever – its 7.1 mm thick design makes even the iPhone 4 look chunky. It is also extremely durable and can withstand hard falls and significant water damage. This could make a good present to the techie who seems to have broken every phone he’s ever had the only drawback with the RAZR comes with reports of less than optimal battery life.
Nokia Lumia 800
Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 is quickly becoming a contender to iOS and Android and they have recently released Windows Phone version 7.5 (Mango). Mango runs well on Nokia’s first Windows Phone 7 device, the Nokia Lumia 800, whose industrial aluminum and glass design beating almost any phone out there. It’s nice to start seeing a broader selection of apps in the Microsoft Marketplace, which grew from a couple hundred at launch of WP7 to around 50,000 today. Though it lacks dual-core and an HD display, the phone is functional, effective, and a good sign of more to come from Nokia.
HTC Titan
If you want a Windows Phone but yearn for a larger screen (but not necessarily high resolution), look no further than the HTC Titan, which has a monstrous 4.7-inch display. One of the earlier phones to ship with Mango, the Titan contains 1GB of RAM, an 8MP camera, and a WVGA screen. Though this tech is nice, it uses a lower resolution than most phones and has a rather dismal pixel density. But if you need a big Windows phone, this could be the device to get.
Conclusion
Deciding on a phone for yourself or someone else this holiday season can be a daunting task since there are so many to choose from. We suggest you start by picking an operating system, which is generally split between Apple iOS, Google Android, and Windows Phone 7 (Mango). An iOS device (iPhone 4S) serves a broad audience and seems well liked by older and younger generations, making it a good gift for a tech novice or tech savvy individual. Android is favored more by “tech-enthusiasts” for its customizable and open architecture, which is good for anyone interested in tinkering with computers or performance although Android is friendly enough to be used by most everyone. Windows Phone 7 is the latest arrival in this group but boasts a slick user interface (called Metro UI) and heavy social integration. If you know someone who can never seem to get off Facebook or Twitter, this may be for them.

The other major difference is screen size, which dictates the overall bulk of the phone. A display that is smaller than 4-inches (such as the iPhone) seems to work for the majority of the population, though a big-screen sentiment has been creeping through the industry. This is shown by the ever increasing number of 4-inch + screens such as those found in the RAZR, Rezound, Galaxy Nexus, and Titan. Different people have difference preferences when it comes to display size, so it’s difficult to choose one – just make sure the giftee has large enough hands to handle the device.

One other consideration is whether you want the latest data standard called 4G which is fast taking 3G’s place. The iPhone won’t have 4G until the rumored iPhone 5 comes out sometime in 2012. For now, you’ll have to forego an iPhone is you want the latest high speed data technology, 4G LTE.

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