iPhone

The top five alternatives to the iPhone 4S

If you're feeling left out because you're not getting an iPhone 4S, here are five other great phones to consider if you're looking for an upgrade.

Despite the initial cries of disappointment from the tech press, the Apple iPhone 4S is reportedly almost sold out heading into its official launch on Friday. If you're ready to upgrade your phone but can't get a hold of an iPhone 4S on Friday, don't forget that there are plenty of great alternatives in the smartphone market right now.

I know that there are also plenty of you out there who are tempted by an iPhone but want to avoid getting locked into the Apple ecosystem or simply don't want to give up your loyalty to Android or BlackBerry. So, for those of you who can't (or refuse) to get an iPhone 4S but are looking for a phone upgrade, here are five devices worth considering.

1. Droid Bionic

This is arguably the best Android device on the market. It's not the coolest looking or feeling device. It has a similar odd shape to the Motorola Droid X with extra thickness on the side of the phone that has the camera. But, it's a sturdy device and it's wicked fast in hardware, software, and the Verizon 4G LTE network. It also has much better battery life than the HTC Thunderbolt (the former Android king) and Motorola's Webtop software lets you use this device like a computer using the desktop or laptop dock.

2. Samsung Galaxy S II

If you have iPhone envy because of the svelte design, then the Samsung Galaxy S II is the phone you should consider (see below). It is thin, well-designed, relatively powerful, and has a brilliantly bright screen. It doesn't feel nearly as cheap as the plasticy first-gen Galaxy S phones. Plus, the Galaxy S II is available across lots of different carriers in the U.S. and internationally (unlike the Droid Bionic) and it's less expensive than the $300 Bionic.

3. Motorola Photon

This is a cousin of the Droid Bionic mentioned above, only this one has a better hardware design and it runs on Sprint instead of Verizon. It's another speed demon. It has a dual-core NVIDIA Tegra processor and runs on the Sprint/Clearwire WiMAX network for 4G. Like the Bionic and Motorola Atrix, the Photon includes the Webtop software and the ability to dock into a PC-like experience on the desktop or into the laptop dock. You can't do that with an iPhone.

4. HTC HD7

Don't forget about Windows Phone 7, especially since its big upgrade to 7.5 "Mango" is happening this fall. WP7 offers a solid experience, especially for smartphone novices, and the number of apps available are climbing rapidly. The best WP7 device I've used is the HTC HD7, which reminded me a lot of the HTC Thunderbolt, in terms of hardware design. There are also similar models such as the HTC HD7S (AT&T), the HTC Trophy (Verizon), and the HTC Titan (in the U.K.).

5. BlackBerry Bold 9900

Since some of you are still loyal to BlackBerry and even more of you are still locked into using BlackBerry because that's what your company uses, I have to mention the BlackBerry Bold 9900. As far as BlackBerries go, it's the best one yet. It doesn't have the versatility of iPhone and Android, because of the lack of apps, but it still does email and messaging really well, the web browser has improved immensely, the display is great (albeit a little cramped), and it has most of the biggest mobile apps (Kindle, Twitter, Foursquare, etc.). And, if you still prefer a hardware keyboard, it's got the best one that RIM makes.

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

10 comments
mbakula
mbakula

At this time, this is most advanced mobile phone on market, and author says it's 'relatively powerful'. Unbelievable lack of knowledge :(

SvenVdS
SvenVdS

None of the above are a match to the iPhone design-wise. The Galaxy S2 may have sleek looks, but it is a huge monster compared to the compact iPhone. The new Xperia Ray from SE has the same compact size (even a little bit smaller) a brilliant screen (close to Retina specs) and is an absolute looker. I've bought it about a week ago and absolutely LOVE it. And at a retail price of 300 euros (all included) without subscription it is a steal compared to Apple pricing :)

abasi_obori
abasi_obori

This definitely a good alternative the the iphone. Been using this phone with the mango update and so far so good. Not perfect but many parts of it are great

richard
richard

If Palm was not abandoned by HP it would be the best alternative. I wouldn't buy any of these 5 but wait for the 4S or get an older model (which are still better than any of these 5)

aevans196204
aevans196204

Shouldn't forget other Android phones, I have the HTC Desire HD which I find is a good solid phone with an excellant display. One thing I also do is buy the phone sim free rather than get locked up in some contract which means I can swap carriers should the nead arise to suit me. Apple phones have a loyal following, but they need to wake up and see the light - the others have caught up and overtaking them (and the servers don't crash when someone wants an OS upgrade).

Terranaut1
Terranaut1

I also bought an Xperia Ray about a week ago. It is my 3rd Sony Ericsson phone and my 1st smartphone. I have no Apple products as I refuse to be sucked in. So far very happy with the Xperia. In addition to the other facilities mentioned, it has an 8mp camera and will shoot HD video. Only reservation so far is poor connection to my home wifi ie keeps dropping. Will work on this.

Fletchguy
Fletchguy

Not sure what your smoking but the iphone as a whole design is very sterile and unattractive as are all apple products. They have that cold yuppie dork stigma with them. The tiny screen is a big reason people dislike the iphone.The Xperia is failing due to its ugly design and lack luster appeal due to bad specs and design that turns people off. You don't get out much do you. Your in love with 2 of the ugliest most useless phones on the market today lol

rpollard
rpollard

You must be a techie that likes to tinker. My son is the same way and that's why he went to Android. He can root it, customize it, etc. and he enjoys doing that. For those that want to something to just work without having to tinker and for those that want something that is easy without having to mess with settings, for those who want it all to work seamlessly, there's iPhone.

rdawkins9299
rdawkins9299

Not sure what you've been looking at but to me the Xperia put the iphone to shame. Plus it's design and looks does not look much different than any of the other phones such as the HTCs that are out there. I had the iphone and recently bought the Xperia. Which is much faster, the touch screen is more responsvie, releatively easy to manipulate and clearier screen. This is not an ugly phone. Those that have seen my my phone likes it very much. The reason most people have not heard is because Sony has not advertise this phone like all the other phones out there. When you see advertisements, what do you see? iphone, HTC, droids.... People are not aware of the phone or unsure of the phone due to lack of adverstment. But it the bought it I'm sure they will like it, like I do. Yep I bought it because of price, but I did my reseach and saw it had pretty much the same specs as the others and with out the cost. it was well worth it.

wintensive
wintensive

Customizing your android does not constitute being a techie. It's called a home screen and yes I am free to change the background if I want. I have never rooted an android and I am always showing my iPhone friends new features they just don't have. I suppose Siri is news to you also. We call it "Voice Search" and its been standard since I got my HTC Evo about 2 years ago. But welcome to the party anyway (better late than never). In any case iPhone usually does eventually get the same features as Android and they are nice phones that work. (well except for that annoying antenna thing where you couldn't actually make calls without dropping them) Oh and Androids have been available on all the networks since inception. How has ATT been for the last 5 years with no other option until now? What does an iPhone cost also? Ouch. Enough said....