Ask Techland: What’s the Best Android Phone on T-Mobile?

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In an effort to give something back to the community I’ve taken so, so, so much from, here’s Ask Techland. In our first installment, we have a question from Aaron concerning which T-Mobile Android phone he should purchase now that his old G1 is up for renewal.

“I am with T-Mobile and am currently looking to upgrade my now antiquated G1. Should I go with the Nexus One? Or maybe that new Garminfone? Or am I better off to wait for some phone still in the pipeline somewhere?”

T-Mobile gets a bad rap sometimes. While I’ve made the case that the company’s monthly service plans are far more affordable than its competitors, it often gets swept under the rug thanks to the hardware offered by AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon. I like T-Mobile, but the situation you present is a common occurrence with its customers.

Your current options for a good Android phone are, like you suggested, the Nexus One, the Garminfone, or you could go with either the MyTouch 3G or MyTouch 3G Slide.

The MyTouch 3G Slide would be your best option if you want to keep with a slide-out hardware keyboard like you have on your G1. It’s also got the very-excellent Swype on-screen keyboard, it’s running the latest version of Android and will get the new version when it’s available this summer, and it’s gotten pretty good reviews.

If you don’t care about the hardware keyboard, the MyTouch 3G is a decent deal at $100 but if you can foot an extra $80, the Nexus One is a better option thanks to a higher resolution screen (800×480 versus 480×320), faster processor (1GHz versus 528MHz), and the Nexus One has more RAM, a better camera, and seems to be built more solidly. The Nexus One’s screen is an AMOLED screen, too, compared to the MyTouch’s standard LCD screen. Both phones should get the latest version of Android when it’s available.

The Garminfone is an okay choice if you really, really want robust GPS features. The current and next-generation Android software handles GPS pretty well, though, and the Garminfone is running a much older version of Android (1.6). It’s basically a nice portable GPS system that can make phone calls and surf the web through its relatively cumbersome web browser.

Now as for what’s in the pipeline, T-Mobile just announced the Samsung Vibrant via Twitter, with a formal announcement expected on June 28th. It’ll basically be a rebranded Samsung Galaxy S, which features a 4-inch “Super AMOLED” screen with an 800×480 resolution, Android 2.1 (with an upgrade to 2.2 when it’s available), and a 1GHz processor.


The Super AMOLED screen is thinner and more responsive to touch than AMOLED screens since it’s got the touch sensors built on top of the screen itself instead of as part of a second, distinct layer found underneath the screen. Videos and photos should appear pretty vibrant and you should be able to see the screen better outdoors, too.


The actual interface that Samsung’s designed looks very iPhone-like, yet you still get Android under the hood with a bunch of social networking widgets and features built in as well.

So I’d wait for the Samsung Vibrant if you don’t need a hardware keyboard. Some rumors are pointing to a July release, but we’ll find out the specific date along with pricing information early next week. If you don’t want to wait that long, the Nexus One is a good option followed by the MyTouch 3G Slide if you can’t stand to part with a hardware keyboard.

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