You may not be able to get Google's new Nexus 4 on Verizon this holiday season, but fear not: Big Red has plenty of hot phones just waiting to lure you in.
Yessiree Bob, Verizon's holiday lineup is looking sharp this year, with several enticing Android options -- each catering to a different need and desire. After spending time with all the significant smartphones of the year, these are the Verizon devices that stand out the most to me (in no particular order):
Motorola Droid Razr Maxx HD
Motorola's Droid Razr Maxx HD stands out from the pack with its premium, durable body and rock-solid battery life. Quite simply, the phone is built to last -- even in the hands of the clumsiest among us -- and it looks and feels great, too.
As for that battery life? You aren't gonna get any better than this. The Razr Maxx HD packs a 3300mAh battery that's listed for 32 hours of mixed usage. As I said in my initial assessment of the phone, it's like the freakin' Energizer bunny: Even with an LTE connection, you've really gotta work to get the Maxx HD's battery down.
The Droid Razr Maxx HD runs a lightly skinned version of Android that's not too far removed from the stock Jelly Bean UI. That, combined with its Android 4.x-compliant on-screen button setup, helps it deliver one of the best overall user experiences available on Android today. And looking ahead, the newly refocused Motorola appears to be taking the idea of timely upgrades seriously -- no surprise, given its ongoing transition into Google ownership.
The Motorola Droid Razr Maxx HD is available on Verizon Wireless for $300 with a new two-year contract.
Samsung Galaxy S III
Maybe you've heard of this one? Samsung's Galaxy line has won over legions of fans, and there's a reason. The Galaxy S III offers an eye-catching display, excellent camera, and top-notch performance, all secured inside a smooth and sexy outer shell that you won't want to put down.
Some of Samsung's design decisions do take away from the overall user experience -- namely the company's awkward button setup and busy UI -- but the Galaxy S III has plenty of positive qualities to balance those things out. Just ask the millions of happy Galaxy owners out there.
The Galaxy S III is available from Verizon for $200 to $250 with a new two-year contract.
Samsung Galaxy Note II
If you can't decide whether to carry a phone or a tablet, Samsung's Galaxy Note II may be just the thing for you. The Note II takes the same basic design and hardware from the Galaxy S III and supersizes it, with a gorgeous 5.5-in. display packed inside a hulking 3.2 x 5.9 in. frame.
The Note II also includes a superb stylus, which could be a meaningful perk for artists or anyone who likes the idea of being able to draw directly on the screen.
Like with the Galaxy S III, I do feel that some of Samsung's design decisions hold the Note II back from reaching the levels of greatness it could so easily achieve, but the product's many positive qualities certainly offer a compelling package even so. If you're comfortable with the plus-sized form, there's really a lot to like about this device.
The Galaxy Note II is available from Verizon for $300 with a new two-year contract.
HTC's Droid DNA ($200 from Verizon with a two-year contract) boasts the highest resolution screen on any smartphone today along with an eye-catching build and commendable camera. I didn't get the greatest impression of the device myself, but others have had more positive experiences.
Motorola's Droid Razr M ($50 from Verizon with a two-year contract), meanwhile, is a smaller-sized phone with outstanding build quality and solid performance. While it may not have all the ceiling-high specs of some higher-end devices, it provides a great overall experience in a compact package -- and at an affordable price.
And with that, my friends, we conclude our "top three" holiday tour. You can find the Android Power picks for each U.S. carrier -- as well as the top overall Android phones, regardless of carrier -- at the links below.
A happy Festivus to all!
THE FULL SERIES: