What Android phone should I buy for T-Mobile? [CHART]

December 14, 2010 | by Andrew Kameka



The only number one question we hear at Androinica HQ is “What’s the best Android phone for [insert carrier]?” It’s routinely asked and often difficult to answer because what works for me doesn’t necessarily work for you. So we decided to give you a short guide to help point out some of the differences.

The first carrier we’ll examine is T-Mobile. It’s a fitting tribute since T-Mobile ignited the Android movement back in 2008. And though the carrier was quiet for much of 2010, Magenta has come back with a vengenance in recent months to deliver some great phones. Here’s a look at the top Android Phones on T-Mobile, followed by a comparison chart showing other devices on the network.

Google Nexus S

The Nexus One served as the benchmark for what an Android phone should be. The Nexus S attempts to fill those shoes, but will have a tougher go at it. While the N1 set the bar in almost every major aspect, the N1 lacks standard features like a microSD card, and doesn’t have desired features like a physical keyboard or support for faster HSPA+ speeds.

However, it makes up for that in other important areas: large internal storage (16 GB), support for video chat, SuperAMOLED screen, camera with Flash, and and 512 MB RAM to help power these features. The trump card of this device is that it runs Gingerbread, the latest version of Android, and is more than likely to always be current, something no other phone on this list can say. The N1 has always been updated first, and you can count on prompt updates from Google. Unless you are someone who needs a physical keyboard and the portability/expandibility of a microSD card, this appears to be the phone to own. It will be sold at Best Buy.

myTouch 4GT-Mobile myTouch

Another of the heavily-customized HTC phones, the myTouch 4G serves as T-Mobile’s most-featured and promoted device. It has a front-facing camera for video chat, supports the higher speeds of T-Mo’s 4G network, and features plenty of design tweaks that may be pleasing to the user. As the flagship device on T-Mobile, you can also count on it getting preferential treatment and more likely to receive major Android updates.

Some of the changes to its appearance are less welcome than others, but the myTouch 4G is an overall good phone that performs well. Someone who plans to video chat should definitely consider this phone, especially if they don’t  value a physical keyboard. Grab this if you want that feature and don’t like the design of stock Android 2.3.

T-Mobile G2

The successor to the original Android consumer device has plenty of space for installing apps, a large screen for consuming media, and a physical keyboard for the die-hards who refuse to convert to a touch-screen only experience. It also runs stock Android, meaning it’s more likely to get updates in a timely-manner than the heavily-tweaked phones like the Vibrant.

One perceived drawback is that the G2 has a weaker processor (800 MHz Scorpion instead of 1 GHz Snapdragon/Hummingbird) but the Scorpion has proven to be perfectly capable of providing a fast, smooth experience. If you’re someone who loves getting access to Android features quickly and need a physical keyboard, this is the device for you. The only competition with a physical keyboard is the myTouch 4G, but unless you need the stylized experience and video chat, this might be better for you.

Samsung Vibrant

Samsung promised to make the Galaxy S an elite Android device, and the T-Mobile version is worthy of such praise. The Hummingbird chip and SuperAMOLED touchscreen combo makes the Vibrant zip along in video playback and gaming. The Vibrant also makes convienent tweaks to the Android system, like toggle switches in the Notification area and enhanced media controls, that make for an overall top-notch device.

Sadly, those enhancements come at the expense of updates. Samsung is incredibly slow with updates, so the Vibrant has been running outdated software for more than six months. This is a dream device for someone who frequently plays games, but be forewarned that you may find yourself a version behind for a long time. The Nexus S and Vibrant are similar phones, so consider that if you aren’t pleased with the Vibrant.

Click this image to see the full comparison chart