Sprint is one of my favorite wireless carriers in the U.S., and it has an excellent selection of smartphones. It all started with the HTC EVO 4G, which was the first 4G WiMax device for Sprint. It was also a beast of a phone with a four-plus-inch screen and a 1GHz processor running Google’s Android platform. After that, Sprint had a series of hits with the Samsung Epic 4G and EVO Shift 4G.
The great thing about Sprint is its bundled Simply Everything plans: you simply choose your minutes packages and the data and messaging are included and totally unlimited. The best thing about the plans is that they include unlimited calling to mobile phones on any U.S. carrier, which means your minutes really only count when you’re calling landlines.
In the market for a new smartphone with Sprint? Check out the top 5 smartphones, in no particular order, for Sprint below.
1. HTC EVO 3D
The HTC EVO 3D is an excellent successor to the original EVO 4G. The biggest difference between the two, which ought to be obvious in the name, is that the latest version offers 3D video and still image recording, along with glasses-free 3D viewing on its display. It has a 4.3-inch qHD display (quarter HD) and supports Sprint’s 4G WiMax network, which is plenty fast. It also packs a more powerful processor compared to its predecessor – a 1.2GHz dual-core unit, which ought to make sure the thing runs smoothly.
There are a few downsides, however, and the first that comes to mind is battery life. Even though the HTC EVO 3D packs a 1730mAh battery, total use was limited to just a few hours. You’ll have to exercise careful power management and not get too crazy with power-hungry apps, but that’s pretty standard practice for most high-end Android devices these days.
The HTC EVO 3D will set you back $199.99 with a new, two-year contract.
2. HTC Arrive
The HTC Arrive is the Windows Phone 7 smartphone of choice if you’re looking at Sprint. It was the first CDMA Windows Phone device, a platform that has shown a lot of early promise and more to come in an update slated for this fall. The device has a 5MP camera, 1GHz processor, 3.6-inch WVGA display (800 x 480) and a 1500mAh battery.
The nice thing about the HTC Arrive is that it also has a slide-out QWERTY keyboard for those who prefer tactility when messaging or e-mailing. The keyboard is spacious and has a dedicated number row, and it offers good feedback when you’re typing.
Call quality on the HTC Arrive is pretty good over Sprint’s network, and battery life is equally admirable. Sadly, the HTC Arrive does not support Sprint’s 4G WiMax network, but if you’re willing to make that sacrifice, this Windows Phone handset is a good choice. It runs for $199.99 on a new, two-year contract.
3. HTC EVO Shift 4G
The HTC EVO Shift 4G might not be the most powerful Android handset on the market, but for the budget conscious, it’s an excellent device. It supports WiMax for fast data speeds, hence the 4G moniker in its name, and runs Android 2.2 so you’ll have access to Adobe Flash in your web browser and all the apps in the Android Market.
The HTC EVO Shift 4G has a 3.6-inch WVGA display, Android 2.2 (including mobile hotspot capabilities over Sprint’s WiMAX network), 800 MHz processor with 512 MB of RAM, Wi-Fi b/g/n, a 5 megapixel camera with autofocus, flash, and 720p video recording, plus the usual, like Wi-Fi, 3G, and GPS. While it’s not the most topped out smartphone in terms of straight specs, it’s still very admirable. You can grab the EVO Shift 4G for $99 with a two-year contract.
4. Motorola Photon 4G
If you’re looking for the cream of the crop, and maybe 3D capabilities are too much of a gimmick for you, look no further than the Motorola Photon 4G. This beast of a phone has just about everything you could want in a modern-day Android device: 4.3-inch qHD display, 8MP rear camera and VGA front-facing camera, 16GB of pre-installed memory that’s expandable to 32GB, kickstand, WiMAX, WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS, with Android 2.3 Gingerbread and NVIDIA’s powerful dual-core Tegra 2 processor. Could you possibly want or need anything else?
The Motorola Photon 4G becomes available July 31 for $199 with a two-year contract.
5. Google Nexus S 4G
It’s the successor to the original Nexus One, and it doesn’t really disappoint. The Nexus S 4G, a Google phone in the truest sense, runs the latest version of Android, which is 2.3 Gingerbread, and even supports a technology that no one really uses all that much – NFC! How futuristic! It’s built for Google by Samsung, and so it has a 4-inch Super AMOLED display at 800 x 480 resolution, and a 1GHz Hummingbird processor. Being a 4G phone, it supports Sprint’s WiMax network, so you’ll get fast data speeds where you’re covered.
It’s a vanilla Android phone, which means there is no custom user interface and will likely be first in line for updates to the Android operating system. And for all that you’re getting, $99 on a two-year contract isn’t all that bad, either.
There you have it. There was a time when high-end smartphone options were very limited for Sprint users, but these days there is plenty to choose from. Best of all, its network is rarely congested, its plans are excellent and its 4G WiMax network is pretty good. It’s almost a win-win situation for everyone.