The best smartphones to buy right now (that aren't the iPhone)

Looking to purchase a new smartphone, but don’t want to wait around until the fall (at the earliest) for Apple to release a new iPhone? No worries, as there are countless state-of-the-art handheld devices available.

In fact, there are so many smartphone options right now that the biggest challenge is choosing the best device for you amidst all of the clutter. Here are the five best smartphones to buy right now (that aren’t the iPhone).

Motorola Droid RAZR MAXX (Verizon)Before Apple forever changed how consumers view smartphones, Motorola’s thin and stylish RAZR was the hottest handheld device on the market. The 2007 debut of the iPhone exposed many of the RAZRs shortcomings, including average audio quality and poor battery life. This dulled sales and forced Motorola to discontinue the series for four years. In 2011, Motorola debuted the new Droid RAZR, a slim and sexy Android-running smartphone that still suffered from poor battery life.

Earlier this year, however, Motorola finally cracked the code with the Motorola Droid RAZR MAXX. While the RAZR MAXX offers similar form and function to its pioneering predecessor, it packs a much more powerful battery to ensure you get coverage throughout the day. Verizon and Motorola boast that the device, available for $199 with a new two-year contract, offers the longest battery life of any Android smartphone. Yet it’s still surprisingly slim, packs in 4G LTE capabilities, a dual-core processor and the ability to upgrade to the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system. The RAZR MAXX also offers a Super AMOLED 4.3-inch Advanced display with its 540x960 pixel resolution, making it quite energy efficient. With its rugged construction and Motorola’s exceptional radio quality, the RAZR MAXX is an old classic that is as sharp as ever.

Nokia Lumia 900 (AT&T)
Smartphones that run on the Microsoft Windows operating system may not generate the buzz of their iPhone or Android counterparts. That doesn’t mean they are short on features or quality. The best Windows Phone available today is the Nokia Lumia 900. With an elegant design, 4.3-inch display and superb battery life, the Lumia 900 from a hardware perspective can go head-to-head with any handheld device on the market. There is also no shortage of speed as the phone is carried on AT&T’s 4G LTE network. The Lumia 900 runs on the latest Mango 7.5 Windows software, which has a clean and simple interface. Among the pre-installed Nokia features are a free turn-by-turn navigation system, a photo-editing application, and a music streaming service. The phone can also access more than 100,000 third-party applications. Best of all, the Lumia can be purchased for as little as $99 with a new two-year contract with AT&T.

BlackBerry Bold 9900 (T-Mobile)
Although BlackBerry usage has declined dramatically over the last four years, the phone still has its business benefits. Many corporate IT departments still refuse to accept any other handset for official company business, and the BlackBerry’s email and messaging capabilities are still superior to other options. The best BlackBerry available today – and a great smartphone option for T-Mobile subscribers – is the Bold 9900. The phone offers both a QWERTY keyboard and sharp, 2.8-inch touchscreen display. Battery life is solid (although not spectacular) with more than six hours of talk time. The phone’s powerful 1.2GHz processor will not leave you in the lurch, particularly when you are viewing or sending 720p HD videos. While BlackBerry doesn’t have nearly as many apps as the other mobile platforms, web browsing is fast and efficient. There is also a universal voice-search feature.

HTC One X (AT&T)/HTC EVO 4G LTE (Sprint)

After some financial setbacks, Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer HTC is focusing on creating fewer devices that are of higher quality. The company succeeded earlier this year with the launch of the HTC One series of Android phones. Available through AT&T for $199 (with a new two-year contract), the HTC One X is the big daddy of the range. It offers swift 4G LTE performance with Beats Audio, a 4.7-inch 720p Super LCD HD screen, and an advanced 8-megapixel rear camera. On the inside, the One X sports Android’s latest Ice Cream Sandwich OS with HTC’s Sense 4 UI skin, plus access to hundreds of thousands of apps available in the Google Play store. 

Sprint subscribers who use a lot of data will want to tap into the HTC EVO 4G LTE. While this phone’s specs match those of the One X, it looks very different with red accents. For better and worse, there are some textured finishes that make it stand apart from its peers. The Evo’s kickstand lets users sit back and view content on that big, beautiful 720p Super LCD display hands-free, and its 2000mAh Li-Ion battery should see it last throughout the day. However, what truly sets the EVO apart is Sprint itself. The carrier still allows unlimited data plans on its network, which could be a bonus in these days of tiered data plans on other carriers. Sprint’s 4G LTE network is somewhat limited right now, but is expanding quickly. So the EVO 4G LTE at $199 with a two-year contract is certainly worth a look if you’re in an area served well by Sprint.

Samsung Galaxy S III (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular)

While you can’t technically buy this one yet, if you can hold out for just a couple weeks it will probably be worth your while. Scheduled to be released later this month, the Samsung Galaxy S III will set a new standard for smartphones. It will also be available on five U.S. networks including AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular. Samsung’s flagship handset device sports a huge, 4.8-inch 720x1280 HD Super AMOLED display, offers 4G LTE capabilities, microSD storage, and a speedy 1.4GHz quad-core processor. Running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich with Samsung’s proprietary TouchWiz skin on top, the Korean manufacturer is flaunting the Galaxy III’s additional software capabilities. This includes S-voice natural language commands, eye-tracking, Dropbox cloud storage and smart alerts. With more than 500,000 apps available and ready on Google Play, this is one smartphone that should be able to take anything you throw at it.Related Stories