While I understand that the monthly costs of smartphones may be too much for many students, I sincerely believe that these mobile computers can greatly add to a student’s life. Whether it’s quick access to e-mails, directions to class, or even social media on the go, having a smartphone can have a significant impact on how students work and play. Let’s take a look at some of the best smartphones currently available.
Apple iPhone 4 – AT&T, Verizon
Yep, it’s the obvious choice but the Apple iPhone 4 is an ideal smartphone for many students. With a stunning physical design, powerful innards, a good 5-megapixel camera, a front-facing camera for FaceTime chatting with the folks and a growing App Store, it is a versatile device which could help your student study, look cool, collaborate with classmates and have fun. It’s available on AT&T and Verizon now, so it also offers carrier choice.
The only issue with getting this now is that a new version is scheduled to be announced within a few weeks, so those who buy in now may be stuck with last year’s model. That’s not the worst thing in the world, as the iPhone 4 is still a more-than-capable device and iOS 5 could breathe some new life into the handset. Those of you who still haven’t adjusted to touchscreen virtual keyboards may also be put off with the form factor.
Motorola Photon 4G – Sprint
The Motorola Photon 4G is a powerhouse of a device on Sprint that can be a workhorse in a slim form factor. Powered by the NVIDIA dual-core Tegra 2 chip, the Photon 4G will plow through games, documents, educational apps and social networking without a problem and the 8-megapixel camera will help you capture those hazy school memories. The Sprint 4G can also be quite fast depending on what market you’re in.
We’re not huge fans of the MotoBlur software layer built on top of Android but it’s not bad, we just don’t like it. Android is about on par with iOS in terms of apps but there are still a few notable exceptions like Instagram. Again, if you’re a fan of a full QWERTY keyboard, this may not be the right phone for you or your student.
HTC myTouch 4G Slide – T-Mobile
The myTouch 4G Slide for T-Mobile is perfect for users who definitely want a full QWERTY keyboard because this powerful Android handset sports a slide-out keyboard without sacrificing too much in the looks and weight department. Powered by a dual-core Qualcomm Sapdragon chip, the myTouch 4G Slide is a powerful smartphone which also packs an excellent 8-megapixel camera. In fact, we think it takes better pictures than the iPhone 4.
We’re not in love with the Genius button on it instead of a normal search, as the voice controls and search are good but standard Android already has this. The keyboard is not quite as good as the previous version but it’s more than usable. For those of you who want a powerful phone with a real keyboard and a stellar camera, the myTouch 4G Slide is the device for you.
Research In Motion BlackBerry 9900/9930 – Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon
Research In Motion is definitely not on top of the hip list that often but its upcoming BlackBerry Bold 9900/9930 are more than respectable and those students who live and die with texting or e-mailing on the go could do much worse than this best-in-class keyboard. Powered by a 1.2 GHz processor, the next generation Bold is no slouch when it comes to power and the touchscreen is actually smooth and fluid. Throw in a 5-megapixel camera and the popular BBM service and you have a great device for students.
Of course, the only issue is that the operating system isn’t going to feel as fluid as iOS, Android or even Windows Phone and the app selection is not that great. You’re also going to have to pay a bit of a premium on some carriers to even buy the latest Bold.
Wait for it
The next iPhone will be coming down the pike within a month or two, so that definitely may be one worth waiting for. The Samsung Galaxy S II will also be landing in the United States very soon, so you Android fans may really want to wait for that one.
[Photo credit: boetter]