Smart phones are expected to be a hot gift this holiday season. And there are a lot more to choose from, including new Android and BlackBerry phones and the iPhone. Consumer Reports has tested more than 40 smart phones to help you find the one that's just right for you, or for someone on your holiday list.
To check voice quality, a high-tech dummy is hooked up to a computer that simulates phone calls. Software analyzes the incoming and outgoing sound. Because many people also use their phone as a camera, Consumer Reports tests picture quality. And testers rate how easy it is to send text messages, view e-mail, and browse the Web. And they also assess how long the battery lasts.
The iPhone 4 is a fine performer. However, Consumer Reports' tests found that if you touch a gap on the phone's lower left side, you could lose your connection. Apple says to call customer service to request a free bumper to alleviate the problem.
Among the top-rated phones in Consumer Reports' tests are a number of Android phones, including the Samsung Captivate, used with AT&T service, and the Samsung Vibrant, used with T-Mobile service. Those phones were among the highest scoring models, particularly when it comes to their displays, which are especially adept at showing high-definition video.
For Verizon, Consumer Reports top rates the Motorola Droid X and Droid 2. They offer excellent navigation and displays.
For Sprint-Nextel, Consumer Reports top rates the HTC Evo 4G. The Evo is the first phone to work on Sprint's 4G network, which is faster for browsing the Web and uploading video files.