Home 5 Smartphones To Rival The iPhone 5

5 Smartphones To Rival The iPhone 5

The biggest tech announcement of the year is set to be made today as Apple will unveil its newest iPhone to the masses. The iPhone launched the smartphone revolution, but five years after its debut, Apple’s signature product is just one of many great options. Below we present the top five alternatives to the iPhone 5.

Samsung Galaxy S III

  • Availability: Now
  • Carriers: AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, U.S. Cellular
  • Operating System: Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
  • Size: 4.7 inches

The Galaxy S III is the top selling smartphone in the U.S. this year, ahead of the iPhone 4S. That is likely to change as consumers gobble up the iPhone 5 during the holiday season, but the S III is a good competitor to any and all comers. 

Top Features: 4G LTE (where available), Android operating system that will be upgraded to 4.1 Jelly Bean later this year, 8MP back camera, 1.9MP front camera, NFC, 2100mAh battery, 1.5GHz dual-core processor. 

Samsung bundles a variety of its own apps including a Siri competitor called S Voice along with S Note, AllShare and specialty camera apps. 

Samsung Galaxy Note 2

  • Availability: Q4 2012 likely
  • Carriers:  AT&T and Verizon at least but likely T-Mobile and Sprint as well
  • Operating System: Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
  • Size: 5.55 inches

The global version of the Note II has been announced but details on the U.S. variant are not yet available. This is the second iteration of the Note series. It’s so large, it could almost be considered a small tablet; people have taken to calling it a phablet. The original Galaxy Note shipped 10 million units worldwide and sports a stylus, the S Pen, as its primary user interface.

Top Features: 4G LTE, 8MP back camera, 1.9MP front camera, 3100mAh battery. (These specs describe the global version. The global Note II will have a quad-core processor, but as of yet quad-core smartphones have made it to the U.S. market.)

The Note II will include all the custom Samsung apps in the Galaxy S III plus unique apps and new features for the S Pen. 

Nokia Lumia 920

  • Availability: Q4 2012
  • Carriers: Likely AT&T and Verizon
  • Operating System: Windows Phone 8
  • Size: 4.5 inches

Announced last week, the Lumia 920 is the flagship Windows Phone 8 device for both Nokia and Microsoft. It’s a substantial upgrade over the Lumia 900 that was released in April, as it allows Nokia to build in proprietary hardware and software features that were missing in the Lumia 900. These include advanced camera technology, maps and navigation, and screen features. Windows Phone 8 is a decent jump from Windows Phone 7.5 with a user interface made up of smarter, resizable “hubs and tiles.” 

Top Features: 8.7MP back camera with Carl Zeiss optics, 1.3MP front camera, 1.5GHz processor, 2000mAh battery, 4G LTE, NFC. 

Nokia wants users to buy the Lumia 920 for its extra features, such as navigation capabilities and advanced optical image stabilization technology that rivals that of the iPhone 4S. Nokia put its camera and navigation together for an interesting built-in augmented reality app. The Lumia 920 will be successful if users can bring themselves to give up their iPhones and Androids for the fundamentally different user interface that is Windows Phone. 


  • Availability: Now
  • Carriers: AT&T
  • Operating System: Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
  • Size: 4.7 inches

The One X was the first powerhouse smartphone to hit the market this year, and it has become a favorite of many consumers with its slender, curved polycarbonate body and intuitive Sense 4 skin on top of Android. The One X holds its weight against other smartphones released or announced since it came out in May, but the 1800mAh battery does leave a touch to be desired. 

Top Features: Sense 4 (which makes Android easier to use), 8MP back camera, 1.3MP front camera, Beats Audio, NFC, 4G LTE, 1.5GHz processor.

Put a One X next to a Galaxy S III and play with each for a couple hours. They are the same size and have nearly the same hardware specs (except for the S III’s slightly better battery capacity). However the One X’s user interface is better-looking and easier to understand than the very busy TouchWiz on Samsung’s top device. 

Droid Razr M

  • Availability: Sept. 13, 2012
  • Carrier: Verizon
  • Operating System: Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
  • Size: 4.3 inches

Announced last week along with the Razr HD and Razr Maxx HD, the Droid Razr M is a mid-level Android phone that will retail for $99 with a $50 mail-in rebate. The price and availability are what make it attractive, along with the near edge-to-edge screen that fits into a very compact body. But the term mid-level is a little deceptive for the Razr M, which packs a 1.5GHz dual-core processor and a 2000mAh battery into roughly the same size and shape rumored for the iPhone 5.

Top Features: Compact body but still with a 4.3-inch screen, nearly un-customized Android operating system (no skin like Sense 4 or TouchWiz), 8MP back camera, Chrome for Android Web browser, NFC, 4G LTE. 

“Smart actions” are a hidden feature of Motorola’s newest devices. They learn where a user is and change the hardware’s behavior accordingly. This smartphone may be destined to be an underrated challenger in the mobile device wars, but the price, body, screen and aspects of the hardware should be attractive to many buyers, including those looking for older iPhones such as the 4S and 4. 

See also:

Why Today’s iPhone Event Is So Huge For Apple

How To Get The Most For Your Old iPhone

What iPhone Retailers Have Been Telling Shoppers [Infographic]

The Difference Between Apple & Amazon In One Chart 

Top image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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