What Android phone should you buy in Canada

So, this is a question I get asked a lot.  And it's a loaded question, so ... I'm going to try to be objective as possible.

Buying a new phone is a tough thing.  Whether you're switching carriers, or updating your current plan... if you're Tom, it's a little easier.  The theory goes like this:  "Is the phone new?"  If the answer is yes, then buy!

Hah

For the rest of us it's a little harder.  Ask a dozen people and you could easily get a dozen answers.  Ask the person who's selling it to you and they're probably looking out for the company's best interest.  Whatever has the lowest subsidy, most options for add-ons, etc... I kid you not, a friend bought a phone, and he just asked for 'the free one' and they gave him a Samsung Galaxy Q.  In the same price bracket for 'free' he had a bunch of options.

So how am I going to tackle this?  Well, especially as I'm undoubtedly going to open myself up to a TON of criticism... I'll go by each carrier, then I'll separate options into the different price categories.  I'll arbitrarily set up 3 categories:  FREE, Mid-Range ($1-$100), SuperPhone ($100+)

There's also the question of 'which carrier', which I'm not going to get into ... that's up to you decide.  Look at their plans, their coverage etc... I'm looking at hardware only.  I may not get into EACH and EVERY carrier, just because there's a lot of the same for pricing and whatnot, so I'll just give as much as the big 3.

Also, remember, we have the Canadian Android Devices chart for you to compare the actual specs of each model and see the pricing listed for each carrier.


Rogers

Entry Level - $0

  • Galaxy S2 (save $550)
  • Xperia T (save $550)
  • Optimus G (save $650)
  • Note (save $730)
  • One X (save $630)
So, easily the Note, is your best ‘save the most’ option, but it’s an outdated model.  But if you like big screens (5.3”) and stylii, then grab it. 
Of the others, I do like the Optimus G as it’s as near to a Nexus 4 as you can get, minus wireless charging. 
The T, S2 and X are all somewhat older models by now, and are a good save, but for the specs, go for the G. 
Recommendation:  LG Optimus G

Midrange

  • Xperia ZL $125 (save $500)
  • Galaxy S3 $50 (save $600)
  • RAZR HDLTE $50 (save $550)
This is a close race.  The ZL is the newest (so likely to come down in cost too if you wait).  It’s a nice phone with some top end specs.  But would you be as happy by saving $75 and getting the S3 or the RAZR?  The S3 is popular and Samsung does have A LOT of bonus features thrown in (plus they’re talking of adding more).  But it’s also nearing its end of life probably soon, so who knows how long. 
The RAZR is sleek and need, and I must say kevlar does feel cool.  It’s a toss up between the 2, I don’t like buttons, so I like the RAZR, but for the same cost the S3 gives you double the RAM (2GB). 
Recommendation:  Samsung Galaxy S3

Super Phone

  • Galaxy Note 2 $199 (save $520)
  • HTC One $150
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 ??
This is pretty close.  Obviously if you like the phablet, and stylus, go for the Note 2, otherwise, I don’t see it as spec comparable to the others for the price.  I’m biased to the One as it does have ‘ultra pixels’, meaning better low light captures and pictures take up less space.   
However, the S4 (albeit unannouced as of yet) has some beast of specs (1.9GHz vs. 1.7).
The best selling point I’ll have for the S4 for Canadians is that it will have that ‘hover touch’, which is ultra useful for us as we tend to wear mitts more often year round than others, so you wouldn’t need to buy those special gloves.  So unless the price jump to the S4 is steep, get it.   
But as it’s not out yet, you can’t... so.. 
Recommendation:  HTC One

OVERALL RECOMMENDATION

Pay a few bucks, and get the HTC One.  The S3 and Optimus G are now ‘long in the tooth’ whereas the One is new.  Worth it in the long run.



Bell

Entry Level - $0

  • Galaxy S3
  • Optimus G
  • Xperia T
  • Rugby LTE
  • S2 LTE
  • Optimus L5
  • Ace2X
  • Discover
See my same reasonings in the Rogers section.
Recommendation: LG Optimus G 

Midrange

  • Note 2 - $50 (save like $670)
  • Sony Xperia ZL - $100 (save $500)
A no brainer as you save the most on it... 
Now the con here is that it's a BIG phone, but I think you'll prefer it, especially as the specs are so much more impressive, and as anybody who's used the Note 1/2 can tell you, you quickly lose track of how big it is.
Recommendation:  Samsung Galaxy Note 2  

SuperPhone

  • S4
  • One
Okay, so tough call again, but like with Rogers, I'm going to have to give the edge to the HTC One as it's at least pre-orderable with a date, whereas the S4 doesn't (but by the time I finish this article it might not...). 
Also, in a straight 'head to head', I'm thinking the HTC will come out as less expensive, PLUS without external storage you'll save on having to buy other cards or batteries...  Also, front facing speakers for the win. 
Recommendation:  HTC One

OVERALL RECOMMENDATION

Weird I'm going to say this, but the Galaxy Note 2 for just $50 is a steal.  Grab that.



Telus

Entry Level - $0

  • One V (save $290)
  • Ace 2X (save $250)
  • Ace Q (save $200)
  • Note (save $730)
Hrmm.. now this is a doozy.  Not a lot of quality to choose from.  The Note is a clear 'savings' but .. it's a fairly older phone.  Still hasn't received it's JB update.  I find the Ace line to be very 'cheap', so I say stay clear.  So maybe the One V, but it's also old (not nearly as old as the Note though)... but it's a standard phone. 
To avoid the 'holy hell that's a big phone', I'll side with the One V.  If you're choice is for 'cheapest', it's also not looking for the novelties that the Note will bring. 
Recommendation:  HTC One V

Midrange

  • Optimus G $79 (save $570)
  • One X+ $50 (save $600)
  • Rugby LTE $50 (save $410)
For my reasonings see the Rogers version above (though this seems kind of pricey for that phone). 
Recommendation:  LG Optimus G

SuperPhone

  • HTC One $150 (save $500)
  • S3 $100 (save $550)
  • Note 2 $150 (save $580)
Hrmm... In this case I'll say the Note 2, just because it offers SO much more over the S3 for just an extra $50. 
Recommendation:  Samsung Galaxy Note 2

OVERALL RECOMMENDATION

I'm going to go with the Galaxy Note 2 as an overall.  It is a killer phone, just it's big, so you have to keep that in mind.  The pen is great feature, especially if you're looking to use it for work as well as play (then again, it's also good for play too).

Chart

Free - $0
MidRange ($1-100)
Superphone ($100+)
Overall
Bell
LG Optimus G
Samsung Galaxy Note 2
HTC One
Samsung Galaxy Note 2
Rogers
LG Optimus G
Samsung Galaxy S3
HTC One
HTC One
Telus
HTC One V
LG Optimus G
Samsung Galaxy Note 2
Samsung Galaxy Note 2

Canadian Android Database

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