Photo: Steve Kovach, Business Insider
It feels like the holidays are already here. By now just about every major hardware manufacturer has already released or is about to release its flagship smartphone in time for the holiday shopping season.
November is especially huge as we’ll see the debut of devices like Nokia’s Lumia 920 and HTC’s 8x that run Microsoft’s new mobile operating system, Windows Phone 8.
Keep reading to see the best smartphones you’ll be able to buy this month.
Note: Although we’re listing some soon-to-be-released phones here, we’re not ranking them until we have final release dates and pricing.
Motorola's newest member of the Droid family is the Razr M, a new phone with a 4.3-inch (nearly) edge-to-edge screen and an attractive price tag. The Razr M runs a version of Android called Ice Cream Sandwich, which is slightly outdated. But the company promises a software update is coming soon. Like the other Razrs, the Razr M has a tough Kevlar-coated backing.
Price: $99.99 with a two-year contract (Verizon)
HTC has a critical hit with its 'One' series of Android smartphones. The T-Mobile version is called the One S. Aside from the Galaxy S III, it's the best Android phone in T-Mobile's lineup.
Price: $149.99 with a two-year contract (T-Mobile)
Sprint's version of the HTC One is called the EVO 4G LTE. Sprint has finally launched its LTE network in a handful of cities, so expect to get some excellent download speeds. (Make sure you check with Sprint to see if LTE is available in your town. If it isn't, you'll be stuck on 3G.)
The EVO 4G LTE is also one of the first devices to take advantage of Sprint's HD voice network, which provides high-quality call quality.
Price: $199.99 with a two-year contract (Sprint)
The Galaxy Note II is a massive phone. Its display measures in at 5.5 inches, which means it's big enough that the iPhone 5 can fit inside it with plenty of room.
The Note II also comes with a special stylus called the S Pen that lets you write or doodle on the screen. While we think the Note II's size is far too big for most people, the device still seems to be selling pretty well. Samsung says it's sold 3 million so far. Not bad.
In short, the Galaxy Note II gives you all the great features of the Galaxy S III, but in a bigger package. If you don't mind a super huge phone, you should check it out.
Now that the iPhone 5 is finally here, Apple will keep the iPhone 4S around at a discounted price. Even though it's a year old, the iPhone 4S is still a great device. You get access to Apple's excellent ecosystem of movies, music, and apps.
The only downside is that the iPhone 4S is still stuck on 3G networks, meaning you won't get super fast data speeds like you can on the other phones listed here.
Price: Starts at $99 with a two-year contract (Sprint, Verizon, or AT&T)
HTC's One X is one of the best smartphones to launch this year. If you're an AT&T customer looking for a new smartphone, you have a tough decision ahead of you. Between the One X, the Galaxy S III, and the iPhone 5, you can't go wrong.
Price: $99.99 with a two-year contract (AT&T)
Google will launch its new flagship phone, the Nexus 4, on November 13. We've been playing around with it for several days and can safely say this is the best phone Google has released so far.
The Nexus 4 was made by LG and packs some incredible specs. It also has a new version of Android that includes a really cool panoramic feature.
The downside: The Nexus 4 won't work on LTE networks, meaning you won't always get the fastest data connection. That's going to be a dealbreaker for a lot of people.
Price: You can get the unlocked model for $299 from Google starting November 13. T-Mobile will also sell the phone for $199.99 with a two-year contract.
It's a close call, but we think the Galaxy S III is the best Android phone on the market right now.
The Galaxy S III has a gorgeous 4.8-inch display, which is a delight to watch videos on. It also connects to the fastest 4G networks carriers offer.
Price: Starts at $199.99 with a two-year contract, but price varies by carrier (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and U.S. Cellular)
Apple's new iPhone 5 is the best smartphone you can buy right now. Is it the best for everyone? No. As with all things, it's a matter of personal preference.
For just about everyone though, the iPhone 5 has what you need. Apple improved the iPhone 5, adding a larger screen, thinner body, faster processor, and an LTE data connection. Couple that with Apple's excellent service and ecosystem, and you have the best phone you can buy today.
Price: Starts at $199 with a two-year contract (Sprint, Verizon, and AT&T)
Nokia is expected to launch its new flagship phone, the Lumia 920, in early November. The phone will be exclusive to AT&T at first, but we're still awaiting final details on software, pricing, and release date.
The Lumia 920 will be one of the first devices with Windows Phone 8, Microsoft's new mobile operating system.
Like Nokia, HTC also has a flagship Windows Phone launching in November. The Windows Phone 8x will ship with Windows Phone 8 and come in several colours ranging from black to lime green. We're still waiting for final details on software, price, and release date.
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