Look around; notice any pay phones in your area? Probably not, but what you do see are drivers and pedestrians with sleek phones or "Star Trek"-like Bluetooth devices snuggled against their ears. Getting rid of that old-fashioned house phone and joining in on the connectivity the rest of the world's tightly knit into requires a firm decision between a few of the best cellphone companies out there, such as AT&T and Verizon.
AT&T was the first company to brandish the iPhone 4. Even before that, AT&T was the only carrier of Apple's iPhone line. Branding aside, the iPhone 4 offers some of the best in-class features of any smartphone as of June 2011: the Retina Display 960 by 640 resolution, 800-to-1 contrast ratio, 720p high-definition video capture, multi-tasking with fast app-switching and background applications running music, GPS and more. One of the problems with the AT&T iPhone 4 however, is that when held a certain way it tends to lose signal.
Verizon's iPhone 4 looks exactly the same as the one offered by ATT, but there are minor differences, such as the inclusion of CDMA radio instead of the GSM radio. Otherwise, the Verzion iPhone still runs with the same 512MB of RAM, 960 by 640 Retina Display, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR. The Verizon iPhone can't use 3G data and voice simultaneously, not including text messages, and calls are sent to voice mail when using data on a 2G network or talking to two people on a call, something the AT&T version handles just fine.
Motorola Atrix 4G (AT&T)
The AT&T Motorola Atrix 4G does triple duty as a smartphone, laptop and desktop. As a smartphone, the Atrix handles well, packed with a 1-GHz dual-core CPU, 1GB of DDR2 RAM, 16GB storage with an expansion option via microSD and a 960-by-540 HD capacitive touch screen. The laptop and desktop dock accessories transform the phone into a computer, complete with a new interface known as "webtop." All in all, the Motorola Atrix 4G is a powerful phone and runs well with the Android OS on AT&T.
HTC Thunderbolt (Verizon)
The first glance at the Verizon HTC Thunderbolt may bring to mind Sprint's EVO 4G. The differences, however, are noticeable from the moment you pick up the device. The hardware feels thick and solid, and the kickstand on the back of the phone is useful for setting it up to watch videos or listen to music, thanks to the speaker hidden underneath the kickstand. Furthermore, the Thunderbolt's 4G LTE radios give it download speeds averaging between 5Mbps and 20Mbps. Like most HTC devices running Android, the Thunderbolt runs the Sense UI, featuring similar services such as the friend stream. Pre-installed on the device is Quick Office, Rhapsody and Kindle.
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