Smartphone Shopping Guide
A 1GHz Snapdragon processor, 4.3" display, 3G/4G support, 8MP rear camera, integrated kick stand, front-facing 1.3MP camera and plenty of horsepower to handle video calling are included. It's $199.99 on a 2-year Sprint contract, but you'll be paying $40/month for the 4G data plan regardless of whether you live in a 4G region or not.
Despite the reception issues, Apple's iPhone 4 is a solid smartphone if you're willing to use a case. We'd recommend using a case anyway for protection, but that's another story for another day. The new iPhone is still the world's only iOS 4 native smartphone, and it's packed with new features that are hard for loyal Apple users to ignore.
The Retina Display is second-to-none in terms of quality, and the A4 CPU is lightning quick. The addition of multi-tasking and FaceTime make this an easy sell, but the fact that it's only available on AT&T may make you pause. Most universities are within range of AT&T 3G (in our experience, anyway), so some of you may be in the clear. It's definitely AT&T's best smartphone, but it may not remain that way for long once a flood of Windows Phone 7 and Android phones come over. But regardless, the iPhone 4 still has the most abundant App Store and the most games available...for now.
While touch screen-based smartphones are all the rage right now, some users still prefer physical QWERTY keyboards. If that's you, the DROID 2 is likely your best option (or the DROID Incredible if you don't want a QWERTY keyboard, or the DROID X if you don't mind carrying a larger phone in exchange for a huge screen). The second generation of Motorola's DROID just recently shipped, and it'll be equipped with Android 2.2, support for Mobile HotSpot and a new design that's sleeker and more pocket-friendly.
It also feature a full slide-out QWERTY keyboard, support for Flash videos and websites, increased processing power and Verizon Wireless' heralded 3G coverage. At $199.99 on a 2-year contract, it's the same price as the other recommendations here. The network just might win you over, though.