The Android Hardware Recommendation Thread


Staff member
By request: here's a place to talk about your experiences with Android hardware and Pleco; what did you look at, what did you end up buying, why, how has it worked out for you, etc. Please make sure to mention your cell carrier / country, since in a lot of cases that's the primary constraint on people's Android hardware choices.
Here is what I use for Pleco and why

Phone: Rezound
Carrier: Verizon
Reasons to use it for Pleco: Great HD screen, Better camera than Galaxy Nexus, and micro SD card slot
Non Pleco related reasons I bought it: HDMI out (via MHL), inductive charging, or extended battery option. Many ROMS available for customizing your phones capabilities. HTC's promise to update to ICS. (Which has now happened)
Cons: Sense. No cyanogen, or AOSP ROMS due to HTC not releasing source code (yet?) HTC's bluetooth stack doesn't support things like Sony controllers, and Wiimotes.
Price I paid: $100, with unlimited data contract extension
Phone I'd use Specifically for Pleco if carrier didn't matter: Galaxy Note

Tablet: HTC Flyer Wifi US
Carrier: N/A
Reasons to use it for Pleco: Only option for pen Input on a 7" device (Evo View is essentially the same.) Also has rear camera for OCR, that devices such as Nexus 7, and others don't. Bright IPS screen. micro SD slot
Non Pleco related reasons I bought it: Natively runs, GB, or HC, can be hacked to run ICS, and JB. Micro USB charging. HDMI out (via MHL). GSM version can be hacked to be a 7" phone :mrgreen: Loud and clear built in speakers. Has NEON extension support for hardware acceleration of HD video for media players such as Dice, and eventually XBMC. Large battery, aluminum unibody construction, landscape orientation front cam. Capacitive buttons, even on HC (with root and proper ROM.)
Cons: Sense. HTC's bluetooth stack doesn't support things like Sony controllers, and Wiimotes. No 100% working cyanogen, or AOSP ROMS due to HTC not releasing source code (yet?) single core processor. Screen resolution not as high as other 7 tabs i.e. Nexus 7. no rear camera flash LED
Price I paid: $200 refurbished at (no longer available last I checked)
*Note: Using stylus to navigate, and in non-ntrig optomized apps, only available in Honey Comb and above.
Tablet I'd use for Pleco, if it were out already: Samsung Note 7" assuming it has the specs, it's rumored to have.
Phone: HTC Desire S (no branding)
Screen size: 3.7"

In 2009 I was living in China and looking for a good dictionary. After I had tried some electronic dictionaries (Besta etc.) a friend convinced me to get Pleco, so I bought the Windows Mobile 6.5 Samsung i900 Omnia (3.2" screen). This was my first smartphone and especially Pleco was a great experience with the stylus pen. Like many others I was eagerly waiting for the first Beta on Android and once it got released I bought my first Android phone - the aforementioned Desire S.

Why I chose this phone: Like I mentioned in another thread, I don't like phone screens getting bigger and bigger. That's why I was looking for something in the range of the iPhone, which I think is just about right. The resolution and specs shouldn't be too shabby, either, since I wanted the phone to operate fluidly and without glitches (plus: micro SD slot, Wifi Hotspot, DLNA). At the time I bought the phone it cost me about 340€ (right now it's around 240€-260€, I think).

Reasons to use it for Pleco: Pleco, like most other Apps, runs pretty smoothly on this phone. I use it at home as well as on the road, daily.

Cons: HTC somewhat fooled their customers. They released a roadmap for Ice Cream Sandwich updates including the Desire S as well as the Desire HD. After the Desire HD ICS update was cancelled, they now apparently also cancelled the update for the Desire S. I was really looking forward to Android 4.0.4. Although, after I heard that many people had some problems with their updated devices (HTC Rezound for example) I also really am happy with my Gingerbread (2.3.5).

For the use at home I was also looking for a small tablet, which is more convenient when you're sitting on the sofa in front of the TV. I did not want to buy a really expensive tab, that's why I was looking forward to the Nexus 7, but no micro SD-slot is a deal-breaker for me. So I bought the Odys Next but sent it back due to poor battery performance (only 2 1/2 hours when used constantly). Other than that it was great for that price (110€). I will be going to China in a week and there I want to take a look at the Ainol Novo Flame. It really looks like a legitimate threat to the Nexus 7. It features a more powerful battery (5000mAh), it has a great resolution at 1280*800, micro SD-slot, HDMI. And it's supposed to feature a nice metal unibody. According to chinese retailers it will cost around 120€ in China, around 170€ elsewhere.

I hope I could help.


Xperia Mini: a tiny Android workhorse

Phone: Sony-Ericsson Xperia Mini
Price: around 140$ or 120€ at Amazon

With screens getting bigger release by release and phone companies pushing us towards the belief that only the highest resolution fits our needs, which is not true, this probably isn’t the phone of choice for most people. It does everything I need perfectly, though. I consider myself rather tech savvy, but I don’t want gadgets to play a huge role in my life. If it weren’t for Pleco, I’d not even use a smartphone. I need a cheap, durable droid that is considerably smaller than the other phones out there, but is still powerful enough to run a browser once in a while and to run Pleco.

The Xperia Mini has a small 3" screen with a 320*480px resolution. This workhorse sports a 1GHz CPU and 512MB RAM. It ships with a 2GB MicroSD card, which I instantly exchanged for a 32GB card. I use a cleaned and tweaked stock ROM (see xda-developers forum for more). Swype beta is the only installed input method, doing a perfect job for Chinese and other languages as well.

I mainly use the Mini as a phone, dictionary and encyclopedia, but also have GPS navigation and other ”once in a whiles” installed. With the whole Wikipedia in three languages as well as many dictionaries in Aard dict, the phone saves me a mobile internet flatrate. Despite the small screen and low resolution, casual surfing is no problem. I haven’t encountered any situation in which the interface would get sluggish or which would make it crash. Everything I tried to install works well. Pleco, as well as the Dolphin browser and other apps fire up almost instantly. Pleco’s other functions, like flashcards, camera OCR and reader work flawlessly. Due to the energy-efficient screen, the battery lasts 3-7 days per charge, depending on the time the screen is on, with heavy 2G and Pleco usage.

So, for all those who want a device to run Pleco, but don’t want to carry around an extra device, this might be interesting. Also for those who want full smartphone capability but don’t need a big screen: This is a real gem and one of the smallest powerhouses out there.
Phone: Motorola Atrix 4G MB860 (AT&T branded)
Carrier: China Mobile
Reasons I choose this phone: Great screen, 1GB RAM and 16GB of storage and micro SD card slot, zippy processor, HDMI out, fingerprint reader, fairly compact and solid feel. Many custom ROMs available. Motorola had promised to update the AT&T version to ICS by Q3 2012 but have now reneged on their promise :evil:.
Price: I bought this on Taobao and it's now available for just over Y1000 but they are refurbished.


Phone: HTC One X
I purchased an unlocked HTC One X from Singapore (on ebay) with the Tegra 3 Quad core processor and installed Pleco on it. Pleco ran beautifully but I had some issues with the VPN/VNC to my office and had to return the phone to HTC (Texas) for service. They held on to phone for about 5 weeks and finally admitted that they had not received replacement parts from Singapore but offered me the ATT dual core version as a replacement.

The ATT version (which I unlocked) has the dual core and certain applications run a little slower than on the quad core and the wi-fi is not quite as good but is still a splendid phone to be used with Pleco. My previous phone was an HTC touch Diamond and the upgrade to the Android HTC One X was amazing. I love getting about 2 1/2 times more screen real estate, with a phone that is only about 33% larger than last one and about the same weight.

The phone uses a micro SD card and when I go to China in a few weeks, will cut down my China mobile card to micro SIM size and put it in this new phone.

My carrier in the US is tMobile as I only use carriers with prepaid no contract options. My plan was to go with boost mobile, but althogh boost has a prepaid plan for HTC, it will only install on an HTC purchased through boost.

Cost of phone delivered was about $500

Thought this information might be useful to Pleco users considering HTC One X dual vs quad core and unlocked vs locked phone.
Phone (-like device): iPod Touch
Carrier: N/A
Reasons to use it for Pleco: Its small and easily fits in my pocket. It doesn't require an expensive data plan, either.
Non Pleco related reasons I bought it: It also runs most apps for the iPhone, some of which aren't available on Android.
Cons: Small screen, which lead me to...

Tablet: Asus Transformer TF101 16Gb running 4.0.3
Carrier: N/A
Reasons to use it for Pleco: The 10.1" screen is easier to read and gives me more room to draw on.
Non Pleco related reasons I bought it: I also use this for reading technical docs, particularly while in bed. It also has an optional keyboard that extends the battery hours. Also, wanted something that would run Flash so I could sit at the sports bar and get updates on my tablet, much of which uses Flash still. I'm using a 32Gb micro SD card to hold additional content. Its also an Android tablet, not an iPad.

I don't use Pleco on any device that has a monthly contract. Neither of my two devices has cell phone capability, although I've loaded SIP softphones on them that I'm experimenting with. Unfortunately, I can't tell yet if the places with free WiFi block the SIP ports or I don't have my server configured properly yet. A work in progress...

The ideal device for Pleco is one only George Jetson can get. You can make it any size you want by grabbing the edges and pulling it to size, it doesn't need an OS because it just works and does everything you want, it lasts for weeks before needing recharging, it recognizes who you are with biosensors, and when you're done using it, it fits in your wallet like a credit card. When one if these are available, I'm getting one... :D


Thanks for this thread and posts. It be helpful if posters would comment on
(1) how well the camera autofocuses, especially if they can make a comparison. )Also how good the camera is in general would be nice.)
(2) does it support using a stylus
(3) how well does the character recognition (when drawing) work (especially if you can compare to an iphone &/or other android)