Android phones continue to grow in popularity even as the platform itself continues to evolve, and almost every week sees new models released onto the local market. Work out which option best suits your needs with this up-to-date summary of all the current deals available from Australian carriers.
We actually covered Android phones back in the first Planhacker column back in June. However, there's been enough new models released in the interim, along with changes to data allowances and other details, to make it worth revisiting the whole topic again. Indeed, amongst those phones which feature in both instalments, every single one has a different price and inclusions to last time.
Our broad approach is very much the same. The table below outlines each of the Android models offered on contract for non-business buyers by Australian carriers, including how much the phone will cost you over its life. With the exception of Vodafone (which offers 12 month options), contracts run for 24 months. Where publicised, we've also listed the outright buy price (if you take this route, our prepaid cap guide may be useful.
We haven't factored in bundling discounts or other special deals (such as online only bargains), but we have included 'bonus' data in the main listing if it actually applies over the entire life of the contract. We've quoted monthly handset costs in the same fashion as the carriers (Vodafone quotes handset charges as an extra, Virgin adds them on), but always included them in the total minimum cost.
For each carrier, we've listed the models available, which version of Android those phones run (an area where there's still lots of variation and far too many phones on 1.6), the contract length, the included data allowance, basic call cost information (including the amount of credit offered on each plan) and any other special quirks. Click on the link to access the table in PDF format.
We've emphasised data allowances because if you're using an Android phone, you'll certainly want to make use of browsing and apps just as much as calling, if not more. That's not to say the call costs aren't also important, but those are much more subject to individual factors when making a purchase decision (such as which networks people you call frequently use), so we haven't listed every last detail, though we have noted the main elements (connect charge, call rates and domestic SMS rates).
A couple of details: Telstra won't be selling the HTC Wildfire until the end of the month, and Optus is selling the LG Optimus but has no details on its site. Vodafone was selling the Nexus One but currently lists it as out of stock and no more are being manufactured.
If you have a particular phone in mind, that may well determine which carrier you go with, as many models are exclusive to a single company. If you do have a choice, then make sure you pick a carrier that actually works in the areas where you'll regularly use the phone. If you want to check out the details of a particular phone, we've linked to the reviews on our sibling site Gizmodo for each of the phones on sale in Australia:
- HTC Desire
- HTC Legend
- HTC Wildfire
- LG Optimus
- Motorola MB200 Dext
- Samsung Galaxy S
- Sony Ericsson X10
- Sony Ericsson X10 Mini
While choosing your phone remains an individual decision, there are a couple of obvious details to note. Telstra's data allowances on its Next G Cap plans have improved since we first ran this table, but remain fairly low on its non-cap plans (which do have cheaper calls). Vodafone is the only carrier with 12-month and 'unlimited' contracts, but its cheapest plans don't always make much sense given the high monthly handset charges. Virgin has an extremely wide range of plans, but the data allowances on its Easy Caps are too miserly to be worth serious consideration. Optus' plans offer good value for text-heavy users.
If you want to check more details on a specific plan, hit the links below:
Know a good Android package that we've missed? Spotted a mistake? (We don't claim to be perfect.) Tell us in the comments.
Lifehacker's weekly Planhacker column rounds up the best communication deals.