Looking for a new phone in the near future... Suggestions?

I currently have an HTC Evo 4G and I'm hopping between Deck's Reloaded (Gingerbread) and Mazwoz Evo (Jellybean), and while it's not a bad phone, it's kinda falling apart. My contract is actually up March 3rd, and on that day, I intend to leave Sprint.

What I'm looking for is a phone that is about (guidlines; not laws, unless bolded)

5" Screen (give or take half an inch; a "Phablet" if you will),

16:10 aspect ratio (I don't like how 16:9 feels in portrait on large phones; ex Note 2)

720p or greater

Dual-core 1.2 GHz+ with a newer architecture (ARM Cortex A9+, Krait, etc.)

Zero Shutter lag camera (5MP or better; more concerned with image quality vs pixels)

affordability - $400-$500 (no contract/unlocked); willing to pay more if phone necessitates

Dev support (ie custom roms - Android) or clean efficient stock operating system (maybe Firefox OS?) that can "tether", or share network acess to a computer

Expandable storage is a plus, but I don't see myself using more than 16GB. I would say I would like a removable battery, but I'm more concerned with phone lock ups (flash whore here), vs expanding the battery. If the phone has a way to hard shut down in case of lock up, then I don't care if the battery is removable or not. I'd also prefer it to have compatability with T-Mobile's network, or a network that offers unlimited, unthrottled data for $60 or less.

I think the international Galaxy Note (GT-N7000) fits the bill well, but I have conerns about compatability. It's NOT 3G compatible with Simple Mobile (T-mobile) as they utilize the 1700MHz band, but I think T-mobile itself utilizes 1900MHz as well, so I'm not 100% if it will work with T-mobile.

Just making sure I have considered all the options. I did look at the LG Optimus G, and more or less liked it, but there wasn't any dev support. I just want some more options before I make a decision.

I know what I'm going to suggest in not perfect, but why dont you look at the nexus 4. its an open contract phone and the 16 gb is only $350. it has a 4.7 in screen with a 1280x768 res. it has the zero shutter lag because of jelly bean.

The hardware seems too integrated: non-expandable memory, non-removable battery, and I need at least capacitive buttons; I can not stand the on-screen button design. Plus, there is an over-heating/throttling issue. It's a great concept, but I don't like the way it was implemented. I might bite the bullet on it if I can't get the Note.

I read somwhere that Asus may be entering into the mobile market along with some new companies this year. Perhaps waiting for a few months might offer more of a choice for you.

Yeah, I had my eyes on the Padfone 2 for a while, but that thing is ridiculously expensive, about $750.

As i see it only the galaxy s3 and note 2 manage to check most of the points in your list. The S2 and Note 1 do not have zero shutter lag, and while jelly bean helps, it doesn't even compare to the cameras in s3 note 2 in speed or picture quality. Also, the Note 1 isn't getting all that dev-love anymore, in my opinion. Otherwise it's a great phone, since its basically an S2 with pen and larger screen. Still, the Note 2 beats it in every aspect. And the thing about aspect ratios: you get used to that SOO fast. Actually, 16:9 being slimmer, it has the advantage of being easier to handle with one hand, and is less likely to be dropped.

Some unreleased phones:

The Xperia Z is also a good runner up if you can look past the fact of not having interchangable battery and on screen buttons.

Lg optimus G pro is also a good one but will probably not have nearly as big a rom-dev community as any samsung or sony flag ship phone.

The galaxy s4 is rumored to be out around april, and will probably be your best choice except for the price. 

http://www.asus.com/Tablet_Mobile/PadFone2/ 13mega pixle camra   http://www.gizmag.com/asus-padfone-2/24577/

or wait until April or may and get a tegra 4 phone! or a phone that has a working ubuntu port.

The only specs I listed that laws are screen size and quality as I will be using my phone for media consumption a lot. As for the rest, I don't mind if doesn't a few minor things. You might be right with the 16:9 ratio, but just the sheer size of any 5"+ makes the phone difficult to use with one hand, so I figured it would better with two hands. Plus the quality is a mixed bag for me. I like the punchy colors the Super AMOLED screens offer on the GS3 and GN2, but there is an issue with black clipping (displays black instead of dark colors), and the sub-pixel layout throws off colors as well.

I really can't get over the on screen buttons, otherwise I would have gone with the Xperia T. After Sony got OEM of the year on XDA, I've definitely been on the look out for one of their phones. The Xperia T is an otherwise perfect phone.

Droid DNA might not be a bad option to look at.

Black clipping is pretty much resolved with custom roms/kernels. Remember having it in the beginning and now no more. Didnt bother me much to begin with. Here's one of the good kernels for instance:


I heard it was a software issue. I take it the sub-pixel layout doesn't bother you much either?

If not, then I'll re-consider the Note II.

Subpixel-stuff hasn't bothered me at all. It did bother me in the first Galaxy S, but with todays phones the pixel density is cranked up so high you could hardly notice it. Though i must say i see a slight improvement with kernels that have "mdnie sharpness" fix. But then we have all the other positive points with amoleds such as the viewing angles, bright colors, and deep black. 

Anyway, the Note 2 is non-pentile, so you wouldn't be bothered by that anyhow.

What about the Sony Xperia Z? 

thanks for the help. The Note II sounds a lot better than it did before. My last issue would be USB Mass Storage; is it possible to mount the SD card without MTP/PTP? I think that's another software issue, and I just want to double check that can be fixed via custom ROMs/kernels/fixes.


Droid DNA might not be a bad option to look at.

Definitely an interesting phone, but it's on Verizon's network. I'll double check the radios to make sure it isn't CDMA only (otherwise I'm stuck with MetroPCS -_-), and then there is also the issue of unlocking it.  Plus, I've noticed HTC isn't as dev friendly as they used to be. I'll give it a more in-depth look though.



What about the Sony Xperia Z?

I hate on-screen buttons. If the button is going to persistent, then it should be a physical/capacitive button, otherwise it's a colossal waste of screen real estate.

Looks to me like you actualy already made a choise (Note 2) but you are looking for confirmation from a couple of people. 

I personaly do not like the looks of the note 2 but the specs are insane and the ROM support for it also is good so if i were in your place i would pick the note 2. If you want good ROM support you should always go with a samsung or a nexus device since these are the most popular.  

Well, originally I was looking at the Note 1 international, but now I'm reconsidering the Note 2. I don't like the overall stying either, but they don't commit any of my cardinal sins, so I think it's something I'll get over.

EPIC THREAD REVIVAL... ok, not that epic, but still. I ended up switching to T-Mobile, got the Note 2 last night, and already rooted it and running a custom rom (JediCM). So far, I love it, except for a few minor things. First, the accessories suck. The styling is a blatant rip off of Apple, and I hate apple. The white really sticks out on the Titanium Grey. Second, MTP, but I'm still looking into enabling USB Mass Storage for the external SD.

Also, I thought I'd share some speed test from their 3.5G HSPA+ (much faster than Sprint here in the bay area, even their 4G WiMAX)

The other knit-pick that doesn't have to do with the phone itself is the development isn't as active as I'd hoped. For one, I can't find an official CM build, so I'm wondering, is there some cross-compatibility with the T-Mobile Note 2 (SGH-T889) and other variants in terms of ROMs? I noticed that one of the root methods had the international model number (GT-N7100).