After waiting for what seemed like an eternity for Android Jelly Bean phones to ship, I’m glad to see that a flood of handsets with the coveted software has burst onto the mobile scene. Some of these devices, such as the HTC Droid DNA and LG Nexus 4, rolled straight off the assembly line boasting Google’s most modern OS. Older phones, like the Samsung Galaxy S3 and Motorola Droid Razr HD Maxx, just received this significant upgrade.
Take a look at this stellar list of smartphones that all offer a state-of-the-art Android experience. From the pure flavor only a true Nexus device can bring, to the tricked-out tweaks phone designers like to bring to the table, chances are good there’s a Jelly Bean handset here that will suit your specific tastes.
Editors’ note: The LG Optimus G was originally included in this story but sadly its Jelly Bean update is currently only available on the Korean model of the phone.
HTC Droid DNA (Verizon)
Unquestionably the best Droid device to have ever graced Verizon’s ranks, the HTC Droid DNA is not only the fastest smartphone we’ve tested yet. Running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean from the moment you turn it on and powered by a 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, there’s also no doubt this phone was genetically engineered for one purpose: to eat lesser handsets for breakfast.
HTC One X+ (AT&T)
A worthy followup to HTC’s last flagship device, the HTC One X+ puts a powerful quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor, big 4.7-inch LCD (1,280×720-pixel) screen, and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean in the palm of your hand. Its vast 64GB of internal storage, AT&T LTE 4G data connection, and excellent camera are icing on the cake.
LG Nexus 4 (T-Mobile)
As the newest official Nexus handset, the LG Nexus 4 offers both a premium glass design and a clean, elegant Android 4.2.1 Jelly Bean user interface to match. Boasting the most recent version of Android that you can get your hands on, the Nexus 4 is also driven by a 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon CPU and will likely be the first device to receive any fresh Android updates direct from Google.
Motorola Droid Razr Maxx HD
When it first launched last Fall, the Droid Razr Maxx HD was certainly one of the best mobile handsets to come along. It combined nimble dual-core processing with a big, 4.7-inch AMOLED screen, plus that legendary 3,300 mAh battery for longevity no smartphone can touch. Now that Motorola has thrown in an update to Android Jelly Bean, it’s an even more compelling option.
Samsung Galaxy Note II (multiple carriers)
Big, bad, and strutting the power of Samsung’s quad-core Exynos processor, the massive 5.5-inch Galaxy Note II was one of the first devices to ship with Android Jelly Bean out of the gate. Available on all five of America’s major wireless carriers, a few of the Note II’s other impressive skills are a superb 8-megapixel camera, and, yes, a stylus.
Samsung Galaxy S3 (multiple carriers)
Samsung’s Galaxy S3 has certainly been a big hit, but the dual-core handset that really shook up the iPhone’s apple cart is showing its age. Helping to extend the Galaxy’s shelf life is a fresh infusion of software, namely Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Also sold by practically all U.S. cellular providers, the GS3’s 8-megapixel camera takes excellent images and video and is still a mobile device to be respected. Read the full review of the Samsung Galaxy S3.