Android, Windows, and even BlackBerry are stepping up their game against Apple, benefiting travelers. T+L’s tech expert finds which platform is best for you.
For the Organization Wiz
Windows 8: Seamless integration with any Windows device is the greatest selling point for this platform. We also love its resizable “live” tiles, which let you put what’s important to you—flight alerts, for example—front and center; innovative tap-to-pay technology; and travel-friendly features, from built-in Skype to top-of-the-line photo capabilities.
The Phone to Get: The sexy and slim Nokia Lumia 920 ($99) has some of the best picture modes we’ve ever tried.
For the Multitasker
BlackBerry 10: With its recent overhaul, BlackBerry is making a comeback. The productivity-minded inbox, called Hub, optimizes it for business; but there are also an array of after-work features, such as a camera that lets you pick the perfect still from a few seconds of footage, video chat–enhanced Messenger, and the most intuitive smartphone keyboard yet. A bonus: personal and work modes let you tune out the office when you’re at the beach.
The Phone to Get: The Z10 ($200) is ultra-lightweight, even with its big, 4.2-inch touch screen.
For the App Addict
iOS 6: Despite a rocky debut, Apple’s iOS 6 is still a powerhouse. Case in point: the Passbook feature, which includes scannable boarding passes, has become a standard-setting travel tool, and the camera’s new panorama photo mode is equal parts fun and practical. Plus, Apple is still first in line when it comes to debuting the most innovative apps, with more than 800,000 titles in its store.
The Phone to Get: The iPhone 5 ($199), with lightning-fast 4G LTE.
For the Gadget Junkie
Android Jelly Bean: Apple’s biggest competitor now claims half the U.S. market and more than 700,000 apps. Constant updates mean the Android keeps getting better; recent additions include resizable widgets, improved security features, and Google Now, a Siri-like, voice-activated search tool that sends you personalized updates, such as flight delays or traffic jams along your usual commute.
The Phone to Get: Google’s Nexus 4 ($299) accepts SIM cards from more than 200 carriers around the world.
Tom Samiljan is Travel + Leisure’s Tech Correspondent.