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Multitasking champs: top Android smartphones available with at least 3 GB RAM

Some say 4 GB RAM is overkill for today’s smartphones. Others feel they don’t even need 3 gigs. After all, Android Lollipop was specifically optimized to work smoothly on 1 GB memory systems, right?

Android multitasking

Yeah, well, that didn’t quite go as planned, based on rampant recent reports of 5.0-induced memory bleeds, but nonetheless, you’ll hear many mobile consumers, including so-called power users, advocating for a more moderate technological progress.

They’ll argue you can’t multitask on a 5-inch screen as you do on 15 or 17 inches, and point at the vast majority of semi-affordable laptops which do just fine with 4 gigabytes of the good stuff. Surely therefore, their smaller, humbler “brothers” should handle everyday tasks using less memory.

4 GB RAM

While that may in part be currently true, it doesn’t mean it’ll be tomorrow as well. And overall, don’t you want your flagship devices to offer future-proofing? That’s the big challenge hardware manufacturers tackle with each high-end release, and we’re glad to see so many of them watching our backs.

No, 4 GB RAM handhelds aren’t standard yet, but the road has been paved, and here’s a lengthy list of readily available multitasking powerhouses with at least 3 gigs:  

Asus ZenFone 2 – $299

A pioneer and record breaker back in January, the world’s first 4 GB RAM phone has recently gone on sale via Amazon, ahead of both Xiaomi’s Mi Note Pro and Lenovo’s K80. Even more remarkable, it’s significantly cheaper than essentially all its 3 gig rivals.

Asus ZenFone 2

You’d think such a feat can only be possible with the adoption of a lackluster CPU, and while the Intel Atom Z3580 is no Snapdragon 810 contender, it delivers plenty of raw speed. Other stellar features? 1,080p 5.5-inch screen, 64 GB internal storage, LTE connectivity, 13 MP and 5 MP cameras, Android 5.0.

Samsung Galaxy S6 – $200 with Verizon or Sprint pacts; $0 with financing at AT&T; $615 unlocked

Samsung Galaxy S6

The non-curvy and the edgy S6 variants are equally muscular and very impressive activity jugglers, with a phenomenal Exynos 7420 SoC holding up the generous 3 GB memory. Why did we pick the “bland” S6 for today’s little listicle then? Simple – it’s far more affordable. Plus, fashionable in its own right.

LG G4 – no upfront charge for AT&T; $200 on-contract at Verizon and Sprint

Barely out for a few days stateside, the G4 can be purchased with a number of freebies, but its most precious assets are perhaps the controversial, always chilly hexa-core Snapdragon 808 chip and 3 GB RAM.

LG G4

Photo buffs will no doubt have a field day dabbling in the 16 MP “professional” camera’s advanced controls and post-processing effects, all of which however need copious amounts of memory to function properly and without a stutter.

LG G3 – $0.01 with Verizon or Sprint agreements

LG-G3

Watch out for the (suspiciously) inexpensive $333 factory unlocked international D855 model. There’s a good reason it’s so cheap. Unlike Big Red and the Now Network’s G3 editions, that one caps off at 16 GB storage space and – gasp – 2 GB RAM. Unacceptable, since Android M is nigh, and the platform’s memory thirst could well increase. Probably not, but you never know.

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 – starting at $230 for Verizon; $548 factory unlocked

Galaxy Note 4 Verizon

 

Why so expensive, Sammy?! Do you forget the GNote 4 is yesterday’s news, with quad-core Snapdragon 805 or octa-core Exynos 5433 inside? 3 gigs of RAM alongside the aging SoC(s), of course, but sooner or later, prices, especially with contracts, have to drop. Extensively.

Sony Xperia Z3 – $480 factory unlocked; $30 and up in Verizon-exclusive Z3v configuration

Sony Xperia Z3

Also yesterday’s news, the Z3/Z3v, which is not one and the same as the Z3+, packs an older Snapdragon family member, namely the 801. Needless to highlight general system performance stands decidedly behind the GS6 or LG G4, but on the plus side, $490 is no $650. Granted, it’s close, yet every penny counts when dealing with all-around similar hardware configurations.

HTC One M9 – $200 with Verizon or Sprint pacts; $649 factory unlocked

HTC One M9

Speaking of similar endowments, the M9 fails to shine on the display resolution or camera fronts, not really offering a lot to work with for hardcore photo or video editing multitaskers. For gaming, web browsing or 1,080p content consumption (or all at once), the octa-core Snapdragon 810 processor inside is ideal… when it doesn’t overheat.

Google/Motorola Nexus 6 – starting at $500

Nexus 6

Word of advice – grab it while it’s hot discounted. At $650 and up, it wasn’t worth the effort. At $500, it’s a bargain, the key downside remaining the finite local hoarding space. No microSD support for Nexus buyers, though the gargantuan, sharp 6-inch Quad HD panel, quad-core S805 CPU, 13 MP OIS camera, 3,220 mAh battery and, last but not least, 3 GB RAM should more than make up for the inconvenience.

Huawei Ascend Mate 7 – $505

Surprised to see the nichey, more or less Asian-exclusive Mate 7 in such outstanding, Western mainstream company? Importers are the best, particularly when they don’t get too greedy and sell premium flavors of exquisite China-made gadgets at (relatively) fair prices.

Huawei Ascend Mate 7

Don’t even think of going for this $445 Mate 7, equipped with a 16 GB ROM and 2 GB RAM. 60 bucks extra is surely not a lot to ask for double the storage space and a full gig of random-access memory more. Anything else you should be psyched about here? Of course – a nearly record-setting 77.6 percent screen-to-body ratio, fingerprint sensor, beautiful FHD 6-inch screen, 7.9 mm waist and octa-core heat.

Lenovo Vibe Z2 Pro – $343

Lenovo Vibe Z2 Pro

Another unpopular choice to wrap up a very popular list, the Z2 Pro ain’t easy to find on American shores, but if you follow our lead, you’ll get it at a highly lucrative price. Less than $350 for 3 GB RAM, 32 GB storage (non-expandable, unfortunately), 6-inch Quad HD glass, 16 MP dual-LED flash OIS rear cam, 5 MP selfie shooter and 4,000 mAh battery juice? This is madness! No, this is Lenovo looking for global fame.