Hardware Guide

January 2013: We recognize this page is quite out of date and are working to update it.

While we don’t (yet) produce our own hardware, we do offer custom configured versions of off-the-shelf devices. We’re also often asked “which phone should I get?” or “which carrier should I choose?”, so we decided to gather that information here for you.

If you would like more information on our custom configured Guardian devices, please contact us. Otherwise, read on below…

Android Devices We Like


There is certainly no shortage of Android devices out there - some say too many. To combat confusion, we’re going to keep this list short and sweet. Our main criteria in compiling the list follows:

  • What is the general user experience? How responsive is the user interface?
  • What is the general battery life? Are you constantly tethered to an outlet?
  • How easy is it to root the device?
  • Does the device support external memory? <-  important for storing and disposing of sensitive materials
  • Lastly, we have to had used a device hands-on for it to make our list - oherwise it makes our wish list below.

Without further ado, here is our Top 3 List for Android handsets and tablets. If you know of any devices that you feel should take a place on the podium, please let us know!

Baseline Handsets******

  • Galaxy Nexus for $349 is hard to beat.

Affordable Handsets

  • ZTE devices can be ordered directly from China for $100-150 USD and are able to run CyanogenMOD on them

Tablets_ _****

  • Nexus 7 is the gold standard for affordable, but powerful.
  • Kindle Fires provide good value for price and are easy to root and rom.

_ __**
_ Other Root Friendly Devices

The folks over at Unrevoked have a very cool ‘Root Friendly’ list that provides great detail on a whole range of Android devices: Root Friendly List. You can also review the CyanogenMod Supported Devices page for a good overview of the handsets that best support custom, after-market tweaking.

For step-by-step information on how to root, please check out and contribute to our “Device Rooting Guide” on the Guardian Project Wiki.

Where to Buy

The explosion of Android devices in the market has resulted in a number of secondary electronics markets. Aside from the usual options like eBay and Craigslist, we’ve found that it’s often easy to get our hands on a good-as-new handset from any of the below vendors: