Need a break from your laptop? These productivity phones offer a lot more than the ability to make calls. Here are the 10 best smartphones available today.
1. Apple 32GB iPhone 4
The Apple iPhone 4 ($199 for the 16GB model and $299 for the 32GB version, with a two-year contract from AT&T) is everything that a new piece of technology should be: It’s innovative, attractive, and ahead of its competition. In comparison, previous iPhone upgrades seem inconsequential–that’s how much iPhone 4 brings to the table. But one serious design flaw keeps it from being perfect.
2. HTC EVO 4G
HTC has struck gold again with the HTC EVO 4G ($200 with a two-year contract from Sprint), which is easily the best smartphone available on Sprint and is second to the HTC Droid Incredible (Verizon) as the best smartphone available today. The EVO 4G packs powerful specs and a lot of features in a slick, stylish design. The biggest drawback is that not everyone will get to experience 4G connectivity, one of the phone’s best features at launch–yet they’ll still have to pay for it.
3. Motorola Droid X
The follow-up to Motorola’s wildly popular Droid on Verizon, the Droid X ($200 with a two-year service contract from Verizon; available July 15) is one of the hottest phones to debut this summer. Its specs outshine those on the other Droid phones available on the network, but it falters a bit when it comes to performance. Nonetheless, the Droid X is one of the top phones to debut this summer, on a par with both the HTC EVO 4G and the iPhone 4.
4. HTC Droid Incredible
The best of the Droids on Verizon, the Droid Incredible ($200 with a two-year contract from Verizon) impresses with its speedy user interface, gorgeous AMOLED display and fun Sense user interface. Other than some minor design qualms, this smartphone truly lives up to its name.
Design-wise, the Droid Incredible appears fairly similar to the Nexus One, but it is essentially a CDMA version of the HTC Desire, which launched last February in Barcelona, Spain. The Droid Incredible has an 8-megapixel camera (as opposed to the Nexus One and Desire’s 5-megapixel shooters). The Droid Incredible also has a strange rubberdized “topographic” battery cover, which I could have done without. While the Incredible is lighter, it doesn’t feel as solid as the Nexus One.
5. Google Nexus One
The coveted “Google phone” is finally here, but the HTC Nexus One ($180 with a two-year contract with T-Mobile, or $530 unlocked; prices as of January 12, 2010) isn’t quite the superphone that Google intimated it would be. It lacks some valuable features–like multitouch and Outlook calendar syncing–that we’ve seen on competing models, and the Android keyboard can be difficult to use. That said, the Nexus One’s speedy Qualcomm Snapdragon 1GHz processor definitely sets it apart from the Android pack in performance.
6. Motorola Droid
The first time you pick up the Motorola Droid ($200 with a two-year contract from Verizon; price as of 10/28/09), you’ll notice its solid feel and heft–there’s a lot going on behind the crisp, 3.7-inch touchscreen. Making good use of Android 2.0’s new features, the Droid is a powerful Web surfing and communications tool that has a chance of living up to its hype. The Droid’s biggest flaw, however, is in its hardware design: The keyboard is shallow and flat, which can make typing uncomfortable.
7. Apple 32GB iPhone 3GS
It would be easy to dismiss the Apple iPhone 3GS as an inconsequential hardware upgrade. But to do so would underestimate how much, collectively, the phone’s new features augment the iPhone experience. With the iPhone 3GS, Apple solidifies its leadership position in a crowded smartphone landscape.
8. BlackBerry Bold 9700
Research In Motion’s BlackBerry Bold 9700 ($200 with a two-year T-Mobile contract; price as of 11/4/09) is the finest BlackBerry to date, combining the best of the BlackBerry Tour 9630 and the BlackBerry Bold 9000 in a slim and refined package. People looking for a major update to the original Bold might be disappointed, but BlackBerry fans will appreciate the handset’s subtle design tweaks and upgrades.
9. Palm Pre Plus
The Palm Pre Plus ($150 with a two-year contract from Verizon; price as of 1/20/10) is really more of an update of the original Pre on Sprint than a completely new product. Even so, the subtle hardware tweaks combined with Verizon’s speedy network makes it an overall improvement from its predecessor. Some quirks remain, however, with the keyboard design and the sluggishness of the software.
10. Motorola Cliq
The Motorola Cliq ($200 with a two-year contract from T-Mobile) caught my attention because of its sleek design and its innovative MotoBlur overlay for Android. Overall, the new features lived up to my expectations, and I applaud Motorola for doing something different to separate itself from the Android pack. The Cliq isn’t perfect, however: Its camera disappoints, and it doesn’t ship with the latest version of Android.