Smartphones

Slideshow: The 10 best smartphones of 2010

The best smartphones of 2010

With the rise of Android, the reboot of BlackBerry, and the redesigned iPhone, 2010 can rightly be called the year of the smartphone. Here are the 10 elite smartphones of the year.

To view this as a text-based list, see the companion blog post.

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

41 comments
rob123q
rob123q

It all comes down to what you like, one persons favorite phone will be someone elses nightmare phone. alot depends on the company you are with also. I have two iPhones phones, one with AT&T and one with Verizon. (one personal and one buisness). The AT&T iPhone works well except for AT&T's awful coverage in Western PA. The Verizon phone hardly ever drops calls and usually has a good signal. But they both seem like different phones due to AT&T's lousy service. I have user several Samsung phones, not liking any of them and really like the iPhone 4 (the Verizon one), but thats my opinion.

DonWagner
DonWagner

Nice, but personally opinionated descriptions. So here's mine. After having used my Samsung Moment for nearly a year. The only reason I can think of for upgrading would be a second camera. My point is, a phone is only as good as the service it connects with...and I'm been with Sprint for over 8-years, and I feel sorry for anyone that doesn't have a plan as good or better than my Sprint flat-rate plan. Happy New Year to everyone at TechRepublic for the great job they do. Ciao, 'ITZ~Navigator'

Christopher
Christopher

I've had an iPhone 4 for about 3 1/2 months. Its pretty, albeit rather limited in color choice and its touch screen is great, when it works. There's lots of times/situations it does not! Likewise the main selector button has become frustratingly and unpredictably intermittent. All those much bally hoed Apps out there are primarily intended for people with the mental and emotional age range of about 3 1/2 to 14 years. Yes there are a few that actually provide some added functionality, useful to mainstream, mature adults, but it is a very, very small portion. The absolutely worst thing about this phone, besides the fact that it is primarily a toy not a tool, is the Apple throttle grip on its use. Using iTunes for the primary interface is like using toothpicks and gum to build interplanetary craft. iTunes is a testament to Mr. Jobs greed, plain and simple. It is the worst damn music storage/player system ever and a truly crappy way to interface a computer with a mobile. Its obvious primary function is to flog content. Oh... and give me a break, micro sim cards and not user replaceable, limited life battery. Jobs has done the formerly believed impossible and eclipsed Gates as the pinnacle of arrogance and greed.

Khabonina
Khabonina

Well - maybe I'm still way behind - but when are getting a smartphone with Dual Sim capability - that is all I'm missing for a simple, organised life!!

singerdave2001
singerdave2001

Is this based on number of items sold or just an opinion?

bart.denturck
bart.denturck

I might be more effective to list the worst "smartphones" to push the vendors in the right direction. No more lies about battery life; set up a real life test to verify how many calls will be dropped or missed alltogether, how many system freezes...

pjaneiro
pjaneiro

I don't know, to me the real "smartphone" out there is and for moment still is the HTC 6800, yeah it runs windows mobile 6.1 Pro, yeah it's a bit bulky, but am i the oly one out there who thinks that a smartphone should be "smart" The iphone has yet to wow me, the android os, bah, both lack 2 major things "HTML mail support, and your exchange tasks and notes" and before anyone here tells me "but, there's an app for that" Windows phone don't need "apps for that" Also i can already hear, wait what ? iphone and droids do html email, no they don't, they read them but can't reply or send them by default, if i was forced to change my phone, i'd go for the iphone ,because of the vast apps, that could be usefull, but the iphone lacks another major thing, led indicators, you know : a litle led that tells me "hey you missed a call or you have mail or your bluetooth is on, want to get your data stolen ? I have a drawer full of htc's, iphones, droids, palms, but i still trust my good ol 2004 htc 6800, it runs garmin GPS, THE REAL ONE, not a dinky dink "google maps" like on the blackberry, sure it has no support, but hey, i need to read and write emails, check my tasks, check my notes and play tetris on a real keys ;-)

BCheever
BCheever

I really don't agree with the iPhone4 being at the top of the list. Why you would ask? Well, we have corporate executives at my work that use this phone. Let me reassure you, the antenna problems with the iPhone 4 have not been resolved. Some of them complain of dozens of dropped calls a day. I have another iPhone4 user who works in the field and has multiple OS crashes a day where the phone hard locks up and she has to hard reset the phone. The third reason is that the "facetime" feature that AT&T touts as so "useful" has to be utilized on a wifi only network and doesn't work on 3G or at&t's mobile data network. I also think the manufacturing quality of the iPhone4 vs the iPhone 3g or 3gs has gone down overall. Considering that we have had two phones in the last 3 months that were completely useless the day we got them from the store on AT&T (brand new purchase mind you). Until Apple can fix these MAJOR problems. As well as open up their way of thinking to allow fundamental internet technologies such as Flash Player and the widget feature of your phone to the phone. They will continue to suffer. I also think that we will continue to see more and more people getting frustrated with Apple and moving to the android platform phones. That's just my two cents...

timkelly59
timkelly59

Hey, let's not forget the HTC Aria, AKA Liberty, AKA Intruder. I have one of these and lovit. It's not as big as other HTC's but works very well.

gazhalim
gazhalim

I returned my HTC My touch slide, was a POS, and my iPhone is simplay a paperweight... Don't have any issues with my G2 though, it's fast, WiFi enabled, an android, and has excellent battery life...

rksharma
rksharma

the iphone 4 is certainly not the best phone. Just a misguided perception.

viweed
viweed

I think you took a bribe... the only phone worth owning your list is the Droid-X. How do I know that? Well, folks, I have two cellphone services: verizon and sprint. (Actually I also have a net10 but that's just for my mom to call me since it is free for her to call, she's not in this country). With two cellphone services both expiring at the same time, I got to try out all the phones on the list except the iphone (which I don't like at all, anyway). The Droid-X is the only phone I actually kiss once in a while. So very easy to use, long battery life (although I also added on an extra usb battery pack, but seldom need to use it). The spring HTC 4g was worthless, not user-friendly at all... I actually had to read the damned manual! Not so with the droid, as for the Blackberry fugitaboudit... who needs that tiny keyboard anyway? I can type on the screen of the Droid, it's learned my patterns and ppl go 'wow! you type so fast!' cause it learned my favorite words. I was using a lot more txt'g lingo, but not now that Droid knows me (I love it). Facebook, video uploads to youtube (great camera), corp email, four personal emails, taking my pulse on my cellphone, using the phone for token, etc etc etc... even my own websites are great looking on the phone (unlike cnn, they really don't have their act together anymore, but what can you expect from 'liberals'). Droid-X is 'it' for me, and I got my first cellphone about 20 years ago when they were mega expensive and your credit had to be 'top' to qualify, so I'm no beginner with this tool. As for open cellphones... hey it's not difficult to crack this phone, but I happen to like Verizon so I haven't bother.

trevorw
trevorw

Apparently, you don't use the IPhone 4. The reception is AWFUL! We have multiple phone users of all classes including all versions of the IPhone, most versions of Droid, and WP7. The IPhone 4 is dead last in reception. Who cares if the screens are fluid and pretty when your phone doesn't receive calls or connect to the internet. Its simply a disaster as a phone. This is a rotten and typical 'checklist' review not based on actual experience.

nuvala
nuvala

I think the NOKIA N900 is among the best smart phones for 2010

bccjj2000
bccjj2000

You missed the HTC G2 with Google (from T-Mobile)!!!!

coyote
coyote

The HTC HD2 has to be the worst phone in the world. Leave it to Microsoft ... Windows ... ouch.

SDSol
SDSol

I love my Fascinate (Verizon Galaxy S). However, due to Samsung's complete lack of will, effort, or perhaps ability to upgrade me to the current OS I will not purchase another Samsung phone. They have been promising "any day now" since September. They lost a long-time Samsung fanboy due to lack of support. Peace out Samsung.

wryterjccc
wryterjccc

Evo is indeed a battery hog. However, a third party battery changed my up time from less than 12 hours to nearly four days. A brick of a phone, but all the features. you could ask for

mearnhart
mearnhart

I have mine for a month & I love it. I had an 8800 then got a LG. Went to the Blackberry. I should have stayed with Blackberry.

mattlieblong
mattlieblong

I second the forgotten HTC HD2, albeit WM6.5 was a slug in the driver's seat of the racecar HD2, it was an amazing power house, until mine got stolen. Then I got an EVO 4G, which in my opinion, was the same phone as the HD2, with a slightly different shell, but the Android OS made a world of difference. Windows Phone 7 is too-little, too-late. iPhone 4 will suffer until the compatibility-stingy Jobs gets off his Apple shaped Shetland pony of a horse and opens up to standards like flash, he will be stuck on a small horse that only runs on a muddy AT&T track. The compeletely open potential (short of minimal carrier BS this can be defeated via rooting) will set Android in the leader's position.

herm.harrison
herm.harrison

The HTC HD2 deserves a spot in the top 10 as it is the only phone I know that can run Windows Mobile and Android not to mention the only Windows phone ever with the speed and memory to make Windows Mobile 6.5 run the way it should.

slobodan.hajdin
slobodan.hajdin

I agree. But, do you have equal signal quality in your land as I do? Or your's is better? Do we use same apps? On same OS? On same smartphone? Do you force 3G or have disabled it as I did? Conclusion: Even if we try hard, there is no fair comparison...

philip.arnold
philip.arnold

I completely agree with the requirement for worst smart phones, testing various real world parts: Battery life - only cell turned on Battery life - everything turned on Dropped calls Missed calls Call audio quality Bluetooth quality Screen quality in direct sunlight Signal strength (as various locations) Data signal strength (at various locations) Data speed Wifi strength (at various locations) Wifi speed System crashes - restarts required over usage period Screen responsiveness (sp?) Screen durability (vs impact, to test for general wear & tear) Phone build quality Accessory availability (standard cables, or design specific ones) I'm sure others can come up with MANY other tests, but that should get the ball rolling... Oh, and this test has to be completely advertising-money-absent, so Apple won't automatically win, because they've given back-handers. :-P

adolf
adolf

I have iPhone4 and I live in Indonesia and I have no problem with my iPhone. Multiple crashes a day??? Unbelievable.

hhitchco
hhitchco

What brand 3rd party battery did you get? 'Cause I'd like one too. BTW, not a brick but a substantial feeling piece of "ART", not a flimsy piece of crap like so many of the other cells out there..

chamberlainsusan
chamberlainsusan

I learned how to use smartphones on a BB Curve, which required many, many hard reboots. Only had to do one so far with my Torch (now I avoid the offending website, hP). I would not trade my stable, heavy-duty, fun Torch for any other smartphone!

skygold75
skygold75

Everyone is open to his or her opinion, but I expected the Blackberry Storm 2 to make the list I have been using mine for 14 monthly now and its solid

slobodan.hajdin
slobodan.hajdin

Not to try to start any wars, but HD2 is NOT only phone which can run both WM and Android. My HTC Blackstone is running both WM 6.5 and Froyo. Even my HTC Polaris is able to run Android... ;)

haseeb3
haseeb3

Mobile Phones Uk are the best mobile of the uk and different co lourd and good wallpaper and different featcher and good camera ======================================== [url="www.bankmobiles.com/category"]Mobile Phones Uk[/url]

haseeb3
haseeb3

Mobile Phones Uk are the best mobile of the uk and different co lourd and good wallpaper and different featcher and good camera ======================================== [url=www.bankmobiles.com/category]Mobile Phones Uk[/url]

haseeb3
haseeb3

Mobile Phones Uk are the best mobile of the uk and different co lourd and good wallpaper and different featcher and good camera ======================================== [url=http://www.bankmobiles.com/category]Mobile Phones Uk[/url]

haseeb3
haseeb3

Mobile Phones Uk are the best mobile of the uk and different co lourd and good wallpaper and different featcher and good camera ======================================== [url="http://www.bankmobiles.com/category"]Mobile Phones Uk[/url]

QnA
QnA

I agree, the HD2 deserves a place in the top 10 (though it was launched in October 2009). It has the biggest developer community of all phones, runs nearly every OS. Also it was the 1st Snapdragon phone, the 1st Hummer display etc etc. It deserves it's place in this top 10 even more than the IPhone 4. Because after all what did the 4 bring new into the market? More pixels, yes. For the rest nothing other phones already had. For example the SGS in june 2010. Or the HD2 in October 2009. The article gives the Iphone 4 a 1st spot based on the OS. I am not sure if that is an argument, but if it is, then again I have to disagree. It is not a bad OS, but to describe it as being tons better and more fluid than WP7 is a bit much. I would describe it more as the simplest OS around at the moment, but as soon as WP7 receives an update OS4 needs to take rapid action because it is starting to feel dated. WP7 will have a simple GUI PLUS lots more.

lianamurphy
lianamurphy

The HTC HD2 most definitely deserves to be in the Top 10. For a cross between a business phone and a 'fun' phone - this beats the iPhone hands down.

jcamposlisgolfe
jcamposlisgolfe

I fully agree with herm.harrison. In every "independent" site is considered one of the best(some number one) mobile ever produced- Without offending, I am sure Apple has spent a lot of money "influencing" some sites (like David Pogue in NYTimes) promoting the iPhone4, even forgetting the serious problems with the antena.But the life is like that!!

d_routhier
d_routhier

I'm afraid I totally disagree with the comments about the HD2. My girlfriend and I have had major problems with the phones since we got them in June 2010. One of the worse phones I've ever had!! (Even after doing the updates from the HTC website)

scottmay
scottmay

Okay I love my HD2 but I don't think it's too much to say. Everyone who see's my HD2 wants it, and really wants what it can do including iPhoners - just show them Swype for starters! Okay WM 6.5.x is near end of life but HTC made it work beautifully. Android - no worries, I run it in parallel and it will be very cool one day, maybe soon!

pear7777
pear7777

I totally agree, HD2 need a place in this lineup.

QnA
QnA

Have a look on the XDA Developers site. May I suggest to try the darkstone SuperRAM FroYo v1.5 build? Before you start download the same HTC ROM he has (3.14) and then put Android on your SD card as per his instructions. This way you do not risk anything. Above Android build runs fast and smoothly.