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Top 10 Phones of 2009

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This post started out when I got a request from @jNatividad23 to make a list of what I think the top phones of 2009 are. I thought it'd be an interesting idea, since cell phones are all I talk about nowadays. This list has been made up based on other reviews or the spec sheets that I have read and, of course, my own opinions - basically how the phone stacks up on paper. All of the specs are courtesy of other sources linked on my blog or GSM Arena. So here goes:











10. Samsung (I8000) Omnia II - This phone is, obviously, the direct successor to the original Omnia and Samsung has changed it enough to impress me. The Omnia II has: a 3.7-inch AMOLED resistive touchscreen display with a 480 x 800 resolution, a 5MP AF camera (with an LED flash, geo-tagging support, and face / smile detection) that's capable of shooting video at 720 x 480 resolution, a Samsung S3C6410 800MHz CPU with a dedicated graphics accelerator, 2/8/16GB of internal storage, 256MB of RAM, a microSD card slot, WiFi b/g with DLNA / Bluetooth 2.0 + A2DP / aGPS support, a 3.5mm headphone jack, Stereo FM radio with RDS, quad-band GSM / tri-band HSDPA connectivity, and a 1,500 mAh battery.



Samsung developed this new AMOLED display back in the beginning of June, so I'm glad to see that they're already shipping these out. I don't think anyone will be upset with the clarity of a 3.7-inch AMOLED display with a 480 x 800 resolution. I don't know how good the TouchWiz 2.0 UI, but I've heard that it's been greatly improved since version 1.0. Thankfully, it's just 11.9mm thick.


Unfortunately, the display is a resistive touchscreen so it's not as responsive as it could be. I tested this handset in stores and it was running Windows Mobile 6.5, but it was fairly sluggish - which made me quite sad. The widgets on the home screen were quite laggy and Samsung's customized UI is not as good as HTC's.


You can check out the Samsung (I8000) Omnia II here or on GSM Arena (photo credit), if you'd like.




















9. Samsung B7610 OmniaPRO - Here is a great QWERTY keyboard-packed phone and it has amazing specs. The OmniaPRO has: a 3.5-inch AMOLED resistive touchscreen display with a 480 x 800 resolution, a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, a 5MP AF camera (with an LED flash, geo-tagging support, and face / smile detection) capable of recording D1 video (720 x 480 resolution), a Samsung S3C6410 800MHz CPU with a dedicated graphics accelerator, 256MB of RAM, 2GB of internal storage, a microSD card slot, WiFi b/g with DLNA / aGPS / Bluetooth 2.0 + A2DP support, a 3.5mm headphone jack, Stereo FM radio with RDS, quad-band GSM / dual-band HSDPA connectivity, and a 1,500 mAh battery.

Thankfully, it's got a full slide-out QWERTY keyboard, which is a great addition to any mobile phone. Like the Samsung I8000 Omnia II, this handset is also rocking Samsung's new AMOLED display that has a high 480 x 800 resolution. This is sure to bring you the crispest pictures and video you've ever seen on a mobile phone. An 800MHz CPU also joins the party, which is welcomed. This phone beat out the Samsung I8000 Omnia II simply because it has a physical QWERTY keyboard and the virtually identical spec sheet.


But, like I said, this phone has a resistive touchscreen display which is a let down. However, Samsung has placed their new "Advanced R Touch" technology on this handset. At this point, I don't know how much it will improve the touchscreen of the device. Another let down is, of course, the OS. Windows Mobile 6.5 hasn't received the best of reviews, but if you can get past the slight lag it'll do. WinMo is still quite good in the mobile OS world, they just need to improve the UI and the speed of it. Another bad thing is that it's 16.2mm thick, simply because of the QWERTY keyboard. A like it or hate it kind of thing is the back battery cover - it's red.


You can check out the Samsung B7610 OmniaPRO here or on GSM Arena (photo credit), if you'd like.



8. Nokia N900 - This is Nokia's first Maemo 5 device and I've read that the OS is quite nice, especially since it comes with full Flash support. The Nokia N900 features: a 3.5-inch resistive touchscreen display with a 480 x 800 resolution, 32GB of internal storage, 256MB of RAM, a microSD card slot, a 5MP AF camera (with a Carl Zeiss lens and a dual-LED flash) capable of shooting WVGA video, WiFi b/g with DLNA / Bluetooth 2.1 + A2DP / aGPS support, an ARM Cortex A8 600MHz CPU with PowerVR SGX graphics, an FM radio / transmitter, a secondary video calling camera, a TV output, a 3.5mm headphone jack, quad-band GSM / tri-band HSDPA connectivity, and a slide-out QWERTY keyboard.

This handset comes with more goodies like Skype and Google Talk VoIP integration, which is great for the future. I'm sure Skype will integrate video into their mobile software soon, especially with Fring doing that with the iPhone and certain S60 devices. Hopefully they roll out support for my device soon, just saying.
Unfortunately no phone is perfect. The resistive touchscreen display isn't as responsive as people would've liked and it's fairly thick at 18mm. The thickness wouldn't bother me much though since I always have baggy pockets and the phone I have right now is 17.9mm (it's an N81) - and I don't mind it.


You can check out the Nokia N900 here or on GSM Arena (photo credit), if you'd like.



7. Sony Ericsson Satio (Idou) - Sony Ericsson has had a really rough year, reporting losses left and right, but they're looking to turn that around. Behold, the Sony Ericsson Satio formerly called the Idou. The Satio has: a 3.5-inch resistive touchscreen display with a 360 x 640 resolution, a 12MP AF camera capable of recording VGA video, an ARM Cortex A8 600MHz CPU with PowerVR SGX graphics, 128MB of internal storage, a microSD card slot, 256MB of RAM, Bluetooth 2.0 + A2DP / aGPS / WiFi b/g with DLNA support, Stereo FM radio, quad-band GSM / dual-band HSDPA connectivity (the Satio(a) has tri-band HSDPA for the Americas), a secondary video calling camera, and a 1,000 mAh battery. The camera is really impressive, it has a xenon flash, touch-focus / geo-tagging support, and face / smile detection.

What it doesn't tell us on the spec sheet is that the Satio is capable of playing PlayStation games in nHD (ninth High Definition) format. We don't know how well the Satio will play games, but it does have the same CPU as the iPhone 3GS, which is a good thing. We'll know more about the gaming capabilities of this phone in the future. The camera is more than impressive, but just remember that megapixels aren't everything. I should probably mention that you get an 8GB microSD card in the box.

As of right now, the inclusion of a 3.5mm headphone jack has not been mentioned yet, so I'll assume that it doesn't have one. This is a huge let down to most people out there. The touchscreen is supposedly resistive, but it's not confirmed yet. The Satio runs on S60 and it's not as touch-friendly as some of the other OS's out there. Like the LG BL40 - which didn't make my list - it has a small 1,000 mAh battery.

You can check out the Sony Ericsson Satio (Idou) here or on GSM Arena (photo credit), if you'd like.


6. iPhone 3GS - Although this is probably the phone that would top everyone's list, it clearly doesn't top mine. The iPhone 3GS has: a scratch-resistant 3.5-inch capacitive multi-touchscreen display with a 320 x 480 resolution, a 3.2MP AF camera (with touch-focus and geo-tagging support) with VGA video capabilities, an ARM Cortex A8 600MHz CPU with PowerVR SGX graphics, a 3.5mm headphone jack, 16/32GB of internal memory, 256MB of RAM, WiFi b/g / Bluetooth 2.1 + A2DP (only headset support) / aGPS support, a digital compass, and of course, the App Store.

The display is arguably the best touchscreen that the mobile world has ever seen and the CPU speed bump is welcomed, especially since the UI was already extremely snappy to begin with - which is evident in the iPhone 3G. The CPU can be used for some hardcore iPhone gaming, which isn't a bad thing. The camera is an improvement over the iPhone 3G, since it can record 30fps VGA video and it also got a small bump up to 3.2MP; it also has touch focus and geo-tagging support. But let's get right down to it, without Apple's App Store the iPhone 3GS would not be on my list. The App Store makes this phone what it is. The iPhone 3GS is very easy to use and the Apps make this phone do virtually anything you want to do. You can have Apps that will keep up with your Twitter, Facebook, e-mail via push notifications, and the list goes on and on. At least 100,000 of them to choose from.

However, there are bad things about the iPhone 3GS, don't get me wrong. The 3.2MP camera is good, but it doesn't have flash, the (1,219 mAh) battery life is definitely not the best around, and the back of the iPhone attracts some fingerprint smudges. Not to mention, there's no Flash support on the iPhone 3GS, which is a let down. The negative aspects of this phone are pretty minimal, but they're still present and that's my point. Nothing's perfect, especially not the iPhone.

You can check out the iPhone 3GS here or on GSM Arena (photo credit), if you'd like.


5. Samsung i8910 Omnia HD - To be honest, I don't know how you can dislike this phone. It's completely packed with superb features. The i8910 Omnia HD has: a scratch-resistant 3.7-inch AMOLED capacitive touchscreen display with a 360 x 640 resolution, a 3.5mm headphone jack, 8/16GB of internal memory, Virtual 5.1 channel Dolby surround speakers / DNSe 2.0, 256MB of RAM, a microSD card slot, WiFi b/g with DLNA / Bluetooth 2.0 + A2DP / aGPS support, an 8MP AF camera capable of recording 720p video, an ARM Cortex A8 600MHz CPU with PowerVR SGX graphics, Stereo FM radio with RDS support, a CIF secondary video camera on the front, a digital compass, and a 1,500 mAh battery.

Besides the 8-megapixel goodness, the camera also comes equipped with: an LED-flash, geo-tagging support, face / smile / blink detection, and image stabilization. The 3.7-inch display is the largest AMOLED to hit a mobile phone, but unfortunately, it's not the best one to hit Samsung devices. The Samsung I8000 Omnia II - mentioned earlier - has a 3.7-inch AMOLED display as well, but it has an improved 480 x 800 resolution.

There's not much to dislike about this handset, but it does have a couple of underwhelming features. The i8910 Omnia HD runs on Symbian S60 5th Edition and it's not as touch-friendly as the iPhone OS. The browser also doesn't have Flash support right now, but that's limited to a few handsets at this point.

You can check out the Samsung i8910 HD here or on GSM Arena (photo credit), if you'd like.

4. Motorola DROID / MILESTONE - The DROID. If you live in North America you should know about this handset, the robot phone as the advertisements say. It has launched on Verizon as the Motorola DROID, but it's hitting everywhere else as the MILESTONE (including Canada via Telus in 2010) This handset features: a 3.7-inch capacitive touchscreen display with a 480 x 854 resolution, a 3.5mm headphone jack, a 5MP AF camera (with dual-LED flash, geo-tagging support, and image stabilization) capable of shooting D1 video, a microSD card slot (8GB card included), WiFi b/g / Bluetooth 2.1 + A2DP / aGPS support, a slide-out QWERTY keyboard with an optical trackpad, an ARM Cortex A8 550MHz CPU, a digital compass, quad-band GSM / dual-band HSDPA connectivity, and a 1,400 mAh battery.

This handset - right now - is the best Android handset to date. This handset features Android's latest OS, version 2.0 "Eclair", which is definitely a step up from all the other versions of Android. The inclusion of Google Maps Navigation is definitely a positive, but unfortunately, it's limited to the DROID. The MILESTONE will not be getting it. The DROID doesn't have multitouch out-of-the-box (it does support it though), but the MILESTONE does which is great news since I live in Canada.

You can check out the Motorola DROID / MILESTONE here or on GSM Arena (photo credit), if you'd like.

3. HTC HD2 - This is a large and amazing handset. The HTC HD2 has: a huge 4.3-inch WVGA capacitive multi-touchscreen display with a 480 x 800 resolution, a 1GHz Qualcomm MSM8250 Snapdragon CPU, WiFi b/g / Bluetooth 2.1 + A2DP / aGPS support, a 5MP AF camera (with a dual-LED flash and geo-tagging support) with VGA video capabilities, a 3.5mm headphone jack, 512MB of ROM, 448MB of RAM, quad-band GSM / dual-band HSDPA connectivity, Stereo FM radio with RDS support, a microSD card slot, a digital compass, and a 1,230 mAh battery.

This phone has an impressive spec sheet, to say the least. Its 4.3-inch display will be the largest ever display on a mobile phone - beating out the likes of the 4.1-inch Toshiba TG01. The inclusion of the 1GHz Snapdragon CPU will also be welcomed, especially since it's going to run WinMo 6.5 Professional where all the CPU speed is going to be needed. HTC has thankfully polished WinMo 6.5 with their own cutomized Sense UI which is amazing. The display is capacitive which will make it - I believe - the first WinMo mobile phone to rock a capacitive [and even multitouch] display.

You can check out the HTC HD2 here or on GSM Arena (photo credit), if you'd like.

2. Google Nexus One - This handset hasn't been made officially official by Google themselves, but we know it's out there and the specs were just leaked out this morning (special thanks to Engadget). Unfortunately, I don't believe it was enough to eclipse the number one phone on my list (on paper at least). This handset is truly impressive, since we believe it's coming from Google themselves. It's the Nexus One (picture source: Engadget).


The Google Nexus One is packing a punch in the specification department with its: 3.7-inch AMOLED WVGA touchscreen display, a 5MP AF camera (with an LED flash and 2x digital zoom), 512MB of RAM, 512MB of ROM, a microSD card slot (4GB in the box), WiFi a/b/g/n / Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR / aGPS support, a Qualcomm QSD 8250 1GHz Snapdragon CPU, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a 1,400 mAh battery.

That's not all though. This handset will also feature a secondary microphone which will cancel out your background noise when you talk, this is a nice feature to have. Of course, it'll be running the Android OS and it'll be version 2.1. The Android app store is approaching 20,000 apps, so you have a ton of them to choose from (although it's nowhere near Apple's 100,000 apps and counting). Unfortunately, this handset is lacking a QWERTY keyboard, but that helps keep the phone at 11.5mm (the iPhone 3GS is 12.3mm). This handset will also be capable of running on T-Mobile's 3G network, but not AT&T's (it'll run on AT&T's EDGE network though). This means that it'll be capable of running on WIND Mobile's 3G network in Canada as well.

You can also check out the Google Nexus One here.

1. Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 - It wasn't a tough decision, even though I've always hated Sony Ericsson; I once hoped that they would just go bankrupt already, since they release the same cheap Walkman phones over and over again. However, the XPERIA X10 was made official about a month ago and the specs are pretty damn good. The XPERIA X10 is my number one phone to-date, even though it hasn't been released yet. Its specs are truly promising.

The Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 has: a scratch-resistant 4-inch OLED touchscreen display with a 480 x 854 resolution, an 8.1MP AF camera capable of recording WVGA video, 1GB of internal storage, 256MB of RAM, a microSD card slot (8GB card included), a 3.5mm headphone jack, and WiFi b/g with DLNA / Bluetooth 2.1 + A2DP / aGPS support. The camera is equipped with: 16x digital zoom, an LED-flash, image stabilization, face detection, smile shutter, and geo-tagging support.

In addition, this phone is running a sexy and customized build of Android 2.0 (as seen here). And yes, I know what you're saying. How can this be your number one phone when it hasn't been released yet? Well, GSM Arena got their first look at this handset and mentioned that it is running a Qualcomm QSD8250 1GHz Snapdragon CPU.

What also makes the XPERIA X10 interesting is that it's looking like it will be Sony Ericsson's first Android handset, since they haven't announced anything else yet. Somewhere down the line though, it looks like Android devices will have multitouch support. 4-inch capacitive touchscreen display + 1GHz Snapdragon CPU + sexy and customized Android build + an 8MP camera = Love.

The bad thing about this handset is that it won't be available until early 2010. If you were to pick the Google Nexus One or the HTC HD2 over this handset, I couldn't and wouldn't argue with you. They're all great handsets, but the fact that this runs Android, has a 1GHz Snapdragon CPU, and packs a 4-inch OLED touchscreen display are the real punch-out factors for me.

You can check out the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 here or on GSM Arena (photo credit), if you'd like.

A bunch of notables - in no specific order: LG GW820 eXpoHTC Touch Pro 2Toshiba TG01, Nokia N97, LG Viewty SmartHTC Touch Diamond 2, LG Chocolate BL40, Palm Pre, HTC Touch HD, , Sony Ericsson XPERIA X2, Acer (A1) Liquid, Acer (F1) neoTouchHTC Hero, and the HTC Dragon / Passion / Bravo.

Yes, those are a lot of honourable mentions, but that's only because there are so many high-end phones that could be on this list. This list may not be perfect and I tried to do my best judging each phone by its spec sheet and other reviews that I have read. It's my first time making a list of the top phones on my blog and I understand that I can improve it. All-in-all I'm satisfied with my list - it just sucks that they're all expensive unlocked.

Of course, there are still phones to look forward to later this year. There has been talks of Samsung's WiMAX-capable handset running Android; it's rumoured to hit Sprint sometime in the future. Another phone to look forward to is a Samsung handset that will be running on the Nvidia Tegra chipset, check it out here. If this trend continues, Samsung will overtake Nokia.



8 comments:
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Chrisace89 said...
July 27, 2009 at 4:16 PM  

great list.. i agree with you almost 100%. I live in America and i have verizon im really looking forward to the omnia 2.

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Unknown said...
July 27, 2009 at 4:24 PM  

Haha, thanks so much! Yeah, the Omnia II should hit Verizon soon since it just passed the FCC. I'm hoping that I can get my hands on the XPERIA X3 or the OmniaHD by October. Thanks for commenting, I really appreciate it!

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jNatividad23 said...
July 27, 2009 at 5:58 PM  

I agree with your # 1 :) i want to get the Rachael myself. but who knows, but the time it comes out there could be new and better phones in the making. good job on the list. keep it up! :) and thanks for the shout out :P

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Unknown said...
July 27, 2009 at 8:23 PM  

Yeah, that's really true, but right now it's definitely on the top. Haha, no problem on the shout-out. What should I make a list of next?

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Vincetastic said...
July 28, 2009 at 12:17 PM  

Hey Isaiah, this is an excellent top ten list. I hadn't seen an image of the HTC Leo/Firestone, but if it looks anything like what you posted it is a slick little phone. The spec sheet is impressive. Just gotta wait for my contract to run out, then 'm probably getting one. I found you through Twitter and am now following you, we are @toptentopten. You can cross-post this to our site http://www.toptentopten.com/ and link back to your site. We are trying to create a directory for top ten lists where people can find your site. The coolest feature is you can let other people vote on the rankings of your list.

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Unknown said...
July 28, 2009 at 1:55 PM  

Your last sentence is definitely a great feature to have! I'd be honoured to use your site to promote both your site and my own site. Thanks for the advice, and I'll be sure to post my top ten list on your website! I'm excited!

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Varun said...
December 31, 2009 at 9:11 PM  

Nice list

Pretty similar to mine

http://www.fonearena.com/blog/2009/12/31/top-10-phones-of-2009.html

ARe Nexus one and X10 out in market yet ?

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Unknown said...
January 1, 2010 at 1:07 AM  

The Google Nexus One should be available on January 5th if the rumours are true. And the XPERIA X10 should be out in the first half (possibly Q1) of 2010.
I just included phones that were officially announced, not ones that officially hit the market, so we'll have to wait for those 2 still.

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