20. Iphone 3GS – Aside from video recording and a compass, the 3GS didn’t add a huge amount to the family. That said, after the launch of the iPhone 4 it’s not that much cheaper than the current device and given the huge step up in technology Apple’s latest phone achieved, the iPhone 3GS represents nothing more than a slightly more budget version of a very good phone.
19. Nokia N900 – It’s an odd phone the Nokia N900 – it hasn’t got the same exposure as the the Nokia N8 for instance but for the sheer range of functionality and easy to use features, it’s quickly becoming something of a modern cult classic. Plus the launch of the N8 means great deals on the N900 too!
18. Samsung Wave – The screen is fantastic, the chassis feels slimmer than the iPhone 4 and the processor whips along at a nice pace. Sadly, the new Bada OS is too nascent to be seen as a contender but this is a phone that hopefully more people will be hankering after as the app store increases.
17. HTC Legend – The Legend might not have the impressiveness of the Desire but that certainly means it doesn’t shine in its own light. The aluminium uni-body is brilliant and despite having a much ‘slower’ processor, the lag is minimal on this Android 2.1 device.
16. Blackberry Bold 9780 – The Bold 9780 is on our list in the place of the original 9700 – it doesn’t add enough to break into the top ten but at least BB OS 6.0 is a step in the right direction and in the QWERTY/non-touch category, it can’t be beaten.
15. Samsung Galaxy Europa – Competing heavily with the HTC Wildfire for the term of ‘best budget Android phone’, the Galaxy Europa performs better than you’d expect and still retains more than a modicum of pocket-friendliness.
14. Blackberry Torch – The BlackBerry Torch still struggles to fit everything in: a touchscreen, keyboard, next-gen OS and slimline chassis but the result is still pleasing to use. We need to see an upgraded browser still, and the keyboard might be a little cramped for some, but it’s still a definite upgrade on the likes of the BlackBerry Bold 9700.
13. HTC Wildfire – We liked the HTC Tattoo for its decent Android rendition but ultimately the hardware was flawed. The Wildfire makes up for that issue and packs the best of Android 2.1 (and soon android 2.2) into a very cheap little package.
12. HTC HD7 – The HTC HD7 is going to be a little bit too large for some hands and the HD camera can be a little choppy but beyond that we get the feeling the massive-screened behemoth is going to get something of a cult following.
11. Motorola Milestone 2 – One of the best QWERTY devices out there, the Milestone 2 combines a top end Android experience in a surprisingly svelte package.
10. LG Optimus 7 – Windows Phone 7 looks like it might just become one of the ‘cool’ smartphone platforms of the future and if you want some cool functionality out of the box, the LG Optimus 7 is up there with the best.
9. Orange San Francisco – The Samsung Galaxy Europa is the only phone that comes close to the San Francisco in the budget stakes but even that can’t compete with the responsive processor and high level of customisation on offer here.
8. Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini / Mini Pro – The clever implementation of Android with customisable corner icons and a simple yet effective keyboard means it’s very easy to use this phone and even the internet is still a good experience for the world’s smallest smartphone. It’s far, far better than the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10, as that has issues with its keyboard and battery life as well as a much higher cost, which is why we don’t consider it good enough for this top 20 list.
7. Nokia N8 – This is hardware at the sharp end of nearly every category, which is sure to bring a smile to the tech-lovers’ heart. It’s a phone that polarises opinion though – some people prefer a snazzier user interface, which the Nokia N8 fails to deliver. Others love the power of Symbian^3 and can see past the slight lag in the ageing UI – and for them this phone is without compare.
6. HTC Desire Z – If you’re into a QWERTY keyboard, then this could be your favourite phone, with customisable buttons and speedy operation.
5. Samsung Google Nexus S – A ‘no frills’ handset that delivers on the specs – a quick price drop makes this very affordable and practical for the developer and early adopter alike.
4. Samsung Galaxy S – The Samsung Galaxy S is everything that’s good about the Wave but with Android power to back it up. The Super AMOLED screen is awe inspiring and the 1GHz Hummingbird processor means the phone never misses a beat. It’s one of the contenders for the top spot if the forthcoming Android 2.2 update gives it a big boost but currently a slight lag in the UI and erratic GPS and Wi-Fi are the only slight foibles that keep it from top spot.
3. HTC Desire HD – We were hoping we’d found our new number one in the HTC Desire HD but despite an 8MP camera, new HTC Sense UI and improved processor, the battery life is even worse than the original Desire. It’s still very much worth a look and if you like your screen on the larger side (and want the best Android can offer) then you should definitely check it out.
2. Apple iPhone 4 – We think people are making a little bit too much of a fuss about the reception issue – a little shift of the hand sorts things out – but on a premium phone it shouldn’t be there at all. It’s still a great phone but we’re disappointed as this could have been an all time classic without it. It’s also a little expensive and while the reception problem has been minimised by free bumpers, for the price this phone should be absolutely flawless and sadly isn’t.
1. HTC Desire – People will inevitably ask if we really think the Desire is better than the iPhone 4, and the truth is it both is and it isn’t. It doesn’t have the headline grabbing specs perhaps but it doesn’t have the notable flaws either and that’s a sign of a well made phone that won’t frustrate users who ‘take a punt’ on their first HTC. It’s still the best of all worlds in our opinion, ahead of the newer Desire HD and as and when the price comes down and the UI (hopefully) gets upgraded this will continue to be a staggering piece of kit.