SmartphonesÂ came a long way this year.In just 12 months, we went from 4-inch devices with single-core processors, to monsterÂ phonesÂ measuring 4.5 inches and up while rocking zippy dual-core chips.
#10 Motorola Atrix
TheÂ Motorola AtrixÂ was the first phone to prove AT&T was truly getting serious about Android this year. The phone is a beast, boasting one of the first dual-core processors in a Motorola device. It was even powerful enough to power a (unnecessary) laptop dock. It didn’t take Motorola long to perfect the Atrix even more and release theÂ Atrix 2Â this fall.
#9 Motorola Droid Bionic
After its unveiling at CES 2011, the Droid Bionic was stuck in development hell. It took months and a new redesign before it was finally available as an LTE phone on Verizon. Still, it’s one of the most powerful phones available right now, and costs less than many of the other LTE phones out there.
#8 T-Mobile G2x
T-Mobile’s G2x, which was developed by LG, was one of the carrier’s first ultra-powerful super phones to run on its 4G network. The result was an incredibly solid and affordable device that still stands out as one of the best smartphones in T-Mobile’s lineup.
#7 HTC Thunderbolt
HTC made history this year by releasing the Thunderbolt, the first smartphone in the U.S. to run on an LTE network. It had its flaws, notably poor battery life, but at just $150 on contract, it’s still one of the best phones on Verizon for the price.
#6 Nokia Lumia 800
Although not available in the U.S. yet, theÂ Nokia Lumia 800Â is one of the most gorgeous Windows Phone devices out there. Nokia built the Lumia from the ground up as part of its new partnership with Microsoft to start cranking out phones running Windows Phone 7. Could this be the phone that finally saves the Windows Phone platform? We’ll find out for sure next year.
#5 HTC Sensation
TheÂ HTC SensationÂ was one of the first devices from the manufacturer to start shipping with Android 2.3 Gingerbread, the latest version of the OS at the time. It also gave us a look at HTC Sense 3.0, the company’s gorgeous new skin for Android. Beyond the software, the Sensation has a snappy 1.2 GHz dual-core processor and a camera that shoots HD video at 1080p
#4 HTC Rezound
TheÂ HTC RezoundÂ is one of the hottest phones to launch in time for the Holidays. It’s HTC’s first to incorporate Beats Audio, and even ships with a free pair of Beats earbuds. Better yet, it’s a Verizon LTE phone and can display HD video at 720p.
#3 Samsung Galaxy S II
After a bunch of delays over the spring and early summer, Samsung finally launched its new flagship phone, the Galaxy S II, on Sprint, AT&T, and T-Mobile. The GSII improves on its predecessor in almost every category: screen size, 4G speeds, and processing power. Each carrier has a slight variation on theÂ basic Galaxy S II model, but you’re guaranteed to get one of the best Android phones no matter which one you choose.
#2 Samsung Galaxy Nexus
TheÂ Galaxy NexusÂ is Google’s next big flagship phone, boasting the latest revamp to Android, version 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. This phone can display 720p HD video on its massive, 4.65-inch screen, plus will be available as an LTE phone on Verizon once it finally hits the U.S. later this month. You can also get an unlocked GSM model that runs on AT&T or T-Mobile.
#1 iPhone 4S
The competition for best smartphone is getting close, but theÂ iPhone 4SÂ is still the phone to beat. It has the best app selection, best mobile operating system, and it’s now available on three of the four major carriers in the U.S. There’s no going wrong with the iPhone.