2009 was a great year to be a cell phone user. From the iPhone 3GS to WebOS and Google Android devices, there were literally hundreds of phones to choose from. Here’s our list of the top 20 cell phones for 2009.
1. iPhone 3GS – Not that this device should surprise anyone, the 3GS took high speed data to a whole new level, while proving 16GB or 32GB flash drive models, better email support, increased speeds and a 3.5-inch (diagonal) widescreen Multi-Touch display that is still unrivaled throughout the mobile phone industry.
2. Motorola Droid – The Droid helped introduce Google Android 2.0 to the world, while also featuring some excellent hardware that includes a 3.7 inch touchscreen, full QWERTY keyboard, 5MP camera, WiFi, 3G and an Arm Cortex A8 CPU (a 600MHz, OMAP3430 chip downclocked to 550MHz). If you want power, easy access to apps and text messaging and other great features on a Verizon Wireless phone, this is a must have phone from 2009.
3. HTC HD2 – This is one of the few Windows Mobile 6.5 devices to make the cut in 2009. Featuring a massive 4.3 inch capacitive WVGA touchscreen with a 5MP camera, built-in GPS and a 1GHz Snapdragon CPU, the HD2 is one of the most powerful smartphones to debut in ’09.
4. Toshiba TG01 – As the first device to feature the Qualcomm 1GHz Snapdragon processor the TG01 impressed us, even if it didn’t make a huge splash on the market. The devices 4.1 touchscreen display was unfortunatley resistive, however the unit made up for that fact with HSDPA (3G) data, WiFi and a built-in GPS receiver. Toshiba also added their own UI to mask the Windows 6.1 interface and while not perfect, at least it wasn’t WinMo 6.1
5. Palm Pre – WebOS made a huge splash thanks to the ability to simultaneously run dozens of apps at one time, while also staying connected with 3G, WiFi and a built-in GPS receiver. The Palm Pre also offers over the air automatic backups and its own app store that continues to grow at a steady pace.
6. Blackberry Tour 9630 – With 3G connectivity, a 3.2MP camera and a full RIM designed QWERTY keyboard business users had reason to celebrate in 2009. This unit also offered Assisted-GPS and Bluetooth 2.0 + A2DP for “over bluetooth” music playback.
7. Nokia N900 – The first Nokia device to feature their new Maemo 5 operating system, the N900 is also fast with its included ARM Cortex-A8 600 MHz processor. The unit also features a 3.5 inch touchscreen display and runs the internet with ease thanks to the inclusion of Mozilla powered technology with full flash 9.4 and AJAX support. The N900 also features a 5MP camera with dual LED, WiFi and 3G.
8. HTC Droid Eris – I couldn’t complete a list of top 20 phones without including some amazing bargain offered. The Droid Eris, offered by Verizon Wireless only costs $79.99 and includes a virtual qwerty keyboard, WiFi, a 3.2 inch touchscreen display and bluetooth 2.0 + EDR. The phones speeds are also fairly impressive thanks to the included 528MHz Qualcomm® MSM7600™ Processor.
9. LG GD910 3G Touch Watch Phone – Take a designer looking watch, throw in a capacitive touchscreen, a VGA camera and 2GB internal memory and you have the LG Watch Phone. Sure it’s price at over $1000 unlocked, but it has also helped user in new lines of watch phones that will debut in 2010. Heck you can even SMS and MMS with the watch. Plus the displayed time doesn’t look so bad either.
10. Acer Liquid A1 – This quad-band GSM based Smartphone features a Qualcomm 8250 1GHz processor, offers WiFi, 3G and a 3.5 inch touchscreen with WVGA output. Plus users will love Android 1.6 (Donut). The Liquid A1 also featured a built-in GPS receiver and a 5MP camera with auto focus. While not the newest version of Google Android, it’s still a powerful option.
11. HTC Snap – The Snap is another Windows Mobile 6.5 smartphone that offers many of the typical features found on this list, including WiFi, Bluetooth 2.0 + A2DP, a 2.4 inch QVGA display and built-in GPS. It also introduced the HTC “Inner Circle” button which allows users to pull up their most popular, requested emails with the single click of a button. If you’re a business user who sends a lot of emails and who would rather have a non-touchscreen based device, this is the best option of 2009.
12. Nokia 5800 XpressMusic – One of only three Symbian based devices to make our list, the 5800 XpressMusic brought touchscreen capabilities to Nokia with a 3.2 inch resistive display. The unit also features a MicroSDHC card slot with an included 8GB memory card in the box, WiFi and even a TV out port with a Nokia Video Connectivity Cable. I personally love the widget enabled setup on the device and despite less than stellar reviews it’s still a great option for Nokia/Symbian lovers.
13. Blackberry Bold 2 (9700) – I loved the Bold and the next iteration of the device was even more impressive. Featuring 3G data connectivity, WiFi 802.11b/g and 3.5mm headphone jack the Bold 2 felt like a business phone, while bringing in a more consumer friendly vibe with extended multimedia and app use. Again the device featured the same 3.2 mega-pixels (auto-focus) camera as found on the Blackberry Tour 9630, which isn’t stellar, but makes the cut for a business based phone.
14. Nokia N97 Mini – I liked the N97, but I also prefer smaller, more portable devices and that’s what the N97 Mini offers. This unit comes equipped with a 5MP camera with dual LED flash an autofocus, WiFi and A-GPS maps with Nokia Maps (which are now free to download and use worldwide). This device also uses a MicroSDHC card slot expandable up to 16GB. The screen is still resistive but offers 3.2 inches for nice finger friendly access to apps.
15. LG KP500 Cookie – This is the only phone on my list to feature it’s own custom mobile operating system. I like the Cookie because it’s cheap, even unlocked it’s only around $199.99. The Cookie features a 3MP camera, bluetooth 2.1, MicroSDHC card support and offers a TFT 3″ touchscreen. If you want a cheap “entry level” touchscreen phone and you don’t need all the bells and whistles of a standard Android, Blackberry, WinMo or iPhone device this is a nice option to check out. Plus it comes with worldwide friendly quad-band GSM abilities.
16. HTC TouchPro 2 – With a sleek design the TouchPro 2 is worth a closer look. The unit features a 2.6 inch touchscreen display with 800 x 480 pixels resolution, 512MB of ROM, 288MB of RAM, a microSD expansion slot, and a 3.2 megapixel camera with auto focus. Sure it’s still a WinMo device, but with the HTC Sense UI it’s definitely a powerhouse of a business device. 3G, WiFi and the ability to flip the phone over and use it as a full-duplex speakerphone also makes it a device worth checking out.
17. Sony Ericsson C510 Cyber Shot – If you want a phone that’s built for picture taking and music playing, but you don’t need the 100,000 apps offered by Apple, this is a good choice. The C510 is a sturdy built phone that offers a 2.2 inch display, geo-tagging capabilities and 3.2MP cyber-shot camera. It also offers something called “smile technology” which auto takes pictures when smiles are detected, kinda cool, but not always useful. I like this phone because it’s a phone and very little more, which is a nice change of pace. If you want a secondary phone as a non-business device and you don’t tend to use your phone for much more than making calls and taking the occasional pictures, I would give the C510 a closer look.
18. Blackberry Storm 2 – Another Blackberry device with a 3.2MP camera, however it also offers a 3.25″ display with improved SureType technology (compared to the original Blackberry Storm). The Storm 2 also offers Integrated GPS and WiFi b/g plus 3G data connectivity. It’s still not a perfect touchscreen option, but it offers a good deal of business and personal use options so you can take it to work with you and then play with it at home.
19. Samsung i8910 Omnia HD – With a 3.7 inch AMOLED touchscreen display the Omnia HD offers one of the best outputs you’ll find on a cell phone. The phone also features an 8 MP camera with 3264×2448 pixels resolution, autofocus and LED flash. It also offers the Symbian OS v9.4 Series 60 rel. 5 mobile OS and WiFi plus 3G capabilities. The HD also offers HD 720p recording at 24fps and D1 720×480 pixels at 30fps, with QVGA time-lapse and slow-motion video recording capabilities.
20. HTC Hero – This smartphone features a Qualcomm 528MHz processor with 288MB RAM and 512MB ROM. It also offers a nice amount of connectivity including WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth 2.0 + A2DP and quad-band HSPA (3G). With Google Android users will love this phones apps and games and with a 5MP camera it serves as more than just a nice touchscreen friend phone.
Those are my top 20 phones of 2009. With Google Android gaining an ever increasing market share, Windows Mobile 7 ready to pop up hopefully sometime in 2010 and Apple promising new advances with the iPhone series, it should be an interesting 2010.