The year 2010 was all about phones with 1GHz processor, huge screens, AMOLED displays and loads of internal storage and RAM. Every known hardware manufacturer released a new handset after every 3-4 months. However, only a few of them were good enough to stand out from the crowd.
Also Read: Top 10 Android Phone in the Market
There were some Android phones which gave Apple’s iOS based iPhone a run for it’s money. Microsoft also entered the foray in late 2010 with their Windows Phone 7 platform which introduced some new phones. Even Nokia came up with a good phone using the Symbian platform. So which are the top 10 phones than made a mark in 2010? Here is a list of them in my opinion.
10 – LG Optimus One
Phones are not only about high-end hardware and Super-AMOLED screen/Retina Display. Not everyone in this world is rich enough to buy a high-end Android/WP7 handset or an iPhone. While most manufacturers do launch low-end to mid-range Android based handset, they sport either a very low amount of RAM, a weak processor, or an odd resolution (Samsung Galaxy 3). The LG Optimus One is a mid-range handset, but it packs quite a punch. The handset has a 3.2-inch HVGA display and packs 512MB of RAM. The handset is powered by a 600 MHz processor, ensuring that the phone chugs along nicely.
While most high-end handsets, including the Samsung Galaxy S series, are still waiting for their Android 2.2 update, the Optimus One runs on Android 2.2 right out of the box. LG has even confirmed that the handset will get the Android 2.3 Gingerbread update. No wonder, the Optimus One is the most popular handset to ever come out from LG’s stable.
9 – Samsung Focus
The problem with all Windows Phone 7 based handsets is that they are all too similar, both in hardware and in interface. The only phone which stands out from the WP7 handset crowd is the Samsung Focus. The Samsung Focus uses the awesome 4-inch Super-AMOLED screen found on the Galaxy S line-up of handsets. The Focus is powered by a 1GHz Snapdragon processor and has 512MB of RAM as well as ROM along with 8GB of internal storage. The back of the handset sports a 5MP snapper with AF (Auto-Focus) and an LED flash.
The Focus runs on WP7 and is carrier locked to AT&T. The only downside of the phone is the very low internal storage space (8GB). The Focus is the lone WP7 running handset in our Top 10 phones of 2010 and barely makes it to our list at number 9.
8 – Samsung Wave
The Samsung Wave retails for around $370 on Amazon, and that’s what makes it killer. At such a low price, the phone offers top-notch build quality and hardware. The Wave uses the same CPU that powers the Samsung Galaxy S series the 1 GHz Hummingbird processor from Samsung. The phone also packs a brilliant Super-AMOLED display, albeit a small one, at only 3.3-inches. The Wave was the first handset from Samsung to run its brand new OS Bada.
The phone also sports Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0 and a decent 5MP camera with Flash. The Wave is still the best handset for users who hardly care about apps and games for their phone.
The stellar hardware and the killer price help the Samsung Wave to make it at number 8 on our Top 10 phones for 2010.
7 – Nokia N8
The Nokia N8 makes it to this list only because of its exceptional camera quality. The 12MP camera on the device is assisted by a Xenon flash and is truly a digital camera replacement. The quality of the pictures taken by the phone are simply outstanding and unrivaled by any other camera phone in the market right now. The N8 is also capable of recording videos in 720p HD format.
Other key specifications of the phone include a 3.5-inch AMOLED screen, a mini-HDMI port with Dolby digital surround sound and USB OTG (On-The-Go). The N8 is also the first phone from the Finnish giant to run on the latest version of Symbian Symbian^3. However, other features of the N8 are simply disastrous at best, including the input system and the web browser.
Thanks to its exceptional camera, the Nokia N8 makes in at number 7 on our list of top 10 phones of 2010.
6 – Google Nexus One
The Nexus One was launched at the beginning of this year and definitely set the baseline for other Android phones to follow. The Nexus One from Google/HTC was the first handset to sport a 1GHz Qualcomm processor and to run on Android 2.1. Being a Google Developer device, it was very easy to unlock the phone’s boot loader, root it and open the gates to unlimited customizability. This made this phone a modding community favorite.
At the end of the year, the Nexus One might look like an old’ handset to many readers but it set the trend for other high-end Android handsets to follow. The Nexus One comes in at number 6 in our list of top 10 phones for 2010.
5 – Motorola Droid X
Motorola and Verizon announced the Droid X with a lot of fanfare. The Droid X sports a 1GHz OMAP 3630 processor and 512MB of RAM. The phone also sports a huge 4.3-inch LCD screen with a resolution of 854×480. Other important specifications of the phone include Wi-Fi b/g, Bluetooth 2.1, GPS and an 8MP snapper with an LED flash.
However, what led this phone down was that it was launched with Android 2.1 on board. A few months later when Motorola updated the Droid X to Android 2.2, the update turned out to be a total disaster. The highly criticized MotoBLUR UI and the locked down boot loader did not help things either.
The Droid X makes in at number 5 on our list of top 10 phones of 2010.
4 – T-Mobile G2/ HTC Desire Z
HTC was very popular for its slide-out QWERTY keyboard form-factor based Windows Mobile running handsets. Many HTC loyalists and Android lovers were patiently waiting for HTC to come up with a decent slide-out QWERTY keyboard based Android handset. HTC answered the request and pleas of their loyalists with the T-Mobile G2/Desire Z. The handset sports a pop-out QWERTY based keyboard which offers great feedback and tactility.
It was also among the first Android handsets to be powered by the new generation Qualcomm Snapdragon/Scorpion CPU. While the CPU of the G2/Desire was clocked at only’ 800 MHz, it still kicked ass of all other handsets running the previous generation Snapdragon processor at 1GHz. Other key specifications of the G2/Desire Z include a 3.7-inch S-LCD screen, GPS with A-GPS, microSD card slot and a 5MP camera. The T-Mobile G2 runs on stock Android 2.2 Froyo whereas the Desire Z runs on Android 2.2 with the popular HTC Sense UI skin on top of it.
The G2/Desire Z comes in at number 4 in our list of top 10 handsets of 2010.
3 – HTC EVO 4G
The HTC EVO 4G was the first monstrous’ Android phone with a huge 4.3-inch display. It was also the first ever Android phone to sport 4G. The handset was exclusive to the Sprint in the U.S until recently when HTC launched an updated version of the EVO 4G the Desire HD in other regions of the world. The HTC EVO 4G is powered by a 1GHz Snapdragon processor and packs in 512MB of RAM. HTC launched the device with Android 2.1 with its Sense UI on top of it. The handset also got its Froyo update soon after.
However, one of the biggest disadvantages of the EVO 4G is its poor battery life. Also, in this age of Super-AMOLED/AMOLED and Retina Display, an LCD just does not cut it.
The HTC EVO 4G comes in at number 3 in our list of Top 10 phones for 2010.
2 – Samsung Galaxy S/Nexus S
Google announced the Nexus S in the first week of December. The Nexus S is basically a Galaxy S with some minor differences including Android 2.3 and NFC support. The Galaxy S has been one of the most popular Android handsets this year, selling nearly 10 million units. The Galaxy S/Nexus S features a brilliant 4-inch Super-AMOLED screen with WVGA (800*400) resolution. The Galaxy S launched with Android 2.1 on board, but Samsung has already started rolling out the Android 2.2 update for the handset in some regions. Users can read our Samsung Galaxy S review here.
The reasons why the Galaxy S/Nexus S came second to the iPhone 4 in our top 10 phones of 2010 is due to its cheap build quality, lack of Flash in some Galaxy S models along with GPS woes and poor Samsung software support.
1 – iPhone 4
The iPhone 4 is our number 1 handset of the year 2010 because of its killer looks, screen, hardware and OS (Did I forget to add any other aspect left in a phone?). The iPhone 4 sports a stunning 3.5-inch Retina display with a mind boggling 960×640 resolution. The handset is also the slimmest phone in the market right now and is made up entirely out of glass.
The iPhone 4 does have its share of problems like antennagate but nevertheless it has been setting the sales chart on fire since Day 1.
Don’t agree with my list of top 10 phones of 2010? Do drop in a comment and let me know what are the top 10 phones of 2010 in your opinion.