2011 was all about Android phones with bigger and better screens, dual-core processors, and oodles of RAM and 8MP cameras. More than 50 Android handsets and numerous Android tablets were released in the last year.
10) Samsung Galaxy S – So yeah, the Galaxy S is a pretty old phone and was released in Q2 of 2010. Yet, the handset is still selling extremely well in all regions of the world. The modding community even actively supports the handset.
The handset is so popular that Samsung was at one point re-considering bringing Ice Cream Sandwich to the handset, after all the Galaxy S owners filed a petition when the company had initially announced that it won’t be updating the handset to Android 4.0. While the company later on decided against updating the Galaxy S to Ice Cream Sandwich, it did promise to release a Value Pack.
In fact, a Value Pack firmware for the Galaxy S leaked online last night which brings Face Unlock and many new features.
9) LG Optimus 2X – The LG Optimus 2X was the first dual-core phone to be available to the general public. LG and Nvidia had a clear 3-4months advantage, since no other manufacturer was able to release a dual-core handset in the market before Q2 of 2011. The Optimus 2X is not the best dual-core handset out there when it comes to performance and software stability, but at its current market price, it is nothing short of a steal.
8) Motorola Droid Bionic – The Bionic was initially supposed to be launched in the first half of the year, and was eagerly expected by the people in the United States, since it was the first 4G LTE phone to hit Verizon’s network with a dual-core processor. The handset was first expected to be launched with a Tegra 2 processor, but released with a much powerful OMAP processor, after the delay.
However, the Droid Bionic’s launch was over-shadowed just a couple of months after its launch, when Motorola launched the Droid RAZR, which was basically a slimmed down version of the Bionic.
7) Sony Ericsson Xperia Play- Many dubbed the Play as a disappointment when Sony had initially announced it. For a gaming phone, the Play had somewhat dated specs. However, Sony Ericsson proved everyone that it’s the combination of hardware and software that matters.
Many games are exclusively launched for the Xperia Play first, and then for other much powerful phones like the Galaxy S2, HTC Sensation etc. There are more than 200 games specifically optimized for the Play available at the moment, and the number keeps on growing.
6) Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo V – The Xperia Neo V is a dumbed down Xperia down. Due to the floods and Earthquakes in Japan and its nearby areas, there was a shortage of the 8MP Exmor R camera sensors used by Sony, and thus the company decided to fit in a 5MP cam on the Neo, and call it the Neo V.
The Neo V sports a 1GHz single core processor, runs on Android 2.3 Gingerbread, and packs 512MB of RAM. All these specs make the Neo V one of the best Android phones in the mid-range segment. No other Android phone comes close to the price/performance ratio offered by the Neo V. The best part is that Sony Ericsson has already confirmed that it will be updating the Neo V to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich sometime in late Q1 or early Q2 of 2012.
5) Samsung Galaxy Note – Okay, the Note is not really a phone, and its not really a tablet as well. It still however runs on Android, has a SIM card slot, and can be used for making calls.The Galaxy Note is a bigger version of the Galaxy S2, with a mammoth 5.3-inch screen with a whopping 1280×800 resolution. Under the hood is a 1.4GHz Cortex-A9 processor, an ARM Mali-400MP GPU and 1GB of RAM. As its name suggests, the Note is meant for taking notes and comes with an S-Pen for this purpose.
The S-Pen surprisingly works very well in real life, and is suited for designers, artists and people who want to take some notes on the go.
4) HTC Sensation – This sensational handset from HTC was their answer to Samsung’s Galaxy S2. The Sensation was a decent performer, but still nowhere near Galaxy S2. The Galaxy S2 trumped it in nearly every department, except for the superior build quality and the higher-resolution screen found on the latter.
The Sense 3.0 UI found on the Sensation looked beautiful, but was also criticized heavily for slowing down the overall performance of the phone.
3) Droid RAZR – With the Droid RAZR, Motorola attempted at reviving the iconic RAZR brand. Like the original RAZR, the Droid RAZR was the slimmest phone released this year at just 7.1mm thick. Even then Motorola managed to pack in a dual-core OMAP SoC, an 8MP camera, 4G LTE and a Super-AMOLED ‘Advanced’ screen on the handset.
The RAZR however was a announced at the wrong time. Moto announced the handset just 12 hours before Google announced the Galaxy Nexus and Ice Cream Sandwich, and so it was forgotten quickly. The encrypted bootloader on the handset also made sure that the developers stayed away from the handset.
2) Galaxy Nexus – The release of Galaxy Nexus along with Ice Cream Sandwich did steal some thunder from the Galaxy S2, but it still was not enough to make it the best Android handset of 2011. The Android version running on Galaxy Nexus comes straight from Google, without any modifications from carriers or handset manufacturers, and that is what makes the Nexus brand so popular.
The Galaxy Nexus was also among the first few phones in 2011 to sport a 720p (1280×720) resolution 4.65-inch HD Super-AMOLED screen. The handset also comes with a 5MP camera at its back, which takes some mediocre pictures, but has zero shutter lag. This means a picture is clicked and saved as soon as the user presses the virtual shutter button. It’s ridiculously fast!
1) Samsung Galaxy S2 – The Samsung Galaxy S2 was no doubt the hottest and the most popular Android handset of 2011. Right from its announcement at MWC 2011 to its launch in various regions of the world, the phone was always in the limelight. No wonder the Galaxy S2 was the highest selling Android phone of 2011, and also the fastest selling phone ever in Samsung’s history. The handset breached the 10 million mark in a mere 5 months.
The Galaxy S2 was the most powerful Android handset released this year, all thanks to Samsung’s own Exynos 4210 SoC, which packs in a 1.2GHz dual-core Cortex-A9 processor and an ARM Mali-400MP GPU.
Don’t agree with our list of the Top 10 Android phones of 2011? Drop in a comment and let us know!