Best phones of CES 2011: Editor's Pick
For yet another year, the CES expo has come, and while it's not gone yet, all important announcements have already taken place, leaving us with a dozen of awesome smartphones that will present the best the industry has to offer at least during the next several months. With so many new offerings, we decided it would be best if we dedicate an article to the very best among these new arrivals. So, without further ado, we'd like to present you our top picks from this year's CES...
Big Red had a big event yesterday with lots of ThunderBolts and noise, but no wonder – just a month ago Verizon's 4G LTE network went live and it is expanding rapidly. Good as it is, we are still waiting for the hardware to run on it. Well, the first phones are here! Ladies and gents, please welcome the HTC ThunderBolt, which is supposed to be the first 4G Verizon phone with 1GHz Snapdragon CPU and a 4.3 inch screen. The phone will hit shelves in the first quarter.
But probably the biggest announcement was made a day earlier with the Motorola DROID BIONIC. A dual-core powerhouse with the latest treatment from NVIDIA's Tegra 2 processor clocked at 1GHz. Combine this with an awesome 540 x 960 pixel resolution for the 4.3-inch screen, and we won't blame you if you think this is CES's greatest announcement. The only feature where the DROID Bionic could have delivered more is the amount of RAM – but even with 512 MB of memory, we are confident that the performance will be top-notch as the module is DDR2. Unfortunately, the DROID Bionic is expected a bit later, in the second quarter of 2011.
The LG Revolution is the next addition to the company's 4G LTE offerings. Featuring a 4.3", 480 x 800 pixels resolution screen, the Revolution may not be revolutionary, but it's still downright spectcular. Although not equipped with a Tegra 2 chipset, we're pretty confident that the 1GHz Qualcomm processor inside will be good enough for most of the tasks you'd like it to undertake.
Samsung's Big Red 4G bid is the 4.0-inch Samsung 4G LTE smartphone. The oh so creatively
named handset, also known by its romantic “SCH-i520” nickname,
packs some muscle just like the others. However, it is not the 1GHz
CPU what makes it shine, but rather the gorgeous 4.3” Super AMOLED
Plus display, which presents the next iteration of Samsung's brilliant screen technology.
Overall, Big Red welcomes the dual-core era with the Motorola DROID Bionic and definitely ups the screen size game on its high-end offerings – all of the devices come with a 4.3-inch screen. With such phones and a rapidly growing high-speed network, Verizon is definitely the direction to look at it in the coming months.
With the menace of a possible upcoming Verizon iPhone very, very soon, AT&T might need to look deeper into diversification. The carrier is in a close race with Big Red for the title of being the biggest U.S. carrier, but did it unveil something accordingly big on the smartphone part? Well, it was not big. It was huge. It was the stupefying Motorola ATRIX 4G, which stole the show at CES and gave us a sneak peak at what the smartphone future might look like. As if the dual-core sweetness of NVIDIA Tegra 2 clocked at 1GHz and paired with the respectful 1GB of DDR2 RAM was not enough, the Motorola ATRIX 4G pushed things further with its docking capabilities. The phone docks into the back and powers up an 11.6 inch laptop-like chassis with a full QWERTY keyboard. Take a look at our hands-on with the phone and its amazing laptop dock and HD dock to experience the full wow factor. The phone has a 4-inch screen with a resolution of 540 x 960 pixels and is coming in the first quarter of the year.
And if you thought 4-inch and 4.3-inch screens were kind of big, wait until you see the AT&T-flavored Samsung Infuse 4G. The phone comes with the biggest screen we have seen so far with 4.5-inches and you will love the colors on it as it comes with Super AMOLED Plus tech, providing 50 per cent higher pixel sub count. What this means is improved legibility and brightness. The CPU powering the HSPA+ 4G show in the Infuse 4G is a 1.2 GHz Hummingbird chip. You will have to wait until the second quarter to see it in its full glory, but it seems it will be worth the wait.
Last on the AT&T front is the HTC Inspire 4G. Our guess places it on par with the European HTC Desire HD, but the phone will run on AT&T's bands. The latest HTC Sense UI and a 4.3-inch screen will be inspired by a 1GHz Snapdragon CPU and 768 MB of RAM in the first quarter of 2011.
Sprint was relatively quiet at this year's CES. We certainly hope that the third-largest U.S. carrier will come up with something that will blow our minds soon, but for the moment there is only the HTC EVO Shift 4G. Let's not rush things up however – the carrier is hardly leaving things as they are.
T-Mobile might not have the subscriber base of the first three carriers, but it has its 4G thing going and promises to blow our minds with speeds of up to 42 Mbps this year. We are definitely thrilled by the promise, just as we are by the beautiful Carly Foulkes, now officially named the “T-Mobile 4G girl”. That's right, trashing the iPhone just got way prettier.
But hey, until that new iPhone comes
out (and it would better have 4G, if you
ask us), LG can safely brag with getting the first smartphone on
steroids – the LG Optimus 2X, powered by NVIDIA's dual-core
Tegra 2. The handset is expected to hit shelves in the first
quarter of 2011, but in the meantime check out our hands-on
to see just how much speedy it is. Right now, T-Mobile is more of an unofficial carrier for the Optimus 2X, so keep in mind that it's not 100% certain yet that the phone will find its place on the nation's 4th largest network.
But let's not forget the carrier's mid-range phones. The Motorola CLIQ 2 is the successor to the original Motorola CLIQ, which had the MOTOBLUR UI along with a physical keyboard. The CLIQ 2 on its part has some funky looks with a honeycomb-like QWERTY keyboard with distinct keys. The hardware is respectable, but hardly groundbreaking - a 1 GHz processor and a 3.7 inch screen with a resolution of 480 x 854 go for a mid-range device in today's world. The handset is coming in just over a week, so until then take a look at our hands-on!
LG Optimus Black and the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc remained mysteriously
carrier-less. This is hardly going to last long, but for the time
being we will take a look at them outside the carrier paradigm. Both
claim to carry innovations in screen technology – the LG Optimus Black comes with what's probably the brightest display on a phone out there,
while the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc has this new Bravia tech for realistically saturated colors.
These were our top picks from this year's CES, as far as phones go. We're definitely looking forward to meeting them again later this year, when we'll have the pleasure of doing their reviews so that you can stay well-informed about just how the latest achievements in the industry are faring in real-life situations. Meanwhile, why don't you start sharing your thoughts regarding the best phones of CES 2011?
1. Syksyd (Posts: 55; Member since: 16 Apr 2010)
WHAT THE HELL NOKIA, WERE ARE ALL THE NEW PHONES AT, WERE IS THE N9 WITH MEEGO, COME ON NOIKA STEP YOUR GAME UP AND FLEX YOUR POWER HOUSE MUSCLE WITH THE LONG AWAITED MEEGO PLATFORM AND PUT ALL THESE OTHER OS PLATFORMS TO SHAME........
21. manaka (unregistered)
hey dude wat u knw abt nokia they wil tell S^3 a whole new operating systm with out bugs but it is hanging thrice a day with out any usage... so stop talking about nokia it makes great phones
5. Nickmfnjackson (Posts: 101; Member since: 21 Jan 2010)
I tried to give nokia a chance. I waited. Patiently. What did i get? A bunch low end smartphones, promise for better devices (haha to that) and an underpowered unspectacular n8. Needless to say, i left and got a samsung captivate and i have not regreted the desicion once
12. ella (unregistered)
i thnk nokia will intrduce der new phone @ mwc. just w8 & be patient pipol!
16. Auto101010 (unregistered)
Buddy, the phone is still undergoing heavy testing in their R&D department. I would not expect to see it until the end of 2011.
22. manaka (unregistered)
N9 wil come surely with MEEGO and wil make a record selling of 1000 phones per year
27. cristian (unregistered)
samsung,lg,apple,sony motorloa,htc are sold in usa , nokia is sold on the rest of the world,
3. therygy (Posts: 94; Member since: 24 May 2010)
PHONEARENA: for verizon, it says the MOTOROLA revolution,
it should be LG revolution. it even says on the device. c'mon
4. BarryK (unregistered)
Im so disappointed in Verizon for there phones I wanted a high end phone! The Bionic was good but I really wanted 1 gig of ram.
6. douglasman (unregistered)
1 gig you wont ever even use one gig to run an application
14. jroc74 (Posts: 4720; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)
You think the Bionic ISNT high end cuz of the Ram? lol
Some of us are a lil too spec happy if you think the Bionic isnt high end..
23. timshady337 (Posts: 45; Member since: 19 Nov 2009)
come on verizon 512MB? You know you can do better than that!
28. rdearth53 (unregistered)
Yeah they did, the ThunderBolt has 768 mb!
38. Phonesareme (unregistered)
Really? Check out the atrix with at&t versus the bionic. Atrix has a gig of ram but isn't anything close to the smoothness of the bionic. If you want a lesser camera and overall glitchier phone then by all means go get your 1 gig of ram.
34. vishu (unregistered)
dude..its ddr2 RAM wat more do u want??...so jus chill its gonna be much faster than the other phones
7. douglasman (unregistered)
probs the atrix even though it has motoblur =(
8. MOTOX (unregistered)
Hey just saying, nothing if final, these are all prototypes which will be put into production. As one verizon guy said, he doesn't think that sammy phone will be put into production until its changed....i mean true...its wiered...they should have made it a curved shape, not pointed...and it didn't look final...maybe they will put in another 512 ram....and cmon...it has the better blur skin...plus come on the moto x...i have has docks...this thing has to have the atrix docks too...!!!...im getting this and the thunderbolt...
9. protozeloz (Posts: 5372; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)
Wow the ATRIX 4G stole the show, just wow thats a powerhouse of a phone, plus its new features may change some of the ways we use phones, imagine holding all your PC needs in the palm of your hand(you guys know tha what I mean by all it's just some basics :p)? And getting it on a "netbook"in a couple of secs? Or even better. carry the cradle and use any mouse monitor and keyboard for your amusement .... that's using the head moto looking forward both review and purchase, just don't forget we need updates faster, and overall better support (and the same exploit for root ;p)
10. dakid (unregistered)
i am severely disappointed with bb, yes the playbook is going to be awesome, but some of us out here aren't going to be able to utilize the pb with our current phones and it with no new phones at CES(yet) we are left wondering, what is going on and when is something coming out.
it seems that the only thing that can save them is if they come out with at least 3 new phones for every carrier that has 4G, bb6 os, or the new qnx, and smokes everything out there now and in the future.
come on bb help us out to not make the jump to android, i'm from Missouri, SHOW ME!!!
11. hawk62 (Posts: 320; Member since: 21 Nov 2009)
Ok, after reading this i feel i could work for PA. I hated english class, but even i can write better. PA go out and hire a fucking 3rd grader to help with your writing.
13. hz (unregistered)
Why all 4.3" screens? No 3.7" or 4" even? The bulkiness really is going to hold back those going for a sleek and sophisticated look. The 4.3 inchers will attract the high school, college and gaming crowd though.
I would just like a cutting edge verizon phone that isn't as big as a dinner plate.
30. maccmill (Posts: 67; Member since: 29 Oct 2010)
I met with an HTC rep yesterday, she showed me the thunderbolt, which is awesome. She also said an incredible 2 will be coming out soon, which should work for you.
15. therygy (Posts: 94; Member since: 24 May 2010)
MOTOROLA ATRIX IS PERFECT
-screen size is great
-1 gig of RAM
-front facing camera
-16 gb built in storage (expandable to 32)
-design is great
-I know it is mostly plastic, but i looks like when you drop it the screen will not
crack, unlike the iPhone
-Yes is has motoblur but when you use the right widgets it is fine.
(i personally cant live with out a physical keyboard but i will still try this phone just becasue i love it)
i was thinking about getting the motorola flipside, but that phone does not even compare to the ATRIX,
cant wait for it to come out.
18. osanilevich (Posts: 244; Member since: 29 Sep 2009)
Samsung Infuse: The final solution for people with big hands everywhere
19. loves phonearena (unregistered)
Samsung 4g lts is awesome and samsung has done a good job:)
20. manaka (unregistered)
yes Syksyd meego wil be ashmed by JAVA mobiles.... so dont worry be happy.
24. Hazel (unregistered)
Would still go with HTC because of HTC Sense. Plus, reportedly, the Droid Incredible literally saved a man's life a few days ago. I love the aluminum body and the premium weight--- basically everything except the absence of a Super AMOLED screen. Something I can sacrifice as a smartphone isn't all about looks the same way a person shouldn't be all about looks either.
26. bobdog (unregistered)
If you folks would just get the iphone......all your probs will e solved..!!
31. Landmarkcm (Posts: 420; Member since: 11 Aug 2009)
LOL & I don't know if your being serious or sarcastic with that comment
29. Landmarkcm (Posts: 420; Member since: 11 Aug 2009)
Hp needs to step on it to hopefully revive Web OS which is the BEST os out there. Hopefully some exciting news finally next month from them..
35. Bonita (unregistered)
All these phones r nice, it is hard which one to choose when they hit stores.
Also which one has the best operating system? andrioid is ok., although i find it lags with most phones. and im over itunes which you need to use for iphones plus there are heaps better phones then iphones now..
36. Nickhp (unregistered)
Lol at all these comments, i bet almost all of them are from America, u guys dont knw sh1t about phones. Nokia have the best phones when it comes to durability, access, openness. Nokia has so many features on their phones, infrared, FM Transmitter, high end Camera, front camera, and lets not forget about the speakers, so loud, clear n crisp. Ohhhhhh almost forgot to mention The free in built Navigator that blows even most standalone navigators out of the water. ATT rips u off with pay as u go but thats coz u have an iphone so thats ok right? N8 has the first 3.0 bluetooth, HDMI port and the best camera on the market. The funny part is that the N8 is not even Nokia's high end phone and yet it puts all the others to shame, there is the n9 coming out and the more funny thing about that, neither that is gonna b nokia's high end model because nokia is planning on releasing the New S series. America is based and biased on media marketing, trust me when a phone spends more money on market campaigns than the actual phone, it usually turns out BAD.
37. nokia phone 1 (unregistered)
yall quit talking about the nokia it is probobly the best flip phone cell phone brand out there so yall shut yourself and your mother up even though i have the new mytouch 4g but i used to have a nokia flip phone
39. hackademic (unregistered)
I second that. Nokia sucks, big time
40. ChrisW (unregistered)
I have had nokias forever, i currently have the N95 and my contract is up for renewal in a month or two. I am seriously considering something other than a Nokia. im just fed up with their glitchiness and bugs. Ive not had one single nokia that worked fautlessly until i changed it, they all bug out. My current has no lock/unlock button cos it fell off, doesnt put pictures in the picture viewer, changes ringtones on its own, lags and has the smallest phone memory in the world....note i didnt say storage cos it has 32gb. No im talking about sim/phone memory..i constantly have to delete cahce and msgs.
im just a bit sick of nokias now tbh. Will prob get Galaxy s2 or iPhone
41. A214 (unregistered)
What can i say. Most of the phone with android are similar however there are a few that when you hold them in your hands just feel right. EX. Droid X, Htc Evo, LG Optimus 2x. When you browse the phone some of the other phones don't respond as well as other, in terms of that i can say that the EVO is very good as well at the other ones above. I am not a carrier hater or lover but i am not going to pay an eyeball for a service that i can provably get for cheaper & works properly. For me a phone consist of two factors: Hardware & software. Most of the 2011 phones are extremely powerful with dual core processors, 1gb ram, dual graphics, 8mp camera and so on but the software is as important as the hardware because if you have the best phone in terms of hardware but you have a shitty OS, market place, app store it would be meaningless to have it. Android is expanding rapidly however they are not close of catching their nemesis Apple App Store. Many verizon's customers switched phones to the iphone 4 even though the phone is not as powerful as htc, motorola,samsung phone & that's because of the apple app store. As a conclusion if you are looking to get a phone always check for both hardware & software. Google & youtube are your friends.
42. Nyzo (unregistered)
Nokia sux, their camera had high megapixels but low quality images, that if know images arent just megapixels. Their phones always out of memory, sluggish and some time Nokia phones just dont call or connect to network for days, if you put the sim card into another phone you will find out its an unknown Nokia phone problem, not to mention the awful battery life.
btw, Nokia dropped Meego project and signed with WP7... another fall for nokia, another tool to dig Nokia's grave. which is A FITTING JUDGEMENT.