Best phones of 2010

Best phones of 2010
Technology as a whole is moving fast, but the mobile phone industry is moving twice that pace. This made it even more compelling for us to look through all the phones launched this year as it comes to an end and bring you only the best. We found it extremely hard to pinpoint just several out of the handful of phones and interestingly, it seems that most phones launched in the first half of the year will be left out. The reason for this is not them being bad performers, it is just that what we see in the recent months is a leap over what we saw just a few months earlier. Some brands will go unnoticed and some will get more of the limelight as the market adjusts to the smartphone revolution of recent years and the upcoming 4G speeds. Ultimately, what we saw this year is bigger (4”+ screens are increasingly popular), faster (most processors are clocked at 1GHz) and better (with an ever-increasing app support - 300,000 for iOS and 100,000 for Android). But enough with the introduction, here are what we believe to be the top 5 phones of 2010:

1. Apple iPhone 4

It is in everyone's wish list and even the death grip issue wasn't so deadly so as to hamper its sales. What's more, Apple seems to start listening more to its customers and now iOS has highly-valued features like multitasking and a more open App Store policy. Should we mention the gorgeous high-resolution display and humongous catalog of apps? The only possible drawback we could think of was the 3.5-inch screen (it's actually not a real drawback, but imagine all those beautiful games running on a 4” display!)


Gets the second place for being the first phone with 4G support – it is a peak in the future and in a way opens the door to 2011. With the gorgeous 4.3-inch screen and the latest sweet treats from Android, it is only the battery that could hold you down. And the iPhone.

3. Samsung Galaxy S

The Galaxy S finished third, but it has become available with almost every carrier, which says more than enough about how serious Samsung is about it. Is it good enough? No doubt, it is not only a great all-around player with an excellent AMOLED screen and battery life, but it also relies on a lightning-fast chipset.

4. Motorola DROID X

Okay, just a warning before we start - the third place was as close as a photo finish. The Motorola DROID X was just a notch behind. But nevertheless it is a great device with good battery life to support the visuals on the 4.3-inch supersized screen. A great all-around performer as well.

5. Windows Phone 7 handsets

Windows Phone 7 caught the last train.It is the new kid on the block and it still has a lot to learn.Despite the fact that the platform still lags behind a bit in termsof functionality (a big update might fix that soon), it deliveredenough to leave us hopeful and that is the reason why it standsfifth. Most of the handsets running the new OS show a solidperformance and it is hard to pick a single best phone. You can lookat the Samsung Focus if Super AMOLED is your thing or pick the HTCHD7 for the extra-large 4.3-inch screen, or maybe the LG Optimus 7with its solid build. Finally, you have the options of the HTCSurround with its great sound quality and the all-around player inthe face of Samsung Omnia 7. But really, there is no ultimate winnerhere to grab our hearts instantly. You can also look at otherhandsets running the OS and be confident that most of them perform onpar with the ones we mentioned.

Disappointment of the year:

The Miami Heat? Okay, we were talking about phones and the biggest disappointment here is... the Microsoft KIN. The young and hip feature phones did not sell young and hip and it was just few weeks after the launch that they were officially declared dead. Who was to blame? Microsoft would probably say Verizon and Verizon would probably put the blame on Microsoft. Finally, the saga ended with the two KINs back on sale at Verizon, this time with no data plan obligations.

Second to that comes a brand and not just any brand but Nokia, the world's biggest phone maker, as the Finns failed to update their veteran Symbian OS to match the market leaders Android and iOS. It is not the hardware that put them here – phones like the Nokia N8 and the C7 are on par with what other phone makers offer – but rather the software. We will hope to see them make a comeback in 2011 as the company put a lot of effort in research and restructuring and a brand new OS is on the way. But don't call it a year just yet for the mobile industry.



55. Makapiapia

Posts: 26; Member since: Dec 06, 2010

iphone, sucks it's a fad like john stamos! Should be number the one gimmick of all time.

54. edhill86 unregistered

what rubbish, the iPhone has hardly changed, it is still offering old stuff with poor battery, poor signal issues, poor camera quality, yeah it does have the easiest to use os so should get good marks for that, but that's its, the Samsung galaxy s should not beat the Motorola, as the galaxy s has cheap build quality and poor camera and flash combo, the htc hd7 should be in there, but not the rest of the windows phone as they are all just the same basic shell compared to the hd7, what about the blackberry 9800 torch? everyone i know with that phone loves its, i would mention the bb bold but that does lag behind in features

53. yoni unregistered

Dudes,im and iphone fan but where is the Epic 4G of Samsung?

52. Pauldmps unregistered

Where is Samsung Wave (s8500) on the list. It has to be one of the best handsets in terms of multimedia capabilities as well as price.

50. noneofyourbusiness unregistered

Windows 7 should not have even made this list. I'd rather have a Blackberry. iPhone 4 should not have been on this list as well. There are feature phones that are better and its so-called "multi-tasking" is a joke; now you can listen to music while checking your e-mail. Laddy-frickin'-da!!

49. derek

Posts: 14; Member since: Nov 18, 2010

god all this drama over phones, i remeber when if you had a phone without an antenna on the side, you were rich, and it probably set you back some money, all this with internet and buisness and whose got a bigger screen, some people don't need that and just want a good phone for everyday use, but now if your phone isn't smart, its either out of style in a week, or its a piece of crap that falls apart right out the box, SERIOUSLY AMERICA WAKE UP

48. TheMobilePhone

Posts: 2; Member since: Dec 14, 2010

I don't agree if you include iPhone4 on the list. iPhone's iOS is lack of features and it doesn't support great apps. Symbian is a lot better than iOS because it has more features. iPhone quality is not good. Only foolish people include iPhone4 on the list. I'm sure 100% that iPhone4 is not on top 20 phone now.

47. pesmoman unregistered

iphone no1 how can abrick that dosent have a signal when you hold it in your hand be first what a joke who does the reviews ray charles and stevie wonder evo and droid ye window 7 phones are another joke

46. NamKhoi

Posts: 3; Member since: Dec 09, 2010

I don't know about Nokia PR posters here, as they have a lot on their plate to deal with already with all these new smartphones coming out. On the news recently, Nokia just let go 800 employees in addition to the 1800+ layoff not long ago. What kind of confidence in a consumer does that put on the company? A collective workforce of 2600 now gone, Nokia now has less to work with on the decaying OS known as Symbian. I will probably spark argument among these Nokia fans that are apparently posting on Phone Arena, but I shall break down WHY the N8 has no place on the "Best Phones of 2010". 1. Hardware - The N8's processor is a ho-hum 680 Mhz. When comparing smartphones to the N8, the last gen iPhone 3GS has around the same clock speed of 600Mhz. Again, it is little bit better than a LAST-GEN phone. It has nothing on the 1Ghz Snapdragon nor the Hummingbird in the iPhone 4 or the Galaxies. 2. Battery - The N8 underperforms in battery life as well, inferior to the talk time and standby on the other current smartphones... 3. Display - Despite the same size 3.5 inch screen as the iPhone, it's 360x640 resolution is certainly not as sharp as the retina display, or even the 480x800 that is on the Nexus S. Finally, the most important reason why Nokia has no business in having the N8 in the list of "best smartphones"... No real support. Android has a gigantic open community (e.g. XDA developers) and the iPhone has a multitude of Apple stores to help service any problems. What will you do if you have a problem on the N8? Go ahead. Dispute me on this.

45. Jon1

Posts: 4; Member since: Jul 07, 2010

Does anyone get the impression that Nokia PR people are posting here? I got an N8 because of its Come With Music service. It was really, really terrible. I was relieved when the keylock broke so that I could take it back and switch phones. I've been using the HTC Desire which is a really great phone. The only way for Nokia to survive is to abandon Symbian, embrace Android and concentrate on great phone build. Suggesting that N8 is the phone of the year is frankly ridiculous.

44. Nokia User unregistered

Dear All Nokia User In World wide. I`ve Find A Great Website For Yours.

41. from_Colombia unregistered


42. Gregory unregistered

Totally agree, Nokia N8 is the best!!! How can you place N8 so low when it has such a functionality as the best camera-phone ever, hdmi connectivity, usb-otg, etc.

37. NamKhoi

Posts: 3; Member since: Dec 09, 2010

Correction brikz, the Epic has flash just like the Fascinate. It is the Captivate and the Vibrant which lack flash. Regardless, it is perfectly fine to group the Galaxy series together considering they all run the same cheezed-out 2.1 TouchWiz running on the exact same A8 1Ghz Hummingbird. Interestingly enough, the different carrier Galaxy demo phones at the Best Buy I work at even share the same exact battery ;) Btw, I believePhoneArena is obligated to update this list when the Nexus S is released. I mean c'mon guys, it will be the first (and most likely the only) device to sport 2.3 Gingerbread for 2010. How about we adjust the list so that the iPhone 4 is number zero and the Nexus S is number one? Sounds appropriate since the original iPhone pioneered the idea of a smartphone at all ;) Steve Jobs: "All right, then I'll be zero. Woz, you can be number one. I'll be zero. Okay?"

40. brikz4real

Posts: 173; Member since: Dec 24, 2008

You're right on the correction. The GSM Galaxy S phones lack a flash for the camera. But I still don't see the purpose of "grouping" a series of phones together. It said "Best phones of 2010".... as in, "individual" handsets. Some people aren't too happy with the "virtual keyboard only" option that the Fascinate has, as opposed to the physical keyboard option that the Epic gives you. Coupled with the fact that it has the front-facing camera and 4G connectivity, it makes for a better "device"...individual device. Just like the old WinMo handsets. The Omnia ( 1 and 2 ) were horrible devices, but HTC's Touch Pro 2 was one the best devices ever....and they were both WinMo. I too don't think that the list should have been made until January. And I still don't see much mention from most people about the Incredible. Although the Nexus 1 started the whole "1Gigahertz +" processor phones, the Incredible took it to a whole new level. HTC's Sense UI is, well, Incredible. And the list should have been predicated on pure functionality, not popularity. With that said, I'm sorry, but as a former iPhone 4 user, the device should NOT have been number 1; it doesn't matter what impact the series had on the industry. And if the Nexus S gets released before the year is out, then it will bump Windows Phone 7 from the list. Another reason they should just judge individual phones instead of an entire series.

36. maccmill

Posts: 67; Member since: Oct 29, 2010

sure, give the phone that drops calls when you hold it the "wrong way" and develops yellow splotches on the screen the #1 spot... such a flawed phone shouldn't have even made this list, but because theres a cute little half eaten apple on the back of it everyones panties get wet.

35. brikz4real

Posts: 173; Member since: Dec 24, 2008

I know these are just opinions, but I am a little confused here. The list clearly says, "Best Phones of 2010". I don't particularly agree with the order of the phones here, but what's even more baffling is the #3 and #5 spots. These aren't actually "phones" technically, but a "series" of phones. For example, it's nice that the Galaxy S got a mention here but they are a series of different handsets. The Epic has a slide out keyboard and front facing camera, but lacks a flash; whereas the Fascinate is all touch screen and a 5MP camera w/flash. And all the Windows phones have the same OS but definitely different bodies. The list was supposed to be about different handsets. So which Galaxy S phone takes the #3 spot? (which is a sham in my opinion, since the iPhone should not be #1 and there is no mention of the Incredible) What about the N8? I think this list needs a "do-over".

34. write4food

Posts: 2; Member since: Dec 10, 2010

I wonder if the author of this article has an Iphone 4, or gets "gifts" from Mac. How the hell did the Iphone4 get number one? When comparing multi-tasking to Android, or even Palm's WebOS, Iphone 4 is a joke. This just seems so bias. This guy didn't give any reasons why Iphone 4 is number one. Wait, the surpluss of apps, that are redundant and carbon copies, if you were to take that factor out, the massive app store would be reduced in numbers. What the high resolution screen? From what I've experienced super AMOLED looks a lot better. I would think not having an external memory sourse, and the need to by an accessory just to make sure the phone reception doesn't cut off would place it 4th or 5th. Unbeliveable! Thumbs down on this review!

30. MemyselfandI unregistered

Nokia N8 certainly was not a disappointment, great hardware, good enough software (which will be improved very soon), and overall excellent functionality with rapidly growin app store. I also would but iPhone 4 first, N8 also on the list, and drop WindowsPhone from the list as it really is the big disappointment of the year. I've used all these phones, but own iPhone 4 and Nokia N8

29. ALUCK unregistered

Nokia N8 is the best, why do review websites gives Nokia phones worst review ever and rate them so low. Just because they are finns? Well, Nokia is the best phone of all time.

28. Stef unregistered

Seriously ! IPHONE4 best phone of 2010. I guess this is a joke. How a Phone with major issues can be the first ? As soon as people benchmark APPLE, they become blind.

27. Rell unregistered

Personally the Galaxies were ok and Windows phone 7 aren't that popular.. To be honnest I'm the G2 and mytouch were no where to be found. Those were extremly sought after. Also the G2 was the first to show 2.2 off. Also the Mytouch 4G is better than the G2. Also another thing most people don't want 4 inch screens. I have notice tons of people are dropping the Iphone for Blackberries and also for Droid 1's and 2's. To be honest I rarely ever see people walk around with Galaxies and Evos and Droid X's. All 3 of those phones have a high return rate. To be honest most people that buy andriod phones prefer keyboards.

26. Nobody unregistered

In viewing this article, lo, were my powers of clairvoyance proven, what with the iPhone being placed dutifully at #1.... -.- But I'm not hear to play that song and dance, I'm just curious as to why this was done before 2010 was over? Well before the end of the year there are more phones to come out; for example, the Nexus S is launching soon in the States; which, one has to admit at least looks promising; to look at a year in retrospect, it would make sense, to my thinking, that the year would have to be over and gone for the "retro" part to be "spected." Just sayin'!

25. Mr.Snapdragon

Posts: 5; Member since: Nov 26, 2010

BULL_SHIZZZ! the HTC incredible is amazing!!!

43. mr. droid

Posts: 278; Member since: Aug 21, 2010

i agree. and it should have been in the top 5. no, not #1, that spot should have gone to the HTC evo 4G, and so on from there. i guess the more i think about it, maybe windows 7 phones do have a spot, this is about innovation.. new changes from all the platforms, and so on. so that would also put blackberry on this list because of its OS6. so.. HTC EVO 4G, (fist 4G phone out), blackberry torch (first blackberry with OS6), iPhone 4 (because its the most popular phone and it got some upgrades to its OS) motorola droid 2 (first android phone running android 2.2, if i am not mistaking, if i am, then replace it with the first phone to be running 2.2) and then the G2, being the first GSM phone to be running on 4G. that should be the top 5, maybe not in that order, but those should be the 5 phones anyways.

23. DROIDX0430

Posts: 469; Member since: Nov 24, 2010

Phonearena crew again being biased. They probably use iphones themselves. The iphone wasn't even recommended by Consumer Reports, so how on earth is it #1.

22. WAVE unregistered

where the heck is samsung wave. if not the best it is one of the most advance phones available and it also sold a million units for a new OS

21. WAVE unregistered

Where the hell is samsung wave. I agree its not the best but deserves to be in the top 5.

18. NamKhoi

Posts: 3; Member since: Dec 09, 2010

I try to remain as impartial as possible, and from looking at this list here, they are certainly not arranged by the "best". The iPhone is arguable as #1 because of the iOS app store having a larger selection, as well as (IMHO) having better developer support, and therefore better quality in apps in comparison to the endless free crap on Android. Besides the apps, reliability & ease of use of iOS, HDR, and the retina display are among the things the iPhone has going for it as #1. I can understand why the iPhone is at the top, but i don't believe the Evo deserves the #2 spot just because it was the FIRST 4G phone. In comparison to the Epic 4G, its battery life is flawed and the screen quality is plain ugly next to any Galaxy AMOLED, not just the Epic. Having that 8MP camera is superfluous on paper specs, because a real life side by side camera shot next to an iPhone 4 or Galaxy's 5MP will not look as good. Soo.... Is it number 2 because of how much money in marketing is thrown at it by Sprint and HTC? Because the only thing the Evo has going for it is the masculine-approved 4.3 inch display and being one of few phones on Froyo. That number 2 spot was surely stolen from the Galaxies, considering the scope at which Samsung pushed out such high end phones across multiple carriers.

24. Jimmy_B unregistered

I couldn't have said it better myself. Currently a Blackberry user(which I'm very pleased with), its hard for most of these Symbian, Android, Windows, Blackberry, etc users to look at this from an unbiased view. Everybody thinks their phone is the best in the world. smh.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.
FCC OKs Cingular's purchase of AT&T Wireless