Samsung Focus overtakes BlackBerry Torch in PhoneDog's Best Smartphones rankings

Aaron Baker
member from Dallas, TX
Published: December 2, 2010

PhoneDog's Best Smartphones list has changed yet again!

With its 1 GHz processor, 4-inch Super AMOLED display, and 5-megapixel camera, the Zune-toting Samsung Focus has overtaken the BlackBerry Torch as the third best smartphone on AT&T.  While the Torch is a great e-mail device and offers a nice physical QWERTY keyboard, it can't compete with the Focus on the media front.  And that Super AMOLED screen...absolutely beautiful.  The Samsung Focus can be had for $199.99 after a mail-in rebate and two-year agreement.

Do you agree?  Let us know in the comments section!

Best AT&T SmartphoneView full product info

1. iPhone 4

  • The new iPhone builds on a successful formula with a thinner, more luxurious design, higher resolution display, and improved camera paired with a front-facing camera and video-calling software
  • Improved reception (see note below) and better voice quality thanks to dual-mic noise cancellation
  • Best HD video capture from any mobile phone we've ever tested
  • "Death Grip" issue has led to widespread reports of severe signal loss when phone is held a certain way
  • Proximity Sensor bug causing some users to experience unwanted muting, hang-ups and speakerphone activation during calls
  • White model has been delayed multiple times, still not available
Despite its highly publicized antenna problems, iPhone 4 is the best smartphone on AT&T. Whatever you think of Apple's approach to smartphones, iPhone 4 is incredibly thin, has the best display ever to grace a mobile phone, and serves up state-of-the-art media capabilities. Some will prefer an Android phone because they prefer Android. For everyone else, iPhone remains the smartphone to beat.
Second best AT&T SmartphoneView full product info

2. Samsung Captivate

  • Stunning 4" Super AMOLED display offers vivid colors, high resolution, and good performance in direct sunlight
  • Fast performance with ample onboard storage for media and files
  • Ships with Android OS 2.1; 2.2 upgrade has been promised
  • Samsung custom user interface and AT&T's ban on sideloaded apps will turn some Android fans off
  • Somewhat cheap, plasticky feel to build quality
  • No flash on camera
Don't care for iPhone? Captivate is AT&T's best Android device to date. While critics will scoff at Samsung's arguably tacky custom UI and use of cheap plastic in the phone's body, everyone else will enjoy Captivate's zippy performance and large, gorgeous display. The 4" screen offers up a ton of real estate for typing, Web browsing and media consumption while still keeping the phone light and pocketable overall. Too bad AT&T continues to place their own restrictions on Android's core capabilities.

    Third best AT&T SmartphoneView full product info

    3. Samsung Focus

    • The 4-inch Super AMOLED screen looks great
    • The 5-megapixel camera is the best on a Windows Phone 7 device to date
    • It's the only WP7 device to come with a microSD card slot (at the moment), though getting it to work properly is another story
    • When holding the HD7 or another Snapdragon-equipped Windows Phone 7 device up to the Focus, there's a noticeable speed difference
    • Battery life is poor, and the device takes a long time to charge
    • Plastic build makes the device feel cheap
    Forget about Windows Mobile, because Windows Phone 7 is a fresh, new path for Microsoft.  It's clean, easy to use, and incredibly fluid across the board, and it offers a good camera and a microSD card slot.  It's a great addition to AT&T's smartphone lineup, but like the other Windows Phone 7 devices, battery life is poor, and the Focus' Hummingbird processor seems slightly laggy in comparison to HTC's Snapdragon-equipped Windows Phone 7 devices.