Sydney's Top 5 Non-Android Smartphones (May 2011)Sydney Myers - Teen Lifestyle Editor
It's not very often that we do a top 5 list of non-Android phones, mostly because 90% of the phones that are released these days are Android phones. I mean, Apple only comes out with one phone a year and carriers seem to think it's necessary to announce ten new Android phones a month (I'm exaggerating, of course...or am I?) so it's easy to loose all of the other phone in between the cracks. Never fear, for I have taken it upon myself to delve through the marketplace and pick out the best of the best from non-Android phones.
We're looking forward to new phones from HP and RIM with their own OS, but in the meantime, this is what you have to choose from. Keep in mind that this is my personal list so not everyone will share the same opinions I do.
1. Apple iPhone 4 (AT&T/Verizon)
So, yes, the iPhone is number one. Trust me, I did compare each and every other smartphone to the iPhone to make sure it was the best one. And before you start with the "Apple fangirl" comments, take note that I am typically not a fan of what Apple does; their business practices and attitude are enough to push me away. However, as an editor and reviewer, it is my job to stay unbiased and to present the facts as facts. As it stands, I simply couldn't find another non-Android smartphone to compete with the iPhone 4 and its stunning Retina display, speedy A8 processor (clocked at 1 GHz), and high-quality camera capable of capturing HD video.
The simple fact is that iOS has set the standard for usability and performance. True, other OSes have better features, whether it be notifications, widgets, etc., but the smoothness of iOS and the ease-of-use it provides is a golden standard. That is something that even I, who typically goes against anything Apple stands for, can't deny. If you're going to be completely honest, the iPhone 4 is currently the best smartphone on the market. (At least when you take Android phones out of the picture.)
2. HTC Surround (AT&T)
There are a litany of Windows Phone 7 devices on the market and, after comparing all of the ones available from U.S. carriers, I realized that they're all pretty much the same. The Surround, like every other Windows Phone 7 device, as a 1 GHz Snapdragon processor, a 5-megapixel camera that is capable of capturing HD video, and a decently-sized 3.8-inch display with the standard resolution of 480 x 800. What sets the Surround apart, however, is the slide-out Dolby Mobile speaker, the kickstand, and the fact that it's made by HTC which means that it has excellent build quality and it comes with HTC Hub. Microsoft does not currently allow any manufacturer UIs over WP7, so HTC Sense is out of the picture, but HTC Hub brings most of the awesome features of Sense together in a nice little, well, hub. The speaker and the kickstand may seem kind of "gimmicky" to some, but for others, probably the media-lovers out there, it will be a welcome surprise.
3. HTC Arrive (Sprint)
So, you know how I said that every Windows Phone 7 device is pretty much the same? Well, that means that the Arrive has the same processor, camera, and display resolution of the Surround. Nothing different there. The Arrive, however, does have a keyboard and it's one of the best keyboards you'll use. The Arrive is basically the follow-up to Sprint's Tilt and Tilt 2, two of the most popular business phones that featured a keyboard. So if that's your niche, the Arrive is perfect for you. You also get the aforementioned excellent HTC build quality and HTC Hub.
4. HP Pre 2 (Verizon)
I cannot wait for the Pre 3, but for the time being, the Pre 2 will have to do, and it's not a bad placeholder. webOS has become one of the best OSes with the worst marketing. Palm did with version 1.0 of webOS what it took Android 2.3 versions and nearly three years to do: create a smooth, beautiful, and highly functional OS that could appeal to the masses. Cards: revolutionary. The notification system: ahead of its time. The keyboard: where have you been? It's hard to deny the sheer brilliance of webOS. The hardware has taken its time to catch up, but the 1 GHz processor and 5-megapixel camera that the Pre 2 ships with is a good start. webOS is slightly short on apps and some consumers may prefer a larger display than the Pre 2's 3.2-inch panel, but it still deserves its place on this list and is a solid contender in the smartphone market. Now if only HP could do something about the horrible marketing.
5. Samsung Focus (AT&T)
I am a sucker for beautiful displays and the Focus' Super AMOLED display is one of the best. Yes, maybe the specs are getting a little redundant with these Windows Phone 7 devices - the Focus again features a 1 GHz Snapdragon processor, a 5-megapixel camera that is capable of capturing HD video, and a mid-sized 4-inch display - but Windows Phone 7 is still extremely well-designed and you just can't ignore that beautiful display.