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My job as an Op-Ed (opinionated editorial, for those of you who are unfamiliar with that abbreviation) technology writer is to find things that I like or, conversely, do not like and write about them. More often than not, that ends up with me ranting and nitpicking over the fine details of a phone or tablet. "I would prefer the back of the tablet be made of a soft plush material so it could double as a pillow."

Hundreds of phones, tablets and other gadgets have found their way through my possession and I have put many of them in the spotlight … and under the metaphorical microscope. Of those hundreds, only a discernible few have made it to my list of top gadgets. And I'm not talking about one of the periodical Top 5 lists that Aaron or I make. I'm talking about another list, one all gadgets-lovers have, a much more memorable list, one that comes in no particular order. It's filled with all sorts of classic gadgets that are far too great and separated by entirely too much time to rank numerically.

This past Thursday on The Verge's Vergecast, Joshua Topolsky and his mates brought up a subject that sometimes rubs people the wrong way: numerical scoring of devices. Everyone knows what I'm talking about and, deep down, we all have a love-hate relationship with it.

The Verge, for instance, rates gadgets they review with numbers. Each major aspect of the device (i.e.: battery life, design, display, performance, cameras, etc.) is given a numerical score out of 10. For instance, The Verge's David Pierce gave the display on the HTC EVO 4G LTE a 10 out of 10. Each of the individual ratings are averaged and create the device's overall score, or the "Verge Score". So while the display of the EVO 4G LTE is a 10, the overall score is an 8.4.

Now, I'm not going to debate whether scoring devices is right or wrong. It's a choice and, depending on the way it's done, it can be both good and bad. It gives the consumer an easily, broken-down overview of a device. But numbers can also be subjective – a 9.5 to you might be a 6 to me. And it upsets people when a phone they have or want doesn't score as well as they think it should. And then there's the great debate over there never being any perfect 10 devices.

The problem with 10s are that people are too eager for a perfect 10 review and reviewers are too hesitant to give away a perfect 10 for fear of losing credibility and slumping standards in the future. (Once you give one 10 away, giving the next away might not be so difficult, especially when a successor comes along.) And I'm perfectly in the middle of that argument. A 10 is something that is completely, in every way, perfect. But a 9 out of 10 always seems to low for an amazing product. And 9.9 is a cop-out score.

I could debate quantitative scoring and the topic of "10" for hours. I have before. But during the Vergecast, Topolsky perfectly summed it up by saying, "I think a 10 can exist, I just haven't seen a 10 yet." To which the question was asked, "How many 10s have we seen in our lifetimes?" 

Looking back at all my gadgets in the past and present, there are only a few that I would even consider nominating for a 10.

Immediately the BlackBerry Curve 8330 comes to mind. I know it's not much most people. And reviewing it by today's standards, it wouldn't warrant much over a 2 out of 10. But back in the day, there wasn't a single thing I would have changed about it. I used it, loved it and coveted nothing. For me, that was a 10.

Today, there are very few gadgets and devices I would consider close to 10s, but none of them are actually a 10.

The MacBook Air 13.3-inch (2011) is my computer of choice. I use it every day and hardly go anywhere without it. Other than the ding that I put in the corner, there isn't anything that I can really nitpick. I love it; it's lightweight, has a relatively high-density display, decent battery life and handles all of my work without breaking a sweat. But it's not a 10. In light of the new MacBook Pro, I could beg for a better display. I could also add a 180-degree pivoting touchscreen (think Lenovo Yoga) to the wish list.

My camera of choice, the Sony NEX-C3 is by far the best camera I have ever owned. No, it isn't the best camera money can buy, but it's a fantastic shooter and is capable of taking some amazing shots. It's all I'll need for the foreseeable future. There isn't anything I would change about it, yet I don't feel it's a 10.

Circling back around to mobile technology, my three devices of choice right now are the iPhone 4S (Verizon), new iPad and HTC One X.

There are hundreds of things I would change about the iPhone 4S. I want a bigger display, for one. I write about all the things I would change when pondering what the next iPhone will entail. And the new iPad is fantastic; it has a beautiful display, performs flawlessly and is well built and designed. Believe it or not, the iPad is my workhorse – I use it more than my MacBook – which should speak volumes for the tablet sector. But there are things I would change about it, given the opportunity, especially in terms of software.

Right now, out of all the gadgets I own, the closest to a 10 is the HTC One X. But even it isn't a 10. There are things about it that I would change. For instance, I wish HTC had packed a significantly larger battery in it. While not having a microSD card slot isn't a deal-breaker for me, it would be nice to expand memory. And even though the camera is better than most other Android phones' shooters, it comes up far short of the iPhone 4S camera.

I'm not promoting numerical scoring of your favorite gadgets. (Personally, I like having both quantitative and qualitative assessments available.) But the subject of 10 is one we can all ponder. Topolsky asked, "What exists that is perfect and doesn't need to change at all?" For me, the only device I have ever owned that I never wanted to change was the Curve 8330. The only other perfect 10s I have come across are the ones I've made up in my head.

Tell me, readers. Have you ever had a perfect 10 device? Do you currently own one? What, to you, warrants a "10" or "perfect" rating?


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176 Reactions to this post

"Monday question: What's your all-time favorite phone?"


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Steven Pereira The Galaxy Note rocks in ways that I can't even put into words.
Ryan Anton My first smartphone: the original DROID flashed to MetroPCS
Cody May Samsung galaxy s2 epic 4g touch for sprint
Dawnetta Coleman-Whitehead Nokia E71X...#FunTimes
Gaurav Bhardwaj No..galaxy note. ..FTW
StrikeRecords everyone would agree at the time.. the EVO 4G
Adam Folger My rooted G2X running ICS. Never fails me!
Andy Snyder Yes At The Time.iPhone 1
Ârjun ÂÐâm i hav nokia 701 i luv it , but i wondring to buy an android . like htc one X or droid raxr maxx ................
Ed Seitzinger HTC EVO 4G
Jason Renfro Your mom
Brayson Jenner HTC EVO 3D
Mi Dios Mi Vida nOkIA n9 AlL D wAy # haLA NoKIa **
Ben Pierce It wasn't perfect compared to phones today, but when I was on a Blackberry kick, I was in love with my T-Mobile Blackberry 8820...it was so sexy, sleek and a true business machine at the time. I couldn't take my hands off of it! Now I'm getting the SGS3 on the 21st :-D
Eduardo Ordaz The Vivid its running 4.0 and Its super smooth and super fast.
Tyvell Veney Evo 4G LTE! Closest to perfect I've had so far!
Brian Howell HTC EVO 4g LTE because its the best android on sprint and the camera is awesome
Jan Dave iphone 4s
Shawn Poling Motorola razor (the old one)
Greg Lane Palm Pre
Kenny Gibson Nextel I930
Braulio Bunay iPhone 4s
Omar Futurevilla Afifi Galaxy s2 skyrocket never lags with me its super fast I just love it
Cesario Brito Jr. The original EVO 4G. But really, I need a new phone. LOL
Gaurav Bhardwaj Galaxy note..just perfect..
Duncan Wynn Jr. Excluding the Nokia 808 PureView , I'd say the Nokia N8 , with the Nokia 701 a very close 2nd !:)))
Carl Joseph Bialorucki Nokia Lumia 900
Jesse Uhren Droid razr
Gabriel Sotomayor My Galaxy Nexus
Leobardo Ruiz Galaxy epic 4g slide loved that keyboard now I have a crappy EVO 3d
Brad Ikenberry Palm pre!
Ryan Bassil Yousif I'm about to! Galaxy S3!!!
Daniel Romero I'll have to say my galaxy s 2 t mobile variant
Neil Roe Nokia 6310i,indestructible,no gismo's,great,still using it.
Jonathan Ammons Thrill device by LG
Anonymous My favorites were the Treo 650 and G1. Every phone now is so much like every other.
Touya Akira It just hit me, Nokia 5110! That phone was the BOMB back in the days! I remember playing snakes, trying to beat the high score!
Touya Akira Ive always loved Nokia, til android came along...
William Hutchinson T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy S2
Ian Walker I've had a lot of phones BUT the one that has served me the best and impressed me the most was the iphone 4. I have the 4s now but I kept the iphone 4 even when I was rocking some of the latest androids simply because it worked so well and for a smart phone has a pretty decent battery.
Marti Ruiz samsung black jack was one if my favorite with impresive battery .
Joernie Berrios Samsung Galaxy S1(vibrant)
Omar Ahmed The international HTC One X which I have (Y) best Android experience and top notch camera :)
Soji Ojugbele Nexus One was the best experience I remember having with a phone. Followed closely by the Nokia N8
Erno Nostaja Nokia 6110
Anthony Vantreese The iPhone 4 always works when needed.
J Alberto Garcia Flores Windows Pocket PC T-Mobile MDA
Rick De La Cruz Each iPhone.
Jaevz Chavez Droid RAZR
Jason Wilde NOKIA LUMIA 900
Tiffani Baldwin HTC HD2... That phone was the sh*t!!!
Paul Alexandru Iphone 4S, this is the best phone i've ever had, Android is buggy, windows phone is boring
Gordon Christie Galaxy s2 soon to be replaced by galaxy note
Patrick Finch Back in the day - o2 xda exec/ imate jasjar (loved the laptop feel of the phone, wish it ran android and was powerful like sgs 3. Now phone- sgs3
Jean Robert Hunter Deuling Yes my old Motorola V66
Yusuf Bahadur IPHONE but lack of customization led me to android. Although if ios7 has customization I would be happy to switch back to iPhone
Jeff Alamillo The iPhone 4
Harpreet Singh Shergill galaxy note is amazing.
Adam McWilliams No nothing in Life is.
Kristoff Lewandowski Iphone pfff...Samsung pfff..NOKIA 3310 was and always will be the only PERFECT device!
Frank Porter I'd have to say my Galixy Nexus has been my most beloved phone so far
Steve Smyth No, this is why I've been through 12 phones in 2 years. Every one of them is lacking in some way. The phone that works best for ME is the iPhone, and I came to that conclusion after trying the Galaxy Nexus, which was the most capable Android phone I have ever used. I've finally found the balance between what the phone gives and what I do with it. The iPhone meets those requirements well.
Gaurav Bhardwaj Galaxy note with ics FTW..
Derek Wheeler In fact my blackjack II is still my loaner phone when I do work on peoples phones
Angel M Otero I HAVE THE HTC ONE S AND ITS PERFECT, BUT I LOVE MY OLD HTC G2.
Carina Haddad Nokia N9
T Louis Michael Nokia 6030.
Matt Pankey Still love my G2.
Derek Wheeler Samsung Blackjack II. Very stable and easy to use windows mobile with great phone design. I've never used a phone that had better reception either.
Mark Schleupner Sony Ericsson S710a
Frank De Leon Blackberry 8330.. Yes
BossMan Atl Galaxy note.
Curtis Ritter Samsung galaxy s 2
John Resch Palm Treo 700..may it enjoy retirement..
Trish Green The Blackberry Bold 9900 is the device I have now and I'm loving it over Android and Iphone.
Brian Dingle Nokia 5310 Music Express it was Unique now I have an iPhone
Jairo JayOne Martinez nexus one! #htcftw
Marrion Bell @nick wp7 is a waste
Enoch Serna Palm Pre! Yeah fun to play with: hacking was its game :')
Mike Parker Jr Only device that came close for me was the BB Bold 9930. The only thing I didn't like was the app market and that's not a device issue.
Dean Kirkham Back in the day, Nokia Luna
Nick LaSorsa Lumia 900...not even iOS is as fluid as 7.5 mango.
Michael Joseph Monti Evo 4g....still wish I hadn't "upgraded" to the 3d.
Lashun Manning Galaxy nexus for me
James Watts Galaxy note running the only one ics rom!!!
Danny Perez Yeah my Samsung microwave it makes food hot every time. Never fails.
Angel Manuel Garcia that i have owned, sony ericsson z520a
Janelle Jae Hunter EVO was the phone I kept the longest...galaxy s2 !
Chad Dinkins No, but my Skyrocket comes pretty close. My all time favorite phone was my HP iPaq. It was a PDA/phone. It came as a PDA. You had to buy and download the phone capabilities.
Goran Samardžija Samsung Galaxy S3 FULLSTOP !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Neto Guerrero Lg flip phone
James Shurtleff Nexus One...great phone at the time
Charlena Taylor Samsung galaxy s2
Joshua Hunnell Even if i did, it sure as Hell wouldn't be this EVO 3D
Marrion Bell @betnem all windows phones are trash
Marrion Bell @Alex are you serious?
Trinity Kolarova Hoodrich BB pearl suretype qwerty
Cameron Lovell HTC One X - authentic sound great camera
Austin Jae The Nexus One at the time. The light up trackball was the bee's knees. Wish they'd make another with that same build quality and with the trackball.
Marrion Bell No because the iPhone isn't on T-Mobile so its like tofu android feel yur need but not feeling your desire
Lukky Locz Galaxy note!!!
Jacob Grumbles Galaxy nexus .
Alex Araniva Sidekick LX, IM/messaging Beast, original app store.
Patrick Shirley Epic 4g touch :)
Cristian Garcia Sidekick LX without a doubt
Iqbal Saiful nothing is perfect..its just enough..
Betnem Tokka htc hd2 only need battery
Dounutz Sesar Samsung galaxy note!!!! Pure perfection
Calvin Mitchell So far, the HTC EVO Shift 4g.
Keith Douglas Nokia 3210.
Jason Vargas Samsung Galaxy SII. Theres NOthing wrong with it
Cristian Tomasito palm pre came close.
Melvin R Fink Samsung Galaxy S2 Skyrocket
Kenneth John Wallington Going way back, original Razr.
Karl Wuscher Nexus One. Best phone hands down
Rashaud Cook Nextel I930
Kevonte Smith Htc sensation
Jaime Espinoza Samsung Galaxy S2 Epic 4G Touch. Don't think I'm going to be upgrading for 300Mhz more of Processor power and the minimal Screen size upgrade of the Galaxy S3 and the new Features. Just going to hold on until My contract is up.
Bernie Fen current proud owner of MT4G!!! still strong despite of being almost 2 years old = )
Reinaldo Alvarez Maldonado Nokia N97 loved that phone and wish never got broken!
Marvin Howell palm pre. phone wasn't perfect but love the OS.
Mike Cooper I respect the g1 for being first, but be real. It did little to hype up android to the mainstream...
Richard Ameen Theres never going to be a perfect device because new stuff keeps coming out too fast. The closest to perfect ive had is my iphone 4S and ive had many more androids than apple devices.
King Ebora galaxy s2- Singapore best phone of 2011. And this 2012, let's upgrade it to s3. Best phone ever. s3 a must have phone.
Mihai Alex Galaxy Note. Legendary hybrid.
Naser Al-jummah s2 going to buy s3 inshallah
Pavel Cvancara HTC Titan ;)
Jeffrey Delosreyes Labrador Actually you should respect the G1 because that was the first android phone released by Google.. without the hype the G1 gave for android OS, who knows where android would be right now..
Cristian Henriquez htc evo 4g (wimax)
Anonymous google nexus one :) the classic flagship/developer phone
Ryan Stevens HTC Incredible (original)....perfect size and specs...love this phone and hope the 4g version lives up to the name
John Schroer My Motorola Photon is the first phone I've owned that doesn't have me waiting on the edge of my seat for something new to come out. Awesome wireless radio, speaker, and video quality.
Larry L Roe Oh and my evo 3d
Jose Angel Santiago Gs2 from sprint
Brandon Johnson Never owned one, had the nexus one, 3 different iphones and a focus.
Larry L Roe Yes my htc sensation 4g and my droid 2 and my iPhone 3GS and my iPhone 4s and my g2 and my Nextel i930 and my blackberry 8800
Stuart Brewer Palm Pixi FTW.
Cole Bachman Samsung Galaxy S2 Skyrocket. First smartphone and i absolutly love it. I would never trade it for any iphone pieces of craps!
Rodrigo Ports My SG S2 and My SG Note, in especial my SG Note GT-N7000
Hansel Starley I always get phone envy
Sijo Thomas Nokia 7210 s
Mike Cooper Motorola Droid was probably the most important phone that's ever happened to android. Who knows where wed be had it not been for that phone. Will always have respect for that phone..
Umm AbdoRahman Nope yes apple iphon4s (only apple i owned) Tho i wish i could have live background thems and stuff like that with out jailbreaking it..
Haldi Kuniqi the iPhone
William Officer Evo 3D, sidekick Lx, and IPhone. Best 3 phones I've ever owned.
Ediben Yoonan HTC inspire
Hector M Costa-Cortes gotta say the mda/wing it changed the way i looked at phones opened me up to the whole smart phone era
IbraHim ArsHad iPhone !
Abhishek Kurve Galaxy Nexus. Although it isn't as powerful as the S3, I like it's contour Curved Display and Stock unmodified Google's Android :)
Mehmet Kökten HTC Titan for sure!
Andrew Bissel No, theres always been that one little annoying flaw. IOS- too locked down. Android- Too much data left after deleting an app, (should delete all traces of the application)
Elias Quijada When I got the Nexus One I thought it was perfect wish they would make a phone like that again
Mark Tumambing Nokia 5510
George Willis not if it was made by samsung
Abram Wenevermet Dennis Yes.. my iPhone
Morten Vatne I thought HTC One X was perfect until I found out it had WiFi antenna issues. Lookup The Verge and Techradar
Vincent Jean Evo 3D FTW
Ryno Bones Motorola SLVR L6 was the best phone I've ever had.
Sue Edwards Haven't found my "perfect" favorite phone yet. It would have to be awesome, have a great camera with flash, and be free with a free unlimited plan
Khurt Escoffery My galaxy s2.
Ken Rowe My Cuisinart 12-Cup Coffeemaker kicks butt.
Warren Saunders The one X
Curtis M. Cook It's funny cause my last 2 phones have been my favorite phones ever but neither were perfect. My last 2 phones are the HTC Nexus One and the Samsung Galaxy Nexus.
Josh Lazenby The One XL is pretty close.
Shawn Smallwood HD 2. Such a versatile phone.
Andrew Santa-Pinter HTC sensation 4g
Ed Delaney My Lumia 710 has been the best cell phone I have EVER owned. I wish T-Mobile would have got the 900 instead but I am none the less, very happy with this phone. Not a glitch nor a hiccup and I have had it since it hit the market. I was worried about running out of space but I have a ton of apps on it and still plenty of memory left.
Humberto Rubio as of right now my one x battery life is amazing!! im a heavy user so even on my GS2 i would only get like 6-7 hours but this this im pushing like 12-14 hours!! :)




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