By way of a different take on the beloved Top 5 lists, I decided to go carrier by carrier instead of phone type by phone type. I'm sticking to the four major US carriers since theirs are the phones I regularly review and are available to the widest swath of our audience. Maybe I'll have to do a Top 5 unlocked phones list, too.
As you peruse these lists and come up with counter-arguments and nasty names to call me, bear in mind that we should see a nice big handful of new devices hit all four of these carriers between now and Thanksgiving. So these lists could change drastically over the next few months.
More Top 5s for Sept. 1, 2009
Noah: AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile
Aaron: AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile
1. BlackBerry Curve 8900
Yes, it's kind of sad that my favorite T-Mobile device doesn't even have 3G capabilities. But for my personal wants and needs, the trusty old Curve 8900 still fits the bill better than the others. 8900's size is near-perfect, its QWERTY board is great, and EDGE data is plenty fast enough for constant push Email. Add to that WiFi connectivity with UMA calling support and a 3.5mm headphone jack for my music needs, and you've got a great device that kept me connected and happy the week I was in Barcelona this past February covering Mobile World Congress.
2. HTC myTouch 3G with Google
myTouch 3G is the device that T-Mobile should have launched when they launched the G1. And the new HTC Hero is the device that T-Mo should have just launched instead of myTouch. Still, myTouch is sleek, lightweight, and your portal to the growing world of Google's Android OS. I prefer myTouch to G1 mainly because G1s hard QWERTY board isn't good enough to justify the extra bulk of the device. But I prefer Hero to myTouch because Hero's multitouch display and custom virtual QWERTY make text entry much, much nicer than on mT3G. All that said, myTouch brings Android, 3G, and WiFI to the table, not to mention a host of customization options from shells to pouches to colored earbuds.
3. HTC Touch Pro2
Touch Pro2 is the ultimate business smartphone. At least for now. HTC's Straight Talk technology makes TP2's speakerphone a joy to use, and the big, roomy five-row QWERTY board is flat-out awesome. Add to that a giant touch display, Opera Mobile, and a refined TouchFlo 3D interface that's even better than the one found on the original Touch Pro and you've got ... I'll say it again ... one sexy beast of a phone. If you use Windows Mobile and don't mind a bulky device, it doesn't get any better than Touch Pro2 ... at least not until those Snapdragon-powered phones start shipping.
4, Samsung Memoir
Megpixel races are silly. That said, the 8MP Samsung Memoir does take pretty darn good photos, especially considering it's also a full-touchscreen cell phone with 3G data and an HTML Web browser. Don't let the fact that I got to hang with supermodel Helena Christensen at the Memoir launch event trick you into thinking I'm biased here. Really.
5. Nokia 5310 XpressMusic
I own a 5310 and still love it. Super thin, super reliable, with a 3.5mm headphone jack and dedicated media controls to boot. And it comes in orange! And it's free on contract! Seriously, for calling, texting, and listening to music, the 5310 is well worth a look.
Honorable Mention: HTC Dash 3G - Like a BlackBerry Curve, but it runs Windows, Sidekick LX - The best Sidekick Yet, HTC G1 with Google - Android + QWERTY Board, but beware the suspect build quality reported by some G1 owners