From now on, every Thursday we shall give you at least one Top 5 list for your reading, commenting, and arguing-about pleasure. Hide the neighbors, tell the kids, and tweet it from your pockets: Top 5 Thursdays are here on PhoneDog.com!
This week it's my current Top 5 phones - that is, the Top 5 that are currently available for purchase and use in the U.S. Since I didn't get to Barcelona for MWC this year, I haven't hand my hands on several newly launched devices that might otherwise have made the list. The HTC Desire and Legend, Samsung Wave and i8510, Sony Ericsson X10 Mini Pro and a few others come to mind. Hopefully I'll get to paw them in a few weeks at CTIA (when I go to Vegas I paw phones ... isn't that what you paw when you go to Vegas? Right, thought so.), and can hit you back a few Thursdays from now with an updated list.
But that's all in the future. Let's live in the moment, shall we?
1. Google Nexus One (Unlocked / T-Mobile)
Yes, on paper this slot would rightly go to the HTC Desire, a slightly upgraded, HTC Sense-ified Nexus One that made its debut at MWC last month and is rumored to be hitting Verizon as the "Incredible" in the coming weeks. But no matter, you can't buy Desire in the US just yet and so Nexus One it is.
C'mon, it's not like a put a slouch of a phone in the #1 slot or anything. Nexus One is easily the best Android experience I've had to date, even accounting for the fact that it lacks HTC's supremely nice Sense UI. Why? Power, speed and grace. N1's Snapdragon processor and Android 2.1 OS make a snappy duo that's easy on the eyes and quick through app launches and menu scrolls - and it's all the better now that Google finally gave in (or whatever) and enabled pinch-and-zoom on the stock Browser. Put that experience on a huge, gorgeous display and build it all in a sleek, thin body with rounded corners that go easy on the hand and you've got the best smartphone on the market - or at least the best one you can currently buy in the US.
And, oh yeah: Free turn-by-turn navigation including voice command. Crazy.
2. Apple iPhone 3GS (AT&T)
Nexus One may be the best smartphone around, but there's good reason that Apple's line of iPhones has been so popular for so long. 3GS is still dead simple, easy on the eyes, and fun to use. iPhone OS 3.x is getting long in the tooth as compared with the sophistication of Android 2.1 and webOS 1.4, and so I'm expecting big things from Apple with iPhone 4.0 this Summer. Luckily there are tons of apps to mess around with in the meantime.
Lest you think I was kidding, I'm not. For all the flack the App Store gets from haters and those with legitimate reasons to criticize Apple's approval process, it's still pretty amazing how many fun, useful, or fun and useful pieces of software you can buy and run on an iPhone OS device. My latest find? Abvio's Runmeter, which is shaping up to be a very worthy competitor to my beloved Runkeeper Pro. That, and Fun Mail, which isn't new, but to which I've become happily re-addicted lately.
3. Palm Pre Plus (Verizon)
Palm's in a bad way right now, which makes me sad because a Pre Plus running the new webOS 1.4 is a pretty seriously great device to have with you. The system update brings video recording and sharing, enhanced contacts and messaging functionality, and much needed speed and battery life improvements to Palm's wonderfully elegant platform. Pre Plus itself is basically the device I wish Palm had initially launched on Sprint: A Pre with a Pixi's superior keyboard grafted on to it, and double the internal flash memory to boot.
webOS still lacks a desktop media sync client, an official soft QWERTY and some other goodies, and I for one think Palm really needs to break tradition and launch a thin, keyboard-less, all touch device, but the platform itself rocks. Here's hoping Palm and their carrier partners can retool their (awful) marketing campaigns and get something to market that will really grab consumers' attention before it's too late. webOS is too bright a star to burn out just yet.
4. HTC HD2 (Coming soon to T-Mobile)
I'm cheating a tiny bit here, as the US version of the HTC HD2 won't be available until March 24th or thereabouts. Then again I had an unlocked European HD2 in my possession long enough to fall in love with the thing. Mainly I fell in love with the hardware and the HTC Sense portion of the software - there's a reason Microsoft won't be supporting WinMo 6.5 much longer, after all.
Still, the HD2 is to me perhaps the only true superphone on the market. Nexus One is cool and all, but it's not that wildly different from a few other devices that preceded it. HD2, on the other hand, literally blew me away with its insanely large capacitive display and sleek, chic tablet-style form factor. Not everyone will want a device this large in their pocket every day. But not everyone is from the future, either.
5. I Have No Idea
Seriously, I'm not sure what phone comes in at #5. So here are some contenders:
- Motorola Droid (Verizon): Some people would rank this Numero Uno since it's Verizon's flagship Android device. Me, I don't like the keyboard or the styling on the thing. But I hear ya.
- HTC Droid Eris (Verizon): My personal favorite Android phone save Nexus One. Droid Eris feels a wee tiny bit old compared to N1 and everything else that runs Android 2.0, but it's still a very slick, pocketable device that runs HTC Sense.
- HTC Touch Pro 2 (Various): The best physical QWERTY board available on a mobile phone right now, save perhaps for the BlackBerry Bold. But is that enough to overcome the death sentence that is buying a WinMo 6.5 device right now? Touch HD2 made the list, but like I said it's totally from the future, man.
- Palm Pixi (Sprint): Probably the webOS device I would carry, even though it's specs are totally outclassed by the Pre Plus. So why would I carry it? The form factor is insanely nice, it has a pretty good physical QWERTY and it runs webOS, that's why. Also, Pixi on Sprint is cheaper each month than Pixi Plus on Verizon.
- Nokia E72 (Unlocked): I flirted with Nokia's Maemo-powered N900 for a few weeks, but it's user interface is just to bizarre to commit to. While I have serious reservations about recommending a Symbian S60 phone to a US consumer, there's no denying E72's beauty and power. If you like you some business-class Symbian, you'll love you some E72.