This my first list of this sort since this blog is barely a year old but of course I expect this to become a yearly thing. Mobile phones get a lot of interest among tech-related topics since they are becoming more of a necessity than just mere status symbols. Smartphones have proven to be useful tools and they certainly make our lives easier. For 2011, a lot of good phones were released but only a few are worthy to be called among the best. Apple of course still dominated the scene with the release of the iPhone 4S but Google also released the Galaxy Nexus which is groundbreaking in the sense that it’s the first to offer Ice Cream Sandwich.
Here now is my list of the top five phones for 2011. I based my ranking on the phones’ features both on the hardware and software front.
5. HTC Sensation XE
HTC barely made the cut this year. The company was dominant in 2010 but in 2011, it didn’t really make the kind of noise we used to hear. Thankfully, the HTC Sensation XE was released and it saved the year for the Taiwanese phone maker. The HTC Sensation XE not revolutionary or extraordinary by any means. It’s still the same HTC Sensation, with just the addition of Beats Audio, and the inclusion of a Beats headphones. Still, the HTC Sensation XE is a great phone to own, and still one of the better options if you want to go Android. The price of this handset should drop soon, or it may have already dropped, so you might still want to consider this as your next handset.
4. Nokia N9
The Nokia N9 is ironically one of the best handsets that came out in 2011, and one of the best phones I have used, ever. I say ironically because Nokia curiously abandoned the Meego OS and opted to go the Window Phone route. Even so, the Nokia N9 cannot be denied its place in mobile phone history. It has a fantastic hardware, pretty and functional at the same time. It also has a good OS in Meego. I was genuinely surprised at how good this phone is. The OS is fast, it’s user friendly, and is effective in its simplicity. I hope Nokia revives its support for the OS and make this its main OS of choice. I know this will remain a hope, especially since Meego has now been replaced by Tizen.
3. Samsung Galaxy S II
The Samsung Galaxy S II is one of the best Android phones to have hit the mobile phone market. It has one of the best screens on a phone – it’s big, it has great colors, and of course it’s sturdy with that Gorilla Glass reinforcement. The Galaxy S II also has a fast dual-core processor and the slim design makes it a really sexy handset. This handset is a combination of power and beauty, but it’s just not the best for 2011. The plastic construction is something that makes it an otherwise solid piece of gadget.
2. iPhone 4S
The iPhone 4S could even take the first place as the best handset of 2011, but obviously, I’m putting it only at second. Apple made the iPhone 4 better by slapping a dual-core processor, a better camera, and of course, shipping it with the personal voice assistant Siri. Apple’s iOS 5 and iCloud also made the iPhone 4S a formidable device. Still, this is not the handset a lot of people were expecting at the October launch. It’s screen is quite small, and personally I prefer a bigger-sized screen. The hardware design is still good, but it’s also old as it’s still practically the iPhone 4.
1. Samsung Galaxy Nexus
The Samsung Galaxy Nexus has been launched in 2011 and also made available the market in the later part of 2011, which makes it one of the phones officially released in 2011. I personally think this is the best phone for 2011, and I’m lucky enough to have purchased one. I gave this handset a glowing review, and weeks since that review, I’m still enjoying the phone and was glad of my decision to purchase this over the iPhone 4. The Samsung Galaxy Nexus is special because it’s the first ever to feature Android 4.0 or Ice Cream Sandwich. The device is a perfect combination of hardware and software, though admittedly the hardware specs are not groundbreaking.
Ice Cream Sandwich is the best Android OS so far. It’s quick, it’s intuitive, and it’s pretty. Android used to be frustrating that’s why I decided to switch to an iPhone 4. Now, I’m back on Android and the Galaxy Nexus is the reason for this. The 4.65-inch screen is huge enough for games and multimedia use, and ICS is simply stunning on a screen this size. The phone is not perfect, by any means, but this is close to perfect as far as I’m concerned.
How about you? Which do you think is the top phone for 2011?
I think you should add 2012 smartphones like Samsung Galaxy S3 with features here http://www.onetech.in/2012/05/samsung-galaxy-s3-i9300-features.html
I agree! The Galaxy Nexus was such a hit especially abroad! I actually thought the SGSII was the bestseller since it created such a buzz but I somehow knew the Nexus would beat it!.:) What I DON’T get is why the iphone (all iphones) is listed as 2nd ( or is even listed at all!).:P Hahahahaha. Of course that’s just my opinion.:D I read your reviews when there’s a phone that I want that will be shipped here in Manila.:)
well i guess you did not get to try Blackberry or even 1 of the Windows Phone 7s
with due all respect to the author, these might be all personal for him (or probably based on trendings and other blogs). imho usability, innovation, market infiltration, user experience (i.e. feedbacks), pricing, connectivity, battery life, and the list goes on and on for a device to hit the top. Windows mobile OS and even RIM OS did not fare better in terms of market infiltration (aka market share) so imho, it would fare considerable as “top”
well even the monster Note was not included which in my opinion sits at the top of the heap
I have tried Blackberry and Windows 7 and in my opinion the BB 9900 and the Nokia Lumia 800 would be on the runners-up list. Not enough to get into the top 5. What I considered here apart from the hardware and software is the ecosystem, which translates to better usability. Android and iOS are way ahead in this aspect, hence, the inclusion of the phones in the list. The Note is a fine device, and I would also put it in the runners-up list. The size however is just too big, which does not make it an ideal phone, and it suffers from an identity crisis so to speak :) But thanks for sharing your thoughts :)
Had the Samsung Galaxy S2 but sold it due to battery performance issues. I did purchase a Galaxy Note and got the iPhone 4S when it was launched through Smart. I’d say it’s the best of both worlds.
wow, that’s a nice combo. how do you find the note? isn’t it too big?
imho thou not a fan of larger screens, galaxy note does fare in its usability. 5 inch screen is really necessary for moderate note taking.
had galaxy s2… found the battery performance bit off but after doing some flashing (using the stock rom’s at sammobile) and tweaking my preferences (i.e. disabling push, background syncs as I do not need them), my SGS2 already worked as it promised in 2 days standby (13-16 hours moderate wifi)