LG Optimus 3D
It's not often that 3D really does bowl us over, but the Optimus 3D did just that. Boasting a beautiful 4.3" screen with a resolution of 480 x 800, a sturdy build and a speedy dual-core 1 GHz ARM Cortex-A9 processor, and you already have the makings of a respectable Android 2.2 phone. Add in a 3D screen which doesn't require glasses, and two five megapixel cameras (with resolutions of 2560 x 1920 pixels) that are able to capture both 3D still images and 1080p video, and you have a winner.
"The Optimus 3D's most compelling distinction is the uniqueness of being able to produce and share one's own 3D images and video."
With the N9, Nokia showed that they still knows how to produce phones that are both cool and exciting. Equipped with a 1 GHz processor and 1 GB of RAM, it provided a speedy and faultless performance, while the curved 3.9" AMOLED ClearBlack display is excellent. Even the MeeGo OS is exciting, and a lot better than the company's previous Symbian OS. The trouble is that it lacks apps, with Nokia already turning its attention to Windows Phone. Having said that, we are really looking forward to the new Lumia 800 that is very similar to the N9.
"Nokia's N9 is the most exciting and coolest smartphone that the company has produced for a while."
Not so much a sensation as a quiet statement, HTC's flagship won our hearts with its subdued style. Equipped with a dual-core processor and a very smart 4.3" screen, the Sensation's secret weapon resides in its software. Sense 3.0 is HTC's user interface skin and is certainly the best in the business, making an exciting addition to a sometimes boring Android OS. Add to this full HD video recording and the Sensation is exactly how a smartphone should look like in 2011.
"It is a flagship phone that is not flashy, instead providing one of the best interfaces in the business."
Sony Ericsson Xperia arc
We were very happy to see Sony Ericsson getting back in the game with last year's exciting X10. It does seem like they are building a bit of a legacy, since this year's Xperia arc was a sight to behold. It's a minute 8.7 mm round its waist and barely pulls the scales at 117 g, all wrapped up in a beautiful black body, which in our humble opinion makes this 2011's sexiest smartphone. An excellent screen plus the inclusion of a mini HDMI port to connect the phone to an HDTV did a lot to impress, but unfortunately no dual-core processor and a lack of full HD video recording prevented us from ranking it any higher.
"Compared to other phones with similar specs we couldn't believe that Sony Ericsson crammed everything in such a thin body."
Samsung Galaxy S II
Samsung's Galaxy S II looks like the type of device someone in the 60s would predict we here in 2011 would be working with. It immediately catches the eye, in no small part due to the beautiful 4.3" screen placed on a body that is only 8.5 mm thick. But don't let that fool you into believing the S II is all about style trouncing substance.
A dual-core 1.2 GHz processor with a full 1 GB of RAM helped the S II shoot to the top of our benchmarking scores, while it doesn't let up with 16 GB of storage, a sharp 8 MP camera, full HD video recording and a Gorilla Glass display. It's not difficult to see why the S II has sold more than 10 million units worldwide while ranking as our top smartphone of 2011.
"This phone will be a top-seller and already booked a place under 2011's top 10 smartphones."
This article first appeared in TechSmart 99, December 2011. Article written by Michael Joubert and Ryan Noik
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