Mister Mobility's Smartphone of the Year 2010

It is that time of the year in which I draw up my traditional list of smartphones used during the year gone by and rate them. Here is my list of smartphones that I used in 2010:

  1. LG GW550 (March 2010) – Windows Mobile 6.5
  2. Nokia N900 (April 2010) – Maemo 5
  3. HTC Touch Pro2 (July 2010) – Windows Mobile 6.5
  4. Nokia E5 (August 2010) – Symbian S60 3rd Edition
  5. Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini Pro (September 2010) – Android 2.1
  6. Apple iPhone 3GS (November 2010) – iOS 4.1
  7. Palm Pre (November 2010) – WebOS
  8. Nokia N8 (November 2010) – Symbian

There were eight (8) in all. I will run a countdown ending with the device that I consider the best smartphone that I used in the year.

Number 8: Palm Pre

Mister Mobility's Smartphone of the Year 2010 1
What can I say about this device in order to be fair to it? I couldn’t get mobile internet settings to work with it, so I was left with a totally disconnected device. Battery life was piss-poor too, often dying by the end of the day even without any internet connection. Wi-fi wouldn’t work either. USB mass storage wouldn’t work either.

The WebOS user interface was lovely, but of what use was that when all I could do was make calls and manage SMS? The Palm Pre was a disastrous misadventure for me. ‘Nuff said.


Number 7: LG GW550

Mister Mobility's Smartphone of the Year 2010 2
The Windows Mobile 6.5 powered GW550’s candybar QWERTY form factor was what attracted me initially. It also had a solid build and understated formal look suitable for business settings.

Email was a strength of this device. Everything else worked but nothing was spectacular or superb (which is not a bad thing for a mid-level smartphone).

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I found the lack of a task manager an irritation though. What is the use of multi-tasking without a task manager?


Number 6: Nokia E5

Mister Mobility's Smartphone of the Year 2010 3
The E5, a Symbian S60 3rd Edition smartphone, is a mid-range device with everything working fine too and almost nothing spectacular (which is not a bad thing for a mid-level smartphone). The 5 megapixel EDOF camera wasn’t bad though.

There was little to complain about on the E5. Simply put, it is a sensible choice for the user who is not looking for spectacular performance in any one area.


Number 5: HTC Touch Pro 2

Mister Mobility's Smartphone of the Year 2010 4
The Touch Pro 2 is an elder statesman in today’s mobile market, having been around for quite a while.

The large screen is a joy to watch videos on, and HTC’s customisation of the user interface made one-handed use possible in some situations. In addition, it sports one of the best hardware QWERTY keyboards on a mobile device.


Number 4: Apple iPhone 3GS

Mister Mobility's Smartphone of the Year 2010 5
The 3GS is an excellent device with a sleek user interface, but with so many limitations, functionality-wise. By way of example, there is no bluetooth file transfer and no USB mass storage. For the most part, if you took pictures or recorded videos, the only way to get them off the device is via email.

Apple’s lock-down and the over-dependence on iTunes simply made this one of the most restricted smartphones that I have ever used.

Besides those limitations and some UI quirkiness (no landscape mode in lots of places), the 3GS shines in text entry, web browsing, and email integration. It is a device of which you can say that everything works except for those things that Apple left out.


Number 3: Sony Ericsson X10 Mini Pro

Mister Mobility's Smartphone of the Year 2010 6
The Mini Pro is a smartphone that I will remember with fond memories for a long time. It is a dimunitive touchscreen device with a side-sliding QWERTY keybaord. Functionality-wise, there was little lacking.

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Sony Ericsson had optimised the Android UI and one-handed usage of the device is a breeze. In addition, despite its size the Mini Pro performs like a champ.

The 5 megapixel camera is also one of the best in its class.


Number 2: Nokia N8

Mister Mobility's Smartphone of the Year 2010 7
The N8 is the top-specified smartphone in the market till date, easilly outgunning every other bloke on the block. The new Symbian user interface, while not the sleekest on the market, is a fresh breath of air against what I considered the poor S60 5th Edition that came before it.

While the N8 ticks the checkboxes on all fronts, media is where it shines the most, though. Record a video in HD and you can edit it on the device itself. Take stunning 12 megapixel shots, edit them right on the phone and send by email, Bluetooth or upload to Facebook and other social networks.


Number 1: Nokia N900

The N900 is a superb internet/multi-media pseudo-tablet Mister Mobility's Smartphone of the Year 2010 8
The Maemo user interface is a breath of fresh air (and that super-sharp screen is unforgettable too). The browser remains the best browser on any smartphone till date. The N900 also shines with social integration, and has the best Skype-integration on any smartphone on the market till date as well.

I cannot forget that the Carl Zeiss 5-megapixel camera (while a far cry from the N8’s 12-megapixel version) also is a strong point of the N900, as is the very good (though 3-row) sliding QWERTY.

I had initial issues with email, which were later resolved. The battery life was not impressive in any way and is probably its Archille’s Heel. But the same can be said for many devices from competing platforms.

Interesting, but it seems that the N900 is still selling well. It is reported that Amazon listed the N900 as “the most frequently purchased as gifts in the wireless category” just a few days ago. Besides, it is still continually being updated and chances are that it will get a MeeGo update soon.

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When you have used and sold a phone and each time you remember it, see it or read about it you wish you could have one again, you know that phone has won your heart. The Nokia N900 is that phone. It is without any controversies my best smartphone of the year 2010.

Moving on in 2011…

There are currently no rumoured or announced devices that I am gunning to own in 2011 (though that can change really fast). There is just nothing out there that sounds compelling enough for me to drool over.

However, I am thinking of getting my hands back on an N900 though. I’d like to see the improvements that subsequent updates have brought to the device, and if possible see MeeGo run on it. And perhaps the battery life has improved? Yeah, a guy can wish, you know….

In addition, the announced enhancements coming to Symbian means that the Nokia N8 will almost become a totally different device, software-wise this year, so I am looking forward to that too.

But don’t count on me going through 2011 without getting my hands on some of the latest devices that will be pushed into the market. Afterall, that’s where the fun is.

So, you’ve seen my list and now know my smartphone of the year 2010. What is your smartphone of the year 2010, and which smartphones do you have your eyes set on in 2011?

Mister Mobility

I started blogging about mobile in 2004 as a fun way to share my passion for gadgets and mobile services. My other interests include digital media, speaking and teaching, photography, travelling, and dancing.

0 thoughts on “Mister Mobility's Smartphone of the Year 2010

  • January 2, 2011 at 6:24 pm
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    Nice list.
    You seem to be a Nokia fan.
    I’m personally currently addicted to my HTC Desire, it’s the best smartphone ever. Little wonder it got the award for the best smartphone of the year 2010. I think you should in the direction of HTC this year, they’ve got killer devices that neither Nokia and iPhone can withstand.

    Regards

  • January 2, 2011 at 8:31 pm
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    I envy you Yomi, your list is tantalizing.
    My primary device is Nokia E61i (yes the good old one, I also use Nokia 5230 and 5800) my friends have said that I am emotionally attached to the phone.

    I plan upgrading to Nokia N8 in 2011 Ceteris Paribus.

  • January 2, 2011 at 10:05 pm
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    A truly wow list of smartphones. I dey jealous you o, Yomi.
    1. The only bad thing about the N900 is its poor battery life, as mentioned by Yomi and many other online reviews. Some months ago, i read somewhere online that longer lasting batteries that could withstand 24 hours heavy usage were availiale. Calling This device a phone seems demeaning. It’s a true mobile computer. Even android has been ported to it!
    2. The N8 is surely gonna be my next smartphone. I hope to get it just in time for Vals day. It’s gonna be a great year for symbian with all the exciting improvements lined up.
    3. I briefly considered buying the Mini Pro after following your rave reviews online, but i had already decided not to buy a smartphone with a screen less than 3 inches. That and Sony Ericsson’s regularly late updates. It’s good qwerty makes it attractive to me as a 2nd phone, sha.
    4. I detest apple.
    5. The E5 looks too much like a blackberry to me, and i’m biased against those.
    My 2011 list goes thus – Nokia N8. Ovim tablet. HTC Desire Z or Motorola Milestone 2. A suitably priced Meego phone.

  • January 2, 2011 at 10:13 pm
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    Yomi, i’d like to know if you tried watching digital tv on the N8 ie dvb-h. All the new symbian phones are supposed to support it, but with nokia’s SU-33W Bluetooth receiver.

    • January 2, 2011 at 10:20 pm
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      spacyzuma,

      As at the last count, the Nokia N900 was not on the list of smartphones that are compatible with the SU-33W. As such, I never bothered.

  • January 2, 2011 at 10:15 pm
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    Thanks, guys.

    But y’all saying you envy me need to reconsider. For example, I spent over N90,000 in purchasing the N900 and sold it for about N40,000. I always end up short on those phones. It is expensive business, but its the sacrifice I make to keep Mobility Nigeria running.

    Don’t envy me yet until you consider the full puicture 😉

  • January 2, 2011 at 10:17 pm
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    ……….Nokia e5 is it, nice phone. May be ill try N900 too if im tired of this, but I hate slide phone.

  • January 2, 2011 at 11:25 pm
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    Yomi, about the dvb-h, i meant the nokia N8, not the N900.

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  • January 3, 2011 at 8:01 am
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    @Yomi. An extensive list and well grounded. most of the Smartphone OSes were included. Symbian, Maemo, Android and iOS. Even including the enigmatic Palm WebOs.

    though Bada OS was ostensibly missing from the list. Hope you do not have anything against Bada OS?

    Then concening the iphone 3GS; “For the most part, if you took pictures or recorded videos, the only way to get them off the device is via email.”
    that may not be altogether true. You could access your multimedia files, video and pictures inclusive via USB cable from your computer! The Computer sees the iphone as a digital camera automatically and you can copy, cut, delete the multimedia you have taken with the iphone directly. But cannot copy new media to the phone! Try and check out that feature.

    Of course, I was waiting to get an iphone 4 before the passing away of my dad. Presently, I intend to get the Nokia N8 by February latest just to check what the Big deal is, anyway. Though my eyes are still open for new devices! CES at Las VEgas and GSMA at BArcelona shall surely reveal new, possibly mouth watering devices; tablets, phones and others!

  • January 3, 2011 at 10:43 am
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    Looks like the only significant let-down for the Nokia N900 is the poor battery.

    Thankfully, its battery is easily user-replaceable (unlike the N8’s)

    The solution would then be – carry a fully-charged spare battery. A minor inconvenience.

    Getting a genuine spare battery may be another matter entirely, though..

    An then follow the advice contained in http://m.lifehacker.com/5375325/an-exhaustive-guide-to-saving-your-smartphones-battery

  • January 3, 2011 at 3:36 pm
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    you stayed with the palmpre for a month.you try no be small.
    from all you said,I find it strange that you edged the N8 for the N900

  • January 3, 2011 at 5:31 pm
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    @Yomi
    (and that super-sharp screen is unforgettable too)
    Does it mean you prefer the the N900 screen to the N8’s amoled screen?

    • January 3, 2011 at 5:59 pm
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      Johnny,

      As a rule, the greater the pixel density (PPI) of a display the sharper everything looks. The N8 has a 360 x 640 pixel resolution across 3.5 inches, while the N900 has 800 x 480 pixels across 3.5 inches.

      N8 = 210 PPI
      N900 = 267 PPI

      That is a huge difference in the pixel density. I guarantee you that it shows in real life usage. Reading documents, watching movies and browsing web pages on the N900’s display is a better visual experience in my opinion – and I am not the only one who has handled both devices that holds that opinion.

      Don’t get me wrong, the N8’s AMOLED display is very good, but the lower resolution and pixel density lets it down. Of course, please note that pixel density is not the only factor in determining how good a display is. It is just that in this case, the AMOLED does not seem to give the N8 the edge against the N900. Again, this is strictly my opinion. Don’t take my word for it.

      Most people will prefer the brighter, more colourful AMOLED of the N8, but if you are looking for resolved detail, the N900’s display does better in that area.

  • January 4, 2011 at 1:29 pm
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    i still believe n8 should beat n900 to top spot..battery is an important aspect of a smartphone!

  • January 4, 2011 at 2:51 pm
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    “As a rule, the greater the pixel density (PPI) of a display the sharper everything looks.”

    That is true. At the moment no fun can rival the screen clarity and sharpness of the iPhone 4 with a resolution of 960 by 720 pixels. Otherwise called “retina display”.

    It woul have been great if the iPhone 4 was One of the phones you reviewed. But let’s hope 2011 would be better.

  • January 5, 2011 at 3:57 am
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    Afewgoodmen,
    what is it with u and iphone self? Hmmm..u re always talking iphone everytime! Lol

  • January 5, 2011 at 10:17 am
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    @Shayman. I just like the iPhone. It is truly a magical device. LOl. Maybe, the N8 will be equally as good or better.
    But all things considered, battery, life, superb camera and others including usability (only touchscreen), I will choose an N8 over N900 any DAY!

  • January 6, 2011 at 6:54 pm
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    Iphone is a truly magical device? I see nothing special about it but the hype.

  • January 6, 2011 at 7:01 pm
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    And Yomi has nothing against Bada. It is not included in his list simply because he never used/owned one. The same goes for Blackberry or Iphone 4. He never called the list “The smartphones for 2010” but “My Smartphone of 2010.” There is a HUGE difference. He was just ranking the phones he actually used during the year. Maybe we should practice a little common sense before we accuse someone simply because we fail to understand something he/she is clearly saying.

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