And the winner is ...

by Volker Weber

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As the year comes to a close, I can finally tell you what my favorite smartphone in 2010 has been. I don't compare the features side-by-side. It's a very simple vote: which phone do I pick for the day. There are quite a few test units around the house, and you will often find me with two phones, which of course is kind of silly.

Phone is the wrong word anyway. Yes, I can talk using these small computers, but most of the time I use them to access the Internet, using a variety of services like email, Twitter, Facebook, more recently Path. Phone calls are the least used service, actually.

At the beginning of the year, the Nexus One was my favorite phone. Fast, great screen resolution, excellent integration into Google's services. Much better than the old iPhone 3G I had. And loads more fun than the BlackBerry Bold, which always served as a parachute when traveling. Because. It. Just. Works.

The iPhone 4 won me back. For a number of reasons:

Android, Windows Phone 7, the excellent Nokia N8, the new Blackberry Torch, none of them beat the iPhone 4. They all have their merits, but since the iPhone 4 came out, they were all #2 at best.

The winner for 2010 is .. the iPhone 4. What will next year bring?

Comments

question: how can I use the wifi at starbucks in the US with my german Iphone with o2? is it just an open network? how does is work? thank you!

katja schluchtern, 2010-12-27

It is an open network with a captive portal. And itt just works. You connect your phone, accept the terms and conditions, and you are good to go. All iPhones are alike and your carrier isn't checked.

And yes, if you can hack your phone into looking like an iPhone, you get a free pass as well.

Volker Weber, 2010-12-27

For how long can you go on one battery charge on the iPhone 4? And how do you work around the fact that you can't change the battery?

Just curious...

Gerald Mengisen, 2010-12-27

So far I have not depleted the battery in one day. And I always recharge at night.

Why would I need to change the battery? Do you mean two batteries in use at the same time or replace the battery when it has worn out?

Volker Weber, 2010-12-27

Vowe, have you tried a Samsung Galaxy? (I did search your site before asking)

Rogers Canada has the Samsung Galaxy S Captivate and I'm hearing good things. Part of me want to go Android while part of me wants to just get an iPhone because it seems like it would be less work.

Alan Lepofsky, 2010-12-28

Gerald, Mophie and Richard Solo offer a few options if you need to run, say, a GPS app for 12 hours straight while streaming video. I had one for my 3G that worked well, but like Volker, I have not had my iPhone 4 run out in a day, and so I don't use it anymore.

Kevan Emmott, 2010-12-28

Regarding changing batteries: I have heard of people who charge their iPhone up to 4 times a day (I suppose it's the games...). When you don't have an electrical outlet nearby, at least you could switch the empty battery with a charged one.

@Kevan: Thanks for the links - looks promising

Gerald Mengisen, 2010-12-28

Gerald, anybody who has to charge their iPhone 4 four times a day because of "gaming" has far bigger problems than the battery.

Alan, Samsung Galaxy will never make the list of my preferred phones. Android has a UX fragmentation problem. Android on Motorola is completely different to SonyEricsson, Samsung or HTC. If you "want to go Android" I suggest you look at the Nexus S, because that has the full Google experience. I could not live with the thin plastic covers that Samsung uses. If you want a quality Android phone, look for HTC, but then you have to put up with HTC Sense, their take on UX. In any case, you will always be longing for the latest OS update. Unlike iPhones, Android devices are always lagging behind on the software side. The Nexus S runs 2.3, the Nexus One has 2.2.1, and your choice runs on 2.1.

Volker Weber, 2010-12-28

Yes, that's right. But with one mac I can create one binary which fits for all iOS Devices.

You can't do that with Android, and that's the biggest problem.

And Motoblur is crap! You have to root the device if it's possible and than you have the real Android Experience.

Karl Heindel, 2010-12-28

Thanks Volker. Yes, the Rogers forums are filled with techies complaining about being at 2.1. Problem is, we don't get much choice in hardware. (unless you want to buy it elsewhere for the full price and then get it unlocked) I guess I may just go with an iPhone. My friends that have them in Toronto have not experienced any dropped call issues.

Alan Lepofsky, 2010-12-28

Hmm iPhone 4 and connectivity? I returned my iPhone 4 after one week, because simply, the moment I touched it, I lost the signal (yeees, every f***ing time). And no, protective covers, bumpers, etc. to overcome the stupid antenna design were no options for me. So after one week of crunching my own teeth, I dragged it back to the store. After all, a phone for more than 600 Euros should work as one.

...a funny note to this: I bought it together with a colleague in the apple store in Frankfurt. And one day after me, he returned his iPhone 4. Same phone, same problem :-P

I stick with the HTC Desire. At least I can make calls with it. Maybe someday, the iPhone 5, maybe....

Kai Bode, 2010-12-28

Kai, the HTC Desire is a good phone. I have used one myself. If I had had the same issues that you experienced, I would not have used the iPhone 4 as much as I did. But I don't have connection issues. If antenna design is a major concern for you, I would consider a Nokia phone, btw.

Volker Weber, 2010-12-28

Amen to that. Greetz, Felke & Friends.

Alexander Felke, 2010-12-29

Alan,

The iPhone offers a better choice of apps, a built in iPod etc.

The Android offers better integration with social media and (unsurprisingly) Google but really needs some tinkering to get the best from it.

I have an old HTC Hero that came with Android 1.5 but am currently running a 2.2 Froyo ROM on it with all the latest and greatest features from that. It's pretty awesome and considerably better in my eyes than an iPhone, but it does require some effort to get there.

As a general rule, I'd say that out of the box the iPhone wins but if you are a bit of a nerd and prepared to put some work into it then you'll enjoy the overall Android experience more - I do often carry an iPod in my other pocket though.

Ben Rose, 2010-12-29

@volker you're nearly right :-)
to have less connection problems anyone should use Nokia.

But my winner is the HTC Desire HD. the only thing that is bugging me on that Phone is the crapware coming with the HTC-Packages. For me there's nothing missing, compared to the iphone4 and i will not have to get used to apple-politics.

Kai Schmalenbach, 2010-12-29

My 0,2 cent on the Samsung Galaxy S:
Yep feels cheeper than the Iphone 4 on the other hand the ux is fast and snappy and has a good feel.
Good enough for my son, cheep enough for me ;-)
And at 13 my boy does not care about the ux fragmentation on android or the latest android version.
At least not yet ;-)

Martin Forisch, 2010-12-29

Volker,

interesting point of view regarding "Facetime", but Video-Telephony is available since the rool-out of 3G (AKA UMTS) Networks and it was free for a long time, e.g. inside the german T-Mobile network, but nearly nobody used it either.

It's allways amazing. Apple comes to the scene and shows us, how to make an easy to understand easy to use mobile "phone" (or lets better say "device").

I can also fully subscribe your comment on Blackberry. It.just.works and is a parachute. Indeed.

Season Greetings to you and all readers.

Henning Gajek
Henning Gajek's Blog

Henning Gajek, 2010-12-29

Funny. I just realized that in spite of having an iPhone 4, I *always* use the 3GS for calls, while the iPhone 4 is used as a navigation and Wifi - Hotspot system, browsing the net (if Mr. iPad is too lardy), reading heise-publications on their App and generally doing data-related stuff.

I just went back to my Blackberry for mail/calls while roaming, because it uses the bandwidth so much more economically than any iPhone, where it is just assumed I have a flatrate or free WiFi. The UK will see me using the BB more frequently.

In any case, even with navigation plus background WiFi hotspot MyWi running, I feel the iPhone4 is better in energy consumption than the 3GS - but that might be a misconception on my part.

Armin Roth, 2010-12-30

I hear you, however, in my part of the world, Rim has a unique competitive advantage. Unlimited Data Roaming plans. For 260 AED( 50+ Eur), my local telco provides me with unlimited Data Roaming globally (fair use cap of 2 GB per months). This offer is exclusive to the RIM Devices, I tried switching the SIM to an iPhone or a Droid to no avail. This (at least for me) is a huge competitive advantage for RIM. Paying for 3G Roaming in my part of the world is highway robbery. Wondering what others are experiencing around the world ?

Joel Demay, 2011-01-01

Joel, as I said, other phones have their merits as well. I am just saying what I ended up using most. If I had a data roaming issue, I'd chosen BlackBerry more often. At Lotusphere for instance, Wi-Fi is usually not working, so that is BlackBerry territory for me. Unless I am in my room or in good Wi-Fi territory.

Volker Weber, 2011-01-01

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