Nearly two years ago, the mobile phone market changed forever. The iPhone became the King of communication while every other phone played second fiddle. Today, mobile developers have caught up– and in some cases surpassed the Apple icon. Here are the top 10 iPhone alternatives, the best non-Apple phones on the market today.
Number Ten: the HTC Touch Pro
Featuring a sturdy build factor, the HTC Touch Pro offers expandable memory up to 32GB via the devices MicroSDHC card slot. The Touch Pro also comes equipped with a sliding qwerty keyboard, built-in GPS capabilities and Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP (Stereo Bluetooth). This Windows Mobile 6.1 Pro device also offers “HTC TouchFLO technology” which allows for single handed navigation like the iPhone. The Touch Pro also offers 3G high speed data internationally along with WiFi capabiliites. The best part? The Touch Pro is also unlocked out of the box, meaning you don’t have to hack the device to use it on networks outside of AT&T.
Number Nine: the Nokia E71
The front side of the Nokia E71 features a full size qwerty keypad which can’t be beat by a touchscreen when it comes to texting. Nokia has raised the keys on the E71 to give easier access to typing. The device also features the very capable Symbian OS 9.2, which allows for access to Microsoft Exchange servers, meaning your email is only a few clicks away. The E71, just like the Touch Pro, offers a MicroSDHC card slot for expandable/swappable memory, while its crisp TFT screen offers some of the best output we’ve seen on a 16 million color display.
Number Eight: the Nokia 8800 Carbon Arte
This device isn’t as feature-heavy as the units above, but the design on the Nokie Carbon Arte is by far one of the best we’ve seen. The OLED display’s 16 million colors doesn’t hurt the device’s standing either, especially considering the screen includes scratch resistant glass. The Nokia 8800 also ships with a 3.15MP camera with autofocus and 15FPS video capture. But the real design factor that holds the Carbon Arte above other devices is the carbon fiber and titanium build– no cheap plastic here.
Number Seven: the Blackberry Bold 9000
Research In Motion really known how to handle email, so it’s not suprising that the capabilities of the Bold give the iPhone a run for its money. In comparison to prior Blackberry’s, the trackball on the Bold is arguably the best yet. What’s best about the Blackberry Bold? We dig(g) the 3.5mm audio connection and the international high speed 3G data access, plus the support for Edge/GPRS connections. Toss in a 624mhz processor (One of the fastest on this list), and a MicroSDHC card slot that holds up to 8GB of additional memory– and its easy to see how the Blackberry Bold can holds its own against the iPhone.
Number Six: the HTC Touch HD
While the HTC Touch HD has only been out or a few short weeks, the feature-set alone is enough to make even a Mac addict switch. The Touch HD includes a huge 3.8 inch screen with a WVGA output of 480 x 800 pixels using TouchFlo 3D, plus an accelerometer-driven auto rotate function. If display output isn’t enough to convince you, the unit also ships with Windows Mobile 6.1 Pro with plenty of memory options. The units 528Mhz processor also takes advantage of WiFi and 3G data capabilities, while users will appreciate the unit’s excellent 5MP camera with auto-focus. Basically everything on this device is massive, yet the price tag is rather manageable.
Number Five: the Palm Treo Pro
We never thought we’d see the day where a Palm device would make a list of this kind, yet the Palm Treo Pro isn’t your typical Palm. On the one hand the device offers the far superior Palm build factor, but on the other hand it features Windows Mobile 6.1 Pro instead of the clunky Palm OS. The device is fast, even with a rather modest 400mhz processor. With International 3G abilities and WiFi connectivity the device also connects easily in any situation, while the Treo Pro’s built-in GPS receiver makes navigation easier than ever.
Number Four: the HTC Touch Diamond
We could almost add the HTC Touch Diamond to this list solely based on its design. The back of the device practically looks like diamond patchwork, yet it feels really great in the hand. Of course design wasn’t the only consideration, while this device is missing the MicroSDHC card slot, it does feature 4GB of onboard memory, along with a Windows Mobile 6.1 Pro and TouchFlo 3D touchscreen capabilities. Throw in WiFi and 3G connecitivity, plus Edge/GPRS use and your connectivity standards should all be met. We’re mostly salivating about the unique design, as it will definitely have people talking as you walk on by…
Number Three: the Nokia N96
The style of the Nokia N96 is slick with smooth rounded corners, which makes the device feel really nice in the hand. More important than the design, however, is its very capable specs. For instance, the device offers Quad-Band GSM capabilities which means worldwide use is guaranteed, while the 5MP camera with Carl Zeiss Optics, AutoFocus, Flash and 30FPS video capture is by far one of the best options currently available on the market. Add in a built-in GPS receiver with Nokia Maps software and an included 16GB hard drive and its hard to ignore the Nokia N96. I also don’t mind the included International 3G data connection and the ability to use WiFi 802.11b/g, both of which are complemented by Edge/GPRS abilities. Overall a very sturdy device that’s great to look at and even better to use.
Number Two: the Blackberry Storm 9500
We just got our hands on the Blackberry Storm this weekend and after a day and a half its already made our list of solid iPhone contenders. As the first Blackberry device to handle Touchscreen capabilities we have to admit we were impressed. The virtual keyboard on the Blackberry Storm is far superior to the iPhone’s offering. We found that the haptic feedback made screen taps feel “more real” than other touchscreen devices, while the virtual keyboards keys were big enough that we didn’t mistype as much as we do on the iPhone’s virtual offering. The Blackberry Storm also offers extremely quick device navigation, we’re assuming this is because of the devices 624Mhz processor. The device also comes equipped with 1GB of on device memory, while the units MicroSDHC card slot allows for up to 8GB of additional memory in swappable form. Throw in a built-in GPS receiver for navigation purposes and its easy to see how the Blackberry Storm is ready to take on the iPhone right out of the box.
Number One: the HTC S740
Featuring a similar build factor to the HTC Touch Diamond, the HTC S740 offers several big improvements. First, the device doesn’t feature a touchscreen but it does provide a sliding qwerty keypad for easier text and email messaging. The S740 also adds a MicroSDHC card slot for swappable memory purposes. Throw in WiFi 802.11b/g data access, international 3G and Edge/GPRS capabilities and a GPS receiver and you have a well rounded device in terms of connection abilities. With a rugged build and ever-better specs, the HTC S740 is a great option for text addicted users who want the full capabilities of Windows Mobile 6.1. All these make for a powerful mobile device that can rival the iPhone for anyone who remains on the fence.
Updated Editor’s Note: this article’s writer, James Johnson, quite specifically excluded the T-Mobile G1 from this list. Why? Here’s his notes from the comments: I didnâ€™t include the T-Mobile G1 because there are still too many bugs with Google Android (Hence all the worldwide Rom updates recently) plus no support for Microsoft Exchange Server (Due Q1 2008), and too few applications. Iâ€™m actually a big fan of Android and iâ€™m sure in the near future it will easily be at or near the top of my Top 10 lists. At this time it simply doesnâ€™t offer enough universal appeal.
Thanks for reading, GearCravers, Diggers, Stumblers and otherwise… Did we miss a mobile that you’d include on a list of your own? Leave us a comment or email us. In the mean time, share this one with your friends and vote it up on your favorite social site. We appreciate your support as always!
(nokia e37 image courtesy: kikuyumoja)