Posted by Mike Evans in Buyers Guide on December 16, 2009

We’ve put together a list of 10 of the best smartphones of 2009, and chosen one winner, to help you make your choice this Christmas just that little bit easier.

And if you’re not convinced by our recommendations, check out our Smartphone Buyer’s Guide to see what essential features you should look for, then have a look at what smartphones are on offer at the moment – many at crazy prices as the mobile phone stores compete mercilessly for your hard earned cash!

Check out our 10 best smartphones after the jump.

All of the smartphones below have the ten essential smartphone features that we list in our Buyer’s Guide. In addition, they also represent great value and are best in their class.

What class is that? We broke them down according to platform, as that’s where people’s loyalties seem to lie for smartphones.

Without further ado, then, here’s our list.

Android Phones

HTC Hero smartphone
Android saw a huge number of phones released throughout the year. The contenders include:

  • T-Mobile Pulse – simple interface, great value, extremely intuitive, fast & responsive
  • Motorola Dext – fantastic new MotoBlur interface, unrivalled social media integration, great comeback from Motorola
  • HTC Hero – super-cool Android phone with user interface second only to the iPhone. Won awards from tech journalists everywhere, and rightly so.

Winner: The HTC Hero.

The Hero has to be the winner, not only because it’s such a cracking smartphone with an achingly good looking interface, but also because of the terrific value it represents – you can buy the HTC Hero for free from just £20 a month.

The Motorola Dext is also a close contender, though, and could have the edge if you particularly like your smartphones with physical QWERTY keyboards.

Read the HTC Hero Review

Apple iPhone

Apple iPhone 3G S
The iPhone is the dominant smartphone platform at the moment, yet has only one manufacturer supporting it (which is something of an understatement!) – Apple. Currently, you can choose from four different models, all of them a variant of the iPhone 3G S!

So our winner is, er, the iPhone 3G S!

Winner: The iPhone 3G S.


Palm Pre smartphone
The Palm Pre was perhaps the surprise of the year. A beautiful looking smartphone with fantastic interface, and an apps platform that’s super-easy to develop for. The Palm Pre was touted as the first true iPhone killer – for all of 3 weeks until the HTC Hero came along and showed what Android could do! Still a glorious looking phone though.

Winner: Palm Pre.

Read the Palm Pre review

Windows Mobile

HTC HD2 smartphone
Windows Mobile has been going out of fashion faster than post-XFactor JEdward hype. That still hasn’t stopped the likes of Acer, HTC, Toshiba, LG and Samsung, who between them currently have 24 different Windows Mobile phones on the market!

But which is best? We liked the following:

  • HTC HD2 – just released, an absolute giant of a smartphone. Lightning fast, huge screen, 1GHz Snapdragon processor, and the HTC Sense user interface, which buries the god-awful Windows Mobile 6.5 interface – mostly!
  • Toshiba TG01 – super-fast giant smartphone, again featuring the 1GHz Snapdragon processor. Toshiba also added their own user interface onto the TG01 and came up with a very respectable smartphone.

Winner: HTC HD2

The HD2 is so good, no other HTC gets a look in. Which is a shame, as apart from the Toshiba TG01, no other manufacturer’s Windows Mobile phone is worth a look! So apart from Toshiba, in the world of Windows Mobile, it’s HTC or nothing, and if you’re going to go for the best, it has to be the HTC HD2.

That said, if you really were going for the best, you’d never choose Windows Mobile in a million years!

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Nokia N97
A much easier decision this, since there’s only one Symbian smartphone being actively promoted in the UK market: the Nokia N97.

This is a shame, as it’s also an awful smartphone! It’s a reflection of the dire state of the Symbian market that Nokia are the only manufacturer with a significant range of Symbian devices, only one of which is a smartphone (I’m not counting the N97 Mini), and that one is truly awful!

So, the N97 is the winner, but not the kind of winner I’d ever want to be!

Read the Nokia N97 review

Honourable Mentions

Nokia N900 smartphone
Right, that’s the majority of the platforms taken care of. Just one or two more to look at before we award our winner.

Some other smartphones worth considering include:

  • Nokia N900 – Maemo powered, designed for the geek, super-powerful under the hood, but a bit awkward to use.
  • BlackBerry Storm2 9520 – Best touchscreen BlackBerry so far, and a real leap towards the consumer end of the market. Doesn’t quite match the likes of the Hero the Pre or the iPhone, though, but unbeatable for business.

The best smartphone of 2009

2009 has been an amazing year for smartphones. So good, in fact, it’s put the classic “feature phone” firmly in the past. As the sun sets on the noughties, it’s the smartphone that’s emerged triumphant, and which will take us into the brave new world of 24/7 Web connectivity.

Choosing the best smartphone of 2009 is a tough call to make. Of the 10 listed here, it comes down to the following three:

  • Apple iPhone 3G S
  • HTC Hero
  • Palm Pre

And of these, the award for the best smartphone of 2009 goes to…

The HTC Hero!

Android rocked my world this year far more than any other platform, and the HTC Hero is currently the best Android phone on the market.

It could do with being a tiny bit faster, but that’s its only drawback. With its superb Sense user interface and super-cool Android under-pinnings, HTC showed everybody just how good Android can be as a smartphone platform.

So congratulations, HTC – a stunning smartphone, and I for one can’t wait to see what you release in 2010!