The end of the year is a good time to reflect on all the smartphones that came out over the year, but 2017 in particular happens to be a little more significant than other years in the sense that it marks the 10-year anniversary of Apple’s iPhone and, whether you love it or hate it, the smartphone industry might not be anything like it is today if it wasn’t for that iconic smartphone. So, more than just reflecting on the phones that came out over the past year, recently I’ve also started to think about… well, all the smartphones that have come out over the past decade. Of course, some stick out more than others, and some for reasons better than others.
My first smartphone will always have a spot in my heart purely for sentimental reasons. The Samsung Vibrant was a highly anticipated device for its time as the first Samsung Galaxy device. It had an AMOLED display, 8GB of internal storage, and it came preloaded with Avatar. Despite the hate for TouchWiz, looking back I consider it one of the better-looking early interfaces on Android. It wasn’t my favorite phone, but it did leave a lasting impression and gave me a glimpse of how great smartphones could be.
The first smartphone that I ever truly felt passionate about was probably my EVO 4G. Its “large” 4.3-inch display (laughable now, but back then it was considered a really big phone!), sturdy metal kickstand, and beautiful Sense UI were all great aspects of the device. The device was so popular because it was technically the first 4G phone, but 4G on Sprint’s WiMax network was spotty at best; that didn’t really matter to me at the time. 3G was still plenty good enough at the time, and the device itself more than made up for itself in other features. Except battery life; that was pretty bad.
The iPhone 4S was my first iPhone, and that was another device I ended up absolutely adoring. In 2011, Android wasn’t exactly in its prime. Even the flagships had their issues, but the iPhone had become a solid platform with very few issues in the 4 years since its inception. The camera was amazing, Siri was an interesting feature, and everything just worked really well in comparison to my experience with Android devices.
I eventually went back to Android when the HTC One M7 came out in 2013. The HTC One proved to me that Android had become a force to reckon with in the 2 years between it and my last Android device (EVO 3D), not only in performance but also with build quality. The aluminum unibody design of the HTC One was the first of its kind for Android and really gave it a premium feel to it.
Since then, I’ve switched back and forth between Android and iOS pretty consistently. I can’t remember the last time I had a truly “bad” experience with a smartphone after the One, aside from the odd quirk here and there. I guess I was also fortunate because I didn’t own any devices that had really big issues like the Note 7 or the Pixel XL 2. In fact, I’d say every phone I’ve owned post 2013 isn’t as memorable because they’ve all been pleasant to use.
Ultimately, my favorite smartphone ends up being my favorite smartphones, as it’s a tie between the iPhone 4S and the original HTC One. Both of those devices changed the game for me by opening my eyes to how great both iOS and Android can be, therefore remain two of the most pleasantly memorable for me.
Readers, what has been your favorite smartphone (or smartphones) to date and why? Let us know in the comments below!