Best phone 2011 - 8th Pocket-lint Awards nominees

What a year 2011 has been for the smartphone. Consumers have been left with such a wealth of choice that the average phone shop has been transformed into a veritable pick 'n mix of mobile excitement. There have, however, been a few handsets that shone out like a pink foam shrimp hidden in a pile of Werther's Originals. 

It is this chosen few which have made it into the final round of nominations for the 8th Pocket-lint awards. We want you to get voting but, while you'r at it, why not check out this round up of the five nominees bouting for the crown.

iPhone 4S

Price
From £499
Released
Oct 2011
PL review score
4.5 stars

No one can argue that Apple doesn't know how to release a phone. The amount of hype surrounding the iPhone 4S, right up to its announcement and the subsequent queues on launch day, was unparalleled. Justifiably so, packing a powerful dual-core processor, revamped camera and a virtual assistant in the form of Siri, the iPhone 4S was the best handset Apple had put together yet.

We were massively impressed with the speed at which iOS ticked along, the quality of video and stills the camera put out and the rethought notifications implemented in iOS 5. Sure it might not have been the hardware redesign we had hoped for, but it was still a damn good phone. 

Apple's magic touch shone through with this one. The handset looked as fresh as ever, despite being identical to tech that was released over a year ago. The retina display still impressed but now, with a new processor, the handset could compete with the speed which the Android competition managed.

Samsung Galaxy S II 

Price
From £400
Released
April 2011
PL review score
4.5 stars

The Samsung Galaxy S II has emerged repeatedly triumphant in just against just about every Android handset we have pitted against it. Samsung really did future proof on the specs front with this one. It remains one of the most powerful phones money can buy. A dual-core 1.2GHz processor and 1GB of RAM, all wrapped up in an ultra thin form factor, is a pretty persuasive package. 

Special mention has to be given to the 8 megapixel snapper on the back, its 1080p video being some of the best we have seen. That and the way that Samsung's rethought TouchWiz UI operates, adding to but never detracting from the core Android experience. 

Nokia Lumia 800

Price
From £400
Released
Nov 2011
PL review score
4.5 stars

Nokia needed to get this one right. It was its last ray of hope in a ship that was sinking faster than the Titanic. Previous disappointments and OS decisions (N9 we mean you!) had left us slightly sceptical with this one.  Upon arrival however all our apprehensions were destroyed, in one big Lumia 800 shaped swoop. 

The combination of Nokia's approach to design, coupled with the simple yet elegant WP7 Metro UI resulted in the best Windows Phone 7 experience yet. If nothing else, this is the phone that should restore tech fans faith in Nokia. 

The 1.4 GHz processor sat inside the Lumia 800 meant that the phone never felt sluggish and its AMOLED display delivered details and colour that rivalled the Galaxy Nexus. Better still, the integrated Nokia Music app improved the Windows Phone listening experience to no end. All in all a winner from camp Nokia. 

HTC Sensation

Price
From £370
Released
May 2011
PL review score
4.5 stars

The HTC Sensation was the first time consumers had got their hands on a dual-core phone from the company. It was speedy, had a great quality screen and came with the latest version of the company's Sense UI. 

The result was a pretty persuasive Android package, complete with all the design and UI bells and whistles HTC is known for. The qHD resolution display was a particular highlight, especially when coupled with the extra speed provided for HTC's elaborate widgetry. The first time we saw the weather lock screen whizzing around in particular being mighty impressive.

For HTC fans, the Sensation was the handset to aspire to and remains one of the best the company has ever produced. 

Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray

Price
From £270
Released
Aug 2011
PL review score
4.5 stars

Sony Ericsson really pulled it out of the bag this year on the mobile front. All the mistakes made with the previous gen Xperia phones were rectified and hardware kicked it up a notch on the photographic and display front. 

The Ray was a particular highlight, the combination of value, toughness and pocket-ability left us converted. It also whacked in all the delights of Sony Ericsson's display tech, in particular a 297ppi res, which put it close even to that of the iPhone 4 and 4S's Retina Display. 

What won us over was the battery, which did away with any of the nastyness of conventional Android behaviour and instead saw the phone ticking over for well over a day.

What do you think of this year's nominations? Let us know in the comments below ... 



>