What were your top smartphones of 2010-2019?

auntjemima

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Nexus 6p and the Pixel 2 XL. Both phones could really last me for the forseeable future. The 6P longevity is insane and I never would have purchased the pixel 2 XL if I didn't change carriers and the plan I wanted required me to purchase a new device.
 

The Mad Atheist

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Galaxy Exhibit II, 1ghz CPU, 512MB RAM, 4GB ROM, added 32GB microSD card, rooted and custom firmware to OC to 1.5ghz. Lasted 6-7 years.
Galaxy J3 Prime, 1.4ghz quadcore, 1.5GB RAM, 16GB ROM, added 128GB microSD card, locked firmware, but can be root via tricks atleast.
 
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LG V30 with a custom ROM and a pair of flc8s headphones. Still appreciate and love this combo every time I hear it.
 
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Galaxy Note 4, easily.
  • First Samsung phone to have a 2560x1440 screen
  • First Samsung phone to have fast charging
  • First Note to have tilt sensitivity on the Wacom EMR pen (Clover Paint and ArtRage can use it)
  • First Note to support the Gear VR
  • Final Note to have a removable battery and IR blaster
  • Final Note to have a better SoC than its S-series counterpart earlier in the year (SD805 vs. SD800)
  • still had an unlockable bootloader on Sprint and T-Mobile (Samsung dropped this on the S7 onward, all locked bootloaders for NA variants, which sucks)
  • had a nice-feeling aluminum frame without ditching the removable back
  • could support wireless charging with a replacement back
  • officially supported up to 6.0 Marshmallow, goes way past that when considering custom ROMs
The only reason I stopped using my Note 4 was that unofficially unlocked Sprint variants kinda suck to use on T-Mobile and other carriers. No 4G bands, and even the 3G coverage was dropping hard as I waited it out to the Note 8's release. No, I didn't even get hit with the infamous eMMC failure issue, somehow.

I still consider it the best Galaxy Note ever made in terms of being a no-compromises enthusiast phone. Modern Notes are just S-series we have to wait later in the year for with no substantial upgrades, and lost features if anything (IR blaster on Note 5 on top of losing removable battery/microSD/MHL, headphone jack on Note 10), all for the luxury of having that Wacom EMR digitizer built-in, and now you have to put up with that stupid screen curve on the edges they introduced back with the Note 7. (The original Note Edge released alongside the Note 4 gets a pass because the edge screen is a second screen outside of the main screen area.)

There are other phones I've wanted to try, like the LG V20 for being the last bastion of removable battery phones with a beefed-up audio DAC to boot, but I just never got around to buying 'em. It's been S3, Note 4 and Note 8 for me this decade, and I just get increasingly bored with smartphones because they're taking away features and punching holes in my screens instead of adding new ones.

I'd like to branch out, but that Wacom EMR S-Pen is a bit more essential to my usage than you think. Nobody else even tries to compete with that, unless it's a half-assed capacitive stylus from LG. Apple had a potential opportunity with the Pencil, but didn't bother - and even then, I have a lot to loathe about iOS requiring a jailbreak just to do things Android doesn't even need root for, given my dabblings with a hand-me-down iPhone SE.
 
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Domingo

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The iPhone 4 is still probably the best smartphone I've ever owned. At least for the time.

While I appreciate the freedom of Android, every single Android phone I've owned has had a caveat and has involved a compromise. Samsung devices have shitty software, Moto never has any updates, and Google's hardware is suspect.
My Moto X Pure was the best of them and up there with the best phones I've ever owned...for about 9 months. Then (thanks to Lenovo) it just stopped getting updates. I was permanently running 2 Android version behind and the newest apps wouldn't update since I was on an older OS.
 

Ripskin

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HTC Sensation
Galaxy S4
OnePlus 5T

I liked the Sensation, it was not sensational of HTC to announce its beefier souped up version a week or so after launch. S4 was really solid and lasted a long time. Love my 5T still so no plans to upgrade right now.
 

///AMG

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Sony Xperia Z2 one of the only android phones I have ever owned that was basically trouble free. Also the last one I have bought personally.
iPhone 6
iPhone 7
iPhone 11 Pro Max

Wasn’t a big fan of the iPhone 4 and 5 design. Also the XS bought last year was just ok but I think it was the perfect size, kinda regret getting the 11 pro max instead of the regular pro.

I have a long list of android phones I bought from 2010-2015 that were just flat out headaches.
 

GotNoRice

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I really liked my Galaxy Note 2, which I used for 5 years or so, 2012-2017. I didn't stop using it by choice. One day, for some unexplained reason, it just stopped working. It rebooted while in my pocket, and wouldn't ever boot past the Samsung logo after that point. In those 5 years I managed to not even get a single scratch on the screen. The only thing that was starting to limit the phone was that it was still stuck on Android 4.4, and clearly was never going to get an upgrade. Functionally, it still met all of my needs up until it died. When I replaced it with my current Galaxy S8+, it felt more like a sidegrade or even a downgrade; though the S8+ is a fine phone, it's not a great phone like the Note 2 was.

I've considered trying to buy a cheap Note 2 from eBay with a broken screen or something, and using the screen from my Note 2 to create something I could use as a mini-tablet in some situations.
 

T4rd

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I really liked my Galaxy Note 2, which I used for 5 years or so, 2012-2017. I didn't stop using it by choice. One day, for some unexplained reason, it just stopped working. It rebooted while in my pocket, and wouldn't ever boot past the Samsung logo after that point. In those 5 years I managed to not even get a single scratch on the screen. The only thing that was starting to limit the phone was that it was still stuck on Android 4.4, and clearly was never going to get an upgrade. Functionally, it still met all of my needs up until it died. When I replaced it with my current Galaxy S8+, it felt more like a sidegrade or even a downgrade; though the S8+ is a fine phone, it's not a great phone like the Note 2 was.

I've considered trying to buy a cheap Note 2 from eBay with a broken screen or something, and using the screen from my Note 2 to create something I could use as a mini-tablet in some situations.

Why didn't you just replace it with another recent Note phone if you wanted the S-Pen/tablet functionality? My wife has been on the Note 9 since it came out and its been great so far. I also had a Note 2, the only Samsung phone I've had myself so far, and it was definitely a great phone for the 2 years or so I had it. I root/ROM'd it at the time though to remove some of the Verizon bloat and also add back some features that the Verizon ROM stripped out from the unlocked ROM. I'd say the display on your S8+ is a night and day upgrade from the Note 2 though, as even when I went from my Note 2 to my One M8, which was only a 720p AMOLED to a 1080p LCD and it was a huge difference in clarity and brightness, so and newer Samsung phone would be that much better in every regard.

The only thing that sucks comparatively on the newer Note/Samsung phones is the lack of headphone jack and removable battery.
 

GotNoRice

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Why didn't you just replace it with another recent Note phone if you wanted the S-Pen/tablet functionality?

I didn't really end up using the pen much, so I thought all I really needed was the bigger screen. That's why I went S8+ instead of another note. I do like the higher resolution of the screen, but I haven't warmed up much to things like the non-16:9 aspect ratio, rounded corners, etc.
 

M76

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I know just one thing. The ultra long garbage they are putting out nowadays is useless. I mean any phone with wider than 16:9 aspect ratio is automatically junk to me, and that is what they have only been producing for a few years now. 16:9 or bust. I also despise "infinite" screen phones and notches and rounded screen edges.
 

cjcox

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HTC One M8. That phone had it all. Now, I'm a Sprint customer and usually buy from them (well, used to have to) to get the deep discounts (or free) phone. So, selection was limited. Still, I'd put my old (I don't use it anymore) M8 against pretty much anything today. You might have a nicer camera, but do you have SD expansion, headphone jack, stereo speakers, IR, radio, aluminum body, MHL,....? about the only thing missing was built in kickstand.

I currently use an LG V40. It's ok, but it's no M8.

Edit: I bought my whole family M8's, mine was the HK edition though. Each one for .01 back when Amazon used to do their penny deals.
 
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Aurelius

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I know just one thing. The ultra long garbage they are putting out nowadays is useless. I mean any phone with wider than 16:9 aspect ratio is automatically junk to me, and that is what they have only been producing for a few years now. 16:9 or bust. I also despise "infinite" screen phones and notches and rounded screen edges.

Please don't be That Guy who's holding on to an ancient device simply because he refuses to adapt. I've seen this kind of stubbornness play out time and time again, and not once have I seen manufacturers reverse a trend just because a handful of holdouts prefer the old way of doing things. So long as devices sell well (or a failure can't be directly traced back to that change in design), they'll carry on their existing path. You don't have to be a big fan of taller-ratio displays, but you will likely have to get used to them if you're going to continue using smartphones.
 

Trimlock

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Please don't be That Guy who's holding on to an ancient device simply because he refuses to adapt. I've seen this kind of stubbornness play out time and time again, and not once have I seen manufacturers reverse a trend just because a handful of holdouts prefer the old way of doing things. So long as devices sell well (or a failure can't be directly traced back to that change in design), they'll carry on their existing path. You don't have to be a big fan of taller-ratio displays, but you will likely have to get used to them if you're going to continue using smartphones.

D6B82C4F-5530-4910-9332-BF6DAEB08021.png
 
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Usual_suspect

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Android side I would have to say: the Galaxy S7. To me it pushed the boundaries and set the standard/trend for the current Android phones in terms of screen to body ratio. At the time it also felt very premium, and the camera was ahead of the curve.

on the Apple side I’d have to say the iPhone X.

Sure it set the bad trend of $1k smartphones but it pushed Android manufacturers to compete for the most screen to body ratio, it also brought more light to facial recognition as a biometric for smartphones. It was also very well built, just holding it naked in the hand it get Uber premium to me. There isn’t an Android that has given me this feeling yet, even the S20 Ultra feels “meh, been there done that”. The X also, well at least to me set the de-facto standard for gesture navigation that manufacturers like OnePlus and Google are actively trying to replicate.
 

ND40oz

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T-Mobile G2 (HTC Desire Z) - it was such an upgrade from the G1 (HTC Dream) and it had the onscreen keyboard for portrait mode. Without those two phones, Android doesn't get a foothold. And now I've had an iPhone since the 6 Plus, oh well.
 

Eshelmen

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The LG G2 and G4 were probably my favorites.

Loved the G series phones at this stage. Both were pretty damn quick for the time they released, had great UI, removable battery's(had a 10k battery on my G4 that was awesome), plenty of after market accessories and just was overall content with them.
 

Tetsu

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Started with HTC HD2 back in the day. Dual boot android and WP, phone was a beast.
Then Galaxys, Nexuses, iPhones...

From android I really liked Nexus devices. Reliable, cheap, with best software available and no constraints on flashing/modding the hell out of devices. Pixel Line is pretty good as well, but not that good.
OnePlus is pretty good too, had 5T I think.
But settled on Essential PH1 for more than 2 years. Looks, ergonomics, speed, everything is perfect except for camera, but with root it's shortcomings can be mitigated with GCam.

Liked iPhone 8 as well. But so far, won't be switching to Apple anytime soon. Just like total customization of android better.
 

maddude

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The LG G2 and G4 were probably my favorites.

Loved the G series phones at this stage. Both were pretty damn quick for the time they released, had great UI, removable battery's(had a 10k battery on my G4 that was awesome), plenty of after market accessories and just was overall content with them.

We have much in common. I loved the G2 and G4. The G2 died in the middle of sending a text and couldn't be fixed. The G4 was awesome to use but was incredibly unstable. Factory resets and warranty replacements, I never got one that didn't need constant rebooting. Switched to an iPhone 7+ and have been using it for nearly 4 years. Neither phone or system is perfect, but I do enjoy support and updates on iOS vs Android.
 

Dopamin3

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Motorola Nexus 6- gorgeous large 1440P AMOLED with dual front firing speakers. Worked on all 4 USA carriers. Great custom development community for ROMs and kernels. My all time favorite.

Currently running a Pixel 3a XL and it's okay, but definitely not as enjoyable as the Nexus 6 when it came out. On the fence if I want to get back into custom ROMs, seems like a lot of work with these A/B partition devices.
 

Eshelmen

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I remember selling phones back when I was like 22 or something, and smart phones were just becoming a thing. The iphone was lightyears ahead of the touch screen phones I was selling.

One customer (clearly a google employee) came up and flashed me the Nexus One. At this time, this phone was on the wrap, and nobody really knew anything about it but just tidbits here and there. It was so bad ass to see it before most. It just looked so freaking awesome for that time.

I'd say from the moment google entered the market with their own phone in 2010, stuff took off in a heart beat. Back then, BlackBerry was dominant. I even had a few and they were awesome.
 

The Mad Atheist

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Just ordered a Xaoime Redmi Note 9s, 6gb/128gb model for $250us, and bought a 256gb u3 Onn card for it for $33.
Heard the phone has if a 2.1 and the CPU is tuned for gaming.
Also getting a tv tuner for it.
Can't wait til the 28th....

Dropped my old phone and cracked the glass a little, 3 main cracks under the tempered glass screen protector...... not really bad tho.
I'll use this phone as a torrent downloader now.

Hehehe, funny, last time I spent this much for a phone was for the Samsung Galaxy Exhibit 2, 1ghz single core, 512mb/4gb, 800x480 for $200 9ish years ago. OCed to 1.5ghz thanks to root and custom ROM.
 
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Eshelmen

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Just ordered a Xaoime Redmi Note 9s, 6gb/128gb model for $250us, and bought a 256gb u3 Onn card for it for $33.
Heard the phone has if a 2.1 and the CPU is tuned for gaming.
Also getting a tv tuner for it.
Can't wait til the 28th....

Dropped my old phone and cracked the glass a little, 3 main cracks under the tempered glass screen protector...... not really bad tho.
I'll use this phone as a torrent downloader now.


No issues on a US network? What service do you use? I was looking at their phones as they're pretty decked out in specs, and for cheap too.

But I've heard there's issues with data.
 

The Mad Atheist

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No issues on a US network? What service do you use? I was looking at their phones as they're pretty decked out in specs, and for cheap too.

But I've heard there's issues with data.
I don't have cell service because I rarely call or receive so I see no reason to spend money on a plan. Trying to see if I can a free service like Safelink, or Freedompop for it.
I ordered the global version and will get it the 28th. ETAPRIME and Kevin Breeze reviewed the phone, both liked it.
Think Kevin used Cricket, not sure.
 

blackmomba

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Nexus 5 by far and away

I've had Galaxy S3, S4, S8, S10, Zenfone 1, 6p, iPhone 6 and Nexus was the best at the time. Unlocked bootloader, stock android, clean and stable in every way, exactly what you need from a phone
 

WarriorX

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I have only had 3 smartphones since starting to use them.
1. Samsung Fascinate (cool at the start but turned to garbage due to lack of updates, software bugs, etc)
2. Droid Turbo (amazing phone that only was replaced due to aging hardware and software)
3. Pixel 2 XL. Current phone. Amazing phone, love the speed, update frequency and clean Android. My two complaints, one being battery. 5-6 hours of heavy use drains the battery to <20%. Most days it only gets to <30% but the rare time I use it a lot the battery level gets lower than I would like. The another complaint is the type-c port. Mine is messed up or something and most of my charging cables don't work. I have two that do, the same cable but its a type-A on one end and type-c on the other. So no fast charging. I have tried cleaning out the port but that didn't help. Warranty time has past so just gotta deal with it.

Google seems adamant at messing up the new Pixel releases, hope they get back on track when it is time for me to upgrade.
 
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