Cool Smartphones in the PC World 100

We saw many good smartphones in 2009. Here are the four models our editors like best.

Palm Pre

The Pre wowed us with its engaging (and fun to use) WebOS software and eye-catching hardware. Thanks to the Pre's responsive multitouch screen, its intuitive gesture-based controls, and WebOS's beautiful way of organizing information, this smartphone is a pleasure to use. The keyboard may not be perfect, but that's a minor trade-off for everything else the Pre offers. ($150 with two-year Sprint contract)

Full review | Video

HTC Hero

HTC's third Android OS-based smartphone is loaded with features and offers plenty of customization options with HTC's Sense user interface. Nevertheless, the Hero's performance can be sluggish and its video is unreliable. ($180 with two-year contract from Sprint)

Full review | Video

Apple iPhone 3GS

The faster processor and the improved camera are merely incremental upgrades, but the iPhone 3GS's new hardware augments some highly innovative software. Gaming runs more smoothly on the 3GS, making the iPhone a superior entertainment device. And being able to record video and upload directly to YouTube (finally!) adds a new dimension of fun. Battery life could be better, but the iPhone 3GS solidifies Apple's hegemony in the crowded smartphone landscape. ($200 for 16GB, $300 for 32GB, with two-year AT&T contract)

Full review | Video

RIM BlackBerry Tour 9630

This smartphone melds the best features of RIM's Bold and its Curve 8900 into one slick package. The Tour has a superslim design, a gorgeous display, and one of the best keyboards we've ever seen on a BlackBerry. Unfortunately, like the BlackBerry Storm (also on Verizon), the Tour lacks Wi-Fi, a disappointing omission for a business-focused device. ($200 with two-year contract from Verizon)

Full review | Video

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