Today’s state-of-the-art smartphones, like the Galaxy S4 and HTC One, pack quad-core processors, shoot photos faster than you can blink and sport gorgeous full HD displays. These devices also tap into blazing 4G LTE networks that are faster than some home broadband connections. But to truly appreciate all the features we now take for granted, it’s important to take a look at how we got here. I’m fortunate enough to have witnessed the smartphone evolution first-hand, from the very first PDA-phone hybrids to today’s big-screen phablets. Based on the hundreds of reviews I’ve written and edited over the years, here’s my list of the top 15 smartphones of all time.
Before the Handspring Treo 180 arrived, smartphones were bulky PDA-phone hybrids that made you sacrifice comfort for versatility. This Palm OS device changed all that, weighing a light 5.2 ounces and measuring 0.7 inches. This was before the age of capacitive touch screens, so the best way to interact with the 180 was with the telescoping stylus. The flip design with transparent lid made it easy to see who was calling, and the side-mounted scroll wheel enabled swift navigation. Palm would acquire Handspring the following year and go on to release the color (Treo 270) and 3G (Treo 300) versions.