The latest leak of the white Nexus 5 has made me think of how far the design of Android devices has come. Historically, there were always a couple of above-average looking phone for consumers to choose from, but in the last year or two we have seen a spate of handsets that look really appealing, with many considering it an important factor in their decision-making.
I started looking back at some of my favorites from the past five years and have listed them below. What do you think? Which are your favorite Android phones of all time design-wise? Let us know in the comments!
5. Droid Incredible 1 & 2
The original Incredible is probably the device that made me first fall in love with HTC. It was a time when phones weren’t particularly slim, and I actually liked contours on the back. The successor was as good, with the contours being reduced from two to one. However, the red version that was released stood out the most for me.
4. HTC One X (and the AT&T Sensation)
The HTC One X was, in my opinion, the first absolutely outstanding Android phone in terms of design. That it comes in on #4 for me speaks volumes of the improvement we’ve seen across the board from various manufacturers. I remember putting a case on the device for the first couple of weeks of using it. A friend, while having a look, asked if she could remove it to see the back. That just reminded me how gorgeous it was, and how good it felt in the hand, that I haven’t put the case back on for well over a year now. Also, having what was widely considered the best mobile screen at the time certainly helped.
3. Motorola Moto X
As color options started becoming more and more of a useful marketing gimmick, Motorola decided that they didn’t want to offer just a couple of them: they wanted to offer a couple thousand. While the device was a critical success it wasn’t a commercial one and Motorola continues to burn money. One can only imagine what would have been had their customization web app, MotoMaker, been available to all prospective buyers and if they had focused as much on other important factors like the screen and the camera.
2. Google Nexus 5 (particularly the white variant)
I had actually set my heart on the black version (I really wanted to put a Batman decal on the matte-black back) but the rumored white variant has really grown on me. What really click for me are the black trims around the camera and buttons that can be seen from the back. It is rumored to have a soft-touch back like the Nexus 7 that I am fond of.
The design of this phone is just engineering perfection and demonstrated HTC at their best. An amazing build quality thanks to an Aluminium unibody, the phone can look unbelievably thin, with a curved back that makes it an absolute pleasure to hold. Finding room on the front for their BoomSound speakers gives the phone a unique feature to have, and a Google Play Edition allowed gives consumers choices regarding whether or not they want Sense out of the box.
I agree that HTC has attractive phones in general (they took most of this list), but the HTC One just has too much bezel for me to put it at #1. I’d probably go Moto X, then Nexus 5 , then HTC Incredible 1.
Gotta love the Note 3. the back looks awesome. I have the white version and I forget that it isn’t flat white but there is a cool modern design when you pay attention. Very cool detail!
no xperia phone in the list??
I was never particular a fan of their phones, the Z came close but it had a very flat back which never felt too comfortable in my hand
That’s what is obvious from your number 4 and 5 choices. You’re certainly fond of that special part of female body, good sir ;) B00bs FTW!
I’ve had my HTC One for about a month and I’m still stunned by its beauty. I opted for a transparent cover because I couldn’t bear to hide its good looks. The fact that it is also a powerhouse phone under all the glitz put it over the top when I made my upgrade.
I’m using my One with a clear case with textured sides right now since it’s too slippery. I’ve almost dropped it a few times, I just can’t take the risk — but boy, does it look nice when I remove the case when I show people.
I didn’t choose that route. I went with an HTC Double Dip case and an anti fingerprint screen protector, but you can still see the front of the phone, which is enough for me.
Nexus s and galaxy nexus
I’m a big fan of simple and elegant. That’s why I love the Nexus line from the galaxy nexus on. I want nothing on the front face. As clean as possible.
The GS4 bezels are just as big as the HTC One it’s funny when a Samsung fan makes that’s statement. (not directed at prior comments just in general)
You are incorrect.
Back away from the crack pipe
Let’s look at the facts: take the a squared plus b squared equals c squared formula, and apply it to both. HTC One is a 6.04″ diagonal device with a 4.7″ diagonal screen. The SGS4 is a 6.04″ diagonal device with a 5″ diagonal screen. Any difference between the two devices in the diagonal is in the THOUSANDS place, so the reality is clear. SGS4 wins the bezel war.
Dual speakers on the front that kicks the crap of of anything else. that’s why they’re the same size. Even trade.
One X :-)
Besides the speakers are a hell of a trade off for the bezel space. The One is the best feeling phone in my hand ever. (IMO)
There have been a lot of nice looking phones over the years, but for me, it’s always been about the original Droid. The hard lines and metal contruction were awesome, it was like something from some horrible future dystopia. I also miss the four capacitive buttons, the two stage camera button and the qwerty…
HTC one is one of the ugliest phones of all time. G Nex FTW.
Down vote me too people but I agree. I just can’t get past the bezel. Everyone was enamored by the premium materials but other than that I hated the design. Its simply my opinion. No need to go all fan boy on me guys.
Bezel is horrible. If you’ve held and used the phone for a while, you’d understand how great the design and look is despite that huge bezel.
Horizontal bezel not big enough. Still bumping things on the edge of the screen with the heel of my hand when reaching across with thumbs.
1. HTC One
2. HTC One X
3. Sony Xperia Z
4. LG Nexus 4
5. Motorola Moto X
6. HTC One S
7. HTC Sensation
8. HTC Nexus One
9. Motorola Droid RAZR M
10. HTC Hero (UK/Int.)
Off the top of my head.
Absolutely agree w/ this list, spot on.
Aye, cant believe the Xperia Z isnt in the list.
I agree with your list except for the International Hero with that ugly ass chin it had, I owned the Sprint Hero when it was out it didn’t have a chin though.
Galaxy Note 2 should be up there. As should the Gnex. And what about the OG Droid?
LG 2(DAT bezel), Nexus S(oh so sexy curves), Nexus 4 (pretty to look at just do t drop it), Moto X (look at all the pretty colors), and the Nexus 5 (take my money already Google). These were in no particular order.
The Nexus One definitely needs to be on that list.
the One is definitely the best looking phone out, but as others have mentioned, I think HTc could have slimmed down those bezels some
Front facing speakers or slimmer bezel? Don’t think you can have both.
Eh, I’ve never really liked the design of any of the Droid Incredible phones. The Droid Razr line on the other hand is pretty good.
The HTC One X is definitely a great looking & feeling phone. I went to the phone shop to buy a SGS III and walked out with the HTC One X.
Oppo Find 5
Glad someone agrees. I’m not sure why this phone wasn’t more popular.
nexus one deserves to be on this list imo
Bad list. LG G2 is gorgeous.
Agree, just wish mine didn’t have that damn VZW logo on the front. Wonder if I can scratch it off like I could with my Bionic?
I agree that the OG Incredible should be on there, but not the Incredible 2. I had both, and people were in awe when they would see my OG Incredible. The Inc2 was…meh…
How/why is N5 listed here when we haven’t seen how it feels/looks in hand
In my humble opinion as a One owner, I wish that the sides of the phone had soft touch or texture, as it’s way too slippery. I’m forced to put on a clear case with textured sides because of this. Also, my jeans likes to rub its blue dye onto the white polycarbonate sides.
Aside from design, I wish that it had a better camera (ambitious, but far from top tier), multi-color notification LED, and a third capacitive button.
In comparison, I liked my Nexus 4 better as a daily driver, as its only shortcoming was its less-than-ideal camera. If only more devices had speakers on the front.
i actually dont understand people’s obsession with the One design. personally, i find nothing about the One attractive at all….
How is the HTC Legend not in this device. No pun intended the design of that device was legendary at the time. One of the first designs that was built from a single aluminum block
The ONE is ugly from the front. DAT bezel. G2 is one sexy phone. DAT bezel, but in a good way. And the back design with the buttons, and that halo lit up when you’re in call.
Odd choices.The Moto X is cool but I doubt there would be one HTC handset on my top ten.
i rather have the Moto X on top to be quite honest. I’m loving the compact feel with no bezel yet the curved back fitting in the palm of my hand. The color customization is a big plus.
The nice thing about this topic is that esthetics is all opinion based. So nobody can really prove you wrong. As for arguments about large bezels, I would counter argue that paintings and photos generally look better with large bezels. Granted a large bezel is less functional on a phone. But function and esthetics are mutually exclusive.
That said, I have a galaxy nexus. It’s almost at its 2 year anniversary which is what the n5 is markets towards. But to me besides a slightly larger size there is very little to distinguish my GN with a n5. Also i find it amusing that 2 years ago there was all this uproar and direct comments to me by people saying my GN was huge. I haven’t heard anything like that in a long time. Now people say 4.5 is the perfect size.
The difference is that the Galaxy Nexus is completely outdated both spec wise and design wise. Time to say goodbye and get a Nexus 5 already chap.
Many like a thin bezel because it represents a higher level of engineering achievement.
i find droid maxx with the black/grey klevar sexiest
No picture of an xperia z falling into water? I’m disappointed. This phone is gorgeous.
The entire nexus line is beautiful. The incredible is ugly.
i find droid maxx with the black/grey klevar sexiest
Nice to see the Dinc2 on here. That was my first Smart/Android phone ever. I thought it was great. Rooted it no problem, didn’t have to worry about stupid S-off like I had to with the Rezound (what a nightmare that was for me.) On my list I would definitely add the Gnex. It was beautiful when I had that phone. Still is nice (God awful battery life tho lol) I’d say the Note 2 as well (my current phone) I’d put the One on there as well even tho I haven’t owned it or held it other than at the Verizon store. No particular order either.
No luv for the OG MO’PHO?
Wouldn’t mind seeing a re-fresh of this, kickstand & all.
Am I the only one who hates anything HTC?
You got your first customer. I never understood the huge appeal of the HTC One. It’s a good looking phone but not THAT good to compare to the iPhone. lol
They all hate the iPhone but hype an iPhone copycat.
The original, black Droid Incredible is a beautiful phone…more so than the Dinc 2, and especially, the red Dinc 2. Other than that, I wouldn’t stray too much from this list, though, while I hate white phones in general, and do actually, for once, like the white Nexus 5, I still think the black looks better.
Gotta give mention to the Nexus One and the G2(htc)… those were some nicely designed phones.
More recent.,. HTC One, Experia Z, Galaxy Nexus.
The xperia play was elegantly designed.
I have one. It’s not the best design in the world. It’s not horrible either, I guess. I really loved that phone when I first got it though. Memories… :)
Artly kidding me …the xperia z had the best design, that I’ve seen in a lonnnggg time
Even though I hate lg; I always thought the g2 was a beautiful device with almost no bevel look
hmm no Sony android phones?
I am putting in my vote for the LG G2
HTC ONE will always be number 1 for me. best looking phone ever. everyone i know wants to steal my phone.
I’ve only seen 3 in the wild
Speaking purely on design and not considering tech specs, the HTC One Mini is better than the original HTC One. The plastic side on the One Mini is smooth and great to touch while holding the phone, while its big brother has some borders that are not as pleasant to feel.
That could be the case. Plastic phones are usually better to hold.
Droid Maxx takes the cake to me. Thing is incredibly solid, feels great, and looks slick without having an air of pretentiousness. No shiny bits, no guady color, and minimal branding. Its professional meets sexy.
The aesthetic design flaw in current Samsung, LG, Sony, and Apple devices is using glass to cover the entire front of the device. HTC has always steered away from this and the utilization of speaker grills on the top and bottom perfected the approach. Another example is how much better the previous Note tablet looked compared to the current generation.
Not having the Note 3 on this list is scandalous! Experia z1 as well
It’s full of HTC fanboys here.
For sure! The Sensation and the Incredible are cool but, no.
Note 3 and Z1 easy over them…
can’t wait to see how that material looks in a month. not sure what Sammy was thinking. IMO…fugly and cheesy
Leather? Ew!! Get that out of here. Leather burns you. =.=
They should have kept their plastic design.
Doesn’t matter, the One is the looking android phone and I got the blue one, so it’s even better
That one too
I miss stainless steel phones. Aluminum is not a premium material. It’s what I use to wrap a piece of leftover chicken before heating it up in the oven.
I’m sure that’s exactly what Boeing engineers think while building their airplanes
If people (Samsung s4 and note 3 owners) are complaining about the bezels on the HTC One being to big then I can say my G2 makes their phones look ugly lol their bezels are huge compared to the G2 haha. I actually agree with the list Htc makes the best looking phones and the HTC One performs a lot better than the laggy s4.
1. HTC One ( easily)
2. HTC Droid DNA
3. HTC One X
4. Nexus 5
You’ve overlooked the Nexus 4 and the Nexus one!
My favorite is my current phone, the white Nexus 4.
Wow….I completely agree with choices 1-4. For the time being, I’m going to ignore option 5, because that thing is ugly as hell.
Here’s my list (don’t hate)
1. HTC One
2. Xperia S
3. Xperia Z (and my ZR)
4. HTC Amaze (removable unibody)
5. Nexus 4
And if anyone remembers the Motorola Devour on Verizon. I drooled over that design (sucked ass though)
My favorite design was the HTC G1 that phone was a beautiful stunning phone. I wish they would rebuild it and give us a new version that operated the same. As of now though my HTC One will do me just fine.
It was really nice. A five year commemoration phone will be nice.
*patiently waiting for the HTC G3*
The HTC One is the one, for sure.
Um AT&T never had the Sensation. It was T-Mobile ^^^^
No Sony here? Discard this list. Sony is the top, not HTC.
Amen. I love Sony’s designs.
On a different note, I had fun seeing people’s reactions at the Aquarium Of The Pacific this weekend when I put my Xperia ZR in the ray and sand shark tanks
I haven’t seen a Sony phone here in the States since roughly 1999. Who knew they even made phones anymore?
To be fair, The best looking phone is the one you’re holding in your hands right now (may also apply to women/men)
1- HTC One
2- Sony Z1
3- Motorola Razr i (white)
4- LG Nexus 4
5- HTC Butterfly S
How can you leave the Huawei Ascend P6 out of the list?
Here’s my list.
1. HTC One
2. HTC Evo 4G (the original)
3. HTC Touch Diamond
4. Samsung SPH M610
5. Tie: Nexus One
5. Tie: HTC One S
Since when the iPhone 5 (and Diamond, and M610) runs Android?
the one s is my fav looking phone
Ooo!! Top 5?
HTC Evo 3D
what a waste of time!
And I’m glad I’m wasting my time. No one is calling us in IT, so I’m just sitting here doing nothing.
I didn’t want to say anything about this list which I felt was nearly accurate but your no.5 is the most ugly phone. When I saw it I thought this was the list for the worst phones. There has to be a S3 and Sony in this list.
The S4 does look nice. The S3 doesn’t look like an appealing phone. It is still one, but I think the S4 looks better. Only because of that metallic-like strip on the sides.
Yeah I was tempted to go for the best looking design, but gotta go for the Samsung Galaxy line. Looks doesn’t always equate to being top phone. I’ve had HTC wildfire, S1, S2, and now the S4, so it’s obvious I’m biased towards Samsung.
I think the HTC One and the Sony Z flagship are two of the best looking android smartphones. I want to stuff the S4 in either of those hardware, but hey, can’t have everything.
The New Padfone Infinity in Titanium Black
Looks like a giant iPhone 4 from the front and sides.
the iPhone 4 is uglier.
Oppo Find 5 white
Oppo Find 5 is one good looking phone :D
my god, they all look pretty much the same – candy bar shaped, screen with bezel. There is no design here to get excited about!
Um…? You must don’t have much of a taste for phones. There is clearly a difference between these phones.
Of course, I’m not talking down. I’m just stating that you see all phones the same.
WTF?? Droind Incredible, okay maybe.. Nexus 5 isn’t even announced. What about the Nexus One? What about the OG Droid? HTC Droid X? HTC Evo? LAME LAME EDITORIAL.
Nexus One could have made the list. It doesn’t look all that amazing now, but it was pretty amazing design for the time. Not sure about the others you mentioned though. They were all pretty ugly.
Only the HTC Evo was good looking out of that whole list lol
Than you have no taste..
The Evo 3D looked pretty cool.
Subject list is subjective; what’s more amusing is that so many people are getting their panties in a wad about it. It’s like the first time they’re on the internet.
I have to admit that, I basically scanned through the text but, thank the good Lord above you never used the word “sexy” to describe any of these phones. Nothing creeps me out more than hearing a bunch of dudes describing a phone as SEXY?
You must go insane over blenders and toasters :(
I don’t think it’s crazy for a guy to describe an object as sexy. Guys are very visual animals that we look for symmetry in objects the same way we look for in women. I don’t get turn on by looking at any object the way I would when I look at a woman, but it doesn’t mean it’s weird to describe a symmetrical object as sexy. For an example, a Lamborghini Aventador is a very sexy car, but I will never have sex with it. Just the same way, women are very emotional animals and for example they might cry and scream when they see their favorite singer or actor.
IMO opinion, it’s a phrase that someone started using and some jumped on the “Love Train”.
Oh and by the way, I never used the word “crazy” Weird, maybe but not crazy.
Two types I guess, those that do and those that don’t. :D
Disclaimer: Testing, testing 1, 2, 3…these are yokes, they are only yokes.
It’s not crazy that you reserve the word “sexy” strictly for ladies. We all can agree that women are the sexist thing you will ever seen on Earth :D
not One S honorable mention?
I didn’t make any honorable mentions because there would have been too many
I thought the Nexus One was really good looking.
What? No love for the Moment????
(I keed! I keed!)
Oh? Best looking Qwerty phones? You must don’t know about the HTC G2.
The moment was possibly the ugliest phone of its generation. The Hero was possibly the prettiest.
I agree with the HTC One being first but the original Motorola Droid and Nexus One are 2 of the best looking phones ever IMHO.
imo #2 is the htc ONE S … VERY SLIM VERY LIGHT AND SHARP LOOKING
i think it won best looking phone of the year if im not mistaken
but yea the one is #1
others ive liked over the years
my touch 3gs
my touch 4g
Yea this HTC One is a beautiful phone!!! I’ve not regretted this purchase yet!
nexus one is number one.
All my yes. I was more impressed with the Nexus 1 design than I was with the HTC One design.
To me, I didn’t think Nexus 5 deserves 2nd place. I think either Moto X or the One X has better looking design.
Nexus 5 shouldn’t even be on the list. Nexus 4 Looks better. Nexus 4/HTC One Tied for first.
Nexus 1 should have been on this list.
That light up trackpad, the curves, the sublime aluminium unibody construction. Then you turned it on and it was froyo…
Maybe this late in 2013, I’ll be alone, but I consider the original HTC EVO 4G one of the best looking phones I’ve ever had. Something about it just spoke to me, I loved the design, the curve on the back, even the little touches like the red in the kickstand slot and under the battery. And it looks old now already, compared to the phones that are coming out but when I see someone on the street still carrying one around it makes me happy and I still think it’s a sexy beast.
Plus while neither adding or detracting to the overall look, the phone had a freakin’ KICKSTAND, a design feature I still am dumbfounded did not get more popular, as I used it at least three times a day when I had that phone.
Very happy with my HTC One. I think the evo was great even though I didn’t own it.
No droid dna? What up