What Are The Most Stylish Mobile Phones?

These days, any mobile you pick up can do the basics with aplomb -- whether you're an Android afficionado, Apple fanboy or Windows Phone 7 fanatic. And for many, style is just as much an important consideration as the platform itself. So which phones do you think win on style points alone? Here are five of our favourites to start the conversation.

These are in alphabetic rather than any preference order, and we're not specifically tracking the technology within them; merely how cool they look when you pull them out of your pocket.

Apple iPhone 4S The design hasn't changed for a while, but then good looking design is a key part of the Apple experience that stretches all the way back to the original Macintosh computer.

HTC One X HTC's current flagship phone bears the style hallmarks of HTC's designs, with a smooth curved back, excellent display screen and Beats Audio branding if that's your style.

Nokia Lumia 800 Another re-used design (N9), the Lumia 800's body is functionally identical to that of the earlier Nokia N9 -- and it's a cracker of a design that turns heads thanks to its smoothed corners and excellent display screen.

Sony Xperia S Sony's Xperia S features a rather unique bar design down the lower side of the front of the phone that makes it stand out -- as does the better-than-iPhone-4 display screen.

Samsung Galaxy Note The Galaxy Note stands out, if only because of its size. What could just be a large lump of plastic and glass instead takes on the best design notes of the iconic Galaxy S II and supersizes them in just the right way. If you're after a smartphone that towers over the rest, the Galaxy Note is the one to buy.


    You guys are just trying to stir the pot now, aren't you? OK, I'll bite. You really can't beat the N9/Lumia800 for style, it is just so different to anything else out there. I really like the new Sony's, too. Samsung phones are just far too utilitarian looking, with the exception of the Nexus, which looks quite cool for a big slab of stuff. HTC put a lot of effort into their designs but somehow they never quite manage to pull it off. A 6 month old HTC phone generally looks very dated.

      Whoops! I forgot the iPhone 4/4S, which is right up there with the N9/Lumia800, I reckon. Its just a shame it is so much style over substance, with its exposed glass edges and corners.

        I'd have to agree that the 4S is a gorgeous phone. It feels nice and weighty in the hand, and if you can keep fingerprints off it, all the better. I really do feel the need to applaud Apple on their design philosophy, at the very least.

        shakes head in disbelief.. +1'ing a motormouth comment. LOL :)

          I like the openness of Android, but as far as handset style goes i'd say iPhone 4/4S wins.

            Functionality over fashion I say.

          +1 to that! :) and +1 to the iPhone 4/4S being beautifully designed. I think its aged really well aesthetically speaking. In fact it's actually got better looking over time, and there are very few phones you can say that about. Having said that I'm looking forward to a slightly updated design with the new iPhone (at the very least a 4" screen).

    To me the iphone looks dated.
    The HTC 1X looks chunky.
    The Lumia and Xperia look fashionable.
    The Galaxy looks middle-of-the-road.

      I know. I make myself sick at the thought - just kiddin! But agreed. I love the Lumia (That blue...) and the 4S is gorgeous if now a little boring because everyone has 'em. HTC seem to just be a little ugh. The utilities of the device are not well integrated into the design like they are with Lumia/4S. Same with Samsung. That Sony is pretty nice too, and I do like the strip at the bottom of the phone but it sorta sticks out - which I guess is half the point. That said - beauty is in the eye of the beholder right?

    I use an apple ecosystem because it is the only ecosystem that caters to my professional music recording needs. I have been happy will my iPhone, iPad and MacBook without having my eyes stray. But as of lately I have enjoyed the style and experience of the Samsung Galaxy Note and the Nokia Lumia 800 and I am very curious about the Lumia 900. The mobile future is exciting. I think apple needs to manufacture a 5 inch iPod touch instead of a 7 inch iPod. Increasing the size of the iPod actually make more sense then decreasing the size of the iPad as scaling down the iPad software will make it harder to use while increasing the iPhone/iPod scaling will make it easier to use. I would buy a 5 inch iPhone/iPod at the drop of a hat. I would actually pre-order it and I have never pre-ordered anything in my life.

      A 5 inch ipod touch would mean a 5 inch iPhone. This won't happen. (Also there would be the fragmentation issue).

      What? None of the professional music applications I use even run on Apple products - Orion, Soundforge, SynthEdit - and, AFAIK, there is only one that runs on Mac and not PC - Logic. And from what I've gathered from various forum, Logic is a mere shadow of its former self, left in the dust by the products of the more robust, competitive PC market - Cubase, Sonar, et al.

        Heh, I can assure you that Cubase is the sorta black sheep of the recording community. It apparently 'sounds like Cubase' which I don't think is a compliment. Logic is certainly not a forerunner - it is more popular with electronic music, and sort of high-end mainstream pop productions because of it's good MIDI capabilities - but it is more accepted then poor ol Cubase. I believe ProTools is definitely THE recording software still.

          Of course it is but it is cross-platform and kind of in a league of its own. OTOH, Cubase and Sonar are vaguely on-par with Logic, which is why I used them as examples. And any notion of Cubase being a black-sheep is several versions out of date. From what I can gather, it has come on in leaps and bounds in recent versions (I sold my license about 12 or 13 years ago). I still don't like any of them, though, they reduce making music to the level of filling out a spreadsheet. If they were the only choices, Pro Tools included, I'd still be using hardware synths and workstations.

            Several years ago I moved from using Pro Tools to using Garage Band as Garage Band let me focus more on creating then adjusting parameters. Only recently have I move to Logic Pro & Mainstage which have made creating music more human, to the point where I have sold most of my hardware. I am in no way a Apple Fanboy. Apple in no way satisfies my curiosity with gadgets and the only thing stopping me having all three ecosystems is money. All Apple does (for my situation) is provide a very easy to use software and OS for creating music.

        Because of so much variation in Windows PC hardware available drivers for audio hardware can be a huge headache. Only reason I use Mac's is because of the support for software and hardware. Most people I know both locally an internationally use either Pro Tools or Logic. And I use iOS because of applications like Animoog, NanoStudio, Xenon, Synthstation, etc and support for Midi. Not other mobile OS offers professional mobile music solutions like these. I am constantly looking for ways to simplify my music creation both at home and on the go. Google and Microsoft have nothing to offer as yet.

          Rubbish!! You have no idea what you're on about. The only device I ever had any trouble with was an early M-Audio USB device, called Quattro or something like that, which I returned after I couldn't get it to work. Every other device I've owned, which is close to a dozen over the years, has worked perfectly well (or did until Win8, which doesn't seem to like any of them at the moment). The oldest of them, purchased in 2002, is still giving excellent service at my band-mate's place. And the very first USB peripheral I ever purchased for anything, back when printers still used LPT ports and fat cables, was a MIDIsport MIDI device which we still use on stage at every gig. It has never given us a moment's trouble and we can still get the latest drivers for it whenever we need to.

          There are plenty of awesome PC options for portable music making. In fact, of all the high profile, international bands we've performed with - KMFDM, VNV Nation, Combichrist, Nitzer Ebb - we are the only guys I know who rely 100% on their laptop on stage for everything (even vocals are processed through it) and we have always used low cost PC hardware. Where all those acts basically just play back recorded audio blocks, we generate most of our sound live and in realtime, all on one little lappie. KMFDM have two laptops because their MacBooks have a habit of overheating and dropping dead mid-set but we've never had the slightest drama with our PCs. Combichrist's sound mostly comes from a MacBook at the front-of-house desk, its not even on stage with them, and VNV Nation use an iPod or CD backing and all their MacBook does is play one virtual instrument on one or two songs. None of them would trust their Macs to do what our PCs have been doing flawlessly since about 1998. At the other end of the scale, VNV Nation made the fatal mistake of updating their OS X version mid-tour and ended up having to reformat their HDDs and start again from scratch with the previous OS version. They had to re-jig two shows so that they didn't need the MacBook while they sorted it out. I laughed.

            That is why I keep referring to my situation. The choices I have made with hardware, Apogee, Line 6, etc had major drive issues under Windows and the developers indicated they could provide no guarantee under Windows. Also had major crashed under Windows so often that I hated using my PC for recording. This might not have been case for others but it was for me. I am just taking about my experience. Also my discussion was more about the music creation under iOS as apposed to others at this point in time. No other mobile OS has any professional music creation software/hardware yet. And some software like NanoStudio provide desktop software for transferring /creation of files between devices. In the last 12 months I have done more productive music creation at the cafe, on the bus, in my bed, than anywhere else due to iOS and I am happy for that. It may not be the best for everyone, but it is for me. My point in this entire discussion is if you are buying a mobile OS for two thing 1) Making Calls 2) Creating Music On The Go, then iOS is the only choice at this point. Some of my friends have Windows Phones and Google Phones because it is there Mobile OS of choice for normal task. But they also have an iPhone or iPad for the music application. I can't afford to do that as much I would love a lumia and a galaxy note.

        @MotorMouth ProTools runs on Mac....

    None of the phones post iphone 3G era is remotely interesting. It's all your standard mini-tablet with 3-4 face buttons in the bottom.

    My note always turns heads. People say it's gigantic, but when they get their hands on it for a few seconds, they seem very impressed. It looks heavy and unwieldy, but once it's in your hand you realise just how wrong you are. The chrome sides are a nice little touch.
    Does the Galaxy S II/III have the same edges?

    >.> I think the Gnex looks alot better than the Note.

    Lumia 800/900 takes my top spot.

    Galaxy Note? I have a Gnex that is ten times better in the style stakes, and doesn't feel like a tablet. I personally still think the iPhone 4S is the best form factor of the lot, however.

    I'm still crushed that HTC have stopped putting kickstands on their phones *sigh*

      Interesting to note there are people out there who actually found the kickstands useful. I personally hated the things. I have the HTC One X now (migrated from the iPhone 4) and the design was a big factor when considering the switch.

    Surprised that the galaxy Nexus is not on list....
    It's very stylish and feels great in the hand.

    Cyan Lumia 800/900 is my favourite. The HTC One X doesn't look too bad.

    Whilst a Galaxy note or other phablet might appeal to a tech type person; I don't think anything that size is stylish; particularly when you see someone talking on something the size of a kindle against their head.

    iPhone and iOS is really starting to look dated and archaic for me.

    Look at the size of the bezel on the iPhone. From a side on angle it looks so chunky. Not having a back button just makes navigation simple, but overall clunky.

    As someone who doesn't love a phone that is overly curved (ie. galaxy SIII) I much like the Galaxy SII. Simple design, much like the iPhone was but the SII improved from the chunky and clunkyness...unlike the iPhone that has just been stuck in it's design.

    The HTC One X however, is a beautiful phone...shame it looks best in white (don't much like white).

    The rows and rows of dull icons is monotonous. The Android App Draw is akin to the applications folder on Mac. Keep the applications in one location, and leave your home or 'desktop' for quick links. Amazes me iPhone hasn't moved beyond this...or even widgets (even if they are just 'live' icons).

    And iPad...I think the design there is still nice, works for a tablet. But iOS on iPad is just dumb. Huge gaps between icons? Come on how can anybody say that looks nice? There is so much space there and it isn't used.

      Have to agree with this.. and it's what I was basically going to say: The iPhone looks and feels chunky and outdated now.

      Looking at the article's headline picture, the Note really is a lot more stylish looking than the iPhone.. sure, it's big.. but that's not what this article is about.

        I really don't see how you can say that, as they both look almost identical from that angle, save for size and colour.

      I find the lack of a back button makes navigation way more difficult, not simple.

    Who cares how good our phones look? As soon as they're out of the box, they go straight into some casing and a screen protector, cos we mustn't hurt the precious!

      hahahaha it's funny 'cos it's true.

      In my case, the only reason my Lumia is in a case is because I dropped my first one within a few days of getting it, and I'm irrationally paranoid. Took it out of its case recently and damn it's a beautiful phone.

      Pfft you can keep the case. Screen protector is fair enough, don't want that scratched. But a case ruins the design aesthetics and is totally unnecessary.

        +1 Owned my Desire for over 2 years. Nothing but a screen protector and a pouch to keep it on my belt. Yeah yeah, very 90's. Know what? I got to feel my gorgeous phone naked, and it's still pristine while you keep yours in horrendous faux leather cases or bright plastic rubbish :P

    Is it just me or does the Galaxy take many cues from the iPhone?

    I would rather own a magenta Lumia 800 because it's distinctive, but the black one I have is actually IMHO better looking. Closely followed by the Nexus S and GNexus.

    Curved glass and really does it for me, I guess! The Lumia also has that sexy unibody and the way the glass "melts" into the body feels both precise and completely natural.

    ok, well:

    iPhone- It's boring now. Sure, when the 4 came out, it was fresh and even I looked at it and thought "hmmm, not bad". But it's been the same for 2 years now.....and undoubtedly it'll look pretty similar next time too....

    Samsung- All their phones look the same. Sure the SGS3 looks like a pebble, but they're all made from plastic that looks and feels cheap. The only one I vaguely like is the SGS2, mainly cause it was significantly different when it first came out.

    HTC- I've got a Desire, which is dated now and until the One series, they were ALL pretty dated. But the One series IRL is one of the most gorgeous phone series out there, right up with the Lumia series. It's funny, cause in photos, they look kinda chunky and a bit lacklustre, but in the flesh they're beautiful. One XL is next for me. Its' accessories are where HTC have really upped their game- MediaLink, StereoClip and contacts on the One X/XL for charging- everything is simple and looks brilliant.

    Nokia- The Lumia series is beautiful, but to be fair, as the article says, it's a copy from the N9. But the addition of WinPhone 7 fits those curved polycarbonate lines so well, it lifts it up again. Was VERY tempted to get a Lumia, especially with the 900 coming shortly. But WinPhone 7 just doesn't quite do the Power User stuff for me.

    I still think nothing looks better than my venerable HTC legend. Mmm aluminium.

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