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The best high-end smartphones the world has to offer today (or soon)

If you’re in the market for a high-end smartphone, you might be faced with an overwhelming choice. We did the hard work for you, and so we present you with the six best high-end smartphones you can buy today, and three you’ll be able to buy very soon.

Let’s get started.

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Apple iPhone 4

What is there to say about this phone that you don’t already know? While acknowledged by many to be the world’s best phone, it is loathed by others for its closed ecosystem that comes with an expensive price tag. Whatever your view, there’s no denying its appeal. With handsome aesthetics, cutting-edge hardware and an app catalogue numbering in the hundreds of thousands, it’s easy to see why the iPhone 4 is the juggernaut it is today.

RIM BlackBerry Bold 9780

What’s the best BlackBerry RIM has to offer today? No, it’s not the Torch. The world is still waiting on RIM to deliver a BlackBerry with a good touch screen experience, and who knows, the upcoming Bold Touch — I’m in love with it — or Storm 3 might blow our socks off. In the meanwhile, if you’re looking for a good touch screen experience, look elsewhere. If you are, however, looking for the best tactile keyboard in existence, on the only device in the world with built-in unlimited data, and the most sought-after instant messaging application — BlackBerry Messenger — look no further than the Bold 9780.

HTC Desire HD

First and foremost, yes, the Desire HD will receive Gingerbread. Right, now that the most important issue has been dealt with, how does it differentiate itself from the Android pack? The Desire HD has a jumbo 4.3-inch screen, and the HTC Sense UI actually positively enhances the stock Android experience. Even though it has been around for a while elsewhere in the world (since October 2010), the phone’s 1 GHz Snapdragon, DLNA support and an 8 megapixel camera that can record video at 720p means it has some longevity, and is easily one of the best Android phones you can buy today. If you’re looking for something with a keyboard and you’re prepared to sacrifice screen size, processor speed and camera megapixels, you might want to check out the HTC Desire Z (also availble from 8ta).

Samsung Galaxy S i9000

With 10 million handsets sold in 2010, the Galaxy S brand has been one of Samsung’s most successful to date. With the i9000 being the founding member of the popular franchise, Samsung has made sure to keep pushing out the OS updates, with Gingerbread officially rolling out to Galaxies in Europe today. The 4-inch Super AMOLED display on this phone is spectacular, with vivid blacks and colours that seem to burst out of the screen. The Galaxy S also supports DLNA, can record video at 720p from its five megapixel camera and has a 1GHz Hummingbird to keep the excellent Samsung Touchwiz UI experience as smooth as possible. If you have the willpower you might want to save your pennies for the Samsung Galaxy S II expected in Q3 this year. It might be worth the lengthy wait, as it’s being hailed by pundits as possibly the best Android smartphone ever made.

HTC Mozart

Windows Phone 7 is arguably one of the most exciting operating systems available today. It’s refreshingly different, with distinctive features that really set it apart from the the iOS copycats. With imposed hardware requirements, Windows Phone 7 devices are quite similar across the board, but the Mozart’s eight megapixel camera with auto focus and Xenon flash makes it the best WP7 option today. If you do commit to the platform, be aware of the fact that although it now supports Cut & Paste thanks to the recent NoDo update, it does not support multitasking out of the box. Multitasking is expected later this month thanks to the Mango update. Windows Phone 7 is still a fledgling platform and offers fewer apps than competitors but despite being a fringe platform today, top research firms are predicting dramatic growth in the next four years thanks to Microsoft’s recent partnership with Nokia.

Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc

From a purely aesthetic point of view, the Arc is one stunning looking piece of hardware. Despite its modest LCD credentials however, the Arc boasts Sony’s proprietary Mobile Bravia engine, which delivers a stunning multimedia viewing experience on its 4.2-inch 854 x 480 “Reality Display”. It has a really brilliant eight megapixel camera with a fancy Exmor R CMOS sensor, f/2.4 lens, and best of all, provides a Gingerbread experience out of the box.

Samsung Google Nexus S

The Nexus S is Google’s Android archetype. A template for all phones Android, and the first phone to support Gingerbread, the Nexus S is the purest Android experience you can possibly have. The phone checks all the right boxes with a 4-inch, Countour Super AMOLED display and 1GHz Hummingbird processor. With the Nexus S, Google also explores new territory by launching the phone with relatively unsupported yet forward-looking NFC technology. A phone with this pedigree is sure to be future-proof as Google looks to unleash Honeycomb on smartphones soon. Planned for initial release on Vodacom, with pricing plans already announced, you should be able to buy the Nexus S by now. Although we’re still waiting.

Nokia E7

There are of course, a couple of things to keep in mind when buying a Nokia smartphone today. Firstly, Symbian is a defunct OS. Secondly, with Windows Phone 7 being the future or Nokia’s smartphone strategy, long term support E7 doesn’t look too promising. Yet, there are Nokia die-hards out there, and with that in mind the E7 characteristically offers some of the best hardware and design elements available on smartphones today. Despite the industry’s views on the Symbian OS, the E7 offers the latest Symbian^3 experience with true multitasking and the functionality power users have come to love. Despite envying its sibling the N8’s 12 megapixel camera, the E7 is the new de facto Nokia flagship smartphone.

Motorola Atrix 4G

The Atrix is not available in all countries quite yet, but has been confirmed for the second half of 2011. The Atrix is simply the most compelling Android device the world has seen for quite some time. The Atrix is so much more than just a cutting-edge Android Froyo device (Gingerbread confirmed). Sure it has features like a 1GHz, dual-core Tegra 2 CPU, HSPA+ connectivity and a 960 x 540 4-inch display that rivals the iPhone 4, but that’s not the best part. The Atrix is a laptop, set top box, desktop computer, or just plain smartphone depending on which accessories you do or don’t pair it with. Plug it into Motorola’s Webtop laptop dock for example, and the Atrix offers a PC experience through the dock’s full keyboard, large screen, Firefox and Linux based Webtop software.

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