Remember when the hottest phones looked like this? Those were nobler days, when a phone was judged for its look (and feel), not its ability to do anything useful. Yes, thin phones like the Razr sucked to use. But today's monster phones have 4.5-inch screens and bodies like paperback books, giving you the sensation of carrying an entire DVD case in your pocket while burning through enough battery power to light a small stadium. It may be time to--gasp!--downgrade to a smaller, lighter, more durable phone. But how?
Nokia C3-01
This is the new Nokia C3-01, a slick little smartphone that runs Nokia's S40 operating system. With a 5MP camera and a 2.4-inch screen, this WiFi-capable Nokia may not be the brightest bulb in the shed (no GPS?!) but it can do all the basics: IMAP email like Gmail, Google Maps (via third-party apps), IM and chat, and pretty decent Web browsing, too. The "Touch and Type" phone has a resistive touchscreen that replaces the familiar directional pad on older Nokias, and in our experience, tapping through operations was pretty quick and painless. The C3-01 also comes with Nokia's built-in VOIP software to save you some coinage when you're traveling abroad.
The Sony Ericsson XPERIA X1 Mini is a very small phone with an excessively long name and some serious business cred. This baby runs on Android 2.1 Eclair, so even though it's small enough to fit inside the bounds of an iPhone screen, it still does GPS navigation, Google Maps and mail, full Web browsing and all the rest. Sony has also gifted the X1 Mini with a special UI that makes the smaller screen more palatable. A "pro" version called the U20i X1 Mini sports a slide-out keyboard.
BlackBerry Style
Like BlackBerrys of yore, the new BlackBerry Style seems to take its aesthetic inspiration from a raw hamburger patty. But unlike other 'Berrys, this one is at least thin and compact, like a skimpy McDonalds cheeseburger. BlackBerry OS 6 is still harder than Chinese algebra to use, but it is a serious improvement over prior iterations, and the phone feels responsive and comfortable in the hand. For anyone who wants a smaller phone but isn't content to give up their full QWERTY keyboard, the Style is a pretty decent option, and comes in both GMS and CDMA versions.
Palm Pre 2
This baby is the pick of the litter. Sold unlocked direct from HP, the Palm Pre 2 is one of only a few excellent, compact smartphones available for both GSM (AT&T) and CDMA (Verizon) carriers. Inside, you'll find webOS 2.0: a slick, frictionless and speedy operating system that manages contacts, messages and notifications so smartly that going back to your iPhone 4 will spur fits of rage. Trust us. Rage.
Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc
This is the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc, which comes out in April 2011. With a 4.2-inch multi-touch screen, this is still a lanky slab of phone, but at only 8.7mm thick, it will definitely not be finishing dinner. Sony has also crammed HDMI connectivity into this phone, along with the BRAVIA graphics engine, borrowed from its line of premium TVs. Nice.
The HTC Aria is the wise elder of this group; it came out early last year with little fanfare, but has managed a cult following amongst people who want a compact Android device (and can appreciate HTC's Sense UI). This thing packs snappy and responsive software with a nice rubberized exterior, but remains impressively small, with a rectangular footprint about the size of a pack of cigarettes.
Nokia X3
This is the brand new Nokia X3, which is functionally quite similar to the C3-01. Nokia says this phone is more "consumer oriented," which means it comes in five absurd colors. Another notable difference: the X3 has a non-standard keyboard layout that some people might find more comfortable for typing. Like the C3-01, the X3 has an FM radio, crazy-long battery life, access to the Ovi apps and music store, and room for 32BG of storage that begs to be used like a portable hard drive.

The Seven Sexiest Smartphones

Your smartphone may be useful, but face facts: it's also thicker and uglier than a Big Mac made out of old Dell laptops. With so many tempting tablet offerings coming — iPad 2, the webOS tablet, Android slates — it's time to consider downgrading to a phone that's more, ahem... phone-sized. Here's how to chuck that mutant brick of yours and slip into something more svelte without losing your beloved data connection.

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