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Nine smartphones at the head of the class

These powerful handsets have brains and beauty

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Apple iPhone 4S Apple’s latest must-have handset is identical to its predecessor on the surface, but comes packed with a more powerful processor, improved graphics for gaming, an eight-megapixel camera, and Siri, a highly evolved voice interface system that lets you have a conversation with your phone. It’s less creepy – and much more funny – than it sounds. (Starting at $649.99, or $159.99 with contracts through Rogers, Bell, or Telus; www.apple.ca)

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Samsung Galaxy Nexus This wafer-thin handset – the first to run Google's new Android 4.0 operating system (better known as Ice Cream Sandwich) – sports brand new features like Face Unlock, a zero-shutter-lag camera and support for Android Beam, which transfers data between phones simply by touching them together. It also has a true HD 1280-by-720 pixel Super AMOLED screen, making it a mobile movie lover's dream. (Starting at $649.95, or $159.95 with a three-year contract through Bell)

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Motorola RAZR The revamped RAZR puts Motorola back on the frontlines of sexy Android phone design. Its downright anorexic 7.1-millimetre body is infused with Kevlar for extra strength, and its 4.3-inch Super AMOLED gorilla glass screen is a dream. Plus, the brand new Motocast app lets you access files on your home PC anywhere you happen to be. ($649.99; $149.99 with a contract through Rogers; www.motorola.ca)

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HTC Raider This new Android Gingerbread mobile from Taiwanese hardware powerhouse HTC sports a 4.5-inch qHD display that makes viewing movies through the cloud-based HTC Watch service a treat. Potent innards, including a dual-core Qualcomm processor, help power HTC Sense, an Android overlay designed to anticipate and simplify common tasks, such as answering calls and sharing pictures. (Holiday launch, pricing to be announced; www.htc.com/ca)

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LG Optimus LTE With lightning quick downloads (it runs on Bell’s 4G LTE network) and a 1280-by-720-pixel 4.5-inch display, there are few mobile handsets better equipped to stream high quality video than this cutting edge Android phone. It also packs an eight-megapixel camera that can capture 1080p video and will be upgradeable to Android 4.0 – A.K.A. Ice Cream Sandwich – come 2012. ($629.99, or $149.99 with a contract through Bell; www.lg.com/canada)

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Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray This compact new Android-powered Xperia has a sleek aluminum frame measuring just 9.4-millimetres at its thickest point. Ideal for social networkers, Facebook has been woven into the interface, making it a snap to “like” music, tag people in pictures, and communicate with friends. (Holiday launch, pricing to be announced; www.sonyericsson.ca)

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Blackberry Bold 9900 Blackberry’s flagship phone has all the features that fans of the Canadian company crave, including a Liquid Graphics touch screen interface, a physical QWERTY keyboard, BBM, access to exclusive apps, and a lightning fast Web browser. And it’s all contained in the slimmest, slickest carapace Blackberry has yet designed. ($599.99; or $169.95 with contracts through Bell, Rogers, Telus, or Virgin; www.blackberry.com)

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Samsung Galaxy S II X Also known as the Hercules, this powerful Android 2.3.5-powered super phone sports Samsung’s peerless Super AMOLED Plus display and rocks a 1.5-gigahertz dual-core processor. It runs at 4G speeds on the Telus network, and will likely be upgradeable to the next version of Google’s mobile operating system, nicknamed Ice Cream Sandwich. ($599.99, or $99.99 with a contract through Telus; www.samsung.ca)

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Nokia X7 Nokia’s Windows 7 phones are still a few months away. In the meantime, fans of the Finnish manufacturer’s mobile hardware can give this Symbian-powered handset a go. Its distinctive trim-cornered design frames a bright 4-inch AMOLED touch screen perfect for viewing pictures and HD videos captured with its 8.1-megapixel image sensor. ($299.99; $29.99 with a contract through Rogers; www.nokia.ca) (Editor's note, an earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Nokia as a Norwegian company, we regret the error.)

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