It was touch-and-go for a time, but the touch-screen interface has finally become mainstream. In the past, it was relatively tough to round up 10 good touch-screen products. These days, high-quality touch-screen-based interfaces have made their way into PCs, tablets, phones, PMPs, digital cameras, and a host of other devices.

The introduction of the original iPhone back in 2007 sparked a touch-screen revolution in the smartphone space. With its gorgeous 3.5-inch Multi-Touch screen with support for pinch and zoom, well-designed, finger-friendly interface, and top-notch mobile Web experience, the iPhone served as a prime example of the potential of the keyboard-free phone.
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Apple iPhone 4
HTC Inspire 4G
Motorola Atrix 4G
HTC EVO 4G

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After that, every major manufacturer took its own stab at the touch-screen smartphone. Some succeeded, and some, well, not so much. RIM’s first touch-screen handset, the BlackBerry Storm, for example, was panned in our original review for a buggy, imprecise touch interface that was difficult to use. It took a major firmware upgrade six months later for us to recommend the Storm. And since then, we’ve seen plenty of hard-to-use touch-screen phones that left us begging for physical keyboards and controls.

 

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Four years later, though, there’s no shortage of innovative, easy-to-use touch-screen smartphones. In fact, each of the major U.S. carriers offers a number of handsets that ace the touch-screen interface. This list contains the best touch-screen-only phones. If you’re looking for phone with a touch screen and a supplemental hardware keyboard, you won’t find it here. But if you’re willing to say farewell to the physical keyboard for good, look no further than our 10 favorite touch-screen phones.

Touch-Screen Phones Included in this Roundup (by Carrier)

AT&T

Apple iPhone 4Apple iPhone 4

Apple’s iPhone 4 adds a gorgeous screen, a terrific camera, and a faster processor to add to the already-awesome iPhone app experience, but voice calling still isn’t this phone’s priority.

HTC Inspire 4GHTC Inspire 4G

The HTC Inspire 4G, AT&T’s premiere Android phone (at least for now) can hold its own against the iPhone 4 and other top smartphones.

Motorola Atrix 4GMotorola Atrix 4G

Motorola’s Atrix 4G, the unique bleeding-edge superphone that can transform itself into a PC, shows how we’ll likely be using our mobile devices in the year 2020. But to get a taste of the future, you’ll have to pay, and deal with some bugs along the way.

SPRINT

HTC EVO 4GHTC EVO 4G

If you live online, the EVO offers a big, beautiful, and powerful window to the world. The first WiMAX phone in the U.S. is a terrific platform for streaming media and Web browsing, and it gets your laptop online with Sprint’s 4G network.

LG Optimus SLG Optimus S

The Optimus S is the best budget Android phone we’ve seen, a well-tuned, feature-packed touch-screen slab with all of the functionality most consumers and small business users need.

T-MOBILE

T-Mobile MyTouch 4GT-Mobile myTouch 4G

The T-Mobile myTouch 4G combines a classy body with a big, beautiful touch screen and the latest software to offer the most you can get from Android today.

Samsung Galaxy S 4GSamsung Galaxy S 4G

The Samsung Galaxy S 4G, with its faster data connection, refreshed styling, and Android 2.2 OS, is a stellar performer that doubles as a great laptop modem.

VERIZON WIRELESS

HTC ThunderboltHTC Thunderbolt

The HTC Thunderbolt, the first 4G LTE smartphone for Verizon Wireless, has the fastest Web speeds we’ve ever seen, but be prepared to carry an extra battery.

Motorola Droid XMotorola Droid X

Motorola Droid X takes the crown for the most powerful Android smartphone away from the HTC Droid Incredible. The huge 4.3-inch, 854-by-480 screen makes maneuvering the phone’s excellent interface with your finger a breeze.

Apple iPhone 4Apple iPhone 4

Our lab tests show that Verizon’s iPhone 4 is just as good as the popular AT&T model, if not slightly better. If you’ve been lusting for an iPhone, but AT&T’s network coverage doesn’t work for you, the Verizon iPhone will be your savior. But if you didn’t want an iPhone before, there’s nothing new here to change your mind.