Phone makers use every trick in the book to differentiate their phones on store shelves, from bright colors to unusual proportions, textures, and materials. Here are five smartphones that turn heads for striking shapes, aggressive style, and distinct physical features that you just don't see every day.
Note: This article originally posted August 13, 2012 and was updated October 10, 2013.
YotaPhone e-ink smartphone
This smartphone/e-reader convertible features an Android experience on one side and a power-saving e-ink display on the other. Why would you want it? Russian device-maker Yota says that the phone's e-ink flip side can preserve important data, like a map, even when your battery reserves are dwindling fast. Optionally, you would also be able to use the e-ink portion for outdoor reading. Check out the YotaPhone.
Samsung Galaxy Round
You may not see it much outside Korea, but the Samsung Galaxy Round is already known worldwide for that deep curve that shows off the power of Samsung's flexible display technology. The phone itself won't bend; instead, it's captured in a perpetual smile. The Round has compelling Android features, but it isn't clear what benefits that arch will bring, if any. However, this kind of bending is absolutely a trend to watch for. Read the Samsung Galaxy Round preview.
What kind of smartphone will $6,000 buy you? How about this: a little Android number handmade with leather, titanium, and sapphire crystal. It's the build materials that make this phone a hotshot, not exactly its specs -- but at that price point, it's all about the status anyhow. Read the Vertu Constellation preview.
Samsung Hennessy and Samsung Galaxy Golden
Leave it to Samsung to go neo-retro with the humble flip phone. Its Hennessy phone has dual 3.3-inch screens, runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, and also tucks away two SIM card slots. The more premium Samsung Galaxy Golden is the same idea writ large, with 3.7-inch Super AMOLED touch screens, an 8-megapixel camera, and LTE support. Both are expected to remain in Asian markets. Read about the Hennessy here and Galaxy Golden here.
Compared to these more outlandish displays of design, the iPhone 5S is positively pedestrian. However, there is one understated feature that does stand out, and that's the fingerprint scanner that's cleverly and elegantly integrated into the iPhone's home button. Part of the appeal is that the home button is now both clickable and tappable, depending on what you want to do, and weaving biometric recognition into the phone has implications for quick-access and shopping as much as it does for security. Apple may not be the first to utilize fingerprint scanning (Motorola's Atrix 4G preceded it back in 2011), but the iPhone 5S is sure to popularize the authorizing option. Read the full iPhone 5S review.
Do you have any favorites that didn't make this list? Chime in below in the comments.