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LG Lotus Elite

The LG Lotus Elite was a surprise Best of CES 2010 winner in the cell phones category, due to the relatively light mobile presence in that show. The LG Lotus Elite turned out to be so much more than just a sequel to the Lotus of the previous year. It now had an external touch screen, a new Sprint OneClick interface, a fantastic keyboard, and an overall snazzier design. We'll admit the 2.0-megapixel camera and multimedia offerings are a little lightweight, but if all you want is a stylish messaging phone, the Lotus Elite is one of the best this year.

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Motorola Backflip

The Motorola Backflip certainly made us do a double take when we first saw it. What at first looks like a simple messaging phone actually opens up like a book--when closed, the keyboard is on the back; it comes around to the front when opened. It also has a unique Backtrack trackpad on the back of the phone. We were suitably impressed by the unusual design and gave it a Best of CES 2010 nomination. Unfortunately, we ended up not being sold on the whole BackTrack thing and we question the durability of having the keyboard exposed like that. We also experienced less than stellar performance--it was sluggish and crashed on us a few times.

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Sonim XP3.2 Quest Pro

Sonim unveiled the successor to its rugged handset line at CES 2010 with the XP3.2 Quest Pro. It's pretty similar to the old XP3 Quest, which is probably why it lost the Best of CES category, but it does feature a couple of improvements like a new "Gorilla Glass" protection and GPS capability. Of course, like all of the Sonim phones, the XP3.2 Quest Pro is built to take abuse--you can kick it, throw it, dunk it in water, and it'll still keep on ticking. As an unlocked GSM phone, you can use it on any GSM carrier, like AT&T and T-Mobile.

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LG Rumor Touch

We'll admit that when we first saw the LG Rumor Touch at CES 2010, we were less than enthusiastic about it. It just seemed dull and like every other messaging phone we've seen before. However, after we had our chance to review the phone, we're pleasantly surprised that it's a decent messaging phone. The touch-screen interface seems bare-bones at first, but that's by design. It actually serves as a great landing page for sending and receiving messages easily, and there's a special Hello user interface that is essentially a smart way of grouping your contacts. So while it may not be as multimedia-friendly as other touch screen handsets, the Rumor Touch does its job as a good messaging phone.

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Palm Pre Plus

When the Palm Pre Plus debuted at CES 2010, we couldn't help but feel it wasn't much more than a rehash of the previous Palm Pre, which held so much more promise. However, the Pre Plus proved to be a lot more solid, and it features 3D gaming, a revamped keyboard, 3G mobile hot-spot capability, and offers double the memory and storage capacity of its predecessor. We ended up deciding it's still a pretty good entry-level smartphone, but as 2010 winds down to a close, we can't help but feel a little less hopeful about Palm's future WebOS prospects compared to the burgeoning Android, iOS, and Windows Phone 7 markets.

Updated:Caption:CNET Reviews staffPhoto:Sarah Tew/CNET
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Palm Pixi Plus

The tiny little sidekick to the Pre Plus is the Palm Pixi Plus. It too features a number of improvements over its Pixi predecessor, and that includes integrated Wi-Fi and the ability to use it as a mobile hot spot. Unfortunately, that's about all we can say about it--we found the phone rather sluggish and disappointed that it lacks an expansion slot. We did think it made for a pretty good entry-level smartphone however.

Updated:Caption:CNET Reviews staffPhoto:Josh Miller/CNET
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