Jennifer Dudley- Nicholson test drives what she believes to be five of the best smartphones going around
LG OPTIMUS 3D P920
LG, $ 799 lg. com/ au
★ ★ ★ ★ ■
THE 3D technology is something to behold. The LG Optimus 3D is the first smartphone to come with a glasses-free 3D viewing offered in a similar way to that of the Nintendo 3DS. Its 4.3-inch screen delivers 3D footage only when called on and resolution is amazing. Those who watch videos or animated e-books would be well advised to take breaks to prevent eye strain. The Optimus has a 5-megapixel camera with dual lenses ( for 3D images), access to YouTube 3D and it runs Android Froyo ( 2.2). Dolby sound, Bluetooth, a Micro HDMI connection for sharing images on a 3D TV and a dual-core 1GHz processor also feature, the latter to keep it running smoothly.
SONY ERICSSON XPERIA NEO Sony Ericsson, $ 699 sonyericsson. com
★ ★ ★ ★ ■
THIS phone offers something others cannot: Sony imaging technology. The 8-megapixel camera on this phone comes with an Exmor R CMOS sensor, which offers above-average performance in low-light conditions. This makes it ideal for use inside, at parties and weddings, producing high-quality photos and video. The Neo also delivers a 3.7-inch touchscreen for viewing photos, Android Gingerbread software ( 2.3) and high-definition sound over Telstra’s mobile network. It is also Facebook-friendly and comes in a unique form, with a curved body and rounded edges. Only offered by Telstra for a limited time – three months – it is currently available on a $ 59 plan over 24 months.
HUAWEI IDEOS X5
Huawei, $ 349 huaweimobile. com. au
★ ★ ★ ■
SAMSUNG GALAXY 551
Samsung, $ 480 samsung. com/ au
★ ★ ★ ■
EXCLUSIVE to Telstra, this slide-out keyboard smartphone’s claim to fame is it’s a middle-of-the-range device with plenty of options for relatively little outlay. It delivers a 3.2-inch touchscreen and a 3-megapixel camera, uses Google’s Android Froyo software ( 2.2) and features Samsung’s software layer TouchWiz. It also comes with a GPS chip for putting you on maps from Google or Telstra. The Galaxy 551 also offers Samsung’s Social Hub app that lets you email, text or Facebook friends easily. The slide-out keypad is appealing and overall it is a compact and useable phone that could appeal to those looking for a less-complicated but equally powerful Galaxy product offering. THE 3.8-inch capacitive touchscreen on this phone delivers crisp images, making it a delight to use. Inside, the X5 runs Android Froyo ( 2.2) without any special extras added by its Chinese maker, and comes with an 800MHz processor and a 3.2-megapixel camera that is acceptable, though not in the same category as the ChaCha or Optimus 3D tested in this round-up. Huawei does add 2GB of internal storage for photos and the handset comes with an 8GB MicroSD card without extra cost. This phone can also now be used as a wi-fi hotspot, like other Android Froyo phones, after Huawei delivered an over-the-air update.
HTC, $ 299 htc. com/ au
★ ★ ★ ★ ■
THIS has a Facebook button, making its intentions and target market – teens. The ChaCha has a 2.6-inch touchscreen above a QWERTY keyboard, making it resemble a BlackBerry and making status updates quick. The handset is curved and sits nicely in your hand, while its screens deliver HTC Sense tweaks over the latest Android software ( Gingerbread). Despite its low price, the ChaCha also comes with an 800MHz processor, 5-megapixel camera with autofocus and LED flash, a 2GB MicroSD card and a GPS chip for checking into Facebook Places. Users may find the keys small, but at $ 299 it’s the best value for money.