One is stealing headlines, but there’s a wealth of smartphone options, writes Jennifer Dudley- Nicholson
BLACKBERRY TORCH 9860
RIM, $ 799, au. blackberry. com
HTC EVO 3D
HTC, $ 912, htc.com/au
When you think of a BlackBerry smartphone, you undoubtedly think of a phone with a keyboard. This BlackBerry defies its reputation by ditching those keys for a 3.7-inch ( 9.4cm) touchscreen. It features much more grunt, including a 1.2GHz processor and 768MB RAM, 4GB storage with space for a memory card and a 5-megapixel camera with autofocus that outshines that of its bold big brother. The Torch 9860 also uses the latest BlackBerry 7 OS software that makes selections seamless and searching easy, and it comes in a form that is slender ( 1.15cm) and narrow. Unfortunately, App World still offers a limited selection and this phone’s mechanical buttons are not as subtle as those of its rivals. 3D technology releases have slowed to a trickle lately, but this smartphone is the exception. The HTC EVO 3D can bring added depth to its 5-megapixel photos and high-definition video, thanks to a pair of camera lenses on its back. With the flick of a switch from 2D to 3D this handset captures images from both lenses at once, delivering a combination of the two on its 4.3-inch ( 11cm) screen that you can see in 3D with your naked eyes. Users are well advised to stand back from subjects and take horizontal shots to avoid eye strain, but the set-up works well.
NOKIA N9 Nokia, $ 799 ( 16GB), nokia.com.au
This could be the start of a comeback. The Nokia N9 is the first smartphone run entirely by its touchscreen. Users instead control this smartphone entirely with finger swipes. Open an app and push it away with a sweep of your finger when you’re done. From the home screen users can swipe left to a news feed or right to open apps. A half-sweep up the screen reveals shortcuts to its dialler, messages, web browser and a quite impressive 8-megapixel camera. It has a Carl Zeiss lens and dual LED flash, while a front-facing camera hides in the bottom corner. The N9’ s solid body and 3.9-inch ( 10cm) screen impresses and its MeeGo software delivers a slick, enjoyable and genuinely different experience.
HTC HD 7
HTC, $ 768, htc. com/ au
SONY ERICSSON XPERIA RAY
Sony Ericsson, $ 699, sonyericsson.com.au
HTC did Microsoft a big favour with this smartphone. The HTC HD 7 remains the best Windows Phone 7 handset on the market, helped by its slick 4.3-inch ( 11cm) screen, 1GHz processor and its 5-megapixel autofocus camera. It’s just become better on the inside, however, thanks to the release of the Mango software update. This free update delivers multitasking to WinPho 7 for the first time, letting users see open apps by holding down the back button, plus it files linked emails into conversations, will read your text messages or deliver spoken street directions, and lets you create contact groups to keep up with friends, family or colleagues. Not everyone appreciates the trend to big phone screens. For those people, the Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray is worth considering. Though this smartphone offers a 3.3-inch ( 8.4cm) screen, it is 5.3cm wide, 1.1cm thick and weighs 100g. It looks like an Xperia toddler. Despite this, it packs an 8-megapixel camera that uses the Exmor R to deliver solid low-light photographs, as well as access to Sony’s Video Unlimited streaming service. It runs Google Android’s Gingerbread software and struggles with a 1GHz processor and 512MB RAM, and its screen forces you to type with an alphanumeric keyboard.