Smarten up

One is steal­ing head­lines, but there’s a wealth of smart­phone op­tions, writes Jen­nifer Dud­ley- Nicholson

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - EGuide Tech -


RIM, $ 799, au. black­berry. com



HTC, $ 912,


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),


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, $ 768, htc. com/ au



Sony Eric­s­son, $ 699, sony­er­ic­s­


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.

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