Contenders for the Best Smartphone Crown are Few and Far Between
By Andrew Eisner
No question about it, the iPhone is a wonderful gadget. In fact, it’s really more like a computer that fits in your pocket and just so happens to make phone calls and the number of fun iPhone apps is growing by the day. However, as good as it is, it’s not perfect and there are a couple of competitors to consider when shopping for a smartphone.
There are many cell phones with similar features like touch screens and accelerometers but none has come close to the iPhone. There are, however, two brand new phones that we consider to be serious contenders; the new Blackberry Bold should be the darling of the enterprise crowd while the Nokia E71 offers a lot of features missing in the iPhone.
|The Blackberry Bold also known as the Blackberry Bold 9000 is just now, starting to appear in markets outside North America and early reviews indicate this smartphone is going to be a winner.
Reviewers highlight the Bold’s high resolution display calling it, “the most vibrant, color-rich, sharp screen we’ve ever seen on a mobile device.” Reviewers have also been impressed with the performance which might be due to its very fast 624 MHz processor. Sound quality on calls has also received high marks.
The BlackBerry Bold has a big 480 x 320, dense pixel per inch, color display which some say looks better than the iPhone. In addition to having all the latest bells and whistles like 3G, WiFi, A-GPS (Blackberry Maps included), stereo Bluetooth, QWERTY keyboard, and microSDHC expansion slot, this phone gets high marks for style and design (some say it even resembles an iPhone). The Bold has a black face with chrome border and faux leather back.
The BlackBerry Bold also features an improved Web browser that renders pages fast. It has a 2 MP camera like the iPhone but also, like the iPhone, no forward-facing camera. It also comes with BlackBerry Desktop Manager including Roxio PhotoSuite 9 LE and the new BlackBerry Media Sync application which lets users sync their BlackBerry with their iTunes music collection. In the U.S, TigerDirect is offering an unlocked Blackberry Bold for $649.99. For a comparison of the Blackberry Bold vs. the iPhone 3G check out this review on Boy Genius Report.
The Nokia E71
|One reviewer called the Nokia E71, “the best phone Nokia has made to date.” The Nokia E71, at 10 mm is thinner than the iPhone by a millimeter. Nokia says it’s the thinnest QWERTY smartphone.
Besides all the latest features like 3G and GSM radios, the Nokia E71 includes Assisted GPS (A-GPS), WiFi, a 3.2 MP camera with LED flash, a forward facing camera, A2DP stereo Bluetooth, a microSD slot and an FM radio. It lacks an accelerometer and a TV-out port. The 2.4 inch QVGA (320 x 240) screen doesn’t get as high marks as the Blackberry Bold and is smaller then iPhone's 3.5 inch screen and reviewers say the QWERTY keyboard is a bit on the small size. On the other hand, most reviewers are impressed with the quality and solid feel of the device however, just recently, there have been some concerns expressed about the robustness of the 3G connection with some theories put forth about covering the antenna when you grip the phone.
Windows Mobile Phones to Watch For
To round out the group of contenders we felt we needed to include a Windows Mobile-based phone or two but we also wonder if they are going to have what it takes to take on the iPhone. Hey, at least you can run Flash applications.
Samsung BlackJack III
|The BlackJack III just started selling in Korea for around $600. It supposedly runs Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional, has a 3 MP camera. 528 MHz processor, GPS and WiFi. Some say the BlackJack III will be a Samsung i788 running Windows Mobile.|
Sony Ericsson Xperia X1
|The Sony Ericsson Xperia X1 is an impressive looking phone using an "arc slider design" where the screen slides up to expose a curved QWERTY keyboard. It has a large 3 inch WVGA (800 x 480) touchscreen display, a 3.2 MP camera, A2DP stereo Bluetooth, A-GPS, WiFi, and a microSD slot. You can buy one now for just under $1,000 (ouch).|
Samsung Omnia i900
|Early reports on the Samsung Omnia say it has a lot of the features the iPhone doesn't have like a memory card slot, a 5 MP camera, FM radio, stereo Bluetooth, video recording, and it also runs Windows Mobile 6.1 but for some reason cell phone enthusiasts feel it just misses the mark. It has a big 3.2 inch (240 x 400) touchscreen display that probably won't look as sharp as other phones with more PPI (pixels per inch) and supports many video formats out the door so you’d think this phone could be a popular mobile multimedia device. We guess time will tell on this phone.|
We have to admit, it’s a tough call. Blackberry has a large number of loyal users who, we’re sure, have been considering making the switch to iPhone but the Blackberry Bold might be enough make keep them in the Blackberry camp. The Nokia E71 seems to have it all, reviewers love it, and there are a ton of Symbian apps to run on it but it’s a close call between it and the iPhone.
Retrevo, the Source for Cell Phone Information