New year, new phone?

I’m writing this column at New Year, about to enter 2009, and I’m thinking about resolutions – not in a “less Starbucks, more gym” vein, but more like “more pixels on my smartphone screen”. You may recall from previous columns that I currently carry a BlackBerry Curve 8310 as my main phone and email device, but I’ve also been using an iPhone 3G 16GB for web access and media. For some time, I’ve been searching for the single device to meet all of these needs – the business functionality, security and battery life of my BlackBerry with the ease and screen clarity of the iPhone – and at last there are several contenders sitting here on my desk: Apple’s iPhone 3G, HTC’s Touch HD and S740, Nokia’s E71, and BlackBerry’s Bold and Storm. Which is going to be my new year new phone?

New year, new phone?

Starting with the iPhone 3G, I’ll admit that like many people I was initially sceptical about this device. I was forever encountering forums, blogs and magazine articles that raved about it. But within a few minutes of getting my first iPhone I saw the attraction, and within days I was hooked, smitten even. That’s why I carry my iPhone most of the time. It probably has the best web browser on any mobile device (and that’s crucial for me) and, in spite of the awful mess that is iTunes, when it comes to media playing – especially clarity when watching videos – it’s simply the best that I’ve yet to see.

Of course, the iPhone also has a user interface that’s one of the simplest to use, both brilliantly intuitive and very responsive. It’s okay(ish) for reading email too, but where the iPhone and I part company is whenever I need to enter any text, such as when creating and replying to emails. I’d have to concede that my typing ability when using the iPhone’s onscreen keyboard has improved slightly over the past few months, but I still find it unnecessarily cumbersome and inaccurate. It’s such a source of frustration that at times I’ve almost chucked the device across the room. So I continue to pine for an iPhone with an HTC-style slide-out keyboard, and one that supports cut-and-paste and other grown-up document editing facilities.

And speaking of HTC with its slide-out keyboards, that firm’s two latest and greatest smartphones, the Touch HD and S740, are next in the line-up on my desk. You’re probably already aware of the Touch HD, a Windows Mobile Professional touchscreen device and the latest model in the TyTN/Kaiser series: the S740 has a smaller “candy-bar” form factor, more like a conventional mobile phone, and is a successor to the well-received S710 and S730 models. Both Touch HD and S740 look absolutely gorgeous with their shiny black livery, although it does rather turn them into fingerprint magnets. With stealth bomber-style angular styling, rather than the usual curves and right angles, they really do look the bee’s knees.

Both models have lost some of the chunkiness of their predecessors, so they slip far more easily and unobtrusively into a pocket. Looks are often only skin deep, though, so can these HTC devices cut the mustard? Well, the Touch HD (my device was kindly loaned to me by Orange) is good enough to sit on PC Pro’s A List, which obviously counts for a lot, but regrettably the S740 doesn’t fare quite so well, being held back by probably the worst ergonomics I’ve ever seen from an HTC device. For the full lowdown on this shortcoming see Jon Bray’s full review, and I fully concur with Jon’s comments there. It’s sad, because I thought the S730 was a great phone and would always recommend it to someone wanting smartphone functionality without the usual size and weight.

Disclaimer: Some pages on this site may include an affiliate link. This does not effect our editorial in any way.

Todays Highlights
How to See Google Search History
how to download photos from google photos