LONELY AT THE TOP

Our correspondents try out three phones that have the potential to dominate the high-end space for some time to come

Written by Azar Zaidi | Published:March 29, 2009 2:06 pm

Our correspondents try out three phones that have the potential to dominate the high-end space for some time to come:

THE BLACK BEAUTY
THE HTC Touch HD promised much even before it was launched. Its spec sheet,boasting of a 3.8-inch screen and a 5-MP camera,was impressive and it was right up there in the looks department.
The touch sensitive screen with its 480×800 pixels resolution has,in fact,proven to be a dazzler. Coupled with the accelerometer that lets you switch between the portrait and widescreen modes by just turning the phone,the screen is fantastic for viewing photos and videos,scanning YouTube or just browsing the Net.
The brilliant screen itself is complemented by the phone’s minimalist looks. The phone doesn’t have any push buttons — just a row of touch sensitive buttons below the screen.
Looks apart,the Touch HD has the Touch FLO 3D user interface,which effectively glosses over the phone’s Windows Mobile user interface. The HD does offer something new and this is probably because of its big screen. You don’t have to feel clumsy anymore while trying to write emails or texting; for a change,your fingers will do. The phone has the obligatory stylus,but you won’t need it as frequently as with other such phones.
The phone even has a ‘Stock’ option for keeping a tab on share markets around the world. But if that is not your cup of tea,you can choose the tabs you want the Touch UI to display through ‘Settings’. The ‘Settings’ and ‘Programs’ can be used to customise the user interface,create shortcuts and basically personalise the phone—it might be useful to select options you use most often for quick access.

The Touch HD is dominated by its screen and while it has many features that exploit this feature,its 5MP camera isn’t one of them. To start with,it doesn’t have a flash. It has an auto-focus,though very slow. Experience has taught me that camera specs should be ignored while buying/checking out mobile phones. It is at best an accessory and will let you down often.
One feature that does,however,make full use of the 3.8-inch screen is the Opera browser. It is nothing short of brilliant and offers excellent web browsing capabilities. Expect the phone to literally fly once 3G is more widely available.
The HD is available for Rs 41,990,but I wonder if at its price it will really fly of the shelf.

ALSO from HTC
Magic
The HTC Magic is an Android-powered

mobile and comes with the Google suite of services like Mail,Search and Maps. The Magic has a 3.2-inch TFT-LCD touch screen with a 320×480 HVGA resolution and also supports video capture,Bluetooth 2.0 Enhanced Data Rate connectivity,HSDPA,Wi-Fi,and an expansion slot for microSD memory cards (SD 2.0 compatible).

Pro 2
The Touch Pro2 builds on the Touch Pro and is equipped with a spacious keyboard. The Pro 2 allows for one-touch response to an email through a phone call. Tap on the image icon of others in the email to get them in on the call. Straight Talk technology offers crystal-clear sound quality and voice reception thanks to a loudspeaker and dedicated noise-cancelling microphone for those conference calls. A business phone for all seasons,the Pro 2 sports a 3.6-inch TFT-LCD touch-screen with a WVGA resolution of 480X800 and a slide-out five-row QWERTY keyboard. It supports HSDPA,Bluetooth 2.0,Wi-Fi and has a 3.2-MP camera with auto-focus.

Touch Diamond2
The Touch Diamond 2 offers a new way of arranging your conversations,whether voice or text,arranging them according to people and not just by how you speak with them. All interactions are neatly laid out for viewing and follow-up like a tree of communications. Enjoy videos,websites,photos and any other images on the ultra sharp and wide 3.2-inch TFT-LCD touch screen with a WVGA resolution of 480X800. It supports Bluetooth 2.0 for wireless stereo headsets,Wi-Fi and has a 5-megapixel camera with auto focus.

Still a click away
HAVING dealt with a few slider phones of late,I was looking forward to test driving Sony Ericsson’s C905. One thing was clear right from the minute I unboxed the Cybershot series’ flagship offering: it was a very good looking phone with a sturdy built,matte finish and spring-heeled slider movement.
There is only one word to describe the finishing on the phone: perfect. You will feel like you’ve just got your hands on a special piece of equipment,discreet and solid. Therefore,it was very disappointing when I switched the phone on and found they had forgotten to add a user interface to complement the phone’s superlative exterior.
The user interface,with its garish icons and dated grid menu,disappointed us greatly. This very feature,however,will attract those who don’t like the more elaborate user interfaces offered by other phones in the market.
The C905 sports an 8.1MP snapper and the first question that springs to mind is: can it replace a digital camera? The Xenon flash,considerably stronger than LED flashes,holds much promise as far as night photography is concerned. The phone offers plenty of photography options so take your time going through them. BestPic,PhotoFix,face detection,image stabiliser,exposure settings,white balance,red eye reduction and smart contrast are all on offer.

An area,however,which is more than metaphorically blurry,is the zoom. The camera offers up to 16x digital zoom,and I wonder if it could possibly have been the first to offer this in a camera phone.
Looks like you will need that digital camera after all. The camera will prove handy,but it’s not any closer to replacing standalone cameras. In fact,this makes us wonder if the camera is over specified.
Despite the emphasis on its camera,the C905 features a media player that plays MP3 and AAC format tracks,supports album art,playlists and offers high quality stereo sound. The built-in memory isn’t huge at 160MB,but you can add a Memory Micro Stick to increase storage up to 8GB,enough for about 2,000 MP3 tracks.
The C905 may not be a smart phone,but that didn’t stop Sony Ericsson from adding Wi-Fi support,augmenting the standard connectivity options offered by Bluetooth and USB.
The C905 is also 3G enabled with HSDPA and can support data transfer speeds up to 3.6 Mbps,even if video calling is missing.
The SE C905 is available for Rs 35,000.

A BlackBerry for the ladies?
MANY women use BlackBerrys,but most of them just can’t come to terms with what is a very male looking phone. I am not suggesting that Research in Motion (RIM) should start making pink phones,but why not try making them a bit curvy. Even the BlackBerry Pearl,Bold and Storm lack what women want. Finally,RiM seems to have got the idea,and last month came out with the Pearl Flip 8220.
I don’t like flip phones and at first was not really happy with this one either. But the Pearl Flip is attractive and more of a phone — if you,like me,have been carrying a phone along with your BlackBerry,this gives the option of opting for a single device. But I still felt it is more suited for women.
The Flip,like the Motorola Razr,has an outer screen which shows the emails and text messages and also has a nice looking analog clock. It does not let you reply to emails without opening the phone,but you can still preview calendar reminders,emails and text messages.
The phone is a bit beefy compared to RIM’s latest designs and I think BlackBerry should have spent more time working on its curves. I did not like the design of the Pearl,but there are a few welcome changes on the Pearl Flip. The recessed trackball,which allows the flip to close,is very thoughtful. The keys,too,are nicely laid out with small curves. By the end of two weeks I was able to master the Suretype and work almost as fast as I can on a QWERTY keyboard.
The Flip also has a newer version of the BlackBerry Operating System,and the interface is similar to that of the Bold. This is a big step ahead of the previous OS,but I wish the text display in emails were sharper.

The phone,however,lacks horsepower and is slow. But compared to other BlackBerrys its start-up time is much faster. The browser is much better than older models and the company claims it a full HTML browser. But the slow phone makes browsing a pain,even if you have high-speed Internet access available through Wi-Fi.

Overall,I liked the phone. But I believe it is better for people who are looking at buying their first BlackBerry,or their first smart phone. Compared to other smart phones in the market,this gives you BlackBerry emails (the best part),multimedia capabilities,an okay camera,and a good browser in a tight form factor. But buy it only if you want to switch over to BlackBerry services,not because you want a phone that looks good.
Price Rs 21,990

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