Our Best Mobile Phones UK

Mobile Smartphones – The Top 5

 

A smartphone is a mobile phone that tries to be everything else as well – a mini mobile PC with Internet access, email, camera, GPS and whatever else the manufacturers can cram in. Pretty incredible really when you consider that they typically weigh in at around 150-200 grams and still fit in a pocket!

The benefits of these mobile beauties are endless, but on a practical level mean we no longer have to load ourselves up with multiple gadgets before leaving home each day and have everything in one device to synchronise with our PCs at home, work or online. Gone are the days of not having your camera to capture that spontaneous moment, or being stuck on a train without your MP3 player.

So unless you want an ultra tiny designer (expensive) mobile with minimal functions, are looking for one of the unlimited online music services or want a substitute for your compact camera (in which case take a look at Sony Ericsson), a smartphone is now the best choice for most of us now.

 

1.

Apple iPhone

The iPhone has stuck at the top spot of virtually every mobile phone review since it was launched back in July 2008 and not without good reason. It’s the best smartphone currently on the market. No contest.
iPhone

Being Apple, it goes without saying that the iPhone is incredibly easy to use. It’s never going to be one of those gadgets with hundreds of wonderful features that you never use because you don’t get around to reading the 300 page manual, downloading extra software etc etc. It has all the features you could want, it’s obvious how to use, and you’ll just love everything about it. Even the hardcore Nokia and anti-Apple are converted.

For a full list of features, check out the detailed spec, but the one worth a special mention has to be Apple’s Application Store. This contains over 25,000 applications that you can download to your iPhone and some of the best ones are free. These “app’s” as they’re affectionately known take advantage of all the iPhone’s features and display, covering everything from social networking and nature and finance. If you want it, the chances are it’s there and once you’re using it you’ll wonder how you managed without it.

Also worth pointing out if you’re an iTunes user is that the iPhone works seamlessly with your existing iTunes library. Unlike other mobiles where you need to use complicated software and conversions to get music onto your phone it’s all done for you. Once you’ve loaded up, listening to music is just like using your iPod only better. If you’re not a current iTunes user, then like everything else with this phone it’s extremely simple to set up and transfer your music (if you tried and were put off in the past it’s worth noting that things have moved on a lot with iTunes 8.0).

Packed with functionality and a breeze to use, the iPhone is a smart piece of kit and something you feel smug and proud to use in public. Unusually and uniquely, it is equally appealing to men, women, geeks and the rest of us mortals– it’s just gorgeous.

If we want to pick holes, it’s the camera – at 2 mega pixels and an average lens, it’s definitely not as good as it could be. However, this isn’t an issue unless you want to start blowing up your snaps to poster size, ask anyone who knows about photography and pixels and they’ll tell you the same.

Apple never give much away, but there are strong rumours of new models coming soon with a Summer 2009 launch most likely. Whether that means June or September is anyone’s guess but a better camera and increased memory are the most likely improvements. To be honest though, it’s so good already that it’s difficult to guess what else they can come up with. Also much rumoured is the introduction of a smaller (size and functionality) nano version and a smaller cut-down cheaper version targeted at the Asian market.

In short, probably not worth the wait and it’s so damn cool and sexy, do you really want to?

HTC Touch HD

2. HTC Touch HD

Before it arrived, there was a lot of talk that the HTC Touch HD was going to be the iPhone killer. Based purely on the specification it would be easy to argue that it should bury the iPhone alive. BUT…it hasn’t. The iPhone is still in top spot and it looks set to stay there.

If you decide the iPhone’s not for you, this is probably the closest competitor at the moment and clear runner up for me. It hasn’t got that extra “something you can’t quite put your finger on” of the iPhone, but you do get a better camera and it is a very nice looking phone.

Nokia N96

3. Nokia N96

Given Nokia’s history of producing chunky, plastic but very functional rich phones this is actually not bad looking. Reasonably easy to use and packed with everything you could want, but it comes lagging behind the iPhone’s intuitive interface meaning you may not make use of the best bits.

The N96 also has the option of Nokia’s “Comes With Music” so this one might be worth considering if that’s high on your list.

The N96 does everything you could want and is a better spec than the iPhone, including a decent 5MP camera. If you’re tempted but want a full qwerty keyboard, it might just be worth waiting for the N97 which will be released in the next couple of months.

In short, a good choice if you’re a hard core Nokia fan, or want the “Comes With Music” option.

 

Blackberry Bold

4. Blackberry Bold

Blackberry’s have always been heavily geared towards business users, although this one attempts to appeal to both the high flying business executive and the media hungry rest of us. To be fair, it does a reasonable job although does have a slightly cramped screen.

The Bold is pretty good and without doubt the best looking Blackberry so far. If email is your main use and you’re not too bothered about anything else this could be worth considering. If not, I’d opt for the iPhone or HTC Touch HD every time.

 

G1

5. T-Mobile G1

5th place is a tough one as there are many close contenders, but the G1 wins because of its’ Google Android operating system and scope for endless 3rd party applications. It’s worth bearing in mind though that Apple started the mobile application revolution, so many of the best ones still start out as iPhone only applications.

The keyboard is great and the touch screen good but the G1 is let down slightly by looking a bit geeky as well as having a basic camera. Otherwise, a good “functional” choice.

 

Reviewed by: V Flores, 19 April 2009. The views expressed in this review are entirely the authors own. Images are not to size or scale.