10 touchscreen phones to challenge the Palm Pre
5th Jun 2009 | 13:20
It's a big year in the land of the mobile phone
The second Android phone improves on the T-Mobile G1
Originally known in the rumour mill as the G2, the HTC Magic is the follow up to the T-Mobile G1. This time it's a Vodafone exclusive in most European countries, and the Magic comes packing a 3.2-inch QVGA touchscreen, 3.2 megapixel camera and WiFi and HDSPA connectivity.
The HTC Magic features an updated Android OS - codenamed 'cupcake', which fixes a whole host of bugs that were found in the original G1, and has the added bonus of faster web browsing. It's a cracker!
TechRadar's Gareth Beavis says: "There's not a lot to hate about the HTC Magic, and it's clear that it's the step up in Android that the G1 nay-sayers were waiting for.
"The whole package is still as good as it was in February, and the touch responsiveness is much improved. It may not be the powerhouse that we expect the Palm Pre to be, it's certainly an excellent showcase for Android."
Read more:HTC Magic full review
Sony Ericsson Satio (formerly Idou)
Sony Ericsson Satio (formerly Idou)
The new flagship Sony Ericsson phone with the best camera ever
The Satio is a 3.5-inch wide-format touchscreen handset which includes A-GPS with Google Maps, and geo-tagging. It runs the Symbian S60 5th edition OS, as debuted on Nokia's 5800, but with a large number of Sony Ericsson tweaks and personalisations.
Sony Ericsson has confirmed that the UMTS/HSPA handset will ship with a 8GB microSD card, and will be available in three colours (black, silver and bordeaux) this autumn.
Our expert says: "Sony Ericsson's worldwide fortunes seem to go from bad to worse - the previous 'flagship' phone, the Xperia X1, didn't set many phone-passions blazing, so it was vital the next big handset was a doozie.
"You can't dispute that the Satio, a 12.1MP-toting, crisp touchscreen-sporting multimedia behemoth, is a very good effort, but there are some notable absences (like more onboard storage and a 3.5mm headphone port) that make you wonder if this is something that will draw people away from the likes of the Pre and the iPhone."
Read more:Hands on: Sony Ericsson Satio review
Nokia's new flagship model might be its best ever
Hot on the heels of the N96 comes Nokia's even newer flagship model, the N97.
Like the Sony Ericsson Satio, the N97's screen will be a 3.5in, 640x360, 16:9 affair, and the phone will also feature a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, HSDPA, Wi-Fi, 32GB of onboard memory with microSD expansion and a battery life of 36 hours for audio playback.
Nokia has also put a far-better-than-the-iPhone 5MP camera into the mixer, with Carl Zeiss lens and 'DVD quality' video capture.
Our expert says: "The Nokia N97 has divided opinion since it was announced at the tail end of 2008. Its massive memory and compact yet sturdy form factor will please the Noki-ites, but the Symbian OS is something that still feels a little underpowered for the job.
"The processor seems to be a little under-powered as well, so memory heavy applications can feel mighty sluggish compared the speed of the Pre. But for those that like a landscape QWERTY keyboard compared to Palm's squish-a-thon, this is probably the best out there."
Read more:Hands on: Nokia N97 review
Apple iPhone 3GS
Apple iPhone 3GS
The new iPhone will be the first to have a half-decent camera
The new iPhone 3GS highlights include a 3MP camera with auto-focus and auto exposure as well as a video camera recording at 30 fps and the option to edit on screen as well.
There's also extended battery life, a faster 3.5G HSDPA 7.2mbps connection and processing power is also increased, although no word on how much faster despite Apple calling it the 'fastest, most powerful iPhone yet'.
O2 has also announced it will hang on to the new iPhone 3GS on an exclusive deal, although no word on price has been given, although it will launch on 19 June.
Read more: Apple iPhone 3G review
BlackBerry Storm 2
BlackBerry Storm 2
Succeeding 2008's kick-ass Storm 9500
The original BlackBerry Storm debuted to some glowing reviews when it was first released back in November of last year, with some hailing it as an 'iPhone killer'.
That is until for Stephen Fry came along to lay the smackdown on the device, calling it "embarrassingly awful" via Twitter.
BlackBerry Storm 2 will undoubtedly have more touchscreen capabilities than its predecessor, with RIM lopping off real buttons at the bottom of the original phone in favour of integrating them into the screen
Our expert says: "The BlackBerry Storm was a brave effort from RIM, and the click-screen idea was innovative, if not poorly executed.
"We've no word on how the Storm 2 will work with a touchscreen, but the SurePress system is apparently being retained. All we can hope for is that the screen is a little more responsive and accurate, and Wi-Fi (the absence of which was a massive faux pas in the first effort) makes a welcome return."
Samsung i8910 HD (OmniaHD)
The i8910 HD is Orange-exclusive in the UK
The Samsung i8910 HD features a capacitive 3.7 in AMOLED 360x640 screen, an 8 megapixel camera with autofocus, an accompanying LED flash and a truck load of trickery that you'd normally find in your digital camera, including Smile Shot, Blink Shot, Panorama and Face Detection.
The video ability is also impressive, bringing 720p recording at 24 frames per second, and playback includes DivX/Xvid, H.264, WMV, Mpeg4 and Real Video playback,
Our expert says: "The i8910 is the best example we've seen of Samsung's TouchWiz interface, nestling nicely on top of the S60 OS. The screen is beyond beautiful, and despite looking huge at 3.7 inches, the video quality on it is phenomenal.
"In terms of multimedia capability, it destroys nearly every other option out there (although we've yet to see what Apple is bringing to the table), and has got some pretty good grunt for such a good looking handset."
Read more:Hands on: Samsung i8910 review
Snapdragon Toshiba phone is most powerful ever
Boasting a 4.1-inch touchscreen, WVGA resolution and yet still under a centimetre thick, it certainly looks the part - despite the colourful user interface.
The phone uses Qualcomm's 1GHz Snapdragon chip – which should make it the fastest toushcreen phone on the market by a street.
It uses a re-skinned Windows Mobile 6.1 Operating System, which of course brings Office support and IE Mobile 6
Our expert says: "The eternal problem for the companies using Windows Mobile 6.1 is trying to hide the ugliness. HTC's TouchFLO is a really great effort, but what Toshiba has done with its 'stripes' home screen is really interesting too.
"The 4-inch screen might be too big for some people, but in terms of sheer productivity it's beyond par. Not only that, but it's the fastest out there with the Snapdragon 1 GHz processor, so it could be a dark horse in this year's 'top phone' race."
LG Viewty Smart
LG Viewty Smart
The original Viewty gets a significant upgrade
Designed to be a successor to 2007's original Viewty, the Viewty Smart is a super flat device, weighing in at 90 grams and rocking a thickness of only 12.4mm.
It's also the next in line to use the 3D S-Class interface LG has so lovingly developed and first seen on the Arena, so there's clearly going to be some decent processing power in there.
There's a 3-inch touchscreen as expected with an 8MP camera, building on the impressive 5MP effort from the original Viewty and even auto-motion detection for the spy-loving among you, and even a little sliding door to protect the lens / fiddle with and annoy your partner.
Our expert says: "LG has been quietly beavering away on the handset front, adding to an extensive portfolio and adding some weight with the new S-Class interface.
"The Viewty Smart, apart from having a rubbish name, is a top draw camera phone as well as bringing some decent multimedia capabilities. It's not in the same league as the Palm Pre though, which means it will come with a price point that will be attractive to a lot more people."
Read more:LG Viewty Smart GC900 review
HTC Touch Pro 2
HTC Touch Pro 2
Another impressive HTC handset coming to market
The HTC Touch Pro2 has a 3.6-inch touchscreen, a QWERTY keypad and, usefully, doubles as a speaker phone for conference calls and the like – a vitally important function for business users, who will be able to just lay the phone down face-down on a table to automatically convert it to a speaker phone
The HTC tells us that "TouchFLO 3D has been more deeply integrated into a customised version of Windows Mobile 6.1 to deliver more consistency throughout Windows Mobile applications and menus
Our expert says: "HTC's stock has never been higher, especially with its Android line, and the Windows Mobile 6.1 range has also been cleaned up to the point where even those that have hated the OS in the past can learn to love it.
"The Touch Pro 2 is the next in the family, with a well-spaced keyboard and a processor and screen to make internet viewing nothing short of exceptional. It might not be to everyone's taste, but don't forget it will be re-vamped when it gets the Windows Mobile 6.5 OS later in the year."
Read more:HTC Touch Pro landing 12 June
Samsung's first Android phone has got it all
The Samsung i7500 has a 3.2-inch touchscreen, using the company's OLED technology seen in the likes of the Omnia HD and the recent Tocco Ultra Edition.
Not only that, but it's packing the latest version of Android, meaning the usual tight integration of Google Search, Maps, Gmail, YouTube, Calendar and Talk.
It also trumps the HTC Magic by managing to squeeze a 5MP camera on the handset (with flash) as well as finding the space to pop on a 3.5mm headphone jack, so no need for cumbersome adaptors, yet still shaving 2mm off the Magic's chassis size at 11.9mm.
Our expert says: "Samsung is the first 'non-HTC' member of the Android party to release a phone, and it looks like a cracker. Having fixed some problems from the original HTC G1 and Magic (namely a decent camera and 3.5mm jack) Samsung has also managed to slim down the chassis as well.
"It might not be THE Android phone that sweeps the world, but then it's unlikely we'll ever see such a thing. But it shows once again, that with the likes of the Palm Pre, the iPhone and the slew of Android handsets the tail end of the 2000s has been a real period of change in the mobile phone industry."