All iPhoned-out? Here are some alternatives
- — 22 July, 2008 09:40
It's been two weeks since the launch of the already iconic Apple iPhone 3G in Australia and the hype machine is still in overdrive. Although plenty of Australians have already snapped up iPhones, there are many who won't buy into the hype and are looking for alternatives.
While most of the handsets dubbed "iPhone killers" are yet to hit the Australian market, there are still plenty of other smartphones available right now that have similar features to the iPhone. In many cases these phones offer features above and beyond Apple's handsets — for example, the iPhone lacks the ability to copy and paste text, transfer files via Bluetooth and stream music wirelessly via the A2DP.
Although none of these devices offer a full touch-screen interface like Apple's mobile, they are still capable smartphones in their own right. These five handsets offer valid — and in many cases cheaper — alternatives to the iPhone.
The Samsung i780 may not boast a touch screen as efficient as the iPhone's, but its optical joystick is a delight to use. The HSDPA-capable i780 runs Windows Mobile 6 but it has a redesigned home screen that provides access to frequently used features. It's the notebook-style TrackPoint device that is the real clincher: dragging your finger across it moves the mouse cursor in any direction, while pressing it selects a function. The i780 is also equipped with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and a built-in GPS receiver, and it comes with Samsung Mobile Navigator software.
Motorola MOTO Q 9h
A dedicated mobile e-mail device, the MOTO Q 9h runs Windows Mobile 6 and features a keyboard that's one of the best we've seen on a smartphone. For users who are planning on heavy data entry, this could be a deal-maker and something that the MOTO Q9 h has but the iPhone, with its touch-screen keyboard, doesn't. Although it lacks Wi-Fi, HSDPA speeds of up to 3.6Mbps mean that it is a capable, although not outstanding, mobile Internet device. A microSD card slot also means you can add extra memory, something you can't do with the iPhone.
Palm Treo 750
Despite being more than a year old, Palm's Treo 750 is still a worthwhile option. The first Palm device to run Windows Mobile rather than Palm's proprietary operating system, the Treo 750 is HSDPA capable and offers a conveniently tweaked home screen that adds an online search box. Palm was also among the first manufacturers to introduce threaded SMS messaging, a feature found in the iPhone.
HTC Touch Dual
An HSDPA-capable smartphone with touch-screen capabilities and a slide-out QWERTY keyboard for faster text entry, HTC's Touch Dual is an evolution of its original Touch. One of its standout features is an interface called TouchFLO — touch-screen technology developed by HTC that responds to finger movements and gestures, similar to the iPhone. The animated TouchFLO interface consists of a virtual cube with three screens, providing access to frequently used applications. You'll still have to use a stylus for other tasks, but the TouchFLO interface is a neat inclusion.
Nokia N95 8GB
Sporting 8GB of internal memory, HSDPA capabilities, a 5-megapixel digital camera, built-in GPS, and multimedia capabilities, the N95 8GB is one of the most feature-packed handsets on the market. Although it's not a touch-screen device and has a chunky design, it remains a handsomely crafted device that brings together a wealth of features together in a reasonably stylish package. The two-way slider is also appealing — it slides up to reveal a keypad for phone calls and slides down to reveal playback controls for multimedia.