Budget smartphones keep getting better as software matures and components become cheaper. Some companies have produced inexpensive smartphones that are good enough to replace your big-brand flagship. Others haven’t had the same success.
GPS & Car Tech
Commotion surrounds a new Chinese manufacturer called OnePlus and its first smartphone, the One. The promise of top-tier hardware for bottom dollar has the internet ablaze, and big guns Samsung, Apple and HTC paying attention.
Dedicated GPS brands have been facing stiff competition from GPS-enabled smartphones. In a case of “if you can’t beat them, join them”, Navman has launched its Smart Eco cloud service, which makes use of smartphones and tablets as companion devices. The company also launched a 5in connected SmartGPS that is based on the Android operating system.
Described by Samsung as the "world's first 12.1 megapixel camera phone," the Pixon 12 mobile phone was actually beaten in Australia by the launch of the Sony Ericsson Satio.
Sony Ericsson's Yari looks much like another run of the mill, mid-range slider mobile phone of the kind we've seen over and over again from the company. Turn it on, though, and the Yari is full of surprises, most notably its "gesture gaming" function and the good 5-megapixel camera.
On paper, Sony Ericsson's Satio smartphone certainly looks impressive -- a whopping 12.1 megapixel camera with Xenon flash, a large 3.5in touch screen display and an interface that uses standby panels on the home screen to access commonly used applications. The Sony Ericsson Satio is a well equipped smartphone with a wealth of features, but it's lacking in a few key areas.
Packing in a wealth of features including a brilliant AMOLED display, a 5-megapixel camera and Wi-Fi, its strange to think the Samsung Jet Icon isn't actually a smartphone. Though it lacks the ability to install third-party applications, the intuitive TouchWIZ interface and zippy performance make the Jet Icon a joy to use.
The third iteration in Nokia's Navigator series of mobile phones, the 6710 Navigator is Nokia's best effort yet. The small screen will annoy many users, but the addition of a great zoom bar, a free lifetime subscription to the GPS maps and an excellent build quality make the latest Navigator worth a closer look.
As a replacement for the 6220 classic, Nokia's 6720 classic isn't a mobile phone that will get the heart racing with excitement. A faster processor, better battery life and a 3.5mm headphone jack are improvements over its predecessor, but the lack of a Xenon flash and camera lens cover are strange omissions.
Thankfully, most of the great features of webOS have not been compromised. After spending some time with the Palm Pixi, we found a lot to like about this sprightly smartphone - for the most part.
In a day and age where feature-packed, touch-screen smartphones dominate the upper tier of the mobile phone world, you can't help but feel Nokia's N86 8MP looks a little out of place. Though it offers a reliable interface, a decent features list and an 8-megapixel camera, it's hard to get excited about a phone with a price tag that puts it in the league of some of the best touch-screen smartphones on the market.
The first Samsung mobile phone to run Google's Android operating system, the Galaxy Icon smartphone is a strong competitor to the HTC Magic and possesses a brilliant AMOLED display. Although the Galaxy Icon is fast and functional, it's disappointing that Samsung hasn't tweaked the standard Android user interface.
The iPhone 3G S has better battery life, power and speed compared to the 3G, and provides hardware-based features that enhance existing apps and functions on the phone. If all that matters to you, then upgrading is worth it, but if you're more of a casual iPhone user, then you can probably afford to wait a little while before you upgrade.
Mother's Day is rapidly approaching. If you think your mum needs a new mobile phone, then check out our handy guide to some of the best handsets for every kind of mother.
Vodafone today announced Australia's cheapest 24 month set contract deal for the popular Apple iPhone 3G.
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