New Phone Choices

My 18 month contract with Orange (UK) is now at an end and so I’ve started looking for a new phone. There are two things I don’t like about my current one (Samsung D900): the battery life; the poor camera (especially with the flash).

The main candidates for the upgrade are: Nokia N82; Sony Ericsson K850i; Samsung G600 and maybe the Apple iPhone.

Samsung G600

It’s got a 5MP camera and it’s very slim, but that’s about where the good bits end. If the battery life is anything liek the D900 I have at the moment I’ll avoid it like the plague and while it does have a good camera on it the flash is the same as the D900 and isn’t a patch on the xeon ones Nokia and Sony Ericsson use. While it’s a phone that’s ideal for my pocket it has to be bottom of the list due to it’s drawbacks.

Sony Ericsson K850i

I’ve had a couple of SEs in the past and I’ve been very impressed with software and easy of use. Implementation of all the connectivity, such as BlueTooth and computer synchronisation, also always seem very strong. The camera is also excellent as is the flash, and with the added extras of BestPic this is definitely a true camera phone. Add in to this the fact that battery life is one of the best on the market and this should be the phone of choice without hesitation. What let’s it down, however, is SEs terrible styling. There doesn’t appear to have been any effort made to make this phone slim and stylish. There has been a slight improvement over some of the previous phones that appeared to have stepped back five years, but it’s still a blocky rectangle that does sit easily in any type of pocket.

Nokia N82

This is Nokia’s improvement on the all sing all dancing N95, and the improvement has been to reduce the size in all directions,make it a bit lighter and add the keypad to the bottom of the phone, doing away with the need for a slide. The phone has everything on it I could possibly want plus a load of extras. Like the N95 there is GPS and WiFi as well as the Symbian OS meaning there are loads of new applications that can be run. The flash and camera are still good and PC synch’ing is also up there. Size, however, is still a problem as although it is smaller than the N95 it’s still bigger than the other phones I’m looking at.

Apple iPhone

A bit of an outsider as the camera is poor and there isn’t a flash, but this is made up for with all the other things it does and the very cool interface. Like the N82 it has WiFi and the ability to add third party applications (soon). It doesn’t have GPS but as data downloads are free and unlimited with O2 mapping is still easy to make use of. The interface is easy to use and even enetering text on the touch screen isn’t as difficult as I thought it would be (although it would be useful to have the screen rotate for a bigger keyboard on a lot of occasions and double thumb entry is rather difficult). The size and weight aren’t ideal but it is slim and far better than the Nokia. Reviews have made a point of mentioning the lack of 3G and the poor camera, but the bigger issue is the lack of some features such as photo messaging and text forwarding. When one can’t even send a text message to multiple recipients things get a bit silly.

Conclusion

Having played with all the phones the Samsung is out of the question as although it may have an improved camera and is one of the slimmest phones at this level, it suffers from the same poor battery life and flash that my current one does.

The extra features and third party applications the Nokia offers makes it very tempting. I could certainly imagine using the GPS and WiFi. Unfortunately the size lets it down. I might have chosen it if the screen had been bigger with an iPhone style touch keyboard to justify the footprint, but as it stands it’s not worth the bulk.

This just leaves the SE if I want a phone with a 5 mega pixel camera, a flash that allows pictures to be taken at night and a battery life that will allow music to be played while I’m on train journeys and still give capacity for a few phone calls. I’m sure the slightly chunky look and feel will bother me, but if it works I’ll be happy for the next year until there are some better models available.