Smartphones: Which One's a Keeper?

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Smartphones: Which One's a Keeper?
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iPhone 4S: The Socialite


Probably the most iconic smartphone in the world, I'm sure you're definitely considering this phone if you don't already have it. With Twitter integration right within the new iOS5, and the game-changing iMessage, iOS users everywhere will be able to stay connected to each other and never miss a beat. This phone has the most of everything, with over 500,000 apps available at the Apple App Store, plus the myriad of accessories you didn't even know your iPhone would need. It definitely is an iPhone world; every other phone is just living in it.

The Good:

• The new iOS5 has a host of amazing new features like the new Notifications Centre, Wi-Fi syncing, Twitter integration, new Reminders, plus more.
• iMessage will be the BBM killer. This messaging service works across all iOS5 devices. Unlimited text messages over Wi-Fi or 3G and it won't eat away at your texting plan.
• iCloud service is now live. Meaning you can stream your music, videos, emails, etc. from the cloud and free up hard drive space on your phone.
• Siri, a sophisticated voice command/personal assistant.
• The new 8MP camera is one of the best on any smartphones out there.

The Bad:

• Prices are pretty steep. With no contracts, and unlocked from Apple, they start at $649 for the 16GB and up to $849 for the 64GB Model. With a 3-year contract through the major carriers, they start at $159 to $369.
• Battery life has been reported to be even worse than iPhone 4's.
• Doesn't support the new high-speed LTE network.

The Ugly:

• Siri's features are severely limited up here in Canada at the moment. But at least she's entertaining!

Samsung Galaxy S II 4G: The Sophisticate


For those who can resist the iPhone's seductions, there's an even sexier phone, the Samsung Galaxy S II. The Galaxy line has always been a hit, with its vivid large screens, but this iteration is definitely one of its best. Plus with Android 2.3 Gingerbread, the Galaxy S II is more than just a pretty face.

The Good:

• The huge 4.3" Super AMOLED Plus display is nothing short of beautiful. Wide viewing angles, vivid colours, readability in direct sunlight. Oh my.
• Blazing fast dual-core 1.2 GHz processor means fast app processing and goodbye to lagginess.
• 4G also means blazing fast network speeds.
• Ultra thin at only 8.49mm and ultra light at 116g (compare with the iPhone 4GS at 140g).

The Bad:

• Body composed mainly of plastic, making it feel less solid and durable than phones with aluminum casings.
• Powerful dual-core processors eat up battery life. You might want to carry an extra charger.

The Ugly:

• Android update fragmentation means you'll never know if your phone will receive or even be eligible for upcoming OS updates.

Blackberry Bold 9900: The Professional


Blackberries have recently taken a back seat to the rising popularity of the iPhone and Android platforms. But the new breed of Blackberries hopes to change that. Armed with the new Blackberry 7 OS, and a higher resolution touchscreen, the new Blackberry Bold 9900 is definitely well equipped to take on the challenge.

The Good:

• The web browser is greatly improved. Blackberry owners can forget the old non-user-friendly browser experience.
• New touchscreen in combination with trackpad offer a more modern way of navigating the OS
• The keyboard is a dream.
• Uses less data than other OSs today.
• Of course, Blackberry Messenger is still wonderful.

The Bad:

• Very weak app selection.
• Touch elements of the OS aren't as intuitive than the leading touch screen smartphones out there.

The Ugly:

• With iMessage on all iOS devices, Blackberry Messenger faces some extremely strong competition

Honourable Mention: Windows Phone 7


There isn't an actual phone review because there hasn't been a new Windows Phone smartphone released in Canada for about a year now. Instead, I'll talk about the OS itself. It's now a year old with the latest update, 7.5 Mango. This update adds much-needed features that give the Windows Phone platform a fighting chance.

The Good:

• Updated Mango with over 200 new features like multi-tasking, even better social network integration, unified inboxes, threaded emails to name a few.
• Existing phones get a much needed speed boost with the upgrade.

The Bad:

• The phone still doesn't support 4G/LTE networks.
• Multitasking isn't as easy to manage compared to iPhone's and Android's multitasking.

The Ugly:

• Windows Phone sales are absolutely dismal. Even Steve Ballmer admits this. But with the Nokia partnership, and great Nokia headsets coming out soon, things will turn around.

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