Six Top Mobiles in the Great Test

We have six high-performance mobile phones with keyboards to each other.

The entry requirements are high for this supertest. Except that the keyboard is a must, we have limited the selection to cell phones with gps, wlan, autofocus cameras, touch screens in over three inches and price tags that start around $5000.

HTC Touch Pro 2

First up is one of the heavyweights. It is easily recognizable traits from the old HTC-Tytn II mobile phone, but also about shape and weight has not evolved so much so there are interesting news in both hardware and software. The focus is on utility functions could and Touch Pro 2 has more to offer as a communications tool than most of its competitors. The phone book is extremely feature rich and organizes all logs – calls, messages and emails – after the contacts so that you can easily follow all exchanges with a particular person. All are available through clear icons at the bottom of the contact page in the phone book. For the user to avoid having to confront the sad Windows Mobile interface, HTC has equipped cell phone with their own Touch Flo 3D menus. It goes a long way – the shell cover of course start and telephony functions, but also the most important settings, the picture gallery, the camera application and most of it in the phone book. However, there are still situations – for example, if you want to add a little more unusual field of a contact – resulting in the need to go back to the unprocessed Windows interface.

Keyboard with Touch Pro 2 is a real treat. The sliding mechanism is blocking only a small portion of the lower half of the phone, so there is plenty of room for the buttons. The keyboard has five rows, which means that the function keys and the SPACEBAR ports below the letters at the same time as the numbers get a separate line. Exemplary and quite superior to those three-and fyraradiga keyboards from other manufacturers. The whole thing will not be inferior to lines overlapping instead of in straight columns – just like on a real keyboard. Unfortunately, however, there is no dedicated buttons for Swedish characters.

Touch Pro 2 is a great Web Mobile. Connectivity feels almost complete and the Web browser from Opera is doing a good job. Microsoft Internet Explorer has improved considerably, but the Opera remains the favorite, thanks to the quick browsing and an interface that takes advantage of the touch screen. Office support is complete with the ability to create and edit files in all the common formats and thanks to the 3.6 inches large screen and keyboard, it is perfectly possible to handle long texts or large spreadsheets on your phone.

The weaknesses found in the multimedia area. The camera has not only low resolution, but also significantly worse pictures than its competitors. Boring – not least given that HTC has a good camera interface and a picture gallery. The music player is great, but an adapter is required to be able to listen to music through standard headphones. The large, high-resolution screen is of course ideal for video, but the included player fails in so many different formats and third-party applications are required to be able to watch DivX movies, for example. Touch Pro 2 has FM radio and the ability to geo-tagging in the hardware, but HTC has blocked functions in the menus. However, there are apps to download that activates the hidden features.

Plus: Big screen. Thought out utility functions. Good keyboard.

Minus: Heavy. Bad camera. Blocked functions.

Nokia N97

Nokia N97 Symbian flagship combines a generous touchscreen with a qwerty keyboard. The keyboard has only three lines and lacks buttons for Swedish characters, so the size though is it difficult to write on when compared to, for example, the Xperia X 2 or Nokia’s own E72. N-series has always been stronger in the multimedia area than on the commercial side and the N97 is no exception. Office support has limitations and to be able to save files, open the last format or read the pdf files you need to put some money on Add-ons. No firmware update has the N97 also has a fairly limited email programs, but it is easy to download and access the Nokia Messaging – a much more capable software with better looking interface and support for html. The screen is not as high resolution as the best Linux or Windows mobiles, but compared with previous S60 generation that almost exclusively ran qvga is a lift.

As the Web Mobile, N97 passing grade, but the S60 browser has been overtaken by the Iphone which Android browsers and Opera on Windows Mobile. A major reason for the loss of the top position is Nokia’s immature touch screen interface. It is consistent and clear compared to many Windows Mobile phones with menyskal that only covers the features view, but are definitely not the same class as the Iphone or Andriod. It is difficult to know when to double and when it suffice with a tap to activate a menu item. Nokia’s operating system, however, is not without merit. Home screen with widgets is easy to customize and provides quick and clear information, both from the Web and from the mobile phone’s software. Your phone comes with widgets for Facebook and for several different weather and news sites.

N97 is one of the sharper gps handsets on the market. With the latest firmware in your mobile, you get access to both maps navigator features the Ovi Maps free of charge. Ovi Maps has a good range of features and want to minimize the data traffic on the trip, it is possible to preload maps to your phone’s memory via sync application Ovi Suite. Your phone has a built-in magnetic compass that makes it much easier to navigate on foot. The map is rotated automatically in the right direction even when standing still and you do not have to walk long distances only to find that the dot on the map is moving in the wrong direction. In order to use the compass, however, calibrate it every time. The calibration process takes 10-15 seconds and requires only that you turn your phone a few times in his hand.

The camera has sturdy photo lamps and delivers both video and still images of good quality. Video player Real Player can handle the clips to record himself as well as mobile content from the Web, but not much more. Divxfilmer cannot play without Add-ons. Clearly a shortcoming – not least in view of the large storage space. 32 Gb and also room for a microSD card – top class.

Plus: Large memory. FM transmitter. The start screen.

Minus: Treradigt keyboard. Limited video support.

 

Nokia N97 Mini

The slimmed-down version of the Nokia N97 matches the original in most areas, but there are differences. The first thing that the observant notes is that the box is not quite as crowded. Charger and a decent stereo headset included, of course, but the full-size N97 comes with AV cable, a strong statement for entry in the screen and an adapter that converts an old Nokia charger with either thick or thin pins to microusb. Pointer can handle it without, but cords are useful and definitely worth taking into consideration if you are hesitating between models for cost reasons.

It’s really just a feature that is missing in N97 Mini compared to the original and it is the FM transmitter. Personally I think that feature is overrated because the aux input of the car radio provides superior sound quality and both the N97 and N97 Mini, standard 3.5-millimetersutgångar for audio that makes them easy to attach to the standard earphones or amplifier.

They reduced the external size means that the screen is a few millimeters smaller. Add handsets side by side you can see the difference, but it has fairly small practical significance. Worse, it is with the battery. N97 Mini has a smaller battery that according to specifications pulls down the standby time from 400 to 300 hours. Maximum theoretical numbers it turns out – in practice, the difference is that the battery life is shrinking from little more than a day to less than a day when using the cell phone. A strong argument for choosing the full-size N97. Storage memory has slimmed down in the N97 Mini – from 32 to 8 GB. One step back, but still a substantial head start compared with virtually all competitors except the Iphone.

The memory of N97 handsets is divided into three units – phone memory, storage memory and memory card. Although the N97 Mini has only one-quarter as large storage memory is actually available phone memory is larger. Handy. Many N97 users have complained that they are forced to change the settings in the application and control of memory usage to phone memory shouldn’t run out and it seems Nokia have listened to criticism for the launch of the N97 Mini. File mini version comes always with the updated software that provides better e-mail programs and access to Ovi Maps with free navigation.

Plus: Large memory. The start screen. Delivered to date.

Minus: Treradigt keyboard. Weak battery. Limited video support.

Nokia N900

Nokia has added sim slot and telephony to their tablets – the result is cell phone the N900. Unlike other mobiles in N-series to run the N900 not Symbian S60 but the operating system is Linux-based Nokia’s Maemo interface. Considering how few devices using the Maemo, the system provides a very thorough impression. The cell phone has a pen, but to do well without it and the menus have a consistent and finger-friendly design.

At several points I think Nokia has succeeded better with Maemo than with touch screen version of S60. Maemo has space for multiple home screens with widgets and Task Manager is superior with thumbnails on the programs that are running, much like in Windows 7. Management of networks and connections also deserves to be mentioned. N900 is really good at dealing with wireless networks and support WPS standard that makes it possible to connect securely with no complicated codes.

All comparisons are accrued but not to the Maemos advantage. Using the keypad recessed, I would prefer to use the phone in portrait format, but it is a telephony application that works with both portrait and landscape orientation. Programs such as the music player and phone book contains long lists that WINS at the portrait format, but here we can see clearly that the N900 has a pedigree consisting of tablets and not mobile.

The browser on the N900 is really impressive. It is based on Mozilla, just like Firefox for desktop computers, and has much better support for Web applications using flash or ajax than Nokia’s S60-browser. The screen is 800 pixels wide, so you get a good view without zooming, even on full-sized sites. It’s not just the software that makes the N900 to an interesting mobile. The processor is really fast and the phone also has separate graphics acceleration that causes the entire interface floats on really good even though it has more animated effects than S60. The powerful hardware power, so despite the fact that the mobile is big and heavy, expect to charge it every day.

Message handling works great for email and sms, but the N900 does not support mms and a lasting impression is that Nokia invested all the powder on your Web browser, phone book and menu system – other important applications have been forgotten. Camera interface has great features for tagging and provide pictures with metadata, but feels otherwise tough and images are not as good as in other Nokia mobiles with equivalent specifications. The music player and photo gallery are other applications that just keeps standard quality and neither takes advantage of the hardware of N900 or live up to expectations in this price class. Several of the included applications have great potential for improvement, but the operating system is really good and also wide open for developers. N900 can run real Linuxprogram with full access to the hardware without having to rootas or jailbreakas.

Plus: Quick. Good browser. Advanced OS.

Minus: Miss MMS.

 

Samsung B7610 Omnia Pro

Samsung has managed to fit a fast processor and a high resolution screen, but that neither the price tag or dimensions rushed off. B7610 has a really sharp OLED screen that provides extremely good image indoors. Unfortunately, it is more difficult to read in sunlight, but the overall impression of Samsung’s hardware is still very positive. The shell is glossy with a transparent Outer fabric that gives a special appearance. Sure, it draws up fingerprints, but it’s still fun to see something other than black or silver-coloured plastic on this type of mobile.

Samsung has done a very thorough job when it comes to hide Windows Mobile menus. The look is distinctive Samsung-touch and it is easy to identify themselves if they used any of touch screen mobiles with the brand’s own system. The phone book, call lists and the whole telephony application has gotten a good makeover, and it’s easy to use your mobile phone without the pen. The phone book is not quite as adaptable as on HTC’s phones, but in return can handle more information without having to go into the Windows shell. During a call, the screen is filled by large and clear buttons for all important features such as parking, privacy, tone and handling of speaker and headset. Samsung’s messaging applications share a common inbox for sms and mms, and you don’t want to fold up the physical keyboard, you can enter the letters on the screen.

There is support for handwriting, but not when your mobile phone is set to Swedish. Unlike older Windows Mobile phones, it is possible to change the language without leaving your phone to shop on omflashning. However, the whole procedure takes 15 minutes, so it is Windows Mobile is still far behind other systems. But fortunately, it’s generally to a language in the mobile. The keyboard has separate keys for Swedish characters, but figures share the buttons with the top line of letters. When it comes to the Web, you can choose between Opera 9.5 and the system’s default Web browser Internet Explorer. Opera becomes the first choice due to improved fluency in browsing and a more well-thought-out touch screen interface.

B7610 has multimedia features that can compete with the best competitors–even outside the Windows camp. Certainly there are cameras with higher resolution, but Samsung has a successful and feature-rich interfaces with features such as smile detection and geo tagging. The still images are really good quality, but the B7610 is also a competent video mobile that can record 720 x 480 pixels and 30 frames per second. Music player, video player and image gallery are handled by applications that are well made in terms of both performance and appearance. In addition, there are FM radio – something that should not be taken for granted when it comes to Windowslurar.

Plus: Quick. Great menus and multimedia features.

Minus: The screen hard to read in the Sun

Sony Ericsson Xperia X 2

Sony Ericsson xperia x 2 is the second attempt in the Windows Mobile category. On the surface it seems like a very well made phone and the keyboard is one of the best – especially for customers in Sweden because åäö has custom buttons with well thought out placement. Another point on which Xperia stand out is the multimedia jetting. When its predecessor, the X 1, came out, it was very unusual with reasonable cameras and music players on Windows Mobile phones. Now, the competition is tougher, but with 8 megapixel still camera has the sharpest Xperia in the test. It’s not just the camera hardware, which has nice specs – even the interface is good with extensive settings options and scene modes. The videos from the camera are not as high quality, and combined with the Sony Ericsson neglected to turn on the FM radio in the software will be the conclusion to other mobiles in the test deserve higher multimedia score.

The interface follows the basic design in Windows Mobile 6.5, but Sony Ericsson have added some custom functions. Panels from old Xperia X 2 is back and also has a specially designed main menu that leads to important features such as call logs, calendar and media. The k nns clumsier and more sticking in retrospect than the latest interface for lineage rings from HTC or Samsung and Sony Ericsson panels takes long time to load and to switch between. Possibly, there may be an effect of insufficient hardware – the processor has not been upgraded since the previous Xperia generation.

Telephony features are good, except that it is not possible to make video calls with your mobile phone even though there is a special call camera in the hardware. It’s worse with the messaging features. This shows the Windows Mobile itself from its worst side and management require pen. The high resolution screen and the included programs make the Xperia X 2 to a capable mobile when it comes to dealing with spreadsheets and other Office documents. The camera and keyboard are other good features of the X 2, but the performance is lagging behind and the interface is not nearly as thorough as that of HTC or Samsung.

Plus: Good keyboard. High definition camera. Good video support.

Minus: No FM radio. Slow.

Menus and system

Three different systems are represented in the test – S60, Windows Mobile and Maemo. The strength of the S60 is that it is somewhat more standardized and accepted. Since the Nokia 5800 has it been released a number of mobiles, even from other manufacturers, using the touch screen version of S60. Maemo 5 we find so far only in the Nokia N900 and it is therefore difficult to predict how the programme will be developed. Maemos menus and views for settings are otherwise significantly prettier and have better gameplay than counterparts in S60. Windows phones in the test differs a lot. HTC and Samsung has invested heavily in developing their own interfaces and the result is good. Sony Ericsson has not reached as far – this lights the inferior pages of Windows Mobile through in the form of dreary interface that is difficult to manage without a pen. Highest score goes to the Nokia N900. Meamo is powerful, beautiful and advanced without getting unnecessarily complicated. The open and on any Linux compatible system should also make N900 interesting for developers – provided that it sold enough mobiles.

Winner: Nokia N900

Internet and connectivity

Internet functionality plays a central role in all mobiles in the test. All have connection with turbo 3 g, but the speeds will vary slightly. N97-mobiles and Samsung B7610 manages only the lower speed 3.6 Mbps while the Xperia X 2 and HTC Touch Pro delivers the double. Nokia N900 is the fastest with a top speed of 10 Mbps. Nokia’s S60-browser has been top notch when it comes to mobile Web browser, now has both the Opera and the Mozilla-based browser in Nokia’s own N900 caught up and passed by. N97 handsets can still provide Xperia X 2 with Internet Explorer a match, but it is Nokia N900 which takes home the internet category.

Winner: Nokia N900

Multimedia

A few years ago, Windows Mobile synonymous with lousy cameras, a simple media player lack of features such as FM radio or photo lights. Nokia phones running S60 and Maemo have nice autofocus cameras, but best photos come from Sony Ericsson’s Xperia X 2. Samsung will record test best videos and has also very good looking interface for managing camera settings and image gallery. The n900 has a good camera and good audio and video opportunities on paper, but neither the image quality or applications is impressive. Samsung B7610 combines good camera with really smart solutions for music, FM radio and picture gallery.

Winner: Samsung B7610

Utility functions

The three Windows phones in the test has all the latest “Pro” version of the operating system. It provides a good starting point when it comes to businessfunktioner. To open, create, edit, and save Office documents run smoothly. The high-resolution screens are also a big plus when dealing with spreadsheets. N97 and N97 Mini has a a great email program and a complete navigator software in connection with the latest update, but mobiles are lagging behind when it comes to document management. Neither pdf reader or Office applications that can create or edit files included. N900 may settle for a third place in the category because the supply of commercial software are considerably narrower than for S60 and Windows Mobile. HTC Touch Pro 2 is distinguished by contact management in top class and really good features for Conference calls.

Winner: HTC Touch Pro 2

Formats and materials

Nokia N900 is the largest and heaviest in the test, but unfortunately, you can only shoot the screen a little bit upwards, so the surface of the keyboard is very small compared with, for example, the Touch Pro 2. However, there are separate buttons for Swedish characters — something that even the Xperia X 2 and Samsung B7610 boast. Samsung has invested in a little more fun shell that is tinged with dark red, but otherwise feels mobiles very mediocre. Sony Ericsson Xperia X 2 has a more flexible format and a quality feel that is a cut above the rest of the starting field, although Nokia deserves a mention for good skjutmekanismer and back panels in metal.

Winner: Sony Ericsson Xperia X 2

Winner: Samsung B7610 Omnia Pro

B7610 Omnia Pro holds the most. The mobile phone is fast, the camera takes good pictures, and Samsung has been successful with making a user-friendly mobile on top of Microsoft’s blocky interface. The screen is superb indoors but can be a little difficult to read out in the Sun. Good music player, complete Office productivity and the Opera browser contributes to the high grade.