Saturday, June 4, 2011

Top 10 Touch Screen Cell Phone Review

10. Samsung Rogue 

Samsung Rogue box shot 

9. Samsung Omnia II 

Samsung Omnia II box shot 

8. Palm Pixi 

Palm Pixi box shot 

7. HTC Droid Eris 

HTC Droid Eris box shot 

6. Samsung Moment 

Samsung Moment box shot 

5. Motorola Cliq 

Motorola Cliq box shot 

4. BlackBerry Storm 2 

BlackBerry Storm 2 box shot 
The BlackBerry Storm 2 goes a long way to realizing the potential expected from the original release of the smartphone. You’ll likely recall, and the popular tech press has made it impossible to forget, that BlackBerry’s initial touch screen offering initially fell way short of just about everybody’s expectations. The biggest issues involved sluggish performance and responsiveness and were largely fixed by downloadable firmware updates. Still, you only get one chance to make a good first impression and the Storm missed it.
Enter the Storm 2. BlackBerry manufacturer RIM has taken great pains to listen to the complaints leveled against its predecessor and to fix them. The new device, while not perfect, will be a great choice for many consumers, especially those who demand BlackBerry’s industry leading messaging capabilities but like the benefits of a touch screen phone.

Standout Features
• Wi-Fi
• Improved SurePress user interface
• Updated BlackBerry Handheld Software 5.0 OS
• Doubled memory

The best reasons to choose a Storm 2 are the same reasons to want any BlackBerry. They continue to set the standards for messaging devices with true push email, seamless integration for enterprise users with MS Exchange, IBM Lotus Domino and Novell GroupWise as well as including up to ten separate IMAP/POP3 email accounts. High security and the ability to be tethered as a wireless modem are among other important attributes. The Storm 2 is a world phone and includes a SIM card though it operates on Verizon Wireless’ CDMA network in North America. When traveling to other areas, it shifts seamlessly to GSM mode affording both voice and 3G data access in most countries.
The most news worthy improvement to the Storm 2 compared to the original is the improvement to the SurePress user interface. The concept is the same but the execution is much, much better. The idea behind SurePress is to provide positive, tactile feedback to the user when typing. The original keyboard was physically depressed to give a satisfying click response confirming the user’s actions. The problem was that the response was rather inconsistent across the screen and could be sort of sloppy as the screen moved. The new version offers the same click feel but is entirely electronic, i.e. the screen doesn’t actually move at all. It also allows for rolling over selections which highlights them for confirmation before pressing. The new screen also has some multitouch capabilities such as pressing the shift key and a letter to capitalize or touching the beginning and end of a selection for document editing. To that end, the device comes standard with the standard version of Documents-To-Go, from DataViz, for editing MS Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents, though an upgrade would be required for creating such documents. A full QWERTY keyboard is available in both landscape and portrait modes.
Our favorite addition to the Storm 2’s feature lineup is Wi-Fi. While recognizing that it operates on VZW’s extensive and fast EVDO Rev A network, Wi-Fi is still faster and the network isn’t absolutely always available. We just can’t agree with manufacturers’, or more likely wireless carriers’ decisions to omit it from high end phones, so we’re very pleased that it’s been made available.
Overall performance of the Storm 2 is greatly enhanced by the new BlackBerry 5.0 OS. The lag that plagued the original Storm is largely gone and the device’s performance is snappy and generally precise. The fact that onboard memory has been doubled doesn’t hurt performance either. The Storm 2 has 256MB of RAM and 2GB of onboard storage. Its storage is also enhanced by an included 16GB SDHC card and can be augmented with a card of up to 32GB capacity.
A critical feature of any touch screen phone will always be the display screen and the Storm 2 excels in this category. With 480 x 360 pixel resolution, images are sharp and bright and video playback is a pleasure. At 3.25-inches diagonal measure, it’s smaller than the benchmark set by the Apple iPhone 3GS and improved on by the Motorola Droid but a fraction larger than that of the Palm Pre.
The Storm 2’s camera has been upgraded to 3.2-megapixel resolution. It has an LED flash and includes video recording and playback capability. It has great media player capabilities and supports Bluetooth mono and stereo protocols. An integrated GPS/A-GPS receiver is included.

Expert Reviews:
We freely admit that we were somewhat less critical of the original Storm than many reviewers. While not pardoning the rush to market with substantial firmware glitches unresolved, RIM and Verizon Wireless did a pretty good job of resolving most of them with firmware updates in pretty short order. We also resisted the temptation to jump on the criticism bandwagon regarding the SurePress touch screen. It was intended to offer a better tactile experience than other touch screens and we reserve the right to have liked it despite what most of the press had to say.
But that’s history. The new electronic version of SurePress is enjoying a much better reception as are the overall performance enhancements.

High-end touchscreen smartphones have become common. The BlackBerry Storm 2 isn’t likely to appeal to as broad a spectrum of users as the iPhone or perhaps some of the best Android based phones, but it is a particularly good option for people who like BlackBerries generally but want touch screen features. It’s also among the best options for business users.

3. Apple iPhone 3GS 16GB 

Apple iPhone 3GS 16GB box shot 
The Apple iPhone 3GS 16GB is exactly the same as the Apple iPhone 3GS 32GB except that it has half the memory, i.e. 16GB as opposed to 32GB. Many users find the $100 price difference for that amount of memory to be a little steep but, since there's no expansion slot, those who need the whopping 32GB of memory don't have an alternative. Check out or complete review of the Apple iPhone 3GS 32GB for other details about this great touch screen smartphone.

2. Motorola Droid 

Motorola Droid box shot 
Let’s say it right off the bat: the Motorola DROID, winner of our TopTenREVIEWS Silver Award, is the best Google Android based smartphone phone to date. It’s the first device to run using the greatly improved Android 2.0 operating system and Motorola has gone a long way to address most of the shortfalls that were inevitably leveled against previous Android phones in comparisons to the competition. To make things even better, it offers some of its very own unique features that should put the DROID on anybody’s short list when considering a touch screen smartphone purchase.

On first glance, the Motorola DROID seems just a little bit clunky by today’s standards. It’s black and square (well, rectangular) and a trifle thick and weighty. Not huge issues but sort of uninspiring. Turn it on, though, and the impression is changed radically. The device is almost completely covered by a huge, by cell phone standards, 3.7-inch touchscreen that is nothing short of beautiful. It boasts a bright and sharp 440x854 pixel resolution capable of displaying 16 million colors. The touch screen works well with the notably improved user interface for the Android 2.0 OS and features haptic feedback for some functions but still lacks of the most popular features of a multitouch screen like the pinch to zoom function.
It comes equipped with a built-in accelerometer so rotating the device changes the screen orientations from portrait to landscape and there’s a full QWERTY keyboard in both modes. Better yet, there’s a slide out physical keyboard. That feature isn’t important to everyone but many users find the real keyboard preferable to the virtual one for all but the quickest of typing tasks. That said, this keyboard isn’t among our favorites in that it’s generally flat and there’s little to separation between keys making touch typing pretty tough. Still, it’s not bad and as we get accustomed to its feel, we find it less objectionable.
There’s a lot to say about the overall performance of the DROID and it’s based on a number of factors. The phone has a 600MHz processor at its heart and 256MB of RAM. Memory can be expanded by up to a 32GB SDHC card but it comes packaged with a 16GB card which is already pretty impressive. The Android 2.0 OS also provides a substantial performance boost compared to previous Android devices, especially when taking advantage of the devices enviable multitasking capabilities. The Verizon Wireless EVDO Rev A network also gets a lot of the credit for the phone’s top-notch performance when using web based functions.
Android’s open-platform application format has always been at the heart of the OS’s appeal. At this point, the Android Market boasts about 10,000 applications which is an awful lot compared to little more than a year ago when the first Android phone, the T-Mobile G1 became available. Still, it pales in comparison to the Apple App store which has recently crossed 100,000 apps. The good news for Android users, when making the comparison, is that most Apple apps are self-serving and primarily promote a particular business. Android apps tend to be more useful.
Google Maps is among the most usable web based features around, both for computer and mobile devices. The DROID successfully leverages the relationship with Google to offer perhaps the single coolest unique feature of this phone…a terrific, turn-by-turn GPS navigation system that doesn’t require a monthly subscription.
Pretty much every email platform is supported by the DROID including MS Exchange synchronization for enterprise users. It’s worth noting that only Exchange and Gmail get true push delivery with this phone. It can be set to check IMAP and POP3 accounts at user specified intervals from 5 minutes to an hour. Users for whom true push email is a priority will still be best served by BlackBerries. On the other hand, the DROID does a great job of integrating contacts and calendars much like the Palm Pre and other Palm webOS based devices.

The Motorola DROID comes equipped with a 5.0-megapixel camera with LED flash and also features video recording. It also has a very good multimedia player which offers direct downloading from the Amazon MP3 store.

Expert Reviews:
We don’t love the fact that every new smartphone on the market has to be compared to the Apple iPhone but that is today’s reality. Just about everybody agrees that the iPhone sets the bar very high for the largest spectrum of users…not the best phone for every single individual, but generally best for most consumers. Other devices are often cited as preferable for specific groups, e.g. BlackBerries for enterprise users or Android devices for serious techies. Perhaps the nicest and most realistic comment that prevails regarding the DROID is that it gives a very viable option for an awful lot of buyers.
Reviews praise the DROID’s multitasking capabilities, its generally quicker performance and the free location based services.
Several of most important advantages associated with DROID are a direct result of its use of the Verizon Wireless network. We rated it first in both our Cell Phone Providers Review and our Mobile Broadband Review sites…ratings that, by the way, were made independently and by different reviewers. Other reviewers have generally echoed these sentiments.

With the Motorola DROID, the Android OS comes a major step closer to realizing its potential. As a handset manufacturer, Motorola finally has a real winner and even Verizon Wireless, the country’s largest wireless provider, has a real contender in the smartphone race. The DROID is a great option for users who like most iPhone features but want an alternative to it and AT&T. In the long run, everyone, consumers and the wireless industry, win big by the presence of genuine, valid choices at the head of the pack.

1. Apple iPhone 3GS 32GB 

Apple iPhone 3GS 32GB box shot 
Smartphones were once almost exclusively the tools of high powered business users and road warriors. The original Apple iPhone, and more significantly, the iPhone 3G, were the single greatest catalysts in expanding smartphones’ appeal to the general consumer audience. Our TopTenREVIEWS Gold Award winning touchscreen, the Apple iPhone 3GS (‘S’ for Speed) continues the trend of improvements we enjoyed with the 3G. Certainly more evolutionary than revolutionary, the folks at Apple listened to the criticisms that were leveled at the wildly popular iPhone 3G and actually took action on most of the issues. While competitors have made major strides in closing the gap between the iPhone and everyone else, this is still the touch screen phone to beat for most users.
We won’t rehash the well known features of the iPhone 3G. For details of that excellent smartphone, you can check out its review. Instead, we’ll highlight the improvements that make the iPhone 3GS a top choice for a wide variety of users.
As with its predecessor, there are two models that are identical except for the memory capacity. The top rated Apple iPhone 3GS boasts a whopping 32GB of onboard memory while the other lesser model still has a very respectable 16GB and costs $100 less. (The previous version had 16GB and 8GB options). Both models are available in both black and white.

The Apple iPhone 3GS still has the features that made its predecessors so popular. Most notably, it’s a perfectly good smartphone that just happens to have an iPod built-in. Just as the iPod essentially created and continues to dominate the digital music industry, the iPhone invented and rules the world of mobile apps. Despite the launching of competing app stores by several other smartphone makers, they all pale compared to the tens of thousands, and rapidly expanding, of apps available for the iPhone.
Increased speed is the central improvement of the iPhone 3GS. Apps load faster and just about everything runs more smoothly. Network speeds also tend to be improved. Still, if multitasking is an important feature for you, this device will be a disappointment. You might want to consider the Palm Pre or a top rated BlackBerry.
Among the chief complaints about previous editions of the iPhone was the absence of a user replaceable battery. That hasn’t changed but at least Apple has equipped the new device with a battery that seems to be providing markedly improved performance. We like the AppBox Pro app that, among other things, estimates how much battery life is available for various phone functions. We’ve found that it does a good job of predicting actual battery life. If you’re a heavy user who likes to have a backup battery, you’re out of luck.
iPhone’s rather weak 2.0-megapixel camera has been updated to a 3.0-megapixel shooter which is better than its predecessor but is still not among the best available. Nonetheless, Apple has made great strides with the Tap to Focus system that give the user a lot more control over pictures to be taken. Oddly, there still isn’t a flash. The new iPhone does satisfy users who bemoaned the lack of video capture capability. That’s a feature that is rapidly gaining importance with meteoric rise in popularity of posting videos online. It also includes a great video editing tool that should help users improve the often dubious quality of those online posts.
The iPhone 3GS catches up with some of the top competitors by finally offering document editing features. Cut, copy and paste are available and work particularly well with the new landscape mode virtual keyboard.
Stereo Bluetooth capability is finally available on the iPhone 3GS, an omission from previous versions that we failed to comprehend on a device that has multimedia as a focal point. Less noteworthy but welcome additions include a voice recorder, tethering capability and turn-by-turn directions for the GPS functionality. As of this writing, tethering has still not been activated by AT&T and the turn-by-turn directions feature will require an as yet unavailable third party application. In the event that the iPhone 3GS is lost or stolen, individual users now have the ability of wiping data from the phone remotely. That was a feature previously available only to enterprise users.

When considering the remarkable abilities of the Apple iPhone 3GS, it’s easy to think that things just can’t get any better. On the other hand, when considering its shortfalls, one can see that, despite Apple’s noteworthy efforts, there remain many lost opportunities. Reality lies somewhere in between. It likely is the most capable, user friendly smartphone on the market for the widest range of users. For those with different sets of criteria, the good news is that there are a number of worthy alternatives.

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