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Buyers guide: Best smartphone reviews

Which platform is best for different tasks?

With so many smartphones available, which one should you plump for? We test four handsets that use different operating systems to see which areas they excel in.

Entertainment

Most of us experience a lot of downtime when travelling, so it's a real advantage if our smartphones are capable of keeping us entertained. The first part of this test compared storage capabilities and how easy it was to get media to the phones. We then played our music collection to test audio playback quality. Finally, we viewed a YouTube video to determine video playback quality.

Acquiring and storing music

Undoubtedly because it is part iPod, the iPhone has a lot of storage - it comes with either 8GB or 16GB of built-in memory, although it doesn't have a slot for add-on memory cards. By contrast, as is more typical with smartphones, the other three devices have only nominal on-board storage - 128MB was the most any of the three devices had.

However, those devices all have slots for microSD cards, which have storage capacities of up to 8GB. The HTC Touch Dual and the Nokia E71 have easy-to-access slots on the sides of the devices, but the BlackBerry Curve's slot required taking off the battery cover and removing the battery before inserting the expansion card. The iPhone was best designed for acquiring media; you can sync with iTunes or even download music directly to the iPhone from iTunes over the air using the built-in iTunes application.

Both the Nokia E71 and the HTC Touch Dual can sync media files with your Windows PC using Windows Media Player (the Nokia also comes with PC software that can sync music). Both also play music from subscription music services such as Napster, which use Digital Rights Management (DRM) developed by Microsoft.

The Curve 8310 can't sync music with a PC - you'll need to copy music directly to the storage card - and it doesn't support playback of subscription music. Note that these phones reflect the division in the digital music world. All support the MP3 format, but the iPhone won't play music from online subscription services. By contrast, the other three phones can't play music downloaded from iTunes.

NEXT PAGE: Playback and YouTube quality

  1. Which platform is best for different tasks?
  2. Browsing the web
  3. Email
  4. Photography
  5. Entertainment
  6. Playback and YouTube quality



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