Do you Carry a Torch?

This latest entry into the pantheon of Blackberries (the Torch 9800) is a little on the lacking side, for what it is. It isn’t as powerful as the Focus or the iPhone (either of them), and it doesn’t even rock as lovely a display or as big of a hard drive, either. What it does have in spades is… well, nothing, really. The battery is not really what most people want in a smartphone these days, as it just does not last all that long. Maybe if you were able to get one for free this would be a good deal. But in its current form, most of what this new Blackberry has going for it is the fact that it looks very nice- never underestimate the power of eye candy.

There is just something about phones where a set of buttons pop out of the bottom. It is almost like watching a very short magic show, when the keys come out and you can just type away. The Blackberry features a full QWERTY keyboard (albeit a rather small one), so you won’t ever have any problem finding which key you want, if you are used to typing normally. So when you whip out your Blackberry (because you know you’ll buy one just because it looks good) and the keyboard swings out, people are going to marvel at it. And they will also marvel at how easily you can browse the Net and read e-mails, because of the pinch zooming capabilities the Blackberry brings to bear. If you like easy navigation, this might actually be the smartphone for you, in spite of its limitations. Although it might be nicer if they’d dropped the trackpad.

Of course, this is not really the phone for long conversations. At 330 minutes of talking time or 432 hours of idle time, it’s okay. But it doesn’t compare to most of the other smart phones out on the market today.

Do you Desire an HTC?

HTC Desire
Image via Wikipedia

If you are all about the bells and whistles that most smartphones promise, the HTC Desire might not impress you all that much. But if, however, you want a great phone that has some neat applications to it, you might find that little hottie is worth the time to woo. You can download files from your company directory, which ought to save you a lot of time. The display on the Desire is almost as big as that of the Droid X (and definitely bigger than that of the iPhone 4). And in addition to being extremely fast, it also features a decent QWERTY keyboard (albeit with only four levels of keys) that pops right out of the bottom.

HTC Sense is a great little component of the Desire which allows you to share and download various bits of information from directories. If your company directory has contacts you need to download, you can do so immediately. As well, calendar events are a breeze to take down, without having to manually key enter anything. And when you couple that with the ability to download e-mails, images and videos, you have a very robust resource for keeping things firmly together in your day to day life. You can even switch out between different applications (such as the Internet, e-mail and your contact list) just by pinching the screen (it isn’t sexual harassment, because it’s your phone).

However, the Desire is not a perfect device, even with its Snapdragon processor. There is the issue that the keyboard is a little on the smallish side, which can complicate typing up lengthy messages. If you are used to a regular keyboard’s 3 rows, the 4 can throw you off a little bit, as well. Another issue is the complete lack of video calling, something a lot of smartphone users have grown accustomed to having in the same way as we expect indoor plumbing. But the Desire is still nice.

LG Quantum: a Little Behind the Times

Microsoft has been hungrily pursuing the smartphone market for years now. And with the introduction of its Phone 7 operating system, they have made some impressive strides. They have also done some unifying to the phones they are used in, since Phone 7 has some particular system requirements (such as a 5 megapixel camera). However, the LG Quantum still seems to be something of a step backward, or at the best, too short of a step forward to be genuinely competitive with the iPhones, Droids and Blackberries of the modern world. Keep in mind that for people who use the term today, “the modern world” may indicate a condition which has only existed for a few months of time. Time isn’t marching on so much as sprinting on.

The Quantum’s screen is 3.5 inches, which is good… but nothing special. As well, the fold out QWERTY keyboard is nice to have, and the overall bulk of the phone makes typing on the keyboard more stable. Of course, if you enjoy a phone that will fit into the pocket of your tightest jeans, this could be a problem. And if you have been secretly longing to use the dvorak keyboard, you will be out of luck with this physical keyboard. There is also no capability to install additional memory, although 16GB should be enough for most people. And the speakerphone is a little on the quiet side, as well.

Overall, the Quantum is a decent little phone. One would be hard pressed to knock it in any respect. It is a solid performer with reasonable features. It just seems as though Microsoft does not realize that its days on the cutting edge of things have faded, and is deluding itself into believing that technology from two or three years ago is still the best the consumer can get. In this world, people have largely found that they can do a lot better. Now ante up, Microsoft.