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Which phone should "i" touch?

Which phone should "i" touch?

Which phone should "i" touch?

I'm in a real quandary, perhaps the biggest one of my gadget obsessed life.  I've always been a fan of touch phones and PDAs, and have had plenty of different ones in the past.  But what do I do now?  Tell me!  Please!! I was very excited by the launch of the original iPhone last year but not excited enough to get one.  Why would I?  At the time I had an SPV M700 that gave me touch screen, an mp3 player, 3G, GPS, office document management, push email etc.  So I let the iPhone pass me by.  But I've had my M700 for over a year now and it's bulky, looking dated and slower than its competition. When the 3G iPhone was announced I was again in a dizzy spin, and this time it had 3G and GPS - the two major features I thought were holding the previous model back.  So I paid up on my existing phone contract (6 months' worth) and got my PAC ready to migrate.   And then what happened??  I heard about the HTC Touch Diamond!   I was really impressed with it and was ready to change my mind regarding the iPhone. But there's a lot of uncertainty over the Diamond's UK release date (you can buy it now but it'll cost around £450), and it only has 4GB capacity compared to the iPhone's whopping 16GB (top spec).  And not forgetting that the Diamond has a significantly smaller screen that would make surfing a bit awkward (as is the case with my similarly sized M700).  But it's nice.  It's very nice.  It looks stylish, the screen looks fantastic and it's got a few bonus features including an FM radio. My current most significant concerns (read uncertainty) with the iPhone are how the GPS software (Google Maps) will work and also how easy it is to manage MS office documents.  I know what I'm getting with a Windows phone (I haven't had the bad experiences others have), I can easily edit and manage documents and I know my GPS will work fine when I'm out of transponder range.    Some say office documents are just as easy to manage on the iPhone using Google Docs, and some say that Google Maps doesn't need a constant data feed for your iPhone to keep track of your location.  However, I've also read articles that suggest otherwise.  So I have an element of uncertainty with the iPhone and I don't know whether I'm comfortable with that.  I simply know what I'm getting with a Windows 6.1 phone, and if I'm going to go into an 18-month contract I don't want to do it blindly. So it became a battle between the Touch Diamond and the iPhone... for about 10 days.  And then the Samsung i900 was announced!  What are you guys trying to do to me?  You're having fun messing with me.  I want it to be easier than this.   The i900 is again Windows 6.1 but I'd consider it a closer match (compared to the Diamond) to the iPhone.  There'll be 8GB and 16GB models, the screen size is very similar and battery life is fairly comparable.  Perhaps its biggest issue compared to the iPhone is its screen resolution - a measly 400x240.    But it has a few bonus features like TV-out, FM radio, a 5 megapixel camera and a pretty fast CPU. Seriously, what do I do?  I created a spreadsheet to compare the three phones and used a very rudimentary scoring system: 3 points for a phone per feature if it was the best (or equally best), 2 points for second best and 0 points if it was the least impressive feature of the three phones.  You can see the spreadsheet below - green is best, amber is second best and red is third best. Touch phone comparisonThere are at least two issues, though: firstly I have given each feature equal ranking (it was easier and didn't tax my brain that way) and, secondly, I had to scrape around the internet to fill in some of the gaps so they may not be 100% accurate.  I thought it would do to start with though.  Please correct me on anything that you see is (or may be) wrong. So, as you can see the i900 is a clear winner.  So why am I still not convinced??  I'm still being drawn to the iPhone.. for a few seconds... and then I'm drawn back to the Diamond... for a few more seconds... and then I'm back to the i900. To be honest, availability may win this round.  The i900 isn't expected in the UK until around August and the Diamond seems always to be just out of touching distance (so to speak) with its UK launch being delayed.  I know the iPhone comes out on the 11th July. What do I do?  Phone a friend or ask the audience?  Help! Dan

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26 Comments
Community Veteran
Alas, you've become too bogged down with spec sheets. For example, the i900's weight is 127g and the iPhone's is 133g - does that really make a difference? Probably not. What you really need to do is think to yourself 'what do I want to do with my new phone', then assess each model's ability to execute that specific task. You were kind of starting to do that when thinking about usability of GPS, Office docs etc., but I think you then lost your way which is why you then produced the comparison table. Regarding the iPhone - which is the only one I really know much about - I think third party software could make it a much more viable solution than you currently suspect it to be. For example, TomTom are experimenting with an iPhone version of their GPS software, and I've seen news of a spreadsheet application in the works too. It's also worth bearing in mind that you can always test out its core features and web apps by going in to Sheffield's Apple Store once it's been released And by the way, you made a mistake with the colouring (and presumably scoring) of the 'screen resolution' spec.
Not applicable
And also don't forget that the iPhone has TV out with a £35 cable Smiley
Not applicable
ah yes, the samsung and iphone should swap scores for the screen res, thanks. you're right of course, i did get a little obsessed with features rather than what's really the priority. the spredsheet does show the things i wanted to compare but the scoring got skewed because i didn't weight the features (so gps, docs, 3g etc. would score higher for me). i might spend some more time looking at that next week but i thought i'd get something out this week for people to comment on and hopefully help - which you have! Alistair, thanks for the tip regarding the iphone and tv out.
Newbie
iPhone all the way Dan, btw it does have TV out also. From using the edge model for the last 2 months I will happily go for the next iPhone, the 3G and GPS is going to make it amazing along with all the additional apps for it.
Grafter
I would go with the i900, the iPhone is too publicised, too much of a "thing to have" item and ends up being a groaner as a result "oh, look, I have an iPhone" "oh, so you do, cool" and you end up being "just another iPhone owner" - with the i900 its equally as good, you know you'll get your office docu's compatability right, and it has all the features you want, sure the screen res is a little lower but does that REALLY matter?
Not applicable
As pointed out earlier it's all about the functions you want in the phone. The i900 looks very good the weight and size difference is minimal. For me, I need a good screen for reading ebooks and time on the web rather than a lot of the other features. I occasionally use satnav so that is a requirement as well (when tomtom produce their offering) but .. your mileage may vary. It would be worth ranking your requirements out of (say) 5 and then adding a new column to the spreadsheet a final result would then be gained by multiplying the rank you've already got by the importance of the feature to you. (a lot of hassle I suppose but it gives the impression of objectivity). Good luck - but post back which you go for and what your experience is so we can benefit from that as well. cheers Anweledig
Dan
Grafter
ok, I've now corrected the screen res scoring and taking into account iphone's tv out feature. it now puts a bit of distance between the iphone and the touch diamond. i did try weighting the features this morning but it still cmae out with the same 1st, 2nd and 3rd. it's one of those things that I think subjectivity will play a large part when I make up my mind :-)
Grafter
I had been holding out for a decent contract with the N95 8GB, but am now looking at either the iPhone 3G or N96. The new iPhone does look impressive but Apple have a habit of trying to limit how you can use the hardware you buy from them and I really don't like that.
Grafter
Oh and a 2 MP camera is pathetic, as is the lack of MMS.
Dabbler
Dan, from the conversation you had with me and Jamie the other week. One of the things not covered, you asked what it was like trying to read the screen on my iPhone when outside in the sun! Well the answer is, absolutely spot on! so just another factor to consider :-)
Grafter
After a d900 (not touch I know) I would NEVER use a samsung again. Nice hardware, awful software. Just sending an SMS on the thing caused profanity!
Grafter
I think you've you're really missing major points about the iPhone. I don't want to get into the usual debates that surround apple products but the iPhone really is different and should be seen as such. Yes there are some rather daft things that certainly appear to be "omissions" or failings - such as a measly 2Mpixel camera and no secondary front-view cam for eg, but there is one big thing going for it, and that is usability. It really does make a difference. The way you can look at websites is miles ahead of anything out there. This really is web surfing on a phone as it should be. Another thing is that you are also getting an ipod. Not just an mp3 player. An ipod, with access to iTunes. slag -off itunes as much as you want for its arrogant commercial pontificating but the fact is there is nothing out there that allows such easy and convenient access to music, hollywood films, TV shows and podcasts. Its not perfect, its not free (why should it be??!!) but there is nothing else that compares (yet?). I have a brother in-law who has had one since they were released and he is rubbish with technology. He is now a regular "mobile surfer" and couldn't live without it. He adores it: the simplicity, the fact it "just works". At the new price its a no-brainer. The tariff looks quite steep until you compare what you are getting and work out similar tariffs with other providers (unlimited downloads). If you just want a new toy and enjoy fiddling with configurations, getting features to work and pondering on its potential, then consider other phones. If you have very specialist requirements such as integration with specialist enterprise systems then the iphone might not fit the bill (and your employer will presumably provide your phone anyway). If you just want to get on with things: surf, email, locate, listen, watch, text and make phone calls the iPhone can't be beaten. Not yet anyway. Can you guess I'm getting one come july 11th?
Not applicable
The iPhone has the best web browser bar taking a laptop with you - ok no flash (yet) but ever site i go to just works. Had mine since Nov, yes it has a few lacking's like voice dialling but Google maps that just works and the web browser.... Get the new 3G one Dan you won't regret it! James.
Dan
Grafter
how well do ajax heavy sites work on the iphone though? ok, i'm starting to ask a lot here but just wondering? hmm, Ben, I'll do a bit more research on the software side of things of the i900 then before i decide - good tip!
Community Veteran
I can't say for certain but I believe they work well - IIRC, AJAX is the main technology behind the many web apps you can run on the iPhone.
Dan
Grafter
or i could wait for one of these http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9100098&source=rss_news10 if i could wait several years, that is.
Community Veteran
If you haven't made your mind up yet, this article might be of interest.
Grafter
Well I managed to pre-order a 3G iPhone yesterday from O2 :-) Not sure how much truth there is in this but apparently O2/Carphone Warehouse sold their entire online allocation of 250,000 3G iPhones in a little over 4 hours. That's over 1000 sales a minute!!! Already an iPod Touch user here (which I absolutley love) so it should be straight forward enough to use.
Not applicable
@Be3G Thanks for that, it was certainly a good article. I think it's down to the iphone and i900 now.
Community Gaffer
A review of the diamond: http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2008/07/08/review_htc_touch_diamond/
Dan
Grafter
@Kelly, I saw that but they'd already reviewed it back in May: http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2008/05/06/htc_diamond/ - so was surprised they took the effort to review it again. still, more info in the latest review i suppose.
Community Veteran
FWIW I've managed to acquire an iPhone so if you've any questions that need answering I'll see if I can help.
Dan
Grafter
Cheers Be3G, I've seen a couple now and I've got to say I'm impressed. To everyone's despair, though, I'm trying to hold off to see what the Samsung's going to be like when it's released in a few weeks. If you can let me know how well Google Maps works as an iPhone GPS navigation tool then that would be appreciated. Cheers, Dan
Dan
Grafter
so the touch diamond has finally hit the highstreet, with CPW and voda offering it. I had a play with one yesterday and must admit, it's stylish and has a great screen. but the screen feels too small (now i do a lot of browsing), and the phone did appear sluggish. I've also been playing with other people's iphone and it is really neat. i'm holding off until the samsung i900 comes out and then i'll decide. unless someone can convince me the iphone is the phone i've been looking for :-)
Community Veteran
Hmm sorry Dan - didn't see your post on the 18th. In case your question about maps hasn't been answered by your own fiddling, I'll say that it's pretty good for walking navigation, but probably hopeless for driving. The reason being that it doesn't offer any automatic route guidance like an in-car GPS; it merely provides a set of direction which have to be manually turned through, which can only be done while walking. (Though TomTom do say they're considering releasing a version of their software for the device.) On the plus side however, the fact the iPhone uses A-GPS is rather handy - it only takes a few seconds to acquire a GPS fix whereas it might otherwise take 20-30 seconds. The smooth satellite imagery is also very useful for when walking around footpaths etc. that aren't mapped, as the iPhone still keeps track of your location on the satellite images.
Dan
Grafter
Cheers Be3G, that's useful advice. Will also make sure the samsung doesn't have the same limitation. otherwise the iphone may be back in the running again.