Head to head: Alternative smartphones

Head to head:
Alternative smartphones

 Sony Ericsson P1 v HEWLETT-PACKARD iPAQ 510

 
 
Sony Ericsson P1

Look and feel: 7/10
Looks like the M600’s big brother. Top-quality construction and materials; feels solid (weighs 124g) but sits very easily in the hand. Stylish metallic finish with black insets isn’t visually as strong as it might be though.
Externals: 8/10
Big touchscreen and QWERTY keyboard on front with VGA video call camera; main camera on back. Jog Dial on left edge (scroll up, scroll down, press to select) along with a hardware back key, which comes in handy when used with the Jog Dial. Right has camera shutter, memory card slot and a shortcut key which can be assigned several available applications — default starts the web browser. USB port on bottom, on/off and stylus slot on top. Sounds cluttered but actually everything works well in practice.

Keyboard: 6/10
Full QWERTY layout keyboard with two characters per key (push on left side of button for one, push on right for the other). This works, but is definitely a like-it-or-loathe-it option – takes a while to get used to it, and fast tying for emails or texts can be difficult.

Display: 9/10
Excellent 2.6in with QVGA resolution, deals well with bright sunlight, responds crisply to the stylus. Sony Ericsson’s current displays are among the best you’ll find on smartphones.

Memory: 8/10
More than adequate: 160MB shared memory, plus hot-swappable Memory Stick Micro (M2) cad slot — 512 MB card included.

Camera: 7/10
3.2 megapixel camera with autofocus, dual-LED flash, dedicated macro mode — produces nice and crisp images with good focus. Video recording though is only 320×240 pixels at 15 fps, compares poorly with Nokia smartphones.

Connectivity: 8/10
Very good — WiFi, 3G (though not HSDPA), Bluetooth and USB, even infrared.

Phone: 9/10
No problems with reception or call quality. Extensive phonebook with an unlimited number of contacts, multiple fields, sort and filter options.

For business: 8/10
UIQ user interface is good for business oriented use – excellent task manager, planners, filing system, etc. QuickOffice application allows viewing and editing of Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents; another viewer handles PDF files (albeit a bit slowly). Star turn is Opera 8.0, one of the best mobile web browsers.

In use: 7/10
Fast, comfortable, improves on previous SE smartphones. Some question marks about the value of a touchscreen with the UIQ user interface –Windows Mobile currently does it better, and here a conventional joystick plus the Jog Wheel would give almost as much functionality.

WE LIKE …
• Processor speed, generous memory, battery life
• Connectivity – everything but HSDPA
• Extras — Walkman-grade MP3 player, FM radio with RDS

WE DON’T LIKE …
• Keyboard doesn’t hack it for fast typing
• Touchscreen and stylus could be so much better  
• Why no HSDPA?

Overall: 77%
A big step forward for Sony Ericsson’s UIQ-based smartphones – faster and more comfortable to use than predecessors, but still not perfect and faces tough competition from Nokia and Windows Mobile.

SPECIFICATION
Size: 106x55x17mm
Weight: 124g
Display:
TFT touchscreen, 256K colours, 240×320 pixels, 2.6in
Camera: 3.15MP, 2048×1536 pixels, autofocus, video, flash; secondary videocall camera
Connectivity: 3G, tri-band GSM, WiFi, Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP, USB 2.0, IR
Battery: Standby up to 440h, Talk time up to 10h
Memory: 160MB shared memory, Memory Stick Micro (M2) card slot with 512 MB card included

 
 
HEWLETT-PACKARD iPAQ 510

Look and feel: 7/10
Compact, conventional-looking candybar. Feels solid, robust and chunky; a bit thicker than you’d expect these days (16.3mm, to accommodate largish battery). Finished in tones of grey and black for a sombre, fun-free businesslike look

Externals: 8/10
Screen and keypad plus usual selector buttons and five-way joypad on front; camera lens to rear. Remarkably clean edges – volume rocker, 3.5mm headset jack and microSD memory card slot on left, Voice Commander voice control activation key alone on right, charger/USB port on bottom.

Keyboard: 7/10
Reasonably sized and well-defined rounded-top number keys. Soft keys and home/back keys are smaller and difficult to hit precisely. Backlighting is good.

Display: 5/10
Rather disappointing, especially given what the competition is doing. Screen is 2in but somehow looks smaller resolution is a bit low at 176×220 pixels, with noticeable jagging on some Windows icons. Colours not too rich, either, though full-daylight visibility was ok.

Memory: 7/10
Windows-standard 64MB RAM, 128MB ROM. Hot-swappable microSD memory card slot (empty).

Camera: 5/10
Basic — 1.3mp with no flash, no zoom, no macro mode: snaps are ok, though. Video at low QCIF resolution only (176×144) — no separate video call camera.

Connectivity: 7/10
WiFi (and Skype should be available soon for the 510) plus quad-band GSM, GPRS, EDGE, but no 3G. Bluetooth is v1.2 (slowish).

Phone: 7/10
No problems with reception, call quality seemed more variable.

For business: 9/10
Excellent. Windows Mobile 6 with Pocket Office(Word, Excel, Outlook, Internet Explorer, Media Player). Setup Assistant enables network administrators to manage a fleet of 510s, including remote erasing of lost/stolen devices. Major USP is Voice Commander — spoken commands for many tasks, including emails read out to you with spoken replies.

In use: 8/10
Eminently practical, did most things pretty well. Windows looks a bit cramped on the screen, and you can’t use the navigation pad to scroll on the Start page (you’re forced to use the More soft key). Voice Commander is clever but may be of limited value to many.

WE LIKE …
• Physical characteristics—build quality, size, shape
• Network administration tools
• Reasonable battery life

WE DON’T LIKE …
• Display is disappointing, screen is small for Windows itself and the Office apps
• No 3G, no HSDPA, and GPS would be a sensible add-on for the Voice Commander app
• A freebie memory card would up the performance (that’s the way Windows works) and allow for more on-board files

Overall: 70%
Despite the up-to-date Windows Mobile 6 and the well-implemented business features, the 510 feels a tad oldfashioned – and maybe a bit of a first-time stab at the phone market. But maybe traditional virtues like the rock-solid build quality and the excellent battery performance can compensate for that

SPECIFICATION
Size: 107 x 48.6 x 16.3 mm
Weight: 102g
Display: TFT, 65K colours, 176×220 pixels, 2in
Camera: 1.3MP, 1280×1024 pixels, QCIF video
Connectivity: Quad-band GSM, EDGE, WiFi , Bluetooth 1.2, USB
Battery: Standby up to 188h, Talk time up to 6.5h
Memory: 64MB user memory, microSD memory card slot