The touchscreen war

Is it time for the iPhone to step aside as the tzar of touchscreens?

| Updated on: Feb 17 2009, 11:46 IST

Four big guns of the touchscreen arena with four different Operating Systems, but which one's worth your time? Pitting the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic, the BlackBerry Storm, and the HTC Touch HD against the stalwart Apple iPhone, we chanced upon a rather interesting result that may leave Apple's fans sulking.

Design and user interface
Nokia 5800 XpressMusic
111x51.7x15.5 mm
109g; 3.2" screen
360 x 640 pixels resolution
81MB internal memory with 8GB microSD provided
Colourful large icons. Accelerometer transitions are jerky. Multiple data entry methods include handwriting recognition. The double tap for selection is annoying at times, necessitating the use of the stylus

BlackBerry Storm
112.5x62.2x14 mm
155g; 3.25" screen
360 x 480 pixels resolution
1GB internal with 1GB microSD provided
Feels cluttered but screen tap technology is very intuitive and responsive. Multiple keypads offered with auto full QWERTY only in landscape mode

115x62.8x12 mm
146g; 3.8" screen
480 x 800 pixels resolution
512MB internal memory with no microSD provided
Well designed and provides easy access to most settings. Stylus is still required for using certain functions. Accelerometer not available for most menus, and full QWERTY is available only when accessing the browser

Apple iPhone
115.5x62.1x12.3 mm
133g; 3.5" screen
320 x 480 pixels resolution
8GB or 16GB internal memory; no expansion
Clear, vibrant interface that's intuitive. Accelerometer is smooth and fluid. Only QWERTY keypad is available with no landscape function except in browser

Who wins: The most sensible choice, when it comes to design, is the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic. Its light-weight and compact designing makes for great portability. It has a large display too which is rather intuitive, but it doesn't stand a chance against the iPhone's interface. Apple's touch technology is the most user friendly. Besides, the iPhone comes with dollops of storage memory, so you don't have to splurge on external memory. Sure, it's a little weighty, but its superb display and UI are unmatched.

Nokia 5800 XpressMusic
Great sound quality, with customisable EQ presets. FM radio works well too
Copy paste option available for file transfer
Supports Bluetooth with A2DP
Supports 16:9 video playback and TV out (cables included)
Decent 3.2MP AF camera with Dual LED flash with plenty of settings options

BlackBerry Storm
Good sound quality from the audio player with EQ presets
No FM radio available
Copy paste option available for file transfer
Supports Bluetooth with A2DP
Videos look great
3.2MP camera is OK, with basic settings and LED flash, but video recording is a bit of an issue

Decent sound quality with customisable EQ presets
FM radio has decent pick-up
Copy paste option available for file transfer
Supports Stereo Bluetooth
Video playback has too much framing
The 5MP camera has no flash, but quite a few settings. Images are just OK

Apple iPhone
Good sound quality, EQ presets available
No FM radio
File transfer only through iTunes
No A2DP support
Videos look really good on the display
2MP camera has no features, flash or video recording, but images are quite decent

Who wins: All of these handsets are equipped with a standard 3.5mm handsfree socket so you're free to utilise your own set of earphones. The 5800 XpressMusic is the perfect multimedia device that offers plenty of relevant features and delivers quite well. The 5800 is a very clear winner in this segment.

Business features
Nokia 5800 XpressMusic
EDGE/GPRS, Bluetooth, 3G, Wi-Fi
Push Mail, no on-board MS doc editor, Mail For Exchange supported
Native browser supports Flash but selecting tabs is not very easy

BlackBerry Storm
EDGE/GPRS, Bluetooth, 3G, n BIS, BES (Vodafone locked)
Push Mail, no PDF reader on-board (mail attachment only) on-board Word, Excel doc reader/editor
Native browser has no Flash support, but details render quickly enough, though small thumbnails look pixelated when zoomed in to

EDGE/GPRS, Bluetooth, 3G, Wi-Fi
Push Mail, on-Board document editors for all formats available
IE browser lacks Flash support and Opera is sometimes erratic. Page rendering doesn't look too good

Apple iPhone
EDGE/GPRS, Bluetooth with no file transfer option, just mono headset support, 3G, Wi-Fi
Push mail, no PDF reader. No on-board editors for MS documents
The Safari browser is fast, doesn't support Flash, but pages look great

Who wins: Although this may not be priority for some, business functionality is imperative considering the cost of these handsets. With great emailing capabilities comes great responsibility — a very user-friendly form for data entry is a must. We found the Storm to have the best onscreen keypad and tap-screen display technology among the lot.

Even without Wi-Fi functionality, the BlackBerry 9500 Storm wins hands down, beating even the iPhone. It comes loaded with applications designed for messaging, emailing and Web browsing and caters to all needs, from Business to Play. It's a good looking handset with great touchscreen technology and a pretty good battery life too.

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First Published Date: 17 Feb, 11:44 IST
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