Apples iphone changed the game for mobile phones with music and multimedia capabilities. But the other players are finally catching up. We take a wander through the current range of handsets that allow us to play with our music and video, anytime anyplace, anywhere. – John Buckley
Nokia 5800 MusicXpress – The Newcomer.
The Finnish mobile manufacturer has been working the music angle hard these past couple of years. Their latest effort is the excellent 5800 MusicXpress, the first Nokia phone to sport a full touch screen. The video quality and the through-the-earphone sound experience is impressive. However the inbuilt speaker, one of the 5800’s selling points, lacks grunt, so it’s unlikely to earn you a visit from noise control anytime soon.
To remind you that it is a music phone they’ve thrown in a pick to help you navigate across the screen. Try as we might we couldn’t find a strum setting.
iPhone 3G, The Benchmark.
It has its drawbacks as a multimedia device (what, no video capture, no way to use it as a portable hard drive?) but it is still the standard against which all other music phones are judged. The iPhone’s killer app is its seamless integration with iTunes. Synchronising music from your pc, or mac, to your phone should always be this easy. A recent software upgrade to version 3.0 should keep the iPhone disciples happy until the next, inevitable, beatific, handset release.
RRP: $979 (8gb), $1129 (16gb) handset only
Blackberry Storm – Wall Street meets Beat Street.
Corporate warriors love their Blackberry’s but while they are great for catching up on the latest round of budget cuts from HQ, they have never been much of a rock and roll phone. The Storm changes that – a bit. It sports a clickable touch screen which gives you easy access to your music and video files. Music sounds great on it but load some good quality video onto the high resolution screen and you will be blown away. Shame we had to load it up through the Roxio Media Manager software. It was clunky and would never be our first choice for handling music or video files.
RRP: $999 from Vodafone retail stores (additional monthly costs apply for internet or Blackberry service).
Sony Ericsson W980 – Remember the Walkman?
Sony Ericsson has been rolling out a constant stream of Walkman phones recently but this one is still our favourite of the range (for now). The W980 goes against the design trends of the others on this page – you know, the start-with-a-big-screen, put-a-phone-behind-it school of design. Admirably, this phone actually looks like a mobile phone, albeit a slim, sexy, piano-black, clamshell-type phone. It felt great just being able to pop it in our pockets. Navigation of audio files is a doddle and you can still access the main functions of the music player when the phone is closed thanks to a clever exterior menu system. The W980 has so many music tricks up its sleeves you may not get around to using them all.
Samsung Touchwiz F480 – Power in your Pocket.
Samsungs F480 or “Roxy” phone has a lot going for it and on paper, this may be the multimedia phone of choice for the more budget conscious consumer. It ticks a lot of boxes with a full touch screen, a 5 megapixel camera and quality audio and video playback – yet all of this comes in a package barely bigger than a credit card.
The phone will be available in New Zealand toward the end of May.
Estimated retail price $599.