Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Death Match: BlackBerry Storm VS Sony Ericsson Xperia X1

Stormy smarties

Another test with the words ‘iPhone rivals’ in the first paragraph, but for now Apple’s groundbreaking handset is still the bar against which touchscreens like the Blackberry Storm and Sony Ericsson Xperia X1 will be compared too.

Arguably one of the best looking phones we’ve seen, the Storm’s is RIMs first touchscreen, boasting unique SurePress technology that replicates the feel of a solid keypad. Instead of building the features around the touchscreen capabilities, it’s still unmistakably Blackberry, with dedicated back and menu keys.

Using Windows Mobile 6, Sony Ericsson’s X1 is a more traditional smartphone, in the design vein of HTC, masquerading as a modern touchee, with a high-res screen you can jab and poke as hard as you please.

Stuffed with features and fired up with connectivity, is either phone worth your cash?

Death Match One: Ease of use

Blackberry Storm

Free on contracts over £35, 24 months

Great for Google Maps and You Tube, the highlight is the bright, colourful and detailed screen, which rotates automatically - most of the time. Feedback makes the touchscreen feel like a ‘proper keyboard.’ You have to use double-clicks so there’s no danger of hitting the wrong button, unless you’re using the tiny dual-key QWERTY keyboard that is.

Sony Ericsson Xperia X1

£670 sim free, or free on contract

Hit the X Panel button to access shortcut panels for key applications, such as web, music, photos and main menu. The touchscreen feels small and you’re messily swapping between the stylus and finger, a feat not helped by the sluggish Windows Mobile interface. The slide-out keyboard might not be sexy, but is for more accurate than the Storm.

Winner: BlackBerry Storm

Death Match Two: Features

Blackberry Storm

Ridiculously there’s no WiFi, which for a phone geared up for browsing, is ludicrous, what about using it abroad? You can install Facebook, Google Maps and You Tube apps and RIM’s app store launches in March 2009. As well as GPS, you get six months of Vodaphone’s Fine&Go navigation service.

Sony Ericsson Xperia X1

Unlike the Storm you get WiFi, as well as HSPDA and 3G, although logging on proved temperamental at times. There’s a good 3.2MP camera and trial of Wayfinder Navigator service.

Winner: Sony Ericsson Xperia X1

Death Match Three: Performance

Blackberry Storm

Browsing is speedy, although you’re at the mercy of Vodaphone’s signal. Push email is terrific, and you get a useful cut and paste facility. Battery life is comparable with the N96, iPhone and G1, so you’ll be charging every night.

Sony Ericsson Xperia X1

Battery life impresses, lasting longer than the Storm. 3G browsing is fairly speedy, although we struggled to get onto the WiFi network, but this was due to Windows Mobile. The 3.5mm jack lets you hook up your own headphones, although you’re stuck with Windows Media rather than SE’s superior Walkman interface.

Winner: BlackBerry Storm

Death Match Four: Conclusion

Even though the Xperia X1 has an outstanding build, next to the Storm and iPhone, it’s creaky and dated. The Storm’s emailing is top notch, but the fiddly text input and criminal lack of WiFi let down. When it comes down to it, Sony Ericsson makes far better camera and music phones, whilst the RIM’s BlackBerry Storm is a fantastic smartphone even with the niggles.

(by Hannah Bouckley on 2008-12-16)

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