Phones beyond Apple: our pick of the new crop

HOORAY, the not-quite-iPhone 5 has arrived. Yes, it has this fancy voice-recognition software, which might well solve the perennial iPhone typing problem and has finally caught up with the majority of the market with its 8 megapixel camera. But whether this latest model is enough of a change to warrant ditching your current phone or not, there are actually other touchscreen phones out there. Here’s our roundup of the closest competitors to the new iPhone 4S.

NEXUS S

This Google phone looks good. It may not feel as premium as the iPhone 4S, but the slightly curved screen is bright, and it sits well in the hand as well as your back pocket. It features contactless payment technology, which lets you pay in store by swiping your phone (I’m sure this will actually take off one day) and has great battery life as well. The Google apps are great, but the keyboard isn’t as good as the iPhone.

HTC TITAN

True to its name, this is a titanic phone (think 4.7 inch touchscreen); a rock solid satisfying weight in your hands. But it’s far from sexy. Yes, it may curve round into the back, like the first iPhones, but unlike the original, is no sleek thing. It runs Mango, the latest version of Microsoft’s operating system (running Windows Phone 7 apps), and is relatively easy to use, but at 9.9mm thick (the iPhone 4 is 9.3mm), the HTC is a beast.

BLACKBERRY BOLD 9900

This thinnest ever BlackBerry combines touchscreen with the sacred BlackBerry keyboard. It keeps the premium Bold feel, the optical track pad and is clearly still the winner for email. The 5 megapixel camera (catch up BlackBerry, even Apple’s upped their game) also video records 720 HD. There aren’t as many apps and games, of course. Though the screen is vivid, with its display at 2.8 inches, you can migrate up from a Curve or a Bold, but I’d doubt an iPhone or HTC user could downsize their touchscreen to such a tiny playground.

SAMSUNG GALAXY SII

This is a very viable alternative to the iPhone. A phone that’s thin (8.49mm) and lightweight may not be to everybody’s taste, but it’s undeniably slick and has a screen that’s bigger than the iPhone 4, and access to over 50,000 Android apps. Definite pros include the 8 megapixel camera at the rear, which shoots in full HD (1080p) and the vibrant colours that are just another great feature of the touchscreen picture quality.

NOKIA 700

This good looking phone may resemble an HTC, but hopes to be a game-changer for Nokia, who is losing out in the touchscreen smartphone tussle. Having caught up (just) with Blackberry with its N71/E61 series in the past, can it do the same with the iPhone? Like the HTC Titan, it will run Mango, which means their apps will be a whole lot better as they’re no longer serviced by Nokia’s Ovi Store.
Expected late October.