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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: December 23, 2011 @ 3:04 pm

    The last minute gifts: Smartphones

    Ciara O'Brien

    It may be only one shopping day until Christmas, but I’d be willing to bet money that some people are still frantically working their way through their Christmas lists. So in the spirit of the season, here’s a few last minute gift ideas for the smartphone addict that might cross a few people of your lists.

    Apple iPhone 4S

    It’s shiny, it’s Apple, it’s got a digital assistant that give you attitude…What more do you want? A step up from the iPhone 4, the camera has been improved (8megapixels compared with 5megapixels previously) and it’s got a shiny new chip that makes everything run a bit faster, the same one that’s in the iPad. Plus Apple has tried to sort out the antenna issues, making the 4S a world phone that can roam on CDMA networks as well as GSM.

    Samsung Galaxy Nexus


    [update: Now with the correct phone! I blame excessive Christmas spirit]

    The first Android handset to come with Android’s latest cersion (4.0 or Ice Cream Sandwich if you prefer), the Nexus has all the usually bells, whistles and shiny things. Like near field communications, for when you’ll use your phone to pay for things. Or face recognition to unlock the handset so you don’t even have to lift a finger to access your phone. Aside from that it’s got a huge screen (4.65in) and shoots HD video. The 5megapixel still camera isn’t the highest quality on the market but it will get the job done. It is almost imperceptibly curved too, so it sits nicely against your face.

    HTC Sensation XE

    Remember a while back when HTC bought a stake in Dr Dre’s Beats? Well the audio technology is now being used in its handsets. The Android phone has everything from custom sound profiles to the Beats ear buds in the box. But aside from that link, it’s a solid phone too. The dual core processor has been increased to 1.5GHz, so it’s reasonably fast, and it has a 4.3inch screen.

    Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S

    The Arc caused a bit of a stir when it was unveiled last year. The Arc S is a slightly improved version of its predecessor. It comes with a 1.4GHz processor, and the ability to take sweeping panorama shots. On top of that, it has some Bravia technology in there – Reality Display with Mobile BRAVIA Engine to be precise – that keeps your video crisp and clear. It’s Android too. And, of course, it looks good.

    HTC Radar

    Windows Phone 7 might be a small part of the market now, but it’s certainly got its fans. And with Nokia taking on the operating system, sidelining its Symbian software and snubbing Android, WP7 may grow further in 2012.

    The HTC Radar comes with the latest version, Mango (or WP7.5), installed, and sticks to Microsoft’s usual hardware profile – 5megapixel camera, 1GHz processor.

    It’s also got HTC’s aluminium body.

    • Ian G says:

      Um… that is a picture of a Nexus S, not a Galaxy Nexus. You can tell by how it has buttons and Android 2.3

    • Well spotted. That’s what I get for not naming them more clearly….

    • Lindy says:

      My daughter, who turned 13 two months ago, begged for a SmartPhone and I honestly don’t see why some parents with children the same age give in. I can understand the need for the phone, but I can’t understand paying the price for it as well as the monthly service costs when other more affordable options exist. I did the month all this month before I realized that I couldn’t afford both the phone and the monthly service so I lookd around for something I could. I ended up getting her LG800G from a prepaid carrier, Tracfone, that was less than half the price of the phone she wanted and no more than $20 a month to keep up. Of course she’s not happy – I wonder – did I make the right choice?

    • Enda says:

      One should really wait for the Nokia Lumia 800 and other devices to pour into Ireland before making a smartphone buying decision, given the great design of the Nokia Lumias and ease of use from the new Windows Phone OS.

    • John O'Driscoll says:

      I’m in the market for a second (or third or fourth) hand Ericcson GH 238 if anyone’s got one. The last one I had I presume’s still lying at the bottom of a certain pool in the River Feale where I chucked it one time when a client rang me just as I had one of the best grilse of my life hit my fly and between the jigs and the reels and fumbling for the phone with one hand while trying to control the rod with the other and then the whole reel bird’s nested and the line broke and he was away. But it was a great phone very reliable. Alternatively if anyone has a Nokie 6230i that’s the only one my car kit will take so I’d be interested in that too. I’m not entirely devoid of the skills of letter-writing, map-reading, diary-keeping, I have a perfectly good iPod for music and a nice little digital camera for pictures when I’m not using my dad’s old Agfa Silette (perfect B&W) that he got in Northern Rhodesia in 1958 and passed on to me; nor do I wish to sit in the pub with my head bent over a small blinding screen talking to people on the other side of the world when there’s perfectly good people sitting in the same pub I could be talking to instead.

      But still they are pretty things. I just know that with an old Ericsson or Nokia as well Uncle Sam or Apple or Google or my local pizza parlour need not necessarily know every day and hour where I am and what I’m doing with myself.

    • John O'Driscoll says:

      Suppose I am wrong in that. Doesn’t matter how old/unadvanced a cell phone is, the signals still bounce off satellites and zing back to the caller’s location which can thus be traced to within a few yards. And moreover can be triangulated between cell masts. They’re electronic dog tags, each and every one of them, and because of noophobia (apparently a word meaning the fear of leaving home without your mobile) we all can be traced and placed wherever we are whether our caller ID is on or off. Hmmm. Here is wisdom. Let us reckon the number of the Beast.