With Android and Windows coming into a market with already established RIM and Apple operating systems, the demand for smartphones gets bigger, better and more competitive. Features such as push mail, spreadsheets and word documents are becoming common applications, and smartphones are now the ideal companion for your business needs. We've narrowed down the five best business phones in the market, and all you have to do is choose…
Best in the class ......... 1 - RIM BlackBerry Bold 9700
A compact, sturdy phone with business-like looks and a great keyboard, albeit accommodated by a rather titchy 2.44-inch screen, the Bold 9700 is the current top-of-the range BlackBerry. The key feature of its OS, as ever, is the ability to sync data with a BlackBerry server. Support for other email is more troublesome – your IT department will have to do a bit of work to sync it with Exchange – but frankly, who cares? The clunky web browser is showing its age though, it must be said.
LOVE: Seamless operation with a BlackBerry server. Excellent keyboard
HATE: Limited support for email servers other than BlackBerry's own. Cramped screen
Sleek efficiency ...... 2 - HTC HD2
The HTC HD2's main feature is a vast, 4.3-inch capacitive touchscreen. It makes the on-screen keyboard easier to use than many, while the 480x800 resolution is great for browsing. HTC's custom Sense interface makes WinMo 6.5 much easier to use. Exchange Server syncing is supported as standard, natch, but email and calendar sync with Google's services is seamless, too. Even when Windows Phone 7 launches later this year, Microsoft won't be ditching the older OS, so the HD2 will remain a solid business choice.
LOVE: Huge screen. Slick HTC Sense interface
HATE: Battery life is just 320 minutes. WinMo still lurks underneath Sense
Texter's envy ........ 3 - Nokia E72
Nokia's update to the E71 promises much, but while the hardware is mostly excellent, the software disappoints. The 2.36-inch screen may be small and have a feeble 240x320 resolution, but the superb keyboard is arguably the best on test. However, the simplistic Symbian S60 interface feels woefully out-of-date, being very fiddly to navigate and use. On the plus side, the 364-minute battery life is the best on test, but it's still not enough of a positive to make us recommend this dated-feeling mobile.
LOVE: Sleek design. Great QWERTY keyboard
HATE: Small, low-res display. Basic apps. Symbian interface
Making a mark ......... 4 - Samsung Omnia Pro B7610
Like the HD2, this sits a custom “skin” over Windows Mobile 6.5, but Samsung's interface doesn't go as deep as HTC's and isn't as easy to use. The resistive touchscreen works better with the stylus than a fingertip, but the 3.5-inch, 480x800 OLED display otherwise impresses. The big keys on the QWERTY make for comfortable typing, though they can't be used to control the Pro completely, so you'll have to use the slightly ropey touchscreen in tandem with it. In general, WinMo works as you'd expect, but not as well as it does on the HD2.
LOVE: Big, bold screen. Great keyboard
HATE: The QWERTY aside, not as good as HTC's HD2
For the multi-tasker ....... 5 - Motorola Milestone
The Milestone gets around Android's email limitations with a custom app that adds push syncing for Microsoft Exchange. It still works seamlessly with Google's own services of course. If you're the sort of power user who likes to run Skype, IM, Maps and a browser all at once, the Milestone is the phone for you, working at speed but without annoying pop-ups. The slide-out QWERTY isn't great but it's better than nothing and adds little to the bulk, leaving room for a capacitive 3.7-inch touch screen that makes for enjoyable web use.
LOVE: Large, hi-res display. Exchange support
HATE: Some rough edges in Android. Overly flat, fiddly keyboard