Chic Communication

Throw a stone in any direction these days and it’s bound to hit someone holding a smart-phone—they’re a dime a dozen and for good reason. In fact, some of this year’s developments have made carrying around a computer (even a light-as-a-feather netbook) practically obsolete. Here are five of the sexiest and most desirable on the market.

1. Motorola Defy (BEST VALUE)
At a glance
OS: Android 2.1
Processor: 800MHz 
Screen: 3.7-inch, 480 x 854 TFT capacitive touch screen
Camera: 5 megapixel, autofocus with LED flash
When American communications giant Motorola unveiled the Milestone (or the Droid in the US), the digerati gave it the thumbs up as a worthy rival to the iPhone. Since then, the maker has been rolling out an army of Android-powered phones such as the BackFlip, FlipOut, Charm and the newly-arrived Defy. Touted as one of the toughest smartphones ever built, Defy boasts a Corning Gorilla glass scratchproof 3.7” screen as well as a water and dust resistant body, all designed to withstand the rigors of everyday life. Although its Android 2.1 is a slight disappointment, Motorola has made up for it by bundling Swype as well as advanced MOTOBLUR for easy setup and access to social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter in the interface. The cool Swype function is a new way to type text on the phone. All you need to do is swipe across the letters to form your words, and once you get the hang of it you can enter text very, very fast indeed. $528
2. Nokia N8 (BEST FOR PICS)
At a glance
OS: Symbian 3
Processor: 680MHZ wth 3D graphics accelerator
Screen: 3.5-inch, 640×360 AMOLED capacitive touch screen
Camera: 12 megapixels, autofocus, xenon Flash
Mobile phone powerhouse Nokia seems to be getting back on track in the smart-phone game with its latest flagship, the N8. A sleek and stylish device, it boasts the recently launched Symbian 3 OS and features access to several webTV networks. The 12-meg sensor, Carl Zeiss lens, mechanical shutter and xenon flash make it easily the best camera of the lot. Not to mention the super fast web browser, which includes Flash video playback. Our only gripe is that there’s no QWERTY keyboard in portrait mode. Other than that, the N8 is a valiant effort from the Finnish phone-maker and definitely its best high-end smart-phone to date. $785
3. LG Optimus 7
At a glance
OS: Windows Phone 7
Processor: 1GHz
Screen: 3.8-inch, 800×480 WVGA LCD capacitive touchscreen
Camera: 5 megapixels
It may not have an AMOLED screen or QWERTY keyboard but LG’s newly-arrived Optimus 7, powered by the born-again Windows Phone 7, makes it a worthy contender against iOS and Android phones. Boasting a 3.8-inch LCD touch screen, one of the biggest so far, the 1GHz is one super responsive handset. What we like most about the Optimus 7 are its in-built apps such as ScanSearch, an augmented-reality app that lets you view real-time information as you’re shopping, dining, or just walking around a new neighborhood. There’s also voice-to-text, which adds a voice control interface to functions like updating Facebook and Twitter or composing emails. All of these new apps are available as “Live Tiles” on Windows Phone 7. Gaming geeks will love the Xbox Live integration that lets this phone transform into a formidable gaming platform with titles such as The Sims 3, Bejeweled, Flight Control and many more to come. $888
4. Blackberry Torch 9800 (BEST FOR TEXT)
At a glance
OS: BlackBerry OS6
Processor: 624MHz
Screen: 3.2-inch, 480×360 capacitive touch screen
Camera: 5 megapixels, autofocus, LED flash
Globetrotting execs’ hearts were all aflutter when Research in Motion unveiled its latest baby, the Torch. Combining its always on-point QWERTY keyboards with a generous touch-screen sitting up top, the Torch is one of the coolest slider phones. Although the silhouette is a bit chunkier than the classic BB, the Torch is amply equipped to both satisfy loyalists and win new fans. The new Blackberry OS6 offers some necessary and welcome additions, including a better webkit-powered browser, an enhanced multimedia experience and an improved user interface, as well as a 5-megapixel camera with autofocus, 2X zoom, and an LED flash. The 3.2-inch touch screen is quick and responsive and its accelerometer is one of the better ones we’ve tested. And what’s a BB without the push email? The Torch can sync with your company’s BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES), with support for Microsoft Exchange, IBM Lotus Domino, or Novell GroupWise, to deliver corporate email in real time.
$598 (with two-year contract from Starhub)
5. Apple iPhone 4 (I-S PICK)
At a glance
OS: iOS 4
Processor: 1GHz
Screen: 3.5-inch, 960×640, capacitive touch screen
Camera: 5 megapixels
With the iPhone 4, Steve Jobs and Co. show us once again why they’re the market leaders. The iPhone 4 is the biggest update since the 3G—notably with the new iOS 4. The engineers and industrial designers back at Cupertino worked overtime to bring us a sleek and tough gadget that boasts a slate of new and improved features such as FaceTime, Multitasking and two cameras (one front-facing VGA and a five megapixel shooter on the back). Like its predecessor, the iPhone 4 has a 3.5-inch display. But the new phone’s screen doubles the resolution to 960-by-640-pixel IPS. At 326 pixels per inch, this is the highest resolution available on a phone to date. We hate being so predictable, but the iPhone 4’s combination of gorgeous new hardware, that amazing display, upgraded cameras, and major improvements to the operating system make it, for now at least, the handset to beat, and a must-have for anyone still using the 3G (even those on the 3GS have some thinking to do).
$888 (16GB); $1,048 (32GB)
With the exception of the Blackberry Torch (only available through Starhub), all of these phones can be purchased from any of the retailers below.

  • M1 Shop, #B1-28/29 Paragon, 290 Orchard Rd., 1623
  • Singtel Hello, #B2-12 Ngee Ann City, 391 Orchard Rd., 6235-1688
  • Starhub Shop, #01-36 Plaza Singapura, 68 Orchard Rd., 6873-2828