Our picks for ... smartphones

Here are the smartest smartphones on the market.

By Andrew Tilin, Business 2.0 Magazine

(Business 2.0 Magazine) -- The newest generation of do-it-all handsets proves that a serious productivity tool needn't be a hulking package. Today's top-of-the-line devices feature Bluetooth, expandable memory, and quad-band technology for global coverage. But as our face-off shows, there are still plenty of distinguishing features to be considered by any road warrior searching for a solid connection.

Cingular 8525 Pocket PC Weight: 6.2 oz. $400 (with two-year contract) www.cingular.com [3 STARS]

PROS Don't be fooled: This is a computer disguised as a phone. The 8525's big, bright touchscreen makes dialing numbers and reading e-mail a pleasure. Though slightly outdated, the Windows Mobile 5 OS works fine, and Web browsing is a dream, thanks to Wi-Fi capability and Cingular's speedy 3G technology. Did we mention the generous-size and backlit "qwerty" keyboard, which slides out from beneath the screen and will be the envy of thumb jockeys everywhere?

CONS The soap-bar-shaped phone isn't as sleek or as light as its rivals, slips and slides around in your pants pocket, and lacks a standard headphone jack.

BUY THIS ONE IF ... You want a handheld Univac first and a phone second.

B2.0 EDITORS' CHOICE: Hewlett-Packard iPaq 510 Voice Messenger Weight: 3.6 oz. $300-$350 www.hp.com [4 STARS]

PROS The soon-to-be-released 510 may look prosaic, but it sweeps the race despite what it doesn't have: a "qwerty" keyboard. Instead, a flawless voice-recognition system does the grunt (and mumble) work for you. Via a Bluetooth headset and voice commands, the Wi-Fi-and VOIP-enabled 510 reads off your email or to-do list and lets you send spoken replies. The Windows Mobile 6 OS virtually re-creates your desktop PC.

CONS You won't like the cramped dial-pad if you have to send a written message, and the droning quality of the robotic voice responses can get tiresome.

BUY THIS ONE IF ... You want a truly hands-free way to make yourself heard.

RIM BlackBerry 8800 Weight: 4.7 oz. $250 (with two-year contract) www.blackberry8800.com [3½ STARS]

PROS The evolution-not-revolution approach pays off for RIM yet again. The 8800 modeled after the sleek Pearl -- has a trackball atop the compact but workable "qwerty" keyboard that makes one-handed navigation a dream. Built-in GPS technology ($6-$10 a month) is equally effective for staying on course. E-mail is simple to set up, the OS is easier to use than Windows Mobile, and the option of 10 e-mail accounts will satisfy even the most dissociated user.

CONS There's no Wi-Fi, and the lack of 3G network compatibility slows Web access. Given the phone's width, a Bluetooth headset is a must for long chats.

BUY THIS ONE IF ... You're all about messaging, messaging, messaging.  Top of page

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