IPhone 4: for photo/video and app lovers
It's no secret that the Apple iPhone (NASDAQ: AAPL - News) line is beyond popular. As with other Apple product launches, many people waited in long lines to snag the latest iPhone model released June 24. Apple sold more than 1.7 million units of the device in its first three days on the market.
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If you're into taking pictures and watching videos with your phone, the iPhone 4, with its high resolution and fast streaming, would be a good bet.
But staunch fans of Verizon should keep shopping. It's unclear when the iPhone will open to Verizon's service. For now, AT&T is iPhone's exclusive carrier.
Strengths: A high-resolution touch screen makes it easy to read text; two cameras allow video chat; and a 5-megapixel camera with a flash takes great pictures. Gikas said he likes the phone's video-editing feature. And it's a good phone for people who like to play with apps — the iPhone serves as a platform for more than 300,000 applications.
"If your looking for a sharp screen, great multimedia features and a great source for content, choose the iPhone 4," Gikas said on Consumer Reports' website.
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Drawbacks: Users have no carrier choice outside of AT&T. The iPhone 4 has that antenna issue. CEO Steve Jobs said Friday at a press conference that the company will give free protective cases to iPhone 4 buyers to alleviate the problem.
The BlackBerry: for email addicts
Research in Motion's (NASDAQ: RIMM - News) BlackBerry, which often hooks users with its instant email, has its own set of features. Foremost is that "push" email function, which feeds messages instantly instead of checking in with a server every 15 minutes or so. It's a hot phone with business executives, and Gikas said information-technology managers love them for their security features.
Strengths: In addition to its "push" feature, BlackBerry's email capabilities include linking several accounts to one master inbox, so users don't have to check multiple sources. BlackBerry users can choose from dozens of small and large carriers including AT&T, Verizon, Cellular One and T-Mobile. If you like using your thumbs to text, most Blackberry models have a physical QWERTY keyboard ideal for thumbing. BlackBerry also has two touch-screen models.
Drawbacks: Some reviewers say the BlackBerry models are clumsy with video streaming and slower with Internet use. The models that do have a camera don't offer much in the way of megapixels. For example, the BlackBerry Curve, one of the most recent models, has a camera with only 2 mega pixels. Finally, for those who prefer smaller phones, most of the BlackBerry models, which average 4.3 inches high and 2.4 inches wide, may be too large.
Rebecca L. McClay is a MarketWatch reporter based in San Francisco.
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