2007 in Review: The Good, the Bad and
19th December 2007
As with last
year, there were many more "good" phones
on the market than bad and ugly ones. These are our
picks of the best, worst and most repulsive handsets
A great year for many manufacturers,
with a variety of handsets that have a lot going for
Just to show that the big names don't
have it all their own way, the Swedish-designed O2
Cocoon impressed us with looks and features. We
like the cheap and stylish Sagem
my150X and the Motorola
FONE proved to be both clever and cost effective.
7500's mad design may not appeal to all, but you
have to admit that it looks like nothing else.. apart
from the Nokia
7900. Another mad looking phone is the Samsung
Serenata, a handset that looks like it has dropped
out of the future via a wormhole. Two Korean 5 megapixel camera
phones fighting it out are the LG
Viewty and the Samsung
G800 - both seem to be excellent devices that will
scare the competition. Another Nokia, the Nokia
E90 brought the Communicator series bang up-to-date,
but it didn't really capture the public imagination.
There are plenty of
phones with more impressive features
than the Nokia
6300 - it only has a 2 megapixel
camera and it's not a 3G device
for a start. But people love this phone,
and it has sold exceptionally well during
2007. The Nokia 6300 looks great, is
easy to use and delivers all the features
that most people want.
The metal case is a
particularly appealing design feature,
the buttons are a practical size and
the QVGA screen is far better than the
previous generation of midrange NOkia
The Nokia 6300 should
continue to be popular well into 2008,
and with good reason.
To a large extent, the
most talked about mobile phone of 2007
was the Apple
iPhone. A beautifully designed touchscreen
phone with a highly polished user interface
that makes most of the competition look
backwards, the iPhone was clearly different
from most of its rivals.
It's certainly one of
the most iconic handsets ever made -
and it definitely turns heads. Although
many people say that they don't like
the iPhone, those same people will want
to have a play with one if someone takes
it out of their pocket in the pub.
From the point of view
of market impact.. well, there are pre-iPhone handsets
and post-iPhone handsets.
This is the device that every manufacturer
wants to beat.
Winner - Best Phone of 2007
Nokia N95 and N95 8GB
Initially the Nokia
N95 looked like a niche handset
- expensive but feature packed, it seemed
like the sort of thing that only a few
people would aspire too. A 5 megapixel
camera and GPS seemed more that most
people would ever need.
when the Nokia N95 finally hit the streets
it was a huge sales success, although
the initial buggy software was a drawback.
However, Nokia have continued to improve
the software for the N95 throughout
2007, and recently the N95
8GB has joined the N95 in the shops.
The biggest single drawback with the
N95 is the lack of a touchscreen, but
most Nokia users don't seem to mind
Lobster flopped, taking its digital broadcasting
platform with it. The Sharp
GX33 was another massive disappointment from this
once mighty Japanese manufacturer, but there was worse..
Bringing up the rear
Although 2007 was a
good year for Nokia, the Nokia
N76 was probably the lowest point
in those twelve months. Clearly a RAZR-wannabe
from the styling, the Nokia N76 instantly
alienated many long-time Nokia users,
many of whom would have liked a decent
3G clamshell device.
But there was worse
to come - the build quality of the N76
was appalling. Specifically, the paint
started to come off after a few weeks
use and this led to an exceptionally
high number of returns. In July 2007
the N76 was unceremoniously dumped by
Vodafone due to these problems, and
sales of the handset never recovered.
No handset polarised
opinions during 2007 more than the Apple
iPhone. Although it has many good
points, the list of bad points
is equally impressive. The iPhone lacks
3G, the camera is only two megapixels
and lacks autofocus and flash, you cannot
send MMS messages, third party applications
are not allowed, the battery is not
replaceable and it is absurdly expensive.
Although the iPhone
sold well in the US, when it finally
hit Europe sales were not as high as
expected, to an extent because European
consumers could understand the drawbacks
due to a more competitive marketplace.
Worse, the single carrier agreements
(AT&T in the US, O2 in the UK, Orange
in France and T-Mobile in Germany) mean
that most consumers have to swap
carriers to use it.
Part of the appeal of
the iPhone is that Apple is not a
traditional mobile phone maker, so it
can think outside the box. But unfortunately,
Apple's lack of experience in the market
also shows through.
The worst handset of 2007
Motorola ROKR W5
For us, the Motorola
ROKR W5 really sums up what a mess
Motorola is in. Motorola's fatal
addiction to the RAZR line continued
all the way through 2007, completely
ignoring the fact that consumers are
mightily bored of this once-iconic design.
This phone pretty much
sums it up - essentially a repainted
which itself was virtually identical
to the ancient V3i,
Motorola somehow felt that customers
would bite if they branded it is
a ROKR.. a brand that will forever be
blighted by the awful ROKR
Since the W5 was announced,
Motorola have ditched their CEO and
undergone a major reorganisation. Perhaps
the W5 will never see the light of day
in most markets.. we just hope that
something more interesting does.
Life is a huge brick-like device that looks like
a relic from another era - but we actually rather like
it's exceptional ease of use. The rugged JCB
TOUGHPHONE isn't going to win any beauty contests
either, but then it's macho rather than pretty. The
i620 manages to be a good phone that just looks wrong,
and the bizarre looking Samsung
P110 may thankfully never venture into the light
Not quite scraping the bottom of the
Budget phones can be
quite stylish - the Sagem
my150X for example. But the LG
Jaguar (also known as the KG130)
is a grim example of cheap and nasty
phone design. OK, it's pretty good value
for money and it has a better spec than
some of the bargain basement competition,
but it's the sort of device that you'd
feel ashamed to show to your mates.
LG have made some great
handsets during 2007, so we can forgive
them for churning out this horrid little
thing.. perhaps just this once.
Motorola RAZR2 V8 Luxury
What can we say? Actually,
the RAZR2 V8 isn't a bad handset, but
Edition is just way over the top.
You'd have to be Paris
Hilton to carry this one off. The unusual
mismatch of design features and over-zealous
application of gold paint turn what
it quite a neat phone into a visual
nightmare. Hats off to Motorola for
giving it a go - but honestly please
keep this thing away from us.
The ugliest phone of 2007
Nokia 8800 Sirocco
The original 8800
Sirocco is an attractive and quite
desirable phone - but Nokia thought
that it wasn't enough and dipped the
whole thing in gold to come up with
the frankly ridiculous Nokia
8800 Sirocco Gold.
Where at least the RAZR2
V8 redeems itself technically, the 8800's
specifications are way behind the competition.
And where the original Sirocco had an
understated elegance, this silly blingy
phone just draws the wrong kind of attention.
Fortunately, Nokia have
redeemed themselves somewhat with the
Arte, but there's a fair chance
that the one with artificial gemstone
will make 2008's ugly list..