USB connection of any type lets you transfer files to your computer. Most models on this test use a standard mini or micro USB connection and can have the phone appear on the PC as a removable drive. Some models use a proprietary connection, which can be a hassle if you need to purchase a replacement cable.
Charging via USB is a handy feature when you can’t get to a mains power adapter, allowing you to use your laptop PC to charge your phone.
allows you to browse the internet using your existing Wi-Fi wireless connection at home or at a Wi-Fi hotspot when you’re out and about. You can also listen to your music collection stored on your PC connected to a home network (802.11g delivers a faster connection than 802.11b).
allows you to store photos, music and video and transfer them to a PC. Check to see the exact type of memory you’ll need, as the cards are all tiny and are not interchangeable; although they look very similar. Most phones use MicroSD cards, while some Sony Ericsson phones use Memory Stick (MS) Micro.Headphone connection type
A phone with a 2.5mm or 3.5mm jack allows you to use a standard set of headphones to listen to music, while a proprietary connection forces you to use special headphones. Stereo Bluetooth
(A2DP) allows you to listen to your music without cables via a pair of Bluetooth stereo headphones
. All the phones tested have this feature. Audio format support
is important if you purchase music online
. All the models tested support the common MP3 file format
and all except the LG BL40 support Advanced Audio Coding (AAC). A more advanced version called AAC+ offers support for digital radio streaming
. The Windows Media Video (WMV) format was introduced by Microsoft and is designed for streaming audio and video.
The specific absorption rate
(SAR) of the phone indicates the amount of energy per kilogram of body weight absorbed when using the phone as claimed by the manufacturer. Although evidence relating to exposure to electromagnetic fields remains inconclusive, you may want to choose a model with a lower SAR value if this is a concern to you.Operating system
(OS) delivers the framework for mobiles to perform tasks beyond simply making a call, allowing the phone to run productivity and media playing applications.
- The Symbian OS is the oldest and most widely used and can be found in Nokia and Sony Ericsson phones.
- Windows Mobile 6.5, used on the HTC HD2 in this test, has a familiar Microsoft Windows look and feel.
- Google’s Android OS is an open source OS, allowing developers to add functionality to phones without having to pay for a licence. There have already been several major revisions, with the latest 2.1 version in the HTC Legend and Google’s Nexus phone.