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Tap the screen to make a call, take a photo, connect to the Internet…. Who needs those chiclet keys any more? But how do you choose the right touchscreen phone?

Brinda Vasudevan | Print Edition: July 23, 2009

Tap the screen to make a call, take a photo, connect to the Internet…. Who needs those chiclet keys any more? But how do you choose the right touchscreen phone? We take a look at some features you need to consider before letting your fingers do the talking.

iPHONE 3G-S
What most touch phones want to be. The touch interface is second to none, but the alarming sensitivity to moisture could work against the phone in India. Price: Rs 49,000

HTC MAGIC
The open source Android platform could be the big selling point. The Magic is also thinner than its predecessor, the G1. Besides, HTC Touch phones are hardier than most others. Price: Rs 30,000

BLACKBERRY STORM 9500
This touchscreen business phone has made geeky corporate citizens happy. It has all the BlackBerry functions combined with touch. Can things get any better? Price: Rs 26,000

NOKIA 5800 EXPRESS MUSIC
A touchscreen phone for music, this one brings innovative features to the mass market. It also has more curved edges than other touchscreen phones, making it better looking and easier to use. Price: Rs 19,000

PALM PRE
It’s being seen as a viable option to the iPhone in the US, where poor 3G service has sent Apple to the doghouse. The Pre comes with all the features you’ll ever need and a range of killer apps as well. Only, it’s still not officially available in India.

SONY EXPERIA X1
Considered by many as the iPhone killer—or at least a serious contender. A large screen, Windows Mobile OS and a nifty interface are features that attract a fan base. Price: Rs 35,500

SAMSUNG OMNIA
Another serious iPhone contender. However, fans are waiting to see if the new Pixon will outdo the Omnia. Price: Rs 25,500

Response: When you tap the screen, does it immediately launch the application or do you suffer a frustrating wait? Users claim that the quickest and best response is on the iPhone. The Palm Pre is also fast and smooth, say initial reports.

Battery life: A large screen can drain the battery faster. Check if the phone comes with a screen dimming function, which can help save some power.

Size: The bigger the screen, the easier it is for your fingers to navigate. Most touch phones come with a 3.2-3.5” screen. Some, like the BlackBerry Storm, are marginally larger.

Toughness: The heat, dust and humidity in India can ruin most phones. The iPhone loses out here—it comes with two humidity sensors, so any moisture can kill it. The HTC Touch range seems more resilient.

Touch interface: If the phone has been made for finger touch, it will come with larger icons and easy-to-use virtual keys. But if it has tiny icons, you’ll need a stylus. Some manufacturers like LG and Palm hedge their bets by fitting in a slide-out keypad.

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