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The Revenge of the BlackBerry killers?

Putting the Nokia E61i and Motorola Q9H head to head

The Web

This part of the comparison pitted Opera on Windows Mobile, on HSDPA, against Nokia's own Safari-based browser on WLAN or a regular 3G connection. As it turned out, neither experience matched up to browsing on a larger device (say a Windows or Palm PDA) although Opera won by a nose. Although it felt like peering through a letterbox at times, with its ability to display a web-page in one, rapidly scrollable column, and ability to open multiple windows quickly and easily, Opera allowed you to find and read web material with ease. Until it adds a single-column mode, Nokia's browser is merely demoware with great potential.

Once I downloaded Opera for the E61i, I was able to browse much more comfortably. I did notice some unnerving pauses on both browsers, however, and one Opera crash forced a reboot, produced a core dump, and wiped out my Bookmarks.

Alas, the control device's browser, an old version of Opera, was just as frustrating as it ever has been. The old, slow processor struggled on anything more than the simplest pages. The 9300i did run Opera Mini adequately, once you had got used to the inverted orientation of the buttons.

Motorola 6/10; Nokia 3/10; Ye Olde Communicator: 1/10

Power management

For a device that's basically just a dirty great big battery with a phone wrapped around it, it's no wonder the Nokia E61i marches off with this part of the head-to-head. Symbian was designed for low power, and Nokia's engineers haven't squandered the inheritance. Even with WLAN constantly active I could get through half a working week without having to go near the charger. The 1500mAh battery is thinner than last year's, and naturally delivers more power than Motorola 1100mAh battery.

But the Q9 impressed, and given that Windows Mobile has a terrible reputation for power management, Motorola appears to have tamed the beast. Intensive calling, a couple of hours of music playback, and email set for hourly checks still saw me through the day with a couple of bars left. There are a couple of spots that need work, though. Push email and Opera both murder the Q9 - you really have to make sure you exit the browser - but setting email to fetch regularly saves a lot of power.

It would be unfair to make too much of the 9300i's incredible uptime - the best of the bunch on a 1200mAh battery - as it's not a 3G model.

Motorola 6/10; Nokia 9/10; Ye Olde Communicator: 10/10


While Nokia segments its target markets carefully, and cripples its devices accordingly, its rivals don't feel so constrained. Motorola, like Sony Ericsson, seems determined to prove that a dull business phone can double up as your primary music player. The inclusion of A2DP wireless stereo in the Q9 was very welcome. The close integration between Windows Media Player 11 also helped, as the PC software automatically downsizes video clips for playback on the phone. Both devices have passable cameras. Moto gives the music player and camera dedicated buttons.

Motorola 8/10; Nokia 5/10; Ye Olde Communicator: 1/10

Next page: The Bonus ball?

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