Working Dogs: Top 5 PDA Phones

Noah Kravitz
 from Oakland, CA
Published: November 21, 2006

Whether your a business executive who's always on the road or a social butterfly with a busy schedule, a PDA phone can help you organize your life, keep track of contacts and to-do lists, and stay abreast of Email and text messages without weighing you down.  PDA phones keep getting smaller, lighter, and cheaper, but there are so many to choose from that finding the right one for you can be difficult.? Here's my list of Top 5 PDA Phones on the market right now.? If you're a Verizon subscriber keep an eye out for the LG "enV" VX-9900, the successor to the very popular "V" VX-9800. The enV launches on November 27 and promises to bring improved specs to that oh-so-clever horizontal clamshell form factor.

1.Nokia E61
Something's happened to me in the past few months:  I've become a Nokia fanboy once more.  Nokia's high-end Symbian smartphones are a joy to use, and come in almost as many varieties as there are smartphone users.  If you want a "BlackBerry style" PDA phone with a big QWERTY board, WiFi, and EDGE support, skip Cingular's E62 and get the unbranded E61 instead.  If you want a smaller (if much thicker) phone with a unique fold-out keyboard design and 2MP camera, opt for the E70.  Either way, you'll have to add some third-party apps to get the most out of the Symbian 9.1 OS, but it'll be well worth your while.

2.Cingular 8525
If you don't mind it's somewhat thick body, the HTC TyTN, also known as the Cingular 8525 packs everything and the kitchen sink into a very well designed smartphone.  Picking up where the popular MDA/8125 left off, this device packs a faster processor, upgraded 2MP camera, stereo Bluetooth, and Pearl-esque trackball navigation into a touchscreen-based Windows Mobile smartphone.  Cingular users get the added benefit of HSDPA support for zippy 3G data services when you're not in range of a WiFi network.

3.T-Mobile Dash
The Dash is the best carrier-supported smartphone currently available in America. Too bad it's not on the best network.  Verizon's Motorola Q is backed by a high-speed EV-DO data network, but it suffers from sluggish performance and a weak battery.  T-Mobile's Dash suffers from being tethered to a slower EDGE data network, but its keyboard, ergonomics, and OS performance bests the Q.

4.Palm Treo 700
The Treo is no longer the king of the PDA phone jungle, but that doesn't mean the new 700 series isn't worth a look.  Though its been outpaced by more feature-packed smartphones from other manufacturers, the Treo still has a healthy user base.  The 700p supports the once-mighty Palm OS, while the 700w marks Palm's first Windows Mobile-powered device. 

5.SE P990i
I have somewhat mixed feelings about SE's flagship mobile phone, but love the UIQ 3.0 user interface so much I had to include the p990i.  Sporting a 2 megapixel camera, a touchscreen and flip-down QWERTY board, and WiFi connectivity all running on Symbian 9.1, the P990i is like a digital Swiss Army Knife.  But its 3G radio isn't compatible with high-speed networks in the US, its design is a bit odd, and its price is sky-high.  Still, to use UIQ is to love UIQ, and if the m600i doesn't do enough for you, the P990i is the only viable option.

Products mentioned