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I went into CTIA last week on the hunt for a new phone to replace my iPhone.  It's not that I'm unhappy with iPhone so much as I miss having a good camera and also, in the name of being a with-it phone reviewer, feel like it's time to carry a different phone around with me every day to see what I do/don't miss about iPhone.  While I get to test many phones on a limited basis all the time, iPhone's been my personal phone for several months now.

I was really expecting to come home craving a Samsung Instinct or SE Xperia X1.  I still want the chance to play with these devices, for sure, but am on the verge of ordering a Nokia N82 in the meantime (I'm trying to score a deal on a lightly used one before ponying up for a new one).  I'm a bit surprised, as I've really grown used to having a full QWERTY thumbboard at my disposal, but after shooting so much video at the show last week I decided I really want to have a quality imaging device with me all of the time for awhile.  iPhone's camera is mediocre at best, and is useless in low light or for capturing video (though "Showtime," a third-party video capture app, is available on jailbroken iPhones).

Back in Oakland yesterday I'd whittled my short list down to three devices I was interested in: LG's Viewty, SE's K850i, and the N82.  Viewty is amazing, and combines a full touchscreen with a 5MP camera and VGA video capture @ 120fps (for super slo-mo).  The lack of US-band 3G doesn't bother me as I use the 3G-less T-Mobile network for my personal account, but the lack of WiFI is a drag.  I've grown used to having WiFi on iPhone for quick access to the Web at home when I don't want to get my laptop.  There are rumors that the KE990, an EDGE-only variant of Viewty, may soon be coming to T-Mobile in the US.  So I'm gonna wait a bit to see what happens with that.

Lack of Wi-Fi also disqualified the K850.  Well, that and my continued frustration with SE's refusal to build a headphone jack into their handsets (something that's changed on the X1).  Again, 3G doesn't matter on my personal account because T-Mob doesn't support it.

So that leaves the N82.  I say that as if it's a bad choice.  Several reviews I've read call the N82 "The best cameraphone ever."  It's got the 5MP, the VGA video recording, the GPS, the 3.5mm jack, the S60 platform, the auto-rotating display.  And it's been around for a few months now so some of the super-itchy phone geeks have already bought it, used it, and tired of it - so hopefully I'll be able to get one well below the $629 asking price on Nokia's website.

Only thing is, the black version just came out and it looks so much cooler than the silver.  But the black is still full-price.  Silver it is, then.  Unless I fall for it.  I can always get a black one later after the price as dropped a bit...

Stay tuned in the coming weeks for my hands-on with the Nokia N82.


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