Cellphone usability

Occasionally I’ve been asked which phones I believe they have the best usability. I’ve tried over 30 phones in my time as a reviewer in the past 3 years, so here’s my opinion on what’s intuitive:

Sony Ericsson’s non-smartphone OS tops the list, with Series60 from Nokia being close. Everything else in that market is mediocre IMO. In the touchscreen market, iPhone kicks everyone’s ass. PalmOS and Windows Mobile can kinda compete because they have been in the market longer than anyone else so they have fixed some mistakes over the years, but overall, Apple got it right, right off the bat. The funny thing is, that I consider UIQ having the worst usability of all touchscreen systems I ever tried (even worse than some half-baked Linux systems I’ve seen out there). Sony Ericsson bought UIQ this past year. And they went from having the best smartkey OS, to the worst touchscreen OS. Nice going SE.


Tom Dison wrote on December 29th, 2007 at 9:50 PM PST:

I really like my Palm Centro, but it is obvious to me how “behind the times” Palm is. The Palm OS is really like DOS. Each program has full run of the device. One bad pointer, one database left open and BOOM, the device locks up. To top it off, the Palm used to have a reset button (since it crashed so often). Now you have to slide the back cover off (which is not easy, especially when the device is new) and take out the battery. Who thought up that brilliant idea?? Don’t even bother getting one of the scuba cases that fit tightly. You’ll regret it every time you have to reset. And I hate the 2.5 ” headphone jack with NO adapter included. Many of the adapters you buy won’t work (you wind up with mono instead of stereo). As a geek, I love the device (Opera Mini, the IM client, the Email app, SSH apps, PalmVNC, etc). But when I look at the practical side of things, it’ll drive people crazy.

Stacy wrote on December 30th, 2007 at 10:06 PM PST:

It’s not really a smartphone, but I happen to really love my LG Voyager. I’ll be the first to admit that you can’t beat the iPhone’s multitouch interface, but at least with Verizon I have a high speed network 🙂 And the full querty kbd is great for email and text messaging, which I tend to use heavily.

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