Six months ago, I did a direct comparison between the Nokia N70 and its Windows Mobile rival, the SPV C600. Six months is a long time in the smartphone world though, and both devices have a spiritual successor, carrying on the form factor but with upgraded specifications and sophistication. The Nokia N73 and HTC MTeoR were both in my office at the same time, for review on my Smartphones Show video podcast, and I thought another comparison might be in order. But first, some snaps to give you an idea of their similarity in form factor.
Here goes then. With no hidden agenda, approaching both devices from the standpoint of a neutral observer.
116g, slightly wider in the hand, quite a bit thicker
120g, slightly narrower and feels a lot more substantial in the hand
|Plastic, plastic and more plastic. Creaks when gripped, rear camera slide rattles
|Mainly metal case, with rubberised panels for better grip. You could knock nails in with the MTeoR, I'm very impressed*
|2.4" QVGA, very clear
|2.2" QVGA, also very clear
Around 20MB free after booting. Power users will hit limitations though
Plenty of RAM, around 31MB after booting, should be enough for everyone
Simple and effective, via pressing and holding the main Menu button
Good, though there's no keyboard shortcut to the built-in Task Manager utility and you have to find it each time
Quickoffice (viewers, i.e. read only) plus Adobe PDF reader
|ClearVue Office viewers (all Office formats, plus RTF and PDF)
Full PIM sync from Outlook, although no category support in any application
PIM sync, with categories, but no Notes application for entering new text or seeing Outlook text info
|Still image capture
Very high quality 3.2 megapixel camera, superb still photos
Good quality 1.3 megapixel camera
352 by 288 pixel, 15fps video ('near VHS'), looks jittery but acceptable on a PC or TV
176 by 144 pixel video, MMS-quality only
RAM-hungry though powerful Web application, though Services (WAP and simple HTML) is built-in and Opera and Opera Mini are also available.
Pocket Internet Explorer is very good, I've been impressed, with three sensible browsing modes (One column/Default/Desktop) and good handling of even complex pages.
3G voice and data, with front VGA cam for video calls
3G voice and data, though curiously no front camera in almost all MTeoRs
Active standby shows static shortcuts plus upcoming Calendar appointments
Microsoft's pioneering Today screen shows dynamic summary of last used applications, plus appointments
Pop-port for USB connectvity plus stereo audio out
Tweaked mini-USB port, for data and for audio output to stereo headset
Symbian OS 9.1 very stable, although network operator additions and third party software can cause problems sometimes, and there's still some optimisation needed in S60 3rd Edition firmware
Also very stable, with the same third party software caveat.
Marginally quicker, although I'll concede that I'm more used to finding my way around a S60 device
Most operations pretty quick, although the application launching system is more inflexible. There's a fast processor inside but some operations are still slower than I'd like
|Text input and editing
Much better text editing keys/usability (e.g. Copy/Paste/Cut available almost everywhere)
More limited text entry, although the T9 system has full word prediction and acceptance
Hot swappable miniSD, just take out the card and pop a new one in (e.g. for more music or movies)
Hot swappable microSD card
|Music playback and formats supported
MP3/AAC/WMA, output volume is less than spectacular
MP3/WMA only, but there's slightly more volume available, for headset listening in noisy environments
|Third party software
More extensive third party software scene in terms of applications and games available
£314, SIM-free, inc VAT
Almost identical, £324, SIM-free, inc VAT
* Just a quick anecdote on this. I handed ten people, at random, both devices and asked which one felt best in the hand. ALL TEN said the MTeoR.
My verdict? Actually, I'm torn. If I was in the market for a non-QWERTY smartphone, these would be two of the top contenders. The N73 impresses with its terrific camera, but loses ground in terms of build quality and robustness. Most of the rest of the attributes above are split fairly evenly, in terms of winner and loser, between the two devices. No doubt you'll have been making up your own mind as you've read down the table.
With my Symbian background and S60 familiarity, I'd have to go with the N73, of course, but the MTeoR is a terrific piece of hardware and the latest Windows Mobile (plus the MTeoR software bundle) is actually rather good.
Steve Litchfield, September 2006