Just like the iPod, the iPhone from Apple turned out to be something in the form of a cult icon. When the second generation iPhone came out, people queued up outside the iPhone stores to buy one, setting a new Guinness world record in the process.
And it had its own band of followers. Be it the numerous clones spawned in China in literally hundreds of names, or the legit contenders from leading mobile manufacturers, there were certainly many. My personal favourite is the LG PRADA, from among the HTC Touch, Sony Ericsson Xperia X1 and a few others, all of which we've looked at previously in this column. So we felt it apt that we look at this late entry onto the race, the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic, nicknamed Tube.
The Tube part comes from how the thing looks. It's a cholesterol pumped edition of the iPhone. Let's get the specs out of the way, and then get into details, shall we? It's a candy bar design 480x360 resistive touchscreen phone, with 3G, WiFi and GPS. The back of the phone has a 3.2MP camera, and the whole phone runs on a modded out version of Nokia's symbian OS, S60.
The screen is rather interesting in terms of technology used. It has feedback, but not the haptic touch seen in the Samsung Armani. It's also not a conductive touchscreen like the PRADA, or the iPhone. This means you can use a stylus on it but you might also accidentally run applications or call people when the phone is in your pocket.
The screen looks pretty sharp, and the size allows almost DVD quality video playback. Nokia seems to have thought about the video playback option, as the phone ships with an 8GB microSD card. This is a good thing, as the phone is from Nokia's XpressMusic line-up. As all new phones this side of 2007, the audio jack is the standard 3.5mm deal, which means you can plug in a high quality headset and listen away.
The phone will be available either at the end of the year, or early next. Since it is aimed almost squarely at the iPhone, expect a similar price tag on the phone. How successful will it be as a challenge to the iPhone? Not at all. The iPhone is too established now to have any competition. But as a phone, the Tube just might have that extra appeal.