They let you surf the Web check your email navigate your way around the city enjoy music and video play games and run all manner of third-party apps.
But when it comes to making and taking phone calls just like the simplest mobiles used to do – well not so much.
UK firm Broadband Testing put a clutch of the latest smartphones through their paces for the most rudimentary function of a mobile phone â€“ voice calls â€“ and found them to be wanting.
Perhaps the greatest irony is that many failed while actually being used on the move which you’d expect to be the natural environment for a mobile phone. This was most noticeable as users approached the edge of the cell and when the call needed to be handed over between 3G and 2G networks.
â€œSome of the handsets proved to be less than effective when the user is actually well mobileâ€ recounts Broadband Testing director Steve Broadhead. â€œFor example the Blackberry Storm really struggled when having to hand over between 3G and 2G cells â€“ still a very common occurrence.â€
â€œWhile the test conditions were challenging they were representative of those that many users will encounter daily. This included the emulation of real-world conditions that represented the handset being stationary as well as moving at pedestrian and at vehicular speeds.â€
Broadband Testing found the iPhone to be the best overall performer but with a strict caveat â€“ it had to have been updated with the iPhone 2.2 firmware. Earlier models based on the 2.0 firmware were considered â€œalmost unusable as a phoneâ€ compared the updated models.
The Nokia E71 did well during the initial phase of setting up a call but proved less stellar when it came to maintaining the call while the Samsung F480 and Sony Ericsson C905 were uneven performers through a range of tests.
The BlackBerry Bold was markedly better than the BlackBerry Storm which struggled with calls made on the move. It’s worth noting that the Bold has not only a different wireless chipset but a different software stack created from scratch by RIM engineers.
Broadband Testing stressed that no one handset came even close to a perfect score across all tests. â€œAlthough consumers tend to blame the network for failed or dropped calls the results of this test clearly highlight the contribution that the handset itself can make to these problemsâ€ Broadhead said.