Is new Becks phone gadget of the year?

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Forget your iPods and digital snappers. The best-selling gadget this Christmas is almost certain to be a camera phone and we have a sneaking feeling it could well be the Sharp GX20.

Due in the stores next week via Vodafone Live! it’s a revamp of the GX10, the clamshell design, Golden Balls-approved handset which cleaned up in the first part of the year.

Only this time Sharp and Vodafone have take a winning design to yet another level. With this handset the gap between Japanese camera phones and European ones appears to be narrowing.

Read our verdict

Why is it so good?

1 Design – It keeps that winning clamshell form factor that has been such a huge hit for Sharp, Samsung and Panasonic.

2 Screen – The handset’s main screen really is quite superb. With 240×320 pixels and 65,536 colours it is much higher quality than even recent rival phones like Samsung’s V200 The images it delivers are superbly colourful and detailed. All those years pioneering LCDs has certainly paid off for Sharp

3 Camera – Sharp has increased the resolution of the handset’s camera. The GX20 now takes 640×480 images which brings it in line with high-end smartphones like the Sony Ericsson P800 and Nokia’s 7650. You can also take images of yourself using the handset’s colour screen on its facia as a viewfinder and add colour to images through an integrated lighting system. It almost takes decent images in low light too.

4 Video – The phone can capture around twenty seconds of reasonable quality video. An addition forced on Sharp to keep up with Nokia, but nice to have it anyway.

5 Vodafone Live! – The GX20 also has access to Vodafone Live!’s excellent range of facilities. News, sports, weather etc are simple Wap pages, but presented in an appealing, easy to use fashion. Vodafone Live! also includes games, videos (currently only a few snippets from ‘I’m a Celebrity…’) and polyphonic ringtones which can be downloaded via the handset’s Java facilities. Other networks rival offerings are nowhere near as simple to use or as sophisticated.

6 Triple band – Unlike the GX10, you can take the GX20 roaming in the US.

The downside

* No Bluetooth, HTML web browsing or POP3 e-mail support. For this phone’s target market they are probably superfluous anyway.
* Video can only be sent to other GX20 owners.
* You’ll pay between £100-£250 to own one.
* Limited storage. Only room for about 30 640×480 images.

This is easily the best camera phone to hit the UK market so far and will probably remain at number one until we see Sony Ericsson’s handset with a 1.3 mega pixel camera. Its screen really is superb. This is arguably the first camera phone that really does work.

Other networks are probably cursing the fact it is a Vodafone exclusive.

Details will be available next week from

www.vodafone.co.uk

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