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HTC P4550 Kaiser Smartphone

Exasperated, flummoxed, baffled, bored, annoyed, bemused, confused ... there are plenty of words in the English language (not all of them publishable) to describe how I feel about the hype that has surrounded the iPhone since it was first announced.

You'd think that the world had been taken over by some strange new religion, given the number of people who seem to be in the thrall of the Great Jobs and His Mighty Phone. But for those who don't worship five times daily at the altar of Apple, life has continued over the past few months and that goes for other mobile phone manufacturers as well.
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Apple atheist HTC has been particularly busy. We've already seen its take on the touch-sensitive iPhone in the shape of the somewhat disappointing Touch, we've since reviewed its business-focussed PDA phone, the P6300, and we have the much-awaited (but not quite as much as the iPhone) P4550 Kaiser in our hands.

This is the successor to the much-praised TyTN, a smartphone you might otherwise know as the T-Mobile Vario II, the Vodafone v1605 or the Orange SPV M3100. It was a favourite in the Trusted offices when it was launched, but has eventually been superseded – at least in the affections of our esteemed editor – by the Orange SPV E650 (based on the HTC S710), which managed to combine more phone-like dimensions and appearance with a pop-out keyboard.

In appearance the P4550 is very similar to its predecessor. It still has that sliding qwerty keyboard, still has a 2.8in 240 x 320 resolution screen and features HSDPA and 3G compatibility for lightning quick Internet speeds and video calls, on top of GPRS for times when a faster connection isn't available. It's still a quad-band phone, which means you'll be able to use virtually anywhere in the world if you can get a signal – assuming the locale has a reciprocal agreement with your mobile phone network. But look a little closer and you'll find that a number of significant changes and refinements have been made.
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First, it's gone on a bit of a diet, as a quick comparison of the dimensions reveals. At 110 x 58 x 18mm it's now 4mm thinner and 2.5mm shorter than its predecessor and is also 16g lighter at 160g. It's still nowhere near as slim as a Blackberry 8800 and it's more bulky than Riyad's Orange SPV E650, but it is small and light enough to sit in your pocket nicely and is much less of a trouser-pocket bulger than the Toshiba G900 I recently reviewed.

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