Windows Phone 7.5

PROS: Tons of new features; deep Facebook and Twitter integration; Local Scout

CONS: New phones using 7.5 features slow to roll out; some features available only on those non-existent new phones

RATING: Four out of five stars

RECOMMENDATION: Microsoft got it right with Windows Phone 7, its complete reimagining of what a mobile phone OS could be. So for v2, the unimaginatively named Windows Phone 7.5, Microsoft did what needed to be done: It performed a ton of fit and finish updates and added major, useful features.

Key among them, is Local Scout, which finds the best restaurants, shopping, sites, and other places of interest that are nearby; a perfect feature for a device you carry at all times. Windows Phone 7.5 also includes better Facebook integration, Twitter and LinkedIn integration, a powerful new web browser, better platform capabilities, and many improvements to the user experience.

Problematically, some new features, like Internet sharing (tethering) and visual voice mail, will only be available to users of new devices at first (and likely forever), and then only when supported by your wireless carrier. Still, Windows Phone 7.5 is the nearly perfect modern mobile OS, and far more innovative and useable than the tired offerings from Apple and Google.

CONTACT: Microsoft

DISCUSSION: SuperSite for Windows “Windows Phone 7.5 Review”

 

Apple iPhone 4S

PROS: Typical Apple quality; appears to fix attenuation issues; high quality camera

CONS: Small screen; tired design; not much of an upgrade for iPhone 4 users

RATING: Four out of five stars

RECOMMENDATION: Apple's iPhone 4S has split the Apple fan base between those who will lovingly buy and defend any product the company releases and those who see the device for what it is: An evolutionary update to a deeply flawed product. The iPhone 4S looks like its predecessor, which is problematic for anyone who already owns an iPhone 4 and was looking to upgrade.

But for iPhone 3GS users, the iPhone 4S is a no-brainer: Apple has apparently fixed the notorious signal attenuation issues via software, and the 4S offers faster processing and graphics. Coupled with truly useful improvements like iOS 5, a significantly better camera, and the iPhone's best-ever ecosystem of apps, content, and accessories, and you have the makings of a stealth hit.

What may put the iPhone 4S over the top for some people, eventually, is the Siri voice-control system. It's still in beta but boasts significant improvements over previous voice control systems.

CONTACT: Apple

DISCUSSION: SuperSite for Windows “Apple iPhone 4S”