Without a good web browser, do you need HSDPA?

Istation_t5

Digital Cube has just released its HSDPA-equipped iStation T5 portable media player in Korea and in looking over the specs—which include a 3D user interface built upon a WinCE .NET 5.0 base, triple-core OMAP2530 processor, 4.8-inch 800 x 480 touchscreen, 802.11b/g WiFi, hard drive (up to 60GB), SD card slot, FM radio, and a wide range of multimedia format support—all that really stands out to me is the preloaded Jungle Browser. What is it? Is it any good? Isn't Jungle a little too close to Safari?

There's no mention of email or instant messaging on the official product pages, so web browsing is obviously the primary benefit of the built-in 3.5G wireless radio. And although uber-connectivity is obviously an attractive feature for any mobile device to have, I can't make up my mind about the new iStation without knowing more about its browser.

Jungle

I mentioned my mobile web priorities a few months ago, but here they are again:

  1. Browser
  2. Screen resolution
  3. Page rendering
  4. Screen size
  5. Speed (load times)
  6. Flash support

As you can see, the browser is the most important element for me. Without one that I personally find enjoyable to use, the internet can wait until I get home. This wasn't always the case, as I used to be able to be content with anything, but it is now.

Take, for example, my Sony Ericsson Xperia X1. It has Opera Mobile 9.5, which is generally regarded as one of the best Windows Mobile browsers, as well as a great WVGA screen . . . but I really have to desperate to use it for browsing. Truth be told, I'd rather carry my iPhone 3G in addition to the X1 and swap SIMs as needed. Opera Mobile is more capable than Safari on the iPhone, but the experience is simply not as enjoyable to me. On the contrary and in comparison, it's actually a little frustrating. Sure, it has cut-and-paste, but it doesn't render, scroll, or zoom as well as Safari.

I like my X1 for other reasons and continue to use it as my primary phone, but if it didn't have HSDPA, I wouldn't care. In fact, here in Hawaii, it actually only supports EDGE (I have the international version, X1i, which lacks the 850MHz band support required for AT&T 3G here). And for reading/sending emails and updating my Twitter status, EDGE is good enough for me. I also have the HTC Advantage and an AT&T Tilt, which both have the 1900MHz 3G band the X1i lacks, but would still choose the iPhone for smartphone consumption-driven surfing (for creation-driven surfing, a UMPC/MID with a real browser is the way to go).

The browser makes all the difference for me. Without a good one, I could do without HSDPA. What about you?

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Jenn K. Lee

Jenn K. Lee is the founder of Pocketables. She loves gadgets the way most women love shoes and purses. The pieces in her tech wardrobe that go with everything are currently the Samsung Galaxy Note II, Sony Tablet P, and Nexus 7, but there are still a couple of vintage UMPCs/MIDs in the back of her closet.

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