T-Mobile pips rivals with super 3G phone

It's fight-time! In the red corner, Vodafone, sweating with a split jaw; in the pink corner, T-Mobile, looking good and doing Rocky's funny curled upp

It's fight-time! In the red corner, Vodafone, sweating with a split jaw; in the pink corner, T-Mobile, looking good and doing Rocky's funny curled upper lip thing.

Vodafone performed well in the first round last month, swinging in with the 3.5G-equipped v1605 and catching T-Mobile off-guard. Now, though, in true Italian Stallion fashion - we'll forget T-Mob is German-owned for the minute - the pink network's come back with a knockout punch by releasing the Vario II with a blazingly fast near-2-meg internet connection.

By comparison, Vodafone's little smartphone won't be able to enjoy those speeds until it gets a software update in 2007.

You get some tasty features aside from the zippy web surfing, namely: HSDPA (3.5G), Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a 2MP camera, MicroSD slot, Windows Mobile 5.0 and - if you're a business bod’ running Exchange - Blackberry-style push email. It's virtually identical in size to its predecessor, measuring a mere 113mm long and 58mm wide.

Buying the T-Mobile version of this smartie has other benefits, too, not least the red and silver livery and the open internet access. The network's also promising the current 1.8 meg speed will jump to a mind-blowing 20 meg by the end of the decade.

Essentials

T-Mobile Vario II

Price: from free, maximum £300

On sale: Later this week

Contact: T-Mobile

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Vodafone’s v1605