Smartphone packs a lot into tiny package


As a Windows Mobile device, it includes Windows Media Player 10 for audio and video playback. To store your tunes, you'd use the Mini-SD slot on the side.

The Cingular 8525 also sports a 2-megapixel camera. The user interface for the camera is quite nice, overlaying information about camera settings over the displayed image like a real digital camera would. Like most camera phones, what it badly lacks is a credible flash. The 8525 substitutes a lame LED (one of several new phones to do this), which makes no real difference to the picture beyond about a foot.

The device comes with a number of add-on services preinstalled. For example, you can subscribe to MobiTV, which lets you watch channels such as CNN and Lifetime on your phone. This isn't an exclusive for Cingular, but Cingular does let you pay for it on your cell phone bill rather than as a separate subscription. You can also install TeleNav, a TomTom-like navigation program. However, since there's no user-accessible Global Positioning System function on the phone, you'll need a separate Bluetooth GPS to make use of it.

Overall, the Cingular 8525 is fast, memory-efficient and well-designed smart phone made particularly attractive by an intelligent keyboard design and relatively large display. It's an excellent choice for corporate road warriors and geeks on the run.