Regular dispatches from AccountingWEB gadget devotees including executive peripherals editor Nigel Harris, community correspondent Rachael Power, community manager Henry Osadzinski, and Accountants Power Tools' Kevin Salter.
Christmas Gadget Countdown Day 3: Smartphones
While AccountingWEB's many Applephiles have been counting the days until their new iPhone 5 arrives, a lot has been happening in the smartphone market this year to make you think twice about your Christmas list.
From a purely practical point of view, a smartphone has become an essential mobile work tool, enabling you to access email and the Internet away from the office. Cloud apps such as Xero accounts also mean that you can access a wide range of standard applications and business documents directly from your phone.
But as many of the other categories in this year's countdown have show, a smartphone can also be the ultimate Swiss army knife of gadgets, being a more than adequate digital camera and camcorder, audio and video player and streaming device, gaming console and sat nav. My iPhone even doubles as a spirit level and tape measure when doing DIY!
So as the ultimate business AND leisure gadget, the smartphone rules supreme. The only question is – which one should you buy?
It's virtually a two horse race these days. Apple fans will undoubtedly go for the iPhone 5. Is it really that much better than the 4S? It depends who you ask, but either would satisfy most users. Features aside, it's the fantastic app store that keeps iPhone fans loyal.
Over on the Android OS platform, the Samsung Galaxy S3 appears to be king, although Google's Nexus 4 and HTC One X+ are worthy competitors and won't disappoint.
Beyond the big two platforms, the Nokia Lumia 920 is the phone to go for if you're feeling brave enough to try Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 operating system. It's an impressive looking phone, slightly let down by the shortage of apps in the Windows 8 store compared with the well-stocked iPhone and Android app stores. However, if they've got what you want, it's certainly worth considering.
BlackBerry users can hold onto their cash this Christmas though; the new BB10 phones won't be appearing until some time into 2013. BlackBerry still has a loyal following among big corporates, but some users are losing patience as the company keeps delaying the new OS and handsets. Previews of the new handsets suggest they will be more than capable of competing with the devices listed above, so don't give up on them yet.