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Photos: If smartphones were cars, what would yours be?

Why an iPhone is like a Porsche and the Nokia N97 is more like a Range Rover
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By Tim Ferguson on
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Why an iPhone is like a Porsche and the Nokia N97 is more like a Range Rover

Cars and high-end smartphones: some of the favourite boys' toys around.

Whether its gazing lovingly at an Aston Martin parked near the office, or having a play with a friends iPhone down the pub, fast cars and fancy phones seem to attract attention for the same reasons - elegant styling, smart engineering and that elusive wow factor. So what happens when you try to compare smartphones and cars? To help answer that question we have - just for fun - tried to pair up some of the most glamorous gadgets and smoothest motors around. See if you agree - or post your own suggestion as a reader comment below.

Apple iPhone - Porsche 911

Apple's iPhone is now in its fourth iteration. The iPhone 4 emerged in June 2010 featuring a new operating system, longer battery life, a five megapixel camera, the FaceTime videoconferencing application and an improved screen.

The iPhone has improved considerably compared to the first version which emerged in 2007 without 3G, GPS and with a relatively modest two megapixel camera. The iPhone 3G came along in 2008 - which also featured GPS for the first time - and the 3GS followed a year later, adding a three megapixel camera and a faster processor. And with the iPhone 4, Apple's mobile is now an established icon of the mobile world, after being honed from a less-than-perfect early version.

Likewise, the Porsche 911 constantly tweaked since the original 1963 version and the modern 911 is now seen as one of the best cars in the world to drive and is a firmly established motoring icon.

Also, you can't help thinking both iPhone and 911 are becoming a bit too common a sight in the pub and on the roads respectively.

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HTC Desire - Audi R8

HTC's Desire is seen as one of the closest rivals of the iPhone in terms of functionality but is still considered to be a little different or niche. In the car world, the Audi R8 is up there with the Porsche 911 in terms of how it is to drive but has yet to reach the iconic status enjoyed by its rival.

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HTC Legend - Aston Martin V8 Vantage

The Legend is a prettier if less powerful version of its Desire sibling. Likewise Aston Martin's V8 Vantage is great to look at and good to drive but has often been described as lacking a little bit of oomph (at least until a V12 version was launched last year, that is).

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Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini Pro - Volvo C30 R

With its Swedish heritage, the Xperia X10 Mini Pro has to be a Saab or Volvo. But which one? Well the Xperia has a funky slider design and is pretty powerful as well so the Volvo C30 R comes to mind as its automotive doppelganger.

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Nokia N97 - Range Rover

Nokia's smartphone has almost everything you'd need but is rather on the large side compared to some of its rivals. Similarly, the Range Rover is a car that's loaded with gadgets, is pretty quick and it can also drive up mountains.

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Dell Streak - BMW X6

Dell's Streak is either a small Android tablet or a large smartphone due to its large size and touchscreen interface. Likewise the BMW X6 doesn't seem to quite know what it wants to be - it's an SUV with a body like a sports car and the high ground clearance and massive wheels of an off-roader.

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- Toyota Hi-Lux

This recently launched phone from Motorola is ruggedised for the business user out and about, and it looks like it could stand up to most things that could be thrown at it - much like the Toyota Hi-Lux truck.

Not only can the Hi-Lux be driven across deserts and ice caps, it's also tackled the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland as the picture above shows.

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HTC HD2 - VW Phaeton

This big and powerful device from HTC runs on Microsoft's Windows Mobile 6.5 platform which isn't quite as slick as Android et al but still packs an array of functionality. It's much like Volkswagen's luxury car, the Phaeton, which discreetly goes about its business but with all the gadgets you'd expect from a more glamorous vehicle.

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Motorola Milestone - Ford S-Max

Motorola's Milestone is undoubtedly a phone loaded with features - albeit features in somewhat of a large housing. The car equivalent is Ford's S-Max people carrier - a pretty big vehicle, but also pretty good to drive.

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Nokia E72 - BMW 3-series

This is a smaller phone than the N97 but it still packs a lot of the smartphone features, along with a much better battery life. It's essentially a good quality business phone that won't cost the earth to buy.

The car equivalent? The BMW 3-series, which is great to drive, well-built and features the fuel efficient engines BMW is now renowned for.

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Palm Pre Plus - Alfa Romeo 159

Palm's Pre Plus is a pretty smartphone with a slide-out keyboard which runs Palm's own WebOS operating system rather than the more widely-used Android, iPhone OS or Symbian. However the Pre is a solid device that would suit the enterprise user.

Alfa Romeo's 159 is from a similar mould. The Italian car maker's mid-size saloon is outsold by rivals from Audi, BMW and Mercedes but the people that go for the 159 are attracted by its good looks which are distinctive compared to its more mainstream rivals.

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Palm Pixi Plus - Alfa Romeo Mito

The Palm Pixi Plus is a cheaper and slimmed-down version of the Pre so the Alfa Romeo Mito is its logical equivalent in the car world. Small and pretty but a more stylish alternative to its rivals.

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Samsung Galaxy S - Subaru Forrester

The Samsung Android-based smartphone is unpretentious and workmanlike but it has one trick up its sleeve: the Swype system for texting which makes it one of the fastest-texting phones out there. In a similar way, Subaru's Forrester is a practical estate car without flashy looks. However, if you go for the high performance version, you'll find it's perfectly capable of driving across a field at high-speed.

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BlackBerry Pearl 3G - Ford Focus RS

Blackberry's Pearl 3G is aimed at mobile users who are moving into the smartphone market for the first time. It's much smaller than the traditional BlackBerry and has an alphanumeric keyboard like a more basic mobile handset.

Its automotive equivalent is the Ford Focus RS. Although the car resembles the family hatchback commonly seen on UK roads, it can actually accelerate from 0 to 62mph in 5.9 seconds and hit a top speed of 164mph.

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Motorola Flipout - Toyota IQ

The Motorola Flipout is an Android smartphone with a quirky square swivel design that makes it pretty distinctive but also significantly smaller than many smartphones. The Toyota IQ is similarly dinky but shows that it's possible to cram a lot into a small package.

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