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What s your best phone feature

The TechRadar Phone Awards 2011 are in full swing with over 10,000 votes cast so far.

One of the most popular categories people have voted in is the Best Phone Feature, which looks at the bits of a phone that have made all our lives that little bit easier, or at the very least better.

From Wi-Fi hotspots to screen technology that's pixel perfect, by way of camera functionality to rival the best compact around, TechRadar takes a look at the phone features which have made the TechRadar Phone Awards 2011 longlist.

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And remember, those who vote have the chance to enter our competition and win one of many fantastic smartphones….

LG Nova display

The Nova display is LG's answer to OLED and can be found on the Optimus Black. LG is boasting that the display is uses up to 50 per cent less power than OMOLED. Other benefits include an optimum brightness of 700 nits - to put this into perspective, that's 200 nits more than the iPhone 4.

What this means to us normal folk is that the LG Nova display works brilliantly in the great outdoors.

LG optimus black

Samsung Super AMOLED Plus

Not convinced with plain-old AMOLED, Samsung has introduces Super AMOLED Plus into the mobile world, which offers a number of improvements to screen quality.

The improved AMOLED screen can't be beaten when it comes to contrast. This is coupled with fantastic wide-angled viewing, so you can view your phone at the strangest of angles and still see what's on the screen.

Samsung galaxy s2

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Sony Ericsson Exmor R technology

It was about time that someone sorted out camera functionality on a mobile phone, so we breathed a collective sigh of relief when Sony Ericsson integrated the Exmor R sensor into its mobile phone range.

Increasing light sensitivity on the Arc, Neo and Xperia Pro, packing an Exmor R sensor into a smartphone is a genuine achievement by Sony Ericsson and one that may make you think twice about shelling out for a compact camera.

Arc camera

Android personal hotspot

Way before Apple decided to add personal hotspot functionality to the iPhone, Google had already added the functionality to its Android devices.

Android personal hotspots were added to Android 2.2 and the feature was as easy to use as ticking a box. For added security you could change the name of the access point and turn on passwords and you also had the opportunity to tether the device to a PC.

Simple but very effective – it's no wonder Apple decided that this would be a decent feature to add to the iPhone.


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Sony Ericsson Reality Display

First found on the Arc, the Sony Ericsson Reality Display is a cracking piece of technology mainly due to the fact that it is powered by the Bravia Engine.

This means that colour and detail on the screen have been optimised, much like how Sony sorts out the colour on its TVs. This sorts out any noise reduction and sharpness to make picture quality stand out, so any video played on the device sparkles.

Sony arc

Apple iPhone 4 Retina display

It was a dark time for iPhone users before retina display came along on the iPhone 4. On screen, pixels abounded and videos were, quite frankly, not up to scratch.

But with retina display's ridiculous tiny pixels and insane pixel density, images, video and text alike now look smooth, sharp and, to use a Jobsism, magical. What's more, the display has been chemically strengthened in order to make it more scratch-resistant and hard wearing.

Just looking back at the iPhone 3GS makes us snort derisively; dark times indeed. But with other incredible displays on the list, is retina display magical enough to take the top spot?

Retina display

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HTC Sense

Android is all well and good, but HTC has taken it one step further with its Sense user interface which is stuffed with handy little features that make you wonder how you ever lived without them.

Some are obvious, like the much-loved weather widget which animates in with windscreen wipers if it's raining, or pulling in Facebook statuses to the call screen so you know what your pals are up to before you've even answered their call. Others are more unusual, like silencing a call by turning your phone over.

It's one of the things that sets HTC handsets apart from the braying Android crowd.

HTC sensation

iOS folders

Who'd have thought that simply adding folders to the homescreen would so revolutionise iOS? Any iPhone owner with more than one screen's worth of apps has no doubt spent hours organising them neatly into folders by subject or icon colour, where before the apps were spread out willy nilly over multiple screens and no one could ever find anything.

But does Apple deserveaccolades for adding in something that some might argue iOS should have had from the get go?

iOS folders

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Nokia N8 12MP camera

The Nokia N8, while a perfectly serviceable phone, didn't exactly have the greatest spec sheet known the mankind when it eventually hit the shelves in 2010, but the inclusion of a 12MP camera made us sit up and take notice.

With 12 megapixels, Carl Zeiss lens, Xenon flash and all with some lovely built-in editing functions, it produces some truly impressive images, as Nokia has been keen to point out in its extensive marketing for the handset.

With a camera as standard on every handset now, perhaps Nokia should be rewarded for standing out from the crowd.

Nokia n8

Windows Phone 7 Live Tiles

Microsoft's new mobile operating system took a new approach to the homescreen; rather than opt for reams of apps like iOS or sporadic widgets like Android, Ballmer and co chose Live Tiles, which display dynamic content like changing Facebook statuses, weather updates or details of your upcoming calendar appointments.

This means you get an at a glance update without having to physically open an app – very handy. What's more, you can pin specific contacts to the homescreen, as well as rearranging the tiles in the best way to suit you.

windows phone 7

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