You can get away with a lot if you’re beautiful. Such is the case with the new Porsche Design P’9522 phone. In some ways, it’s a wonderful and capable cellphone, but in most others, it’s dumber than the gorgeous block of aluminum it was machined from.
Looking at the specs, we were hopeful that this touchscreen-enabled beauty would be one hell of a handset. First off, it’s packed full of radios: In addition to its quad-band cellular connectivity, it flaunts the Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS that are now pretty much de rigeur on a cellular device of this ilk. It also has an FM receiver — a nice touch that most companies (except Nokia) choose to omit. We think they shouldn’t.
But what can you do with all those radios? Better hope you’re a talker. Even though the phone comes pre-loaded with the very decent Opera Mini mobile browser, its 3-G range is limited to the Old Country (read: Europe). Even if you’re in a Wi-Fi hotspot, you’d be better off mugging some blogger for his MacBook than surfing the web using the horribly inaccurate touchscreen and knife-thin keys. And that touchscreen? It’s worse than any other touch-sensitive display we’ve ever used. You can’t tap an item in a list — you have to scroll to it. Just like the phone’s automotive namesake, the highlighting bar goes waaaay too fast, almost always passing the option you want. Really, even the vivid colors on the 2.8-inch, energy-efficient AMOLED screen don’t help the browser’s case.
Now we know some of you are thinking: “That’s fine; I don’t really surf the web on my phone anyway. All I need a cellphone for is to keep in touch.” Fine, Mr. Luddite: We hear you, but we hope that “keep in touch” doesn’t include e-mail — an absent feature that had us trying to mar the Porsche phone’s scratchproof screen with claws of rage. Unfortunately, that screen is tough, so the P’9522 will keep on being lauded and drooled over — despite our many gripes with it.