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Nokia 9300 Rated Top Smartphone

Nokia's 9300 is the highest-rated smartphone currently available in the U.S. in terms of overall usability and appeal, according to a study released Tuesday by independent research firm Strategy Analytics.

In its tests, the Nokia 9300 outperformed Research In Motion's BlackBerry 8700c, the Palm Treo 700w and the Cingular 8125 smartphones. The research firm said it based its conclusions on hands-on testing by consumers.

Strategy Analytics said that the Nokia 9300 scored most strongly in the usability of its built-in applications, doing far better in this category than the Windows Mobile-based Treo 700w and the BlackBerry 8700c. The Nokia 9300 is based on the Symbian OS. The study found that the BlackBerry 8700c's usability scores were particularly poor with those who had no prior experience with BlackBerry devices.

While it had the highest overall scores, the Nokia 9300 scored lowest in terms of perceived style because it is larger than the other devices. However, that size -- and the size of the Nokia's keyboard -- may have played an important role in helping the device score highly in terms of usability.

"Having a large keyboard is a clear advantage of the 9300 -- but this detracts from its style appeal, with the consumer still favoring a small and compact device," Paul Brown, an analyst for Strategy Analytics, said in a statement. He said that the Treo 700w scored highest in terms of style.

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