iPhones are so out. Japan mobiles are hot now. Here are our fav’rites. SoftBank Aquos Shot 933SH Tech specs : As the name suggests, the highlight of this phone is its camera. It contains a variety of functions such as a touch-screen control (including a finger sliding motion for focusing and zooming), automatic scene recognition, Chase Focus (motion detecting and focusing) and a 10 megapixel CCD. In case you’re wondering what the last thing meant, let’s just say it makes a lot of digital cameras on the market look stupid. Fashion fad or fiasco? From the rear, the unconventionally large lens makes it look just like a digital camera only and from upfront, it’s pretty plain and mundane. Like most of Sharp’s flip phones, the screen can be swiveled and reversed so the phone can be closed with the screen facing outwards. The surface is in a dull, metallic texture and it comes in black, white, fuchsia and ivory. Nothing out of the ordinary so don’t expect to be catching a lot of eyes. Verdict : The whole phone video recording and photo taking has really taken a toll on popular culture so this is the phone to have if you don’t want to miss out on the bandwagon. Reccomended price : $4,080 Docomo PRO Series SH07A Tech Specs : This phone redefines the meaning of a portable television. The built-in, two-gigabyte unit can record up to 10 hours and 40 minutes worth of video plus an extra 16GB from external microSDHC cards (sold separately). The screen features a wow-ing double screen, allowing quick switches and simultaneous viewing of videos. Fashion fad or fiasco? The phone comes in a red and black combination, and a metallic silver, both with a reflective surface. Nothing out of the ordinary, but hear this. Sharp’s versatile, flipping-the-lid movement has always been a signature but this phone takes it to the next level by flipping the phone so the screen turns horizontal while the keypad is facing the same way creating a t-shape. The package also features a table holder with speakers to dock your phone, “I-pod-ifying” the technology. Verdict : Double screen viewing? Unique phone flip? Apple-aspiring docks? Name me another phone with all that? Reccomended price : $4,299-$4,699 Docomo PRIME Series P-07A Tech specs : An 8.1 megapixel camera provides quick and intelligent photo taking with a shutter button on the body and face-focusing recognition. Its 10,000:1 high-contrast and LCD high-color reproduction produces dynamic and vivid images. The adjustable LED flash provides a variety of visual effects taking phone photography to the next level. Fashion fad or fiasco? Black, white and pink? Boring. The phone can be flipped vertically for standard use and horizontally to increase SMS-typing speeds but this phone boasts as much fashion value as the wardrobe versatility in a Hong Kong local school. Verdict : A practical phone for practical people. Reccomended price : $3,800 Docomo SMART Series N-09A Tech specs : A well-rounded phone with a music player (internal and external storage), 8.1-megapixel camera, video phoning and global roaming providing a pretty standard piece. A feature that stands out is its Hyper Clear Voice which clarifies the other party’s voice, should it be too incoherent. Fashion fad or fiasco? The phone features three different exteriors, with different colors and textures to choose from: a sexy and seductive, burgundy leather, a mature and classy, wooden black and the smart, futuristic metallic silver. The tragic reality is most of our budgets allow only one but that one will be bringing the “oohs” and “ahhs” all day. Verdict : Not the most tech-savvy of phones but definitely a fashion statement. Reccomended price : $3,599 Docomo N906iu (STNY by Samantha Thavasa collaboration) \t\tPink Diamond Edition Tech specs : Sprouting from NEC’s smile detection phone N906i (yes, it knows when you’re smiling), comes the N906iu. It has more or less the same features as its predecessor like a three-inch VGA LCD display, Yamaha Audio Engine, Flash player and GPS navigation except for a downgrade in its camera from 5.2 megapixels to 3.2. Now why on earth would the newer version devolve? Fashion fad or fiasco? This is why. With the cellphone industry increasingly imitating the fashion industry, like the Prada phone by LG or the outrageously priced Nokia Vertu line, NEC wasn’t going to miss out. Paired with Japanese fashion brand, Samantha Thavasa (as advertised by celebrities such as Beyonce and the Hilton sisters), the phone has a heart theme which includes heart-shaped lights. The infra-red is featured in pink (infra-pink?) and there’s a fake diamond on the exterior. The package includes a gold heart-shaped STNY (Samantha Thavasa NY) phone strap. The phone features a variety of STNY interfaces and wallpapers sure to make your life every more colorful. Caution: not recommended for the manly. Verdict : Remember the days when you went out in your Marc Jacobs high heels, the Yves Saint Laurent dress, the Louis Vuitton handbag and a complete set of Tiffany & Co. jewelry, only to pull out that horrendous, black, generic cell phone which looked like a cheap toy you took from your baby brother’s collection? Those days are over. Reccomended price : $2,199 Hypersimming So how do phones from Japan work in Hong Kong? By having what’s called a “hypersim” inserted into them. Cell phones normally only function when sending and receiving specific and unique signals that are not released outside of a specific country. A hypersim tricks a phone into believing such signals are being received and that it is still in the designated country when it’s not. Go Get ‘Em! Many shops on the G/F, Commercial Podium of Sincere House, 83 Argyle St., Mong Kok. Eunospet, Shop L4 330, Sceneway Plaza, Lam Tin, 9406-4062.