Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S

Have you noticed the flowers of the jacaranda in your backyard blooming? Christmastime is so near that you can just about hear the sleigh bells!

Telstra took the chance today to show off some of the newest releases in its range in the lead up to Christmas, with three of its four new smartphones selling on prepaid plans, and its new 3G "Hotspot in a Box" wireless modem.

Sony Ericsson will sneak this new top-shelf handset into Australia just before Christmas, shipping on 15 November on a Telstra Freedom Connect AU$59 Plan.

The Arc S is basically the same Arc that launched on Optus earlier this year and went to Vodafone a little later. The Arc S adds a faster 1.4GHz processor to the equation, and ships with Sony Ericsson's Gingerbread 2.3.4 software build, delivering goodies like the Sony Video Unlimited movie rentals service.

For the record, let it be known that the S in Arc S stands for Super, according to Sony Ericsson. We've been asking the various manufacturers what the S stands for in their product titles (HTC Incredible S, Samsung Galaxy S, etc) and Sony Ericsson is the only OEM so far brave enough to clarify.

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Motorola Defy+

Motorola only briefly revisited the old drawing board in producing the next iteration in its "life-proof" Defy range. Although the physical design is nearly identical to last year's phone, Moto has upped the processing power to 1GHz, and updated the software somewhat. Plus, no change in design means that Moto keeps its phone water resistant, dust resistant and shock proof.

The big change for Australians is that this year's Defy will be offered outright for AU$299 for prepaid Telstra customers, which isn't bad for an android smartphone with a 3.8-inch LCD display. Stand by for the full review, which we will have up for you very soon.

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LG Optimus Spirit

We recently reviewed the Samsung Galaxy Gio, and were impressed by how much smartphone you could buy for AU$149. Well, LG is prepared to give its Korean competitors a run for their money with this 3.2-inch Android for the same price. The Spirit ships with a very similar user experience that we saw earlier this year in the LG Optimus 2X and the Optimus 3D, but for much less money. The display really stands out as being an excellent screen for the money, as low-quality screens tend to be what defines handsets in this price range.

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Telstra QWERTY Touch

It really wouldn't be a Telstra smartphone showcase without one rebranded ZTE-made smartphone. This little beauty is the Telstra QWERTY Touch, a handset which adheres to the letter of the Obvious Smartphone Naming Standard. Telstra will ask for AU$129 for this handset, and offers a 2.6-inch capacitive touchscreen and keyboard combo in return, powered by what looks to be stock-standard Android Gingerbread.

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Telstra Elite Wi-Fi modem

The new prepaid Elite Wi-Fi modem (on the right in the photo above) brings Wi-Fi 3G data sharing to prepaid customers, costing AU$99 and coming with 3GB of data to use in the first 60 days. We also have the BigPond Ultimate Wi-Fi modem on the left. This one cost AU$299 upfront, and supports speeds of up to 42Mbps for up to five users.

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