T-Mobile myTouch 4G Slide has got an exceptional camera but does the HTC-made smartphone have enough firepower to challenge the hegemony of Apple iPhone?

Let's take a quick tour of myTouch 4G Slide first.

The smartphone boasts of pretty impressive specs: 1.2GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 3.7-inch WVGA LCD display, Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) OS and HTC Sense 3.0, 4GB onboard memory with 8GB microSD card (expandable to 32GB via microSD card slot), front-facing camera with Qik video chat software, full slide-out QWERTY keyboard, SWYPE support, Adobe Flash upport, new Genius button powered by Nuance's Dragon speech-recognition software for voice commands to initiate calls, write texts, send emails or search the Web, and pre-installed Netflix software.

Nothing much more is known about what lies under the hood but T-Mobile is putting a lot of focus on its camera.

At first glimpse, the 8-megapixel camera seems to draw a yawn as it's a commonplace feature with high-end smartphones these days, but look closely and you'll see that myTouch 4G Slide boasts of being probably the best camera-focused smartphone around.

The myTouch 4G Slide features an 8-megapixel camera with a dual LED flash (thereby making it one of the few smartphones with dual LED flash) and a host of advanced digital camera features, including the following:

> Improved low-light Performance: with a backside illuminated sensor and a wide aperture lens (f/2.2) that improves photo quality in low-light scenarios
> Zero shutter lag: an innovative software feature that allows for an instantaneous shot at that precise moment
> SweepShot™: for capturing panoramic shots by sweeping across an entire scene in a single motion
> ClearShot™ HDR: for capturing objects in bright settings so your photos are not affected by high-contrast lighting
> BurstShot™: for capturing multiple photos in a quick burst so you can take perfect photos of sporting events or other high speed activities

And the best thing is that the myTouch 4G Slide allows you to capture videos at 1080p (watch out dedicated video cameras) and post up your photos directly to Facebook, Picasa or Flickr.

More details on myTouch 4G are unavailable at the moment but T-Mobile promises that it is the new best-in-class smartphone that allows our customers to leave their cameras at home.

According to Andrew Sherrard, senior vice president, marketing, T-Mobile USA, myTouch combines high-quality smartphone hardware with features that customers would expect from a top-of-the-line digital camera.

I don't disagree. The myTouch 4G Slide is probably the best camera-focused smartphone around and is a good alternative to lugging around a point and shoot digital camera. In fact, its camera is certainly better than what iPhone 4 has, thanks to its ability of taking pictures with greater depth of field than the iPhone.

However, it is doubtful whether the photos captured by the myTouch 4G Slide will be able to rival high-end dedicated digital cameras, as touted by T-Mobile.

But at a $199.99 price tag, who's going to argue? After all, for that price, you not only get an excellent camera but also a smartphone that mimics a superphone.

The myTouch 4G Slide is poised for release in July and will be available in 2 colors - black and khaki. It is expected to hit the U.S. market in July and will retail for $199.99 with a 2-year contract.

So how does the mytouch 4G Slide stack up against iPhone 4? The answer is - it does pretty well.

Not only is it cheaper than iPhone 4 but also it rivals iPhone 4's hardware specs beat-for-beat and comes up tops in the camera category.

However, whether the myTouch 4G Slide will be able to hold its ground against the next generation iPhone, dubbed iPhone 5, remains to be seen.

iPhone 5, whose rumored launch date in September, is also expected to come out with an 8-megapixel camera with 1080p video playback and panoramic photo capture capability and an improved dual-LED flash unit.

And, according to the swirling waves of rumors, iPhone 5 is also expected to boast of the following features:

> A5 processor in the range of 1.2-1.5 GHz
> Aluminum metal backing of the original iPhone instead of the current glass surface back piece
> A teardrop design, like the new iPod Touch, with the top being thick and then tapering to a skinnier bottom
> An improved antenna (no more Antennagate, yay!)
> More RAM, possibly 1GB
> Bigger-edge-to-edge 3.7- to 4-inch curved glass screen (iPhone 4 has 3.5-inch screen)
> A SIM-less design
> 3-4 internal antennas for both GSM and CDMA networks
> 4G connectivity
> iOS 5, which will be true multitask capable and come with loads of new features such as News Stand, Reminders, Delta Updates and iMessage
> Improved speech recognition features, and
> Wireless charging capability
> Better talktime and standy time
> Near Field Communication (NFC) technology
> Panoramic photo capabilities and 1080p Full HD videos
> Stronger gaming capabilities supported by multi-core A5 processor and Imagination Technologies' PowerVR Series6 mobile graphics processing architecture

If the features are true, then iPhone 5 will be a smartphone on steroids, a beast, compared to iPhone 4.

Is myTouch 4G Slide a good buy? Or should we save up on money and go for iPhone 5? Leave your comments below.