It's difficult to make an accurate general assessment on something so, well, large as a cellular network -- even one rolled out in just a few cities -- but PC Mag put Cingular's newly minted Broadband Connect HSDPA network through the paces out East against its two competitors (Verizon's and Sprint's respective EV-DO networks) and found it to be, ehh, alright (3/5 stars, to be exact). HSDPA's simultaneous voice and data channels open up some attractive applications (like smoother videoconferencing, for one), as well does its 384Kbps (max) upload speed, but the Mag wasn't too stoked on Cingular's real-world average of 584Kbps downstream and 128Kbps upstream cap (which is still about that of EV-DO), as well as its still spotty coverage and service. What's the cure for the condition? Well, let's just say we'd agree with their general assessment of the problem; the network just won't always be as bad, Cingular just happens to be in the early stages of commercial rollout. Check back in 6 months, a year, two years, and we'll assuredly see almost a completely different service.

[Thanks, Dave]

The week in Engadget: January 22 - 28