What features do you look for in a mobile phone?
The biggest problem any potential mobile phone user faces is, surprisingly, choice. Gone are the days where phones the size of a brick ruled. Today, mobile phone makers have successfully combined technology and lifestyle needs in one tiny gadget.
Colour screens are pretty much standard now. Every now and then we see the odd monochrome screen on a display, such as the cute Panasonic GD50. However, more and more colour-screened handsets are hitting the market, and currently range from supporting a dismal 256 colours to an astonishing 260,000 colours (in the case of Sharp's GX30).
Battery life varies enormously between different phones. If you're an avid traveller, you'll need a phone that can go the distance. 3G (third generation) phones are notorious for short battery life but to combat this, backup batteries might be bundled with a phone plan -- such as for the NEC e616 from Hutchison's 3 service.
Until somebody builds a wireless dream device that is interoperable with everything, connectivity needs to be considered. Most phones now offer support for GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) networks. However, for direct connection with your PC or other devices, you might want to consider getting a handset with Bluetooth, infra-red or even a data cable. This allows you to easily transfer files, photos and synchronise elements such as Outlook calander and your contacts with a PC. Travellers should keep an eye out for a mobile phone that supports tri-band operation, for roaming to different network frequencies abroad, especially in the US.
A specification often overlooked is the amount of memory a mobile phone has. Whether it is to store hundreds of contacts or photographs, or to play your MP3 collection, you'll need a phone to keep up with your needs. Increasingly, phones supporting external memory cards, like the Siemens SX1, are becoming available.
If integrated e-mail is what you are after then you might want to consider a BlackBerry-compatible mobile phone, such as the Nokia 6820. Until recently, Telstra held an exclusive agreement to delivery BlackBerry wireless solutions to its customers. However, now that the deal has ended, other carriers such as Optus and Vodafone have announced plans to sell BlackBerry devices.
For PDA-like functionality, users should keep an eye out for smart phones. Microsoft Windows users will find a familiar interface on the Motorola MPx200 handset, which is powered by Windows Smartphone Edition. Sony Ericsson has recently upgraded its popular Symbian smart phone, the P800, to the P900.
Finally, some people simply admire style over substance and mobile phone manufacturers have many offerings in the fashion phone category. Panasonic's GD50 is the ultimate phone for night clubbers, the Nokia 7200 encompasses textile covers with an almost Louis Vuitton style, and the sleek LG 7100 boasts more flexibility than Nadia Comaneci.
Swivelling screens might be alluring but will LG Electronics have to twist your arm to persuade you to buy this mobile phone?
Heavyweights Motorola and Microsoft unite to produce the MPx200; a sleek, all-black clamshell smart phone.
Like a centre player on a basketball court, the 313's length makes it stand high above the rest. Does this combination from NEC and 3 score well with us?
A high-end handset from 3, the NEC e616 is capable of making video calls, sending video messages, downloading music/games and playing multimedia files.
This is a beautifully simple looking phone cleverly disguising a rich feature set.
This high-end mobile can be used for TV watching, taking photos, recording video, and Internet browsing
It's a Nokia phone that spreads open and gives the users the option to use "always on" access to e-mails. But is it as practical as they say it is?
Nokia has long dominated the mobile phone market yet strangely enough the Finnish manufacturer has never dabbled in creating clamshell phones. That is, until the 7200.
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The Japanese electronics maker mixes with Ministry of Sound to tweak the tiny G50; a mobile phone for clubbers and the fashion-conscious.
|Panasonic GD55 |
Miniature in size and light on the features, this great value handset will appeal to a young market segment.
It may seem like just the successor of the GD88, but the Panasonic X70 has its own features that will earn its own fan club.
Sharp's latest handset offers one megapixel photography, but only Vodafone Live users need apply.
Siemens mixes business with pleasure with the SX1 -- a smart phone which isn't just a pretty face.
Ericsson P900 |
Sony's update to the P800 is smaller, slicker and a solid challenge to every other smart phone out there.
ZDNet Australia's Scott Jeffery, Alex Kidman, Kristyn Maslog-Levis, Jeremy Roche, Lisa Simmons and ZDNet US's Joni Blecher contributed to this report.
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