Roam if you want to: around-the-world mobile phones

Summary:If you're a globe-trotter, you'll need a world phone to keep in touch from almost anywhere.

Global roaming: Triband and Quadband Mobile Phones
If you're a globe-trotter, you'll need a world phone to keep in touch from almost anywhere.

GSM is by far the most popular standard for mobile phones in the world. According to the GSM Association, there are over 1.3 billion GSM subscribers spanning across more than 200 countries.

However, various countries use different frequency bands for their mobile networks. There are four main flavours of GSM used around the world: 850, 900, 1800 and 1900. A tri-band phone can be used on three of these bands, whereas a quad-band phone can be used on all four. Quad-band phones are often referred to as "world phones".

Maximum connectivity comes at a price and quad-band phones usually sell at a premium price point. As such, manufacturers tend to save quad-band antennas for use on high-end smart phones (i.e. phones on which you can install additional applications). The Razr V3 is the only quad-band handset that's not a smart phone in this round-up.

Tri-band phone are generally less expensive than their world phone siblings. There are quite a few choices out there, so here are some of our top picks. Callers who have music on their mind should check out the MP3-playing Motorola E398 for or the feature-packed Sony Ericsson K700i. ZDNet Australia's Editor's Choice award-winning Samsung E800 has an interesting slide-up form factor, while the Symbian-based Nokia 7260 is a striking fashion phone.

Remember, you can run into trouble buying a mobile phone from overseas so read our tips if you are planning on purchasing one during your travels.

Tri-band mobile phones
Samsung D500 | Sony Ericsson K700i | Nokia 7260 | Motorola E398 | Samsung E800 | Nokia 3220

Samsung D500
Samsung D500
Samsung's latest slider phone, the D500, looks a lot like its sliding predecessor, but comes in a black case with a megapixel camera and an MP3 player. 
Read review
Rate this phone


Sony Ericsson K700i
Sony Ericsson K700i
Sony Ericsson's K700i is a stylish little phone with a top notch interface and a host of features to keep you entertained while staying connected. 
Read review
Rate this phone


Nokia 7260
Nokia 7260 
One of three handsets in Nokia's 'art deco' range, the 7260 has a striking design and a bevy of extras for the fashion-conscious. 
Read review
Rate this phone


Motorola E398
Motorola E398 
Motorola's music mobile combines a full-featured handset that will appeal to a wide range of users whether they're looking for fun, functionality or the perfect mixture of both. 
Read review
Rate this phone


Samsung E800
Samsung E800 
Samsung's sliding E800 combines a 65K-colour screen, VGA camera, and Java support into a cute little handset. 
Read review
Rate this phone


Nokia 3220
Nokia 3220
Nokia's 3220 makes its presence known with flashing LEDs and a cover that can 'write' messages in the air. 
Read review
Rate this phone


Quad-band mobile phones (aka "world phones")

HP iPAQ h6365 | Motorola V3 Razr | O2 Xda IIs | PalmOne Treo 650 | BlackBerry 7100v

HP iPAQ h6365
HP iPAQ Pocket PC h6365
If you need a smart phone as a business tool, the h6365 is a solid choice. On the other hand, if you're seeking a stylish gadget, you'd do better to look elsewhere. 
Read review
Rate this phone


Motorola V3 Razr
Motorola V3 Razr 
The graceful Motorola V3 is the thinnest clamshell to date and a stunningly crafted mobile for style-conscious individuals and professionals alike. 
Read review
Rate this phone


O2 Xda IIs
O2 Xda IIs 
O2's latest PDA/phone-hybrid, the Xda IIs, adds a slide keyboard, Wi-Fi, a quad-band antenna and improved battery life to its predecessor. 
Read review
Rate this phone


PalmOne Treo 650
PalmOne Treo 650 
PalmOne updates its winning Treo smart phone, improving the display, adding Bluetooth and quad-band GSM connectivity. 
Read review
Rate this phone


BlackBerry 7100v
BlackBerry 7100v 
Vodafone's BlackBerry 7100v is a fair mobile email device so long as you don't need to handle graphics, large spreadsheets or complex documents. 
Read review
Rate this phone

CNET.com.au's Jeremy Roche and CNET.com's Kent German contributed to this feature.

Topics: Mobility, Reviews

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.