The average tax refund for 2008 was about $2,500 and with the shape the economy is in here in 2009 it may be a good idea to spend some or all of that to give the economy a bit of a boost. It is also important during this time to stay in touch with family and friends to provide support and communication. What better way to stay in touch via voice or text than with a new mobile phone. So as you consider spending that money on a new mobile phone, I wanted to give you five suggestions to consider.
Since there are four major wireless carriers in the U.S. (Alltel is now part of Verizon) I will give you my top recommendation from each carrier and one SIM-unlocked device to consider.
There are very few mobile phones priced at $2,500 so you will have plenty left to save and use to pay the monthly fees, buy some accessories (cases or microSD cards) or software, buy something else, or save for a rainy day.
Price: $199 for 8GB after 2-year contract and $299 for the 16GB models
[Read the review (16GB black)] [(16GB white)] [(8GB black)]
T-Mobile: RIM BlackBerry Curve 8900my review) and RIM BlackBerry Curve 8900. I think the G1 is a good device, but is still a "beta" and don't recommend it for all people in its current configuration. The T-Mobile RIM BlackBerry Curve 8900 is a fantastic choice and one of the BEST mobile phones available today. It gives you an updated and very functional keyboard, amazing high resolution display, great connectivity (WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS), and decent mobile camera. The only thing missing from the new Curve 8900 is a 3G wireless radio, but T-Mobile is still rolling out 3G and coverage is quite limited at this time.
Price: $199.99 with a minimum data plan and 2-year contract
[Read the review] [Check out my hands-on impressions of the Curve 8900] [Check out our image gallery]Palm Pre device. We do not have any information on when it will actually be available though so let's recommend an available device for now. HTC is the main producer of Windows Mobile devices and has done an excellent job with the HTC Touch Pro. This device packs in 3G, WiFi, GPS, and Bluetooth to give you a complete experience with very little limitations. HTC adds TouchFLO 3D for a smooth user experience that is graphically pleasing. The slide-out QWERTY keyboard is one of the best on the market and lets you enter text with ease.
Access is provided to several Sprint services so you could use some of your money for things like Sprint TV or the Sprint Music Store. The Touch Pro is a solid offering that lets you get a lot done on the go.
Price: $299.99 after rebate, savings, and 2-year contract
[Read the review] [Check out my hands-on impressions of the Touch Pro] [Check out our image gallery]
Another good choice from Verizon is the Samsung OMNIA touch screen device running Windows Mobile Professional 6.1.
Price: $199.99 with a 2-year contract
I have yet to see a negative review of the Nokia E71, even from those who don't really like using the Symbian mobile OS. Nokia produced a device with the E71 that is low cost and highly functional and it will be a tough one to beat moving forward.
Price: As low as $340 with NO contract or rebate
[Read the review (gray)] [(white)] [Check out my full review]