The champagne of deluxe cell phones
Sure, the point of cell phones is to make calls, but sometimes you want them to do more. If you're looking for a high-end cell phone, your most logical choice would be a smart phone. But smart phones--anything that works on a Palm, Symbian or Windows Mobile operating system--can be big, bulky and pricey. And more to the point, you may be more interested in fun features than in all that work functionality. Yet there are regular cell phones that can do quite a bit beyond making calls, without breaking the bank. Verizon, in particular, has been on a high-end roll lately with several flashy models. These phones roll impressive features, such as solid 3G multimedia and a 3-plus-megapixel camera, into sexy, updated designs.
1. LG VX8300
Editors' rating: 8.0
The good: The LG VX8300 has an attractive design, solid audio and video quality, and a full range of high-end features.
The bad: The LG VX8300's Bluetooth feature does not support file transfers.
The bottom line: The LG V8300 is a well-designed and high-performing EV-DO phone for Verizon Wireless.
2. Samsung SCH-A990
Editors' rating: 7.6
The good: The Samsung SCH-A990 boasts a 3.2-megapixel camera with autofocus and video-recording capabilities. The EV-DO handset also supports Verizon's 3G services, has integrated Bluetooth, a swivel screen, a speakerphone and good call quality.
The bad: The pricey Samsung SCH-A990 is occasionally sluggish when using the multimedia features, and it's tripped up by some Bluetooth and music restrictions. Also, we wish Verizon would include more accessories with the phone.
The bottom line: Despite a couple of design glitches and restrictions, the Samsung SCH-A990 is a high-end multimedia phone that boasts a sharp, 3.2-megapixel camera and good call quality.
3. Motorola Razr V3m
Editors' rating: 7.3
The good: The Motorola Razr V3m adds an integrated music player, VZ Navigator (Verizon's GPS navigation service) and a Micro SD card slot. Like the V3c, it has a 1.3-megapixel camera, Bluetooth, a speakerphone, EV-DO support and access to Verizon's 3G service.
The bad: The Motorola Razr V3m suffers from poor speakerphone quality, a low-resolution display and no analog roaming. You also have to remove the battery to access the Micro SD card, which is a bit of a pain.
The bottom line: The Motorola Razr V3m is the same as the Razr V3c in many ways, except for the addition of the music player, the Micro SD card slot and support for VZ Navigator.
4. Samsung SGH-D807
Editors' rating: 7.6
The good: The Samsung SGH-D807 is a beautifully designed world phone, with a great user interface to boot. It also features a 1.3-megapixel camera, a Micro SD card, Bluetooth, mobile e-mail and a speakerphone. Performance is great, and photo quality is decent enough.
The bad: The Samsung SGH-D807 has slippery navigation controls that are a bit too flush to the surface. Plus, the camera has no flash.
The bottom line: The Samsung SGH-D807 is a slim slider that should appeal to fashionistas and gadget geeks alike. Its sleek design and ample features are hampered only by its slippery navigation keys.
5. Sony Ericsson K790a
Editors' rating: 8.3
The good: The Sony Ericsson K790a offers solid features, superior photo quality and excellent performance in a sharp, eye-catching package.
The bad: The Sony Ericsson K790a lacks world phone support. Also call volume was a tad low, and the navigation controls were squashed together.
The bottom line: With an amazing selection of features and great performance, the Sony Ericsson K790a is the best camera phone we've seen to date.