If you're planning an overseas trip this year, you should consider packing a cell phone with your passport. Not only can you stay in touch with the folks back home, but you can also check in with traveling companions and local friends. You'll need a world phone that supports the four GSM networks (850/900/1800/1900). Most T-Mobile and AT&T phones will be compatible, but Sprint and Verizon Wireless customers will need one of the few dual-mode CDMA/GSM handsets that each carrier offers.
Here we've listed a selection of our favorite phones that will support international networks. Some will come locked to AT&T or T-Mobile, which means you'll have to pay roaming charges when abroad, but others are unlocked. Ideally, unlocked phones are your best options since you'll be able to use a prepaid SIM card from a local carrier. To that end, we've even included an unlocked model that accommodates two SIM cards. You'll also want to consider a 3G phone that is compatible with networks in North America and overseas. For more on world phones, check out CNET's Quick guide to world phones.
It doesn't have all the features we'd like, but the Nexus One greatly enhances the Google Android family with a fast processor, good call quality, and improved voice control features. What's more, we love that all versions of the phone will be unlocked.
The iPhone 3GS doesn't make the same grand leap that the iPhone 3G made from the first-generation model, but the latest Apple handset is still a compelling upgrade for some users. The iPhone 3GS is faster and we appreciate the new features and extended battery life, but call quality and 3G reception still need improvement.
Photo by: Corinne Schulze/CNET
/ Caption by:Kent German