If you're not willing to sign up to a monthly contract, you may expect to be saddled with a rubbish mobile phone that you'll want to keep hidden in your bag. But there are a few gems out there that aren't embarrassingly bad and won't leave you broke.
One such handset is the Sony Ericsson Z530i, which offers a good feature set considering its bargain price. It's an upgraded version of theand includes a 0.3-megapixel (VGA) camera, an MP3 player and an expandable Memory Stick Micro slot that can support up to 1GB. The phone also has tri-band, Bluetooth and infrared functionality.
We think the phone is good value for money, but as you'd expect for the price there are some downsides. The phone has only 28MB of built-in memory, so if you're planning to use the MP3 player functionality you'll need to buy a memory card -- a 1GB memory card will let you store over 200 songs. The phone also feels slightly like a toy and the keypad is a little awkward to use as it's overlaid with sequin-like keys.
The Z530i is currently available at the Carphone Warehouse for £80 on pay as you go with the Orange network. Expect a full review soon. -AL
Update: moreand a full review of the are now live in our Reviews channel.