The biggest problem any potential mobile phone user faces is, surprisingly, choice. Gone are the days where phones the size of a brick ruled. Today, mobile phone makers have successfully combined technology and lifestyle needs in one tiny gadget.
Colour screens are pretty much standard now. Every now and then we see the odd monochrome screen on a display, such as the cute Panasonic GD50. However, more and more colour-screened handsets are hitting the market, and currently range from supporting a dismal 256 colours to an astonishing 260,000 colours (in the case of Sharp's GX30).
Battery life varies enormously between different phones. If you're an avid traveller, you'll need a phone that can go the distance. 3G (third generation) phones are notorious for short battery life but to combat this, look out for packages that include a backup battery.
Until somebody builds a wireless dream device that is interoperable with everything, connectivity needs to be considered. Most phones now offer support for GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) networks. However, for a direct connection with your PC or other devices, you might want to consider getting a handset with Bluetooth, infra-red or even a data cable. This allows you to easily transfer files, photos and helps synchronise elements such as your Outlook calander and contacts with your PC. Travellers should keep an eye out for a mobile phone that supports tri-band operation, for roaming to different networks overseas.
A specification often overlooked is the amount of memory a mobile phone has. Whether it is to store hundreds of contacts, photographs, or your MP3 collection, you'll need a phone to keep up with your requirements. Increasingly, phones supporting external memory cards, like the Siemens SX1, are becoming available.
If integrated e-mail is what you are after then you might want to consider a BlackBerry-compatible mobile phone. Until recently, Telstra held an exclusive agreement to delivery BlackBerry wireless solutions to its customers. However, now that the deal has ended, other carriers such as Optus and Vodafone have announced plans to sell BlackBerry devices.
For PDA-like functionality, users should keep an eye out for smart phones. Microsoft Windows users will find a familiar interface on Windows Smartphone powered devices. Another popular smart phone operating system is Symbian, which Sony Ericsson use in their smart phones.
Finally, some people simply admire style over substance and mobile phone manufacturers have many offerings in the fashion phone category. The Nokia 7200 encompasses textile covers with an almost Louis Vuitton style, and the sleek LG 7100 boasts more flexibility than Nadia Comaneci.
Swivelling screens might be alluring but will LG Electronics have to twist your arm to persuade you to buy this mobile phone? Read our Australian review.
This is a beautifully simple looking phone cleverly disguising a rich feature set.
Nokia has long dominated the mobile phone market yet strangely enough the Finnish manufacturer has never dabbled in creating clamshell phones. That is, until the 7200. Read our Australian review.
|Nokia N-Gage QD
Nokia's upgraded its N-Gage portable gaming phone. We take a look in our Australian review.
Siemens mixes business with pleasure with the SX1 -- a smart phone which isn't just a pretty face. Read our Australian review.
Sharp's latest handset offers one megapixel photography, but only Vodafone Live users need apply. Read our Australian review.
CNET.com.au's Alex Kidman, Jeremy Roche and Lisa Simmons contributed to this feature.