Editors' note: For National Geographic's dual-SIM card international phone, check out our Duet D888 review.
It makes perfect sense that National Geographic would sell a themed cell phone for international travel, but we were a little surprised when the organization partnered again with Cellular Abroad to offer a domestic phone. Though the need for the former is very real, particularly when it is coupled with a prepaid service, the U.S. domestic market is a different story. With so many prepaid options already available, we wondered how National Geographic could differentiate itself from the crowd. A unique phone with cool National Geographic content could be a draw, but we were disappointed to see that the final product that we reviewed offers neither.
Of all the cell phones National Geographic could have picked for its domestic service, to our bewilderment it chose the Motorola Razr V3. Sure, the Razr remains a decent device even four and a half years after its original debut, but it's pretty much an antique in the gadget world. The camera is just VGA, extra features are few, and its entire design--while certainly trendsetting--is dated. Your other choice is the Motorola C139. It isn't a terrible phone either, but it's about a basic as a handset that you can get. While we understand that National Geographic is trying to appeal to budget-minded users who want a simple, affordable phone for basic communication, we still feel as if they could have picked more exciting handsets while keeping costs down. Alternatively, you can just get a National Geographic SIM card and use it in the GSM phone of your choice.