Best in Show: Top 5 Mobiles

Noah Kravitz
 from Oakland, CA
Published: October 13, 2006

So many phones and only one SIM card, what's a mobile maven to do? Sort through the choices with my Top 5 list of phones currently available for use in the US.  Whether you're in the market for a music phone, camera phone, smartphone, or one that can do it all, you'll find it here.  Think I left something out? Drop me a line and set me straight for next time.

1. Nokia E70 - Unlocked GSM (US Version)
Once you get over the flip-phone-on-steroids form factor, this thing is amazing. Amazing. Wi-Fi, Qwerty Thumbboard, 2MP camera, Media Player, Symbian S60 OS, and the coolest Web browser ever installed on a phone.  What could be better?  How about a 352 x 416, 16 million color display?  Sold.

2. Sony Ericsson K790i - Unlocked GSM
Best-in-class 3.2 MP camera with a Xenon flash.  Walkman-class media player with 3.5mm headphone adapter.  Big, bright, crisp screen.  Sony UI.  If you like your multimedia and don't mind a candybar phone, this is the one for you.  At least until the W850i gets a 3MP camera.

3. Nokia E62 - Cingular GSM
The E62 edges out the Motorola Q in the battle of the ultra-thin smartphones, but only by a Wi-Fi enabled hair.  What the E62 gains with Wi-Fi and a comfy keyboard, it loses to the Q by omitting the camera and relying on GSM/EDGE instead of the zippier CDMA/EV-DO.  I happen to prefer Symbian to Windows Mobile 5, so the Nokia gets the final point to put it over the top.  Of course, the T-Mobile Dash might change all of that once it reaches retail outlets.

4. HTC Wizard / Cingular 8125 / T-Mobile MDA - GSM
This one's sort of a placeholder for the soon to be released Cingular 8525, the carrier's branded version of the just released HTC TyTN.  The Wizard/8125/MDA is a little dated at this point but still a solid choice if you're looking for a Pocket PC phone with WiFi, a QWERTY board, and a Touchscreen in a decently compact package.  The TyTN/8525/MDA Vario II (or whatever T-Mobile calls it) promises to address Wizard user's primary complaint - sluggishness - with a faster processor.  A lot of Windows Mobile users are anxiously waiting for the 8525 to hit Cingular stores.

5. Samsung SCH-A990 - Verizon CDMA
This one squeaks past the new Motorola K1 KRZR by virtue of its 3.2 MP camera, roomy swivel screen, and compatibility with Verizon's speedy EV-DO data network.  Verizon's insistence on crippling Bluetooth on its phones is annoying, but then again so was its decision to give the K1m a 1.3 MP camera (the unlocked GSM K1 has a 2 MP cam).  The SCH-A990 is still king of the hill when it comes to V-Cast on a non-smartphone.  It's not as sexy as the KRZR, but looks ain't everything.  Right?

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