Some time ago, I received a call from my Dad. "I really need a new phone," he said, "but I don't need a smartphone, and every basic phone I've looked at is boring with no features. Is there another option that doesn't require a costly data plan?" When I stopped to think about it, he's spot on. Given the mass migration to smartphones and our newfound obsession with data, manufacturers have shifted to low-cost devices with few features and funky colors, assuming that kids and older individuals are the only people purchasing. The fact of the matter is there are people of all ages that like to text message and casually browse the web, but don't need a feature-packed smartphone (and an expensive monthly data plan, to boot).
To that end, I present to you my top five messaging phones for the masses. They're inexpensive, don't require costly data plans, and excel in the messaging and calling department.
1. Pantech Link (AT&T)
I love the Pantech Link because it's basic, but has a fantastic QWERTY keyboard in a form factor that doesn't involve twisting, spinning, or sliding. Plus, it looks professional, making it perfect for that person that wants a BlackBerry-esque device without the frills. The keyboard is fantastic and easy to type on, and battery life and signal strength were quite good. The Pantech Link is $9.99 with a new two-year agreement.
Read my full review here.
2. LG Cosmos (Verizon Wireless)
Featuring a roomy QWERTY keboard, and dedicated numeric keypad, the Cosmos is a great phone for those that want to avoid Verizon's new 3G featurephone data plan. Though it's 1X-only, it offers VZ Navigator and Mobile Web for the occasional surfer. The Cosmos is available for $19.99 at VerizonWireless.com.
3. Samsung Gravity 2 (T-Mobile)
Full QWERTY (and it even slides to the right!), numeric pad, and decent battery life make this device a good one to have if you're a T-Mobile customer. Available in Metallic Pumpkin and Deep Ocean, the Samsung Gravity 2 is $49.99 on T-Mobile's website.
4. Samsung Intensity (Verizon)
Shipping in black or red, the Samsung Intensity is free on Verizon's website. Like the Cosmos, the Intensity is a 1X-only device, though it also offers VZ Navigator, Mobile Web, Mobile E-Mail, and instant messaging. With a megapixel camera and nice QWERTY with a dedicated space bar/symbol row, the Intensity makes for a great night or weekend device when the daily e-mail grind is too much to bear.
5. Pantech Reveal (AT&T)
With a unique form factor, the Reveal's love/hate design is interesting enough to warrant a look. With a 1.3-megapixel camera, expanded numeric keypad, and a horizontally sliding QWERTY keyboard, it's also loaded to the gills with AT&T services. Pick it up in red or blue for $19.99 at att.com/wireless.
What do you think? Good list, or missing some great devices? Sock it to me in the comments!