I have very few fond memories of back to school time. Those few weeks leading up to the first day of school were always filled with dread, school supply shopping, more dread, and more school supply shopping. However, there are a few good things to look forward to. New clothes perhaps. Parents look forward to tax free shopping. There are usually some back to school sales for mobile phones as well. So which one should you get? Here's a run down of the top phones from five categories: camera phones, fashion phones, music phones, messaging phones and touchscreen phones. We've chosen the top phone and one alternative (just in case you happen to be on a different network than the one the chosen phone is on).

Note: This list only includes phones that are available from the four major U.S. carriers: AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon. Therefore, while the Sony Ericsson Satio, for example, may be a better music phone, it will not be listed since it currently is not available from one of those networks. Also, for the sake of keeping it "back-to-school" oriented, this list does not include smartphones.

Top Camera Phone

LG VU Plus

LG Vu Plus (AT&T)

  • Why: The Vu Plus has a 3 MP camera with a flash (how many times do you see that on a featurephone?) as well as zoom and video capture. In testing, pictures and videos were clear, crisp, and colors showed up very well.
  • Downside: Price, poor battery life, phone is a little slow
  • Price: $149.99 with a new 2-year contract
  • Alternative: LG enV Touch (Verizon)

LG VU Plus Product Hub »

 

Top Fashion Phone

Nokia Twist (Verizon)

Nokia Twist (Verizon)

  • Why: First, just look at the phone. Need I say more? It's cute, it's different, and it even has a mirror on the back! All that and a great QWERTY keyboard - you can't go wrong!
  • Downside: Poor battery life
  • Price: $49.99 with a new 2-year contract
  • Alternative: LG Lotus Elite (Sprint)

Nokia Twist Product Hub »

 

Top Music Phone

LG Chocolate Touch (Verizon)

LG Chocolate Touch (Verizon)

  • Why: The Chocolate Touch was pretty much made for listening to music. It features Dolby Mobile for excellent sound quality and bass. It also has an FM Tuner, manual EQ, and some pretty fun features within the native music player.
  • Downside: Build-quality issues
  • Price: $79.99 with a new 2-year contract

LG Chocolate Touch Product Hub »

 

Top Messaging Phone

LG Rumor Touch

LG Rumor Touch (Sprint)

  • Why: The Rumor line of phones have always been a favorite in the messaging department. The Rumor Touch adds a touchscreen and some other fun UI features, plus it has one of the best QWERTY keyboards around. Are you a serious texter? Then this phone is for you.
  • Downside: UI may take some getting used to
  • Price: $49.99 with a new 2-year contract
  • Alternative LG enV Touch (Verizon)

LG Rumor Touch Product Hub »

 

Top Touchscreen Phone

LG Sentio

LG Sentio (T-Mobile)

  • Why: The Sentio is thin, sexy, and sturdy. Not only that but the homescreen features multiple widgets and the overall speed and performance is great. For those who don't need a physical keyboard or don't like the bulk that having one adds, the Sentio is perfect.
  • Downside: Virtual keyboard isn't the best, problems with the web browser
  • Price: $69.99 with a new 2-year contract
  • Alternative Samsung Mythic (AT&T)

LG Sentio Product Hub »


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