The new year started out with a flurry of handset announcements and releases at CES, 3GSM, and CTIA. While a bevy of cool new models are slated to hit the market later this Spring and Summer, there are some just released phones definitely worth your time and money. Here's my current Top 5 phones you can buy and use right now in the US:
1. LG VX8700 - Verizon CDMA
The US version of LG's Shine handset may not feature a full frontal mirror like its European counterpart, but that doesn't mean its lacking in style. This is the sexiest handset I've seen from a US carrier in awhile - the VX8700 feels solid in the hand without being heavy, and its brushed metal housing smacks of luxury. Add a 2.0 mp camera and stereo bluetooth, and you've got yourself a very chic multimedia device for Verizon's network.
2. HTC S710 "Vox" - Unlocked GSM
HTC's S710 presents an interesting compromise for users who want a true smartphone without the bulk. Running Windows Mobile 6 and featuring a slide-out QWERTY board, WiFi connectivity, and a 2.4" high-res display, the Vox brings full smartphone power to a device that masquerades as a traditional candybar with a front-mounted dialing layout. It'll be interesting to see if Vox catches on or if its compact layout simply isn't roomy enough for power users.
3. Nokia N95 - Unlocked GSM
Nokia's long anticipated flagship "multimedia computer" is here. The N95 scores big points for packing nearly everything but the kitchen sink into its dual-sliding candybar body: 5 megapixel Carl Zeiss camera, WiFi, GPS, audio/video player, high-resolution display. However, the Finnish phone maker's finest loses points due to poor battery life and a sky-high price tag ($750 USD retail) that will keep it out of all but the most diehard fans' hands.
4. Sony Ericsson w880i - Unlocked GSM
SE's new flaghship Walkman phone is slim, sleek, and silver (actually, a black version is also available). Packing a best-in-class music player with a 2mp camera into a 9.5mm thin stainless steel body, the w880i could usher in a new wave of chic handsets from Sony Ericsson. It's only too bad that the phone's 3G antenna doesn't work with America data networks.
5. RIM BlackBerry 8800 - Cingular GSM
The thinnest ever BlackBerry combine's the Pearl's silky smooth trackball with a full-sized QWERTY board, media player, and integrated GPS. The 8800 might not be the most exciting smartphone out there right now, but legions of BlackBerry devotees are no doubt pretty jazzed about it.