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New Cell Phone Models Adapting to Reflect Users' Lifestyles
Posted: 02-Dec-2009 [Source: Consumer Reports]

[Consumer Reports takes a look at smart phones, and conventional phones. The opinion: they are becoming better, faster and more diverse. ]

Yonkers, NY -- Consumer Reports latest tests of 69 cell phones found that models are evolving to offer more sophisticated capabilities to meet consumers' more diverse needs and lifestyles. According to a recent Consumer Reports National Research Center survey of more than 13,500 online subscribers, the desire for advanced features was the main reason consumers bought a new phone.

"Less so than ever, there's no one phone, or even phone type to meet the needs of most people," said Paul Reynolds, electronics editor of Consumer Reports. "On the positive side, everyone should be able to find a phone that suits them among the myriad of models that hit the market this fall."

Best Cell Phones by Carrier

In Consumer Reports lab tests, all-conventional cell phones proved competent, with low-priced options offering a fine value. If price isn't paramount, consider the carrier's service rating as a differentiator. Consumer Reports found Verizon's top-rated LG enV Touch, $100, an impressive phone and multimedia device enhanced with touch-screen navigation and a QWERTY keyboard for easier e-mailing and texting. The LG VX8360, $40 is a very good, straightforward cell phone at a bargain price. If simplicity is a priority, the Samsung Jitterbug J, $147 is available through Verizon. On the plus side are large buttons, free directory assistance and a comfortable earpiece. Negatives include pricey service and a thick phone that lacks common features.

The Samsung Memoir, $200 tops T-Mobile as a recommended phone by Consumer Reports with a full-featured, high-resolution camera that produces images comparable with those of 8-megapixel point-and-shoot cameras. The Samsung Comeback, $130, is also a Consumer Reports recommended product for T-mobile, with a keypad that facilitates phoning and a 2.6-inch screen and keyboard to satisfy texters. Sprint-Nextel's Samsung Exclaim, $80 offers a good bargain and a dual-slider design that slides up to reveal a keypad for phone calls and slides right to reveal a keyboard for e-mail and text messaging.

While AT&T was among the lower-scoring for customer satisfaction in the survey, the LG Xenon, $150, Samsung Impression, $125, and Samsung Solstice, $100, offer large touch-screen displays and are compatible with AT&T's Video Share, which streams live, one-way video to a compatible phone. The Samsung Impression boasts the highest-megapixel camera of the recommended AT&T models.

Top Smart Phones by Carrier

Consumer Reports selected the best rated smart phone choices by carrier based on the categories of multimedia use, office-like tasks and compact. Verizon's HTC Touch Pro2, $200, scored the highest overall for frequent e-mailing and editing of Microsoft Office documents while the BlackBerry Storm 9530, $50, offered a lower-priced alternative with comparable features for office-like tasks is also part of Verizon's portfolio of smart phones.

The T-Mobile myTouch 3G, $150, is the best choice for multimedia use with intuitive navigation, easy access to main functions and direct downloading of music, games, applications and services. The 16GB Apple iPhone 3G S, $200 and the Apple iPhone 3G, $100, from AT&T also ranked highly for multimedia use, with the best MP3 player Consumer Reports has seen in a phone to date. In the compact category, Sprint-Nextel's Palm Pre, $150 is a good bet for multitaskers with the ability to link contacts, calendars and messaging.


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