Picking a cell phone can be a daunting task. After all, today's phones come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, and offer a wide range of features...and prices. But don't worry: I can help.
If you're looking for a cell phone that's capable of making calls, browsing the Web, sending e-mail and text messages, you've come to the right place. This list comprises today's best cell phones -- devices that offer all of the basics you need, and then some.
Note: You won't find any full-fledged smartphones on this list; if you're interested in a smartphone, check out my list of today's best smartphones.
1. LG Octane
Verizon Wireless has a history of offering excellent LG cell phones, and the LG Octane is no exception. This phone features the flip-style design that works so well on phones like the LG enV3. When closed it looks like a standard cell phone, but flip it open on the side and you'll see a full QWERTY keyboard for easy typing. It also comes with a variety of social networking apps installed.
2. Pantech Crux
The Samsung Mythic offers a slim design and excellent multimedia features in a smartphone-like package designed for those who don't need a full-fledged smartphone. This touch-screen phone lets you customize its home screens and menus to your liking, and also offers Samsung's TouchWiz interface, which makes navigating the phone easy. TouchWiz gives you a row of widgets--icons that are shortcuts to certain phone features or applications-- on the left side of the screen, and you can customize the list with your favorites. All you have to do is tap an icon to access your favorite feature. It also offers support for AT&T's Mobile TV service.
4. LG Vu Plus
Just because you're away from home, that doesn't mean you have to be away from your TV. The LG Vu Plus can serve as a mobile television, as it offers support for AT&T's Mobile TV service. The phone features a 3-inch screen for watching shows, as well as a pull-out antenna for improving reception. Additional features include a 3-megapixel camera, GPS, and support for stereo Bluetooth.
Sony Ericsson bills the Aino as a "media and entertainment phone" and rightly so. This slick-looking device is designed to offer access to your music, photos, movies, and podcasts. To that end, it comes with access to Sony Ericsson's Media Go app, which allows you to transfer video and audio files from your PC to the phone over Wi-Fi. The Aino is sold unlocked.
The Pantech Pursuit combines fun and practicality in one compact package. Available in either green or blue, this slider-style phone features an eye-catching design, and combines it with useful features, including a 2.8-inch touch screen and a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. The Pursuit also features a shake control, which allows you to access certain functions by shaking the handset. It's available from AT&T.
Samsung's Gravity phone has been updated to version 3, which is now available from T-Mobile. Like earlier versions, the Gravity 3 features a slide-out keyboard that makes composing even lengthy messages a breeze. It includes support for text, picture, and video messaging, and also offers access to your favorite social networks for staying in touch.
8. LG enV3
LG's enV line of texting phones have always been popular messaging phones, and the enV3 is no exception. Like its predecessors, the enV3 features a compact, folding design: from the outside, it looks like your average cell phone. It's small and comfortable to hold during calls. But turn it sideways and flip it open, and you have a 3-inch display and a full QWERTY keyboard -- everything you need in a full-blown messaging machine. It's available from Verizon Wireless.
Like LG's original Lotus cell phone, the Lotus Elite features a unique square clamshell design. On the outside, you get a 2.4-inch screen and some basic controls; flip the phone open and you'll see the full QWERTY keyboard and the second 2.4-inch display. You also get a 2-megapixel camera and Sprint's One Click interface. The Lotus Elite is available in red and black from Sprint.