Cell phones are great for talking, sure. But they're also great for messaging -- especially text messaging, when you want to fire off a quick note to someone without having to make a phone call. But not all phones handle messaging the same way. Here's a list of today's best text messaging phones.
All of these phones include a full keyboard, which is a must-have if you're going to be doing a lot of typing. And none of them are full-fledged smartphones. Smartphones can handle texting, certainly, but not everyone needs all the features -- or the high price -- that typically comes with a smartphone.
You don't have to give up a touch screen to get the comfort of a full QWERTY keyboard: Samsung's Gravity T offers both. This messaging phone pairs a 2.8-inch touch screen with a slide-out keyboard for easy typing. It also offers 3G support, a 2-megapixel camera, and a full complement of messaging features. The Gravity T is available from T-Mobile.
2. Pantech Link
The Pantech Link packs a host of messaging features into its slim design. This phone features a full keyboard, a 2.4-inch screen, and a rubberized back for easy gripping. Feature-wise, the Link offers built-in instant messaging clients, stereo Bluetooth, and GPS. It also offers support for AT&T's cloud services, which allow you to store info and data (such as your contacts, photos, and more) online.
3. LG Banter Touch
LG's Banter Touch packs in plenty of features for messaging addicts, including a big (3-inch) touch screen for viewing messages and a 5-row QWERTY keyboard for composing them. It also features a full mobile browser, a music player, and a 2-megapixel camera. It's available from US Cellular.
4. Samsung Messager Touch
Like Samsung's Gravity T, the Messager Touch offers both a touch screen and a full hardware QWERTY keyboard. The Messager also features a 2-megapixel camera, a mobile browser, and a music player. It's available from Alltel Wireless and Cricket Wireless.
5. Samsung Freeform
Alltel Wireless says the Samsung Freeform is designed for "individuals and families on the go that text first, talk second." To that end, the Freeform features a roomy QWERTY keyboard for composing messages, plus support for stereo Bluetooth and a 1.3-megapixel camera.
6. Pantech Jest
Heavy texters and social networking addicts will appreciate the features found in the Pantech Jest. This affordable phone features a full QWERTY keyboard that slides out from below the 2.6-inch display. It also offers a 2-megapixel camera, a music player, and built-in social networking apps. The Pantech Jest is available from Verizon Wireless.
7. 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. 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 texting machine. It's available from Verizon Wireless.
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.
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.
10. LG Cosmos
The LG Cosmos is a basic, affordable messaging phone that will appeal to users who don't need a lot of bells and whistles, and don't want to pay for them. It features a simple sliding design and a roomy QWERTY keyboard for easy typing. The Cosmos also offers a 1.3-megapixel camera, GPS, and Bluetooth support. It's available from Verizon Wireless.