The Best Phones for Texting
By Sascha Segan
Review Roundup: Here's a selection of cool cells that make messaging fun
Almost all phones can do SMS texting, whether to other cell-phones or to e-mail addresses. Instant messaging, on the other hand, isnt quite as universal not only do you have to make sure your phone supports the IM service you prefer, youll probably need to rearrange your AOL buddy list because of an obnoxious bug/feature in most mobile AIM clients that limits them to displaying your "Mobile" category only. One way to get around this is to manually move your contacts into your AIM Mobile folder on the PC. Also remember that on many devices, IMs are charged as text messages so get that unlimited SMS plan!
The most basic text-centric phone is the Kyocera Switchback KX21
, available on the prepaid Virgin Mobile carrier. With its tween-friendly design and inability to run up a monthly bill, its a great introduction to the world of SMS and AIM for younger kids. Users of other IM systems will be left out in the cold, unfortunately.
For older teens, the Sidekick 3
has a subculture all its own. Im not all that thrilled with the new Sidekick I feel you might as well get a Sidekick 2 and save your money but the gadget has a coolness factor which teens seem to demand. Texting actually comes secondary to the Sidelicks great IM client and push e-mail capabilities.
If youre a Verizon family, the LG VX9800
now sold as "The V" is the best texting choice. Not only does it flip open to reveal a keyboard, it gets great reception, has a high-quality 1.3MP camera, and plays MP3s through some pretty powerful speakers. It may not handle e-mail that well, but its a real whiz at SMS, and supports AOL, MSN and Yahoo! instant messengers. This being Verizon, youll have to pay a healthy sum for all of those features, though.
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