PC Magazine Rates Sidekick 3 Among Best for TEXTING
The Best Phones for Texting
Today's students don't e-mail as much as they text and IM. Here's a selection of cool cells that make messaging fun
Sascha Segan - PC Magazine
Aug. 17 -
Today's students don't e-mail as much as they text and IM. Just like with e-mail, texting goes best on a phone with a full QWERTY keyboard – one tap is always better than three. But where e-mail often demands the power of a smartphone, text-happy phones exist in a middle space between basic, voice only devices and the more expensive, highly configurable smartphones. So before heading back to school, it's good idea to consider a more messaging-friendly handset.
But first, a warning for parents. If you intend to buy your kid a text-happy phone, make sure to get an unlimited SMS add-on plan. Otherwise, your wallet could literally ignite.
Almost all phones can do SMS texting, whether to other cell-phones or to e-mail addresses. Instant messaging, on the other hand, isn't quite as universal – not only do you have to make sure your phone supports the IM service you prefer, you'll 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, it's 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. I'm 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 Sidelick's great IM client and push e-mail capabilities.
If you're 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 it's a real whiz at SMS, and supports AOL, MSN and Yahoo! instant messengers. This being Verizon, you'll have to pay a healthy sum for all of those features, though.
Once you get to college, organization becomes key. From classes to study sessions, and exam dates to parties. There's a lot keep track of. For this a smartphone really comes in handy. But hey, you're still relatively broke. The good news is, Amazon is selling the Palm Treo 650 for $49.99 after rebates – and Sprint's PDA data plans, at $15/month, are the least expensive of any major carrier. Since the Treo is a true smartphone, you have a choice of several IM clients/ The Treo can text, e-mail, play games and keep your complicated life in order; it's not the newest model, but it's a great buy.
Lets not forget the Helio Hero. Though it lacks a QWERTY keyboard, the phone sports a customized MySpace client. While you can hit MySpace on the Sidekick or Treo, it's not as quick or as slickly done as it is on the Hero. For teens who live their lives on this social-networking site, that will sell them on the chunky black phone, which also has a 2-megapixel camera to capture treasured or embarrassing moments.