Mark Harris
GIFT GUIDE : MOBILE PHONES - The Independent, 11 December 2004

Ding dong merrily on high, the mobile phones are ringing. Bring your nearest and dearest closer still with the latest in mobile technology. By Mark Harris

Nokia 9500 Communicator
Squeezing a Qwerty keyboard into a phone is never going to make for easy typing, but the latest Communicator is just large enough for use by fully grown adults. Get under its skin and there are some amazing features here, such as Wi-Fi connectivity for web browsing, Microsoft Office-compatible business applications, a built-in VGA camera and high-speed EDGE data transfer. It comes with 80Mb of memory for storing files or snaps, and you can expand that further with a Multimedia Memory Card.
How much? From £200 with contract; £550 SIM-free
Where: Stockist details from ; 08700 555 777

Motorola E1000
If you thought ringtones were annoying, just wait until everyone is using the Push-To-Talk (PTT) technology found on this 3G handset. PTT allows groups of friends to turn their phones into walkie-talkies, pressing a single button to talk directly from each other’s speakerphones, without anyone having to answer. The E1000’s built-in speakers have been designed to play MP3 tunes, which can be stored on tiny new Transflash memory cards. The entertainment-focused E1000 also has a 1.2 megapixel camera offering video capture and playback.
How much? From free with contract
Where: Stockist details from ; 08707 330 333

Motorola Razr V3
Experts may rave about its Bluetooth connection, quad-band technology and MPEG4 video clip playback but there’s really one reason to buy the clamshell V3 – and you’re looking at it. The super-chic, super-thin(14mm) handset is finished in tough anodised aluminium and unfolds to reveal a large screen and touch-sensitive metal keys. There isn’t another phone out there that looks this good and still handles well, with thoughtful extras such as voice-operated dialling and an external screen to show the number (or even an image) of who’s calling.
How much? From £100 with contract; £450 SIM-free
Where: Stockist details from ; 08000 151151

NEC e616v
Now’s a great time to upgrade to a 3G phone. You get the flexibility of being able to make videocalls and download multimedia clips, while the networks are heavily subsidising handsets to build their market share. For sheer value, nothing beats this chunky clamshell from 3. It has a camera with a built-in light, Bluetooth for hands-free use and even AGPS navigation technology for location-based services. If you’re lost, you can download local maps or find your nearest bank or restaurant.
How much? From free with contract; £45 pay as you go
Where: Stockist details from ; 08707 330 333

Jabra BT800
You’ve got two choices when it comes to hands-free headsets for your mobile phone. You can either look like a TV interviewer with a clip-on tie microphone or like a character from Star Trek with a wireless Bluetooth model. Bluetooth headsets don’t come much more futuristic than the BT800, with its digital signal processing to improve audibility and a choice of ringtones or vibration alert. It has a blue backlit LED display to let you know who’s calling and weighs just 25 grams. Like most Bluetooth headsets, battery life isn’t great – just 6 hours talk time - but at least it uses rechargeables.
How much? £90
Where: Stockist details from ; 0800 032 7026

There’s little point in buying a traditional PDA when smartphones like the XDA IIs can match almost everything they can do and make calls besides. Based on an Intel 400MHz chip and running Windows Mobile software, the XDA comes with Pocket versions of Outlook, Word and Excel, plus fax software and a built-in camera. You can control it either using the 3.5-inch colour touchscreen (via handwriting recognition) or get to grips with its fiddly slide-out keyboard. Like the Nokia Communicator, the XDA IIs has Wi-Fi functionality for wireless web surfing, Bluetooth and will even play MP3 files.
How much? From £250 with contract; £600 SIM-free
Where: Stockist details from ; 0870 225 7879

Siemens SL55
The original sliding phone might not be the newest handset around but at last its price has dropped to match its dimensions. Measuring just 8cm and weighing 79 grams, the SL55 nevertheless packs in useful features such as a colour screen, Java games and MMS messaging (although a camera is a £40 optional extra). Its modest talk time of around three hours won’t suit everyone but if you need a great value, pocket-friendly mobile, look no further.
How much? From free with contract; £125 SIM-free
Where: Stockist details from

Sony Ericsson V800
Vodafone has chosen the stylish V800 to launch its 3G service in the UK. With more expensive tariffs and 20% less coverage than the established 3 network, Vodafone is relying on sexy handsets to win new customers – and the V800 seems to be doing the job. It has a rotating 1.3 megapixel camera complete with flash for night-time shots, a slinky clamshell design and a 2.2-inch screen capable of showing 262,000 colours. Vodafone’s impressive Live! 3G services include the usual football and movie trailer video clips, plus 3D games, ringtones, news and even a music store (although tracks cost a hefty £1.50 each).
How much? From £50 with contract; £500 SIM-free
Where: Stockist details from

BlackBerry 7290
BlackBerry handsets have carved a niche audience among e-mail junkies, who love the way that messages are instantly ‘pushed’ to the handset instead of you having to log on and collect them. This newest upgrade has support for Bluetooth headsets, quad-band technology for wider overseas use, a better keyboard and more memory. If you’re a fan of the BlackBerry’s e-mail system but aren’t so keen on its miniscule keyboard and awkward use as a phone, you might be interested to know that it will soon be available on a number of other products from O2, including the XDA IIs smartphone.
How much? From £50 with contract; £400 SIM-free
Where: Stockist details from ; 0800 781 0202

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