Phones remix

Is that a bigger Verizon in your pocket or are you happy to see me?
By MICHAEL JOHNSON  |  June 5, 2006

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The LG VX8100 (left) and the Samsung SCH-i730 (right)
With the popularity of PDA phones has come the realization that small often leads to lost. Cell phone manufacturers are slowly coming around to the notion that a little bulk isn’t bad, especially if it means there’s fewer things in your pockets. Perhaps with that in mind, Verizon Wireless has released two larger phones -- one aimed at kids and another for professionals.

The LG VX8100 is actually an average-sized flip-phone (3.58" by 1.92" by 1.03") that aims to replace your digital camera, mp3 player, and, in some instances, your laptop. A few weeks ago, Verizon launched V Cast, a partnership with Microsoft’s Windows Media Player that delivers music and video to your phone (and also competes with Cingular’s iTunes partnership). Paired up with the new VX8100, V Cast might just be enough to leave your iPod at home for a day. The only catch is that the phone’s built-in memory isn’t big enough -- though dropping $75 on a one-gig MiniSD card will pay off if you’re looking to load it up. The built-in stereo speakers are just good enough to annoy the person next to you; the mini headphone jack is recommended for extended usage.

As with most Web-enabled phones, it’s still tricky navigating the mobile web menus, but determined souls can get access to news and movie listings -- and, of course, onto thePhoenix.com for all that need-to-know stuff. The phone’s 1.3 megapixel camera will be just fine to document your drunken excursions through the city. It’s got lots of features for not much dough (it retails for a modest $120), and it’s simple enough for the average Joe.

The Samsung SCH-i730 is a PDA phone loaded with Windows Mobile and a slide-down WQERTY keypad. Loaded with built-in Wi-Fi, it can log onto any local wireless network for full web capabilities. It comes with Internet Explorer, ActiveSync (via an included USB dock), full Bluetooth 1.1 support, and even a spare battery for when you’ve been nerding it up too much. For all that firepower, though, you get the sense that production was a little rushed: you can use it to change the channel on your TV (via built in infrared), but not to take pictures? (Rumor has it that the next-generation model will rectify this omission by adding photo and video capturing.) The touch screen Windows-based OS makes the i730’s functionality more intuitive than most Web-enabled phones, but it’ll still take you years to figure out how to maximize its full potential. Then again, since you’re gonna pay in the neighborhood of $500 for the thing, you’re probably gonna be keeping it around for a while.
  Topics: Gadgets , Science and Technology, Technology, Audio and Video Devices,  More more >
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