Holiday gift guide 2006: On a shopping spree
This holiday season we could not help but put together some insights on choosing the best mobile phone to keep you close to technology during the winter months. Christmas is about giving, so whether you are planning to make a "mobile" gift to someone or just help yourself with that all-in-one walkie-talkie, we are here to guide you in this year's top picks.
As a rule of thumb expensive doesn't necessarily mean better so choose carefully according to your needs. No matter what gift budget you have prepared to spend this year, feel free to browse all the categories we have prepared and have a look around your local shops - they might just have the deal for you at a special holiday price.
Bear in mind though, that if you plan on buying your mobile device from an online shop, you need to act quickly since shipping is always problematic around big holidays and you might end up with a post-Christmas present in your hands.
Of course, all these categories are purely theoretical since nowadays mobile phones are more and more universal multimedia devices. Don't be stomped by technology, if you are not exactly the tech buff type of person. But again, if you are not at least interested in it, we doubt you would be reading this guide anyway. You won't find plain mobiles here - you can see plenty of them at your local mobile phones dealer and you would most probably be able to get some vanilla type of cell phone for free. It's not what this guide is about.
So if you are interested in anything more than that jump right up to our first category.
A snapshot is worth more than million words
It's of course, cameraphones - a real market hit this year. A regular shutterbug probably owns a personal digital camera anyway, but having one in your mobile is far more fun - plus it's always by your side.
Digital cameraphones made a huge leap this year and having a simple camera with VGA resolution (640x480) simply doesn't cut the mustard these days. A megapixel is not enough either and this year we are seeing mobile phones with cameras capable of capturing pictures at the whopping 5 megapixels. So starting our multi megapixel gift choices for this year's holiday season we have to mention Sony Ericsson K510 ($128*) first. That little baby managed to impress us with the quality of its 1.3 megapixel camera and you can buy it for cheap.
Of course the pixel count is not everything about digital photography and auto focus is a magic word that is sometimes the difference between make or break in amateur photography. So here again, we present you the all-time champion of the 2 megapixel class - Sony Ericsson K750 ($196*). It's been on the market for some time now and its price have been falling slowly but steadily. So now you can have it right on time for the holidays at a great bargain.
There is something about those Sony Ericsson handsets that just keeps getting them in the top 5 cameraphones chart. Maybe it's the "Sony" part in their name, who knows… Our next contender for your gift buying urge is the Sony Ericsson K800 ($349*) which is a great example for incorporating pure camera technology in a mobile phone. We are talking about its integrated xenon flash which would always come in handy when shooting indoors. Add the 3.2 megapixel lens and the present-of-the-year prize is yours for the taking.
When talking about digital cameras, there is always that magical word - video. Well the bad news is that mobile phones have not improved much in that field. Most of them, including the popular K800, still capture video at the ancient QCIF (176 x 144 pixels) resolution at the appalling 15 frames per second. Let us tell you, if you are into video, 25 fps is the absolute minimum for a satisfactory result. There is one mobile phone though that managed to impress all with its video capturing capabilities and that is the Nokia N93 ($639*). It's a digital camcorder and a Symbian smartphone all in one. And it can shoot video with VGA resolution at 30 fps. Not to mention that it comes with a Carl-Zeiss optics with a 3x optical zoom lens. That's more than enough to keep your family get-togethers stored in your sweet memories collection. Unfortunately, it doesn't perform that good in the still pictures department. And… there is a price to pay for that camcording pleasure - a hefty price tag plus a bulky body of huge proportions. Those two reasons alone, provided for the fact that this Nokia model is not such a market success, but more of a technology showcase.
Cameraphone: Sony Ericsson K800
Also to consider
There is more to choose from of course. There are two more excellent cameraphone solutions - each with a 3.2 megapixel camera and auto focus in their bags. The Samsung D900 ($339*) is an extremely slim slider and in this form factor it's probably the winner when it comes to picture quality. But it costs more than even Sony Ericsson K800. The second one is one great smartphone from Nokia with one great camera - it's the Nokia N73 ($449*). It's certainly the best cameraphone among Nokia smartphones but you have got to bear in mind that it doesn't come cheap.
* All prices are taken from Plemix.com. Your local street prices might differ. All prices valid at the time of publishing.
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