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Bells and whistles boost cell phone technology

It’s hard to imagine daily life without the invention of cellular phones; people have become totally dependent on them. In the past five years, cell phones have evolved from simple means of communication to cornerstones of modern society, serving as a phone, camera, video camera and a source of entertainment with many of today’s biggest hits pulling double duty as someone else’s ring tone. Much like computers, cell phones are constantly outdated, with what’s hot one moment becoming obsolete the next. This is a guide to some of the most sought-after phones.

Motorola V330 (T-Mobile)

Pros: The Motorola V330 offers clear calling on one of the largest nationwide networks, but the surprisingly sturdy phone also features a camera and speakerphone. Unlike the majority of companies, T-Mobile offers only one-year contracts, which benefits the fickle-minded who see a two-year commitment as a bit too long. The V330 model improves upon the V300 by offering bluetooth capabilities that begin with a wireless earpiece.

Cons: Straying away from the pack, T-Mobile doesn’t directly deal with insurance claims, meaning that a lost phone requires a police report, original date of purchase and a bunch of other unnecessary information. This process becomes frustrating while the middleman (insurance company) continually asks you questions your wireless provider already knows the answers to. And waiting seven to 10 days is an excruciating time to spend without a phone.

Motorola V265 (Verizon)

Pros: Buying the V265 model places you in what is arguably the strongest network in the country, Verizon. The baseline model offers a built-in camera and wireless capabilities. The greatest selling point is the college-budget price tag. Verizon is well known for supplying superior service, and this model is no exception, offering clear sound and durable construction. This is a phone for seasons.

Cons: This phone has two major strikes against it: The battery life is only a mere two hours of talk time, and with Verizon, the consumer is forced into a two-year contract or must pay a higher price for a shorter contract.

Sony Ericsson S710 (Cingular)

Pros: A phone that has it all is the S710. The Sony Ericsson is an MP3 player, camera and video camera with optional memory card slot. Cingular recently merged with AT&T Wireless to form one of the clearest, biggest networks. With S710, size is not a problem, as all the features come bundled in an ultra-small package.

Cons: With discounts and a two-year commitment, the phone still costs a staggering $199. While the price is not a complete deterrent, it is a lot to handle on a college budget.