3G Mobile Phones


Handsets

Most mobile phone companies have a range of handsets to suit different users and different budgets. Choices include Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Motorola, Samsung, LG and Palm. The phones can be purchased outright or with a plan from a particular carrier. To make the most of the 3G content on offer, it's important to put some time into researching particular handsets and their features. For example, a good size screen with at least 260K colours and resolution of at least 240x320 pixels will make the most of video calls and music clips.

3G

A phone with sufficient memory and a storage card slot is necessary to maximise the amount of data and multimedia content that can be stored and played back. Consider 16MB of onboard memory a minimum with a card slot that is expandable up to at least 1GB. And, of course, a camera, preferably at least 2-megapixel, is a worthwhile inclusion for multimedia messaging with photos and video. It's also important that the 3G handset play back music in a range of formats, such as MP3, AMR and AAC. The keyboard is also vital with all the messaging and browsing, so select a phone with multi-press alphanumerical keyboard that's big enough for two-finger operation for speed and ease of input.

If wireless connectivity is important, look out for Bluetooth compatible models (most new handsets are) for hands-free dialling and wireless headsets. Battery life should start at no less than three hours talk time. The cost of a 3G phone will range from about $299 for a basic model to $1399 for a smartphone model with maximum storage capacity and features.

3G Data Cards

3G mobile data cards provide online access for notebooks. They allow users to freely access e-mail, the Internet and business applications without searching for landline connections or wireless hotspots. These data cards slide into a notebook's PC or ExpressCard slot and use the 3G network to connect, The coverage of a 3G card is only as good as its network. Telstra, 3, Vodafone and Optus all offer 3G data cards in Australia, with different plans depending on usage patterns and download limits.

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