Zoomer Consumer: Gabfest

RIphone.jpgMULTI-MEDIA MAVEN. If you want your music collection on the go, coupled with episodes of your favourite television show, WiFi, games and a million other useful applications, you’ll need a phone that majors in entertainment. Technically, it’s a smartphone you’re looking for — one built to deliver the full multimedia experience. Apple’s iPhone is far and away the leader in this field. Its beautiful 3.5-inch widescreen touch display makes viewing photos and video a pleasure. With photo icons for each application, the learning curve is gentle. Even the touch-screen keyboard is forgiving, automatically correcting spelling mistakes. And expand your iPhone with tens of thousands applications at Apple’s online store. Our favourites include TimmyMe, which locates the nearest Tim Hortons using GPS; Lonely Planet’s Audio Phrasebooks; and the digital book reader filled with classics. Oh, and it also makes phone calls. LG’s Dare and HTC’s Magic are also worth checking out.

Nokia.jpgON THE GO.
If staying connected is vital for you — in your personal and work life — then upgrading from a starter to a smarter phone is a no-brainer. A smartphone reaches out to the wireless world with phone, Internet and email capabilities. With new models unveiled at every turn, it’s hard to keep track of the cream of the crop. Nokia’s E71 is a sleek stainless steel device perfect for all your business needs. The narrowest phone on the market with a full QWERTY keyboard allows you to balance between email, scan documents directly to the device, surf the Internet with ease and keep track of everything from flight alerts to calories burnt during your evening workout. Other options include the Palm Pre, which made a huge splash at this year’s International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and, of course — Obama’s choice — the ever-popular BlackBerry.

Pantech2.jpgSTART CELLING. If you’ve put off getting a cellphone — yes, some of you actually have — but are now contemplating dipping into the wireless world, a simple “no-frills” phone makes sense. Although you may not run up big minutes gabbing, think of it for emergency situations. If you’re driving solo, taking the bus or walking alone at night, being able to contact family, friends or emergency services at any instant is a great convenience — and possibly a lifesaver. In this case, Pantech’s A1406PT may be the right one for you. It has a large keypad, big display fonts and three quick-call keys for emergency purposes. LG’s Flare and Samsung’s Knack are other noteworthy options.