Our picks for ... world phones

Cell-phone carriers have finally heard us: We want to take our phones with us, no matter where in the world we're headed.

LG CU500v
3 stars

3.7 oz.

$30 (with two-year contract/rebate)


PROS Yes, you read that right -- it's $30. But it's not cut-rate technology: AT&T's 3G GPRS network keeps both sound quality for calls and download speeds for data up to par. And the support for Bluetooth stereo is nice when you're armed with headphones and listening to Web-fed sound. Finally, unlike our other two finalists, the lightweight flip-phone fits comfortably in your pocket.

CONS The LG loses points on functionality. Instant-messaging is a chore on the numeric keypad, and you can only read e-mail -- not send it -- from Web-based services like Yahoo Mail or Gmail. The handset's case has a cheap, plastic feel.

BUY THIS ONE IF ... What matters most is voice communication -- and your monthly burn rate.

LG CU500v

RIM BlackBerry 8830

T-Mobile Wing
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