Field Test: Musical cellphones

You don't have to spring for an iPhone to stuff a stocking with a cellphone that can carry a tune. Stores are filled with affordable mobile phones that have access to a growing library of digital music.

Sony Ericsson W580i
Sony Ericsson W580i
Available from: AT&T

Price: $299, unlocked

Pros: The latest in the Walkman line so popular in Europe. Good sound quality, even without a headset. Built-in FM radio and pedometer. Uses GSM protocol and is available in unlocked form, so it travels well abroad. Can be had for less (with a contract) from AT&T.

Cons: Texting is a challenge; the tiny keyboard wasn't designed for human-sized fingers.

Buy this one if ... You want a high-quality dedicated music phone but have a separate smartphone for text-heavy tasks.




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