Using your cell phone overseas can be a pain, what with poor reception and pricey roaming fees. We added international service plans to the following phones and tested them in Austria to see how they performed. Here are the results.
This Android phone has a 3.2-inch touchscreen, a 5-megapixel camera, and a great app selection. Calls on the AT&T phone sounded crisp, even in a remote village. One drawback: The phone did not connect to faster local 3G service. International roaming costs $1.29 a minute, and data plans start at $24.99 for 20 MB.
COST: $130 with a two-year contract
Nokia E73 Mode
This affordable T-Mobile phone has a 2.3-inch screen, a full keyboard, and a 5-megapixel camera. The phone connected to 3G service, and calls sounded clear, but it offers a limited number of apps and does not support touch. Overseas, expect to pay $1.29 a minute for calls, 35 cents per text, and $15 per MB for the Web and e-mail.
COST: $30 with a two-year contract
We liked the bright 4-inch touchscreen on this Android phone, which has a 5-megapixel camera and plenty of apps. But calls sounded scratchy and dropped out frequently during our test, even with the same AT&T service as the Aria. Like the Aria, the phone failed to connect to local 3G service for fast speeds.
COST: $200 with a two-year contract
BlackBerry Bold 9650
This Verizon phone has a full keyboard, a 2.4-inch screen, and a 3.2-megapixel camera. It performed poorly during our test, with frequent dropped calls and lackluster sound quality. Verizon's international roaming rates start at $1.29 a minute, texts cost 50 cents each, and unlimited e-mail is $65 a month.
COST: $150 with a two-year contract