Sure, we here at Gizmodo love cellphones that do all sorts of fancy things like play music and let you download and watch movies, but there are a lot of people out there who want a cellphone that just works. The Old Gray Lady that is the New York Times recently did a small investigation into the best cellphones that excel at one thing: function as phones. For the results of the investigation, explore the majesty that is the jump. There's also a totally sweet poll inside waiting for you!
The Times investigation begins with the wisdom that wireless carriers see no point in offering cellphones that just function as a phone, since there's no way to charge customers outrageous amounts of money for ring tones, cool wallpaper images and the like. Instead, they tack on features that many people would otherwise not use to shore up their bottom line.
The piece looks at Motorola C139 and Sony Ericsson Z300a from Cingular; the Motorola V195 from T-Mobile; the LG VX3400 from Verizon; the Samsung A420 from Sprint; and the Jitterbug (the what?). The Times liked the LG VX3400 the most, since its software was well thought out (no pressing down eight times just to text someone here) and the ringer is plenty loud. It looks like the Motorola C139 is the worst of the bunch, combining lame software (how many times do I have to hit down to see what time it is? kind of thing) and silly button placement. The middle button—"enter" or "select" on every other cellphone on Earth—is not what you expect it to be.
The surprise entry is the Jitterbug. It's an old folks' phone that, among other things, produces a dial tone when opened and has an intuitive voice-based menu system. Saying "Help, I've fallen and I can't get up" into a cellphone has never been easier!
See, simple cellphones do exist. It's just a matter of finding them and learning to live without EV-DO and wireless music stores.
Some Phones Are Just, Well, Phones [New York Times]