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By Charles Hopkins Published 05/7/2006 | Science and Technology

Buying a mobile phone? Youre probably sure you dont need any advice, because the market is flooded with makes and models of all colors, shapes and sizes. However, we think it is precisely for that reason that you need our expert help! Think about it you may know how to buy a mobile phone, but do you know how to buy the hottest mobile phone? And dont tell us you dont want the hottest mobile phone around, because you do.

The first hurdle to cross when you buy a mobile phone is that there are simply so many to choose from including the basic models to the very advanced ones. However, you should concentrate on three things: design, features and performance. Of these three, we would put features first because, after all, you will buy a mobile phone for what it can do. The idea is to find a model that does everything you want it to do, as well as looks great and performs those tasks well. In all these areas, online research can be a great help. Not only will it give you an idea of the various available models that incorporate the features you are looking for, but also tell you about comparative prices, designs, and discount schemes if any offered by cellular network providers.

As for design, you will have to choose between flat phones and ones with sliding covers, ultra slim phones and regular sized ones, and those with raised keypads and embossed ones, to give you just a few examples. So unless you know exactly what you want, the going will be tough.

It doesnt help that the features on any given mobile phone model keep changing almost every month. Take such features as Internet access and camera. Who would have thought, even two years ago, that you could check your email on the move without logging on to a computer, or take high-quality photographs without even going near a conventional camera?

Given the wide range of features on a mobile phone, it would be easy to go overboard and select a model that is too advanced for your requirements. Remember, not all advanced mobile phones are particularly user-friendly, and neither are they cheap. Does it make sense for you to buy a phone that you will use only partially, after having paid a considerable amount of money for it? We dont think so.

So before you rush to buy your model, take these factors into consideration. Ask your friends and family about the mobile phones they are using and whether they are satisfied with it. Given the fact that mobile phones today are must have devices both for the purpose of entertainment and communication, you must give your purchase a lot of thought.

Before we wind up, we thought wed list five of the hottest mobile phone models for your convenience. Please note that we are not promoting any brands here, but we are trying to give you an idea of the features that work best for the average user:

Samsung D500: This model features a stylish soft touch slide-open design and is Samsungs first Bluetooth handset; it also includes a 1.3-mega-pixel camera with integrated flash. Whats more, you can record up to one hour of continuous video because the D500 has 80MB of internal memory. Plus, theres a music player (MP3/AAC), MMS and integrated speakerphone.

Motorola V3: True to Motorolas design mantra, the V3 is one of the slimmest and most compact phones around, measuring just 14 mm from front to back. It comes with an integrated VGA camera and video playback facility, Java, Bluetooth wireless technology and polyphonic speaker with an MP3 ringer. Also included are a keypad illumination panel, nickel-plated keypad, 65K color screen and MMS.

Nokia 6680: The design integrates a rear-facing 1.3-megapixel camera, a front facing VGA camera and a 262K-color display. High-resolution images can be printed using Bluetooth and the 6680s XpressPrint software. The 6680 also features two-way video calling and video sharing, E-mail client with attachment support, enhanced GPRS and Real Player multimedia player.

LG U8330: Ultra small and stylish, the 8330 integrates a rotating VGA camera and color display. The U8330 also features Java, Windows Media Player and an e-mail client.

Sony Ericsson W800i: The Sony Ericsson W800i is compact and stylish, and specially designed for the music lover. The W800i features a one-touch hotkey to access its music player Disc2Phone PC software to rip CDs quickly, an RDS FM Radio, 262K TFT color display, Bluetooth compatibility and a 2.0-megapixel camera.

So now you have an idea, happy hunting for the hottest mobile phone!