Maybe you like the idea of using an amp and effects at the right times, but you also want to keep the classic sound for your traditional music or small-venue acoustic performances. The right mandolin for you is probably an acoustic-electric version. These instruments have the benefits of a straight electric, but perform like a full acoustic when you pull the plug. Acoustic-electric mandolins are available in the same styles as their unplugged cousins, so you'll still have your choice of roundback, A-style and F-style depending on the look and sound you like best.
Choosing an electric or acoustic-electric mandolin is a lot like picking out your first acoustic might have been: decide on your favorite wood and body style, and narrow it down from there. As long as you take your time and carefully consider all of your options, you'll be ready to take home a mandolin that will give you that feeling of anticipation every time you open the case and get ready to play.