another "what cell phone?" thread

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by savar, Jun 26, 2006.

  1. savar macrumors 68000

    savar

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2003
    Location:
    District of Columbia
    #1
    I'm looking for a new phone in the next week or two and totally lost what to get. I have Sprint right now and a Samsung VGA1000. My contract is expiring July 3 and I have promised myself never to pay Sprint another dime. So my question is two part: what phone? and what provider?

    Phone: Looking for speaker phone and bluetooth (for headset and syncing), 1MP camera would be nice. I like both the LG9800 and the various RAZRs. I know they're very different phones; I'm going to the store tomorrow to play around with both and figure out which I like better.

    One thing I really don't like about my current phone is there's no way to get pictures onto or off of it without paying $10/mo. for the sprint pictures service. I'm not willing to pay that much money to occasionally transfer a few low-res, grainy photos. So I would like a phone where I can copy pictures onto my computer directly. If I could do the same with music and make a song my ringtone that would be great too.

    Is this far-fetched? I know most companies lock down phones so much so that you're forced into paying the monthly fees for content. How safe is it to reflash a phone? Is it true that T-Mobile will let you unlock your phone after 90 days? Is that just as good as reflashing?

    I'd also like good syncing with address book if possible (pictures syncing with address book would be *great*). Don't care about iCal.

    QWERTY keyboard is good.

    Lastly, I don't use internet on my phone very often, but a few times a month I'd like to be able to lookup scores or the yellow pages. My current phone/service is dreadfully slow, so if there any phones which are particularly faster or services to avoid, please share your experiences.

    Provider: I live in No. Virginia, 30 min from DC. I know that Verizon works well at my apartment and at work, TMobile works okay. Don't know much about Cingular here. I'm leaning towards Verizon but really don't like how much they lock down the phones.

    I'd like a plan no more than $50 a month, I usually use around 300 anytime minutes, but sometimes spike up to 500 so a plan with rollover minutes would be cool. I send text messages every now and then (less than 20 a month, usually 5-10), so I don't want to pay for a text message bundle but I also don't want to pay outrageous text messaging fees.

    Any recommendations? I checked out howard forums but that place is so noisy it was hard to get a clear idea of what different providers/phones have to offer, so I'm hoping to get a clearer response here. Especially with respect to mac-compatibility.

    Thanks all--
     
  2. swindmill macrumors 6502a

    swindmill

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2005
    Location:
    KY
    #2
    I would look at Sony-Ericcson phones on their website, and then check ebay for an unlocked version. You would need to get service form either T-mobile or Cingular. SE phones integrate very well with Macs and with BT you should be able to send and recieve pictures and music from your phone. I use a K700i, which is a bit dated, but I can do all these things as well as use it as a remote for Front Row, iTunes and pretty much anything else I would want to use it for.
     
  3. zigmund555 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    #3
    I have the Motorola E815, Verizon service. I've had it for maybe 6 weeks.

    Bluetooth capable, syncs perfectly with iSync. You can move data (pics, movies, .mp3s) on and off using a miniSD card. You can get a 1 gig miniSD card from newegg for around $35, and a USB reader for $5-$10. Most phones you'd have to buy a kit that involves a CD and a custom USB cable to sync data back and forth.

    Otherwise you can text a pic to someone for $.25/message, or pay $10 monthly for 250 messages.

    The Razr v3m also has the miniSD card. Maybe it's just me, but although the Razr might look cool sitting on a table, I think the buttons/screen are fugly.
     
  4. j26 macrumors 65832

    j26

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2005
    Location:
    Paddyland
    #4
    I agree with Swindmill. My Sony Ericsson K750i is a great phone (until the iPhone comes out ;) ) so it is well worth checking it out, or its siblings.
    2mp camera, radio, bluetooth, data cable, expandable with Memory Stick Duo cards reasonable GUI, very long battery life, and allegedly syncs fine with Tiger.
     
  5. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #5
    Verizon is the only service that locks Bluetooth down so you can't transfer pics and ringtones. Motorola phones just plain suck (spend 5 minutes using the UI on one and you'll agree). Go for Sony Ericsson, awesome phones and very fast and responsive UI.
     
  6. codo macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    Location:
    England, United Kingdom
    #6
    Another vote for the SE K750i. Fantastic phone!
     
  7. Subiklim macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2006
    Location:
    Manhattan, New York
    #7
    The new Moto Q for verizon is NOT locked down. It allows for BT transferrs, etc. It won't allow BT DUN, but it's unlocked using a simple keystroke. Best form factor ever, software is a bit slow.
     
  8. zigmund555 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    #8
    Sorry, missed the QWERTY bit. The 815 wouldn't fit the bill then.

    Still, as someone who lives in MD, I'd highly suggest getting some feedback on the service before you choose a carrier then see what you like in their phones.

    Most carriers' service in the area pales in comparison to Verizon's.
     
  9. kevin.rivers macrumors 6502a

    kevin.rivers

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2005
    #9
    www.sprint.com/sero

    500 Minutes
    Unlimited Vision (which includes picture services and web access) EV-DO or standard data(can't remember what it is called)
    Night and Weekends
    Unlimited Messenger services(aim, yahoo, email, etc)

    all for $30.

    Need more minutes? Try 1250 minutes with all that for $50!

    Only catch is... you need a sprint employees email address. I recommend going to s Sprint store. Chat with someone about phones, tell them you have to go but ask for there card so you can come back to them.

    I am on this plan, and it is pretty sweet. I have a treo 650 and when I don't have internet, i bluetooth it to my PB and use my unlimited data through it!

    Current phones:
    Treo 700p $400 (no rebate) qwerty
    Treo 650 $300 (after $50 rebate) qwerty
    PPC 6700 $450 (no rebate) qwerty (windows mobile)
    LG Fusic LX 550 $180 (no rebate)
    Samsung A900 $150 (after $50 rebate
    Samsung MM-A920 $150 (no rebate)
    Sanyo MM-8300 $130 - $80 rebate = $50

    There are cheaper phones on there as well. I recommened this plan, plus it expires soon 6/30/06! So yeah, not much time.
     
  10. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #10
    Original post:
     
  11. kevin.rivers macrumors 6502a

    kevin.rivers

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2005
    #11
    It is still a good deal. Even so, he can call sprint and say he isn't renewing and they will shove him to retentions and give him a much better plan.

    I didn't read that part... sorry...
     
  12. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #13

    I'm guessing his complaint with Sprint is lack of coverage (since everyone I know with Sprint has that complaint). So if that's the case, what's the point of a cheap plan if you can't use it?
     
  13. A is jump macrumors regular

    A is jump

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2005
    Location:
    San Francisco, Ca
    #14
    Yeah, forget Verizon. I am locked into a contract with them, and I cant use bluetooth to transfer pics, and the software package they offer to allow you to transfer files to your computer, is not OSX compatible.

    I disagree with you on motorola, I really love mine, never thought for a moment that the UI sucked.
    I have heard nice things about Sony Ericsson though.
     
  14. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2002
    Location:
    Gone but not forgotten.
    #15
    My contract with Sprint is complete July 26. I've looked at Verizon, T-Mobile, and Cingular. Considering the price of the plans, phones, and the ability to use the phone as a high speed modem, I've pretty much decided to stay with Sprint.

    Other than Sprint, plans seem rather expensive. Cingular has rollover but it's obvious from the price that you're really paying for it. Not all plans have unlimited night and weekend minutes. Verizon wasn't as bad but still more expensive than Sprint. Considering that their phones aren't always as functional or flexible as they should be, I don't see them as an option.

    I can't imagine getting the lower priced Samsung phones. Anyone I've known who has one complains about them but the top of the line Samsung A900 is a good phone. The Sanyo phones from Sprint are much better, even in the lower prices.
     
  15. tomokun macrumors member

    tomokun

    Joined:
    May 21, 2006
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    #16

    In defense of motorola, their UI is easy to use, and is 10X better than Verizons current V-cast phone forced down your throat UI offering on all of their phones.

    HOWEVER Verizon has been allowing the V3c and V3m bluetooth transfer, if you look it up on google theres just a few files you have to put inside of iSync for it to see the V3c. I am unfortunate and have a V710 (i hate, hate, hate this phone). You can hack the V3c to have the Altell UI, but you can not with the V3m as of now.
     
  16. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #17
    I found the UI of my V551 to be slow and unresponsive, with various features well hidden and difficult to find, and missing features that other phones had.
     
  17. Applexilef macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2004
    #18
    I'm going to try to steer you away from the RAZR. I have it and it sucks, it takes forever to scroll through features and sometimes it has a mind of its own. Someone mentioned the Sony Ericsson, I'd check one of those. I know my roomate has it and he can control his iMac through bluetooth just like if it was a mouse. It works really well when giving presentations and such, not to mention it has a huge memory capacity for music/videos, cool swivel, solid buttons, 1.3Mp camera, etc, etc. (I don't know if the new RAZRs have this. I have an old one)
     
  18. savar thread starter macrumors 68000

    savar

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2003
    Location:
    District of Columbia
    #19
    Thanks for all the advice. I'm going to the store today to play with some phones. I notice that almost none of these places offer SE phones (Cingular has maybe one or two, Sprint has only SE EVDO cards)...so you people with SE phones, are you buying them out of pocket and then starting the service separately?

    Sprint coverage is good here, I just really dislike their approach to customer service, plus the data speeds are really slow, and its not possible to pay month-to-month when your contract expires. They frequently call and ask me to renew months before the contract is over -- "Okay, what is in it for me again? Nothing? Really? No thanks then.. Oh I don't have a choice, do I? Well..."

    Many times the CSRs have just flat out lied to me...I hear Verizon customer service is pretty decent (by cell phone standards), so if the coverage is good (it is) and its roughly the same price (it is), I owe it to myself to switch. That's assuming, of course, that I get a phone with decent rights to use the media that I put on it. Still, that Sprint employee referral plan is really cheap. If I had known I could scam them like that I definitely would have done it.
     
  19. savar thread starter macrumors 68000

    savar

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2003
    Location:
    District of Columbia
    #20
    Swung by the Verizon store tonight after work. The E815 is a great phone. I wanted a really thin phone, but you're right about the RAZR. It's fugly. That's the exact word I was thinking at the store. I can't believe that its supposedly the "stylish" phone to get. Actually most of the phones are pretty ugly. The only one I liked other than the E815 was the Q, which is more than I want. I must really be out of the loop, because some phones that looked cheap as hell to me were $100-150 even with a contract.

    Thanks for the advice though, I'm about 90% with the E815. Its same size and shape as my current phone, but with a major upgrade on features. Is it free to send text messages? Or same price as picture messaging?

    Edit: Oh I found it. 10 cents for text and 25 for pics/video
     
  20. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #21
    If you want a phone that's truly unlocked, then I recommend going with a GSM provider (TMobile and Cingular are your only options in the US, and I highly recommend TMo over Cingular) and get the cheapest phone they offer, probably the free one. Then, go to eBay and get an unlocked GSM phone of your choice. Rather than being limited to the few phones your provider has, you have hundreds of choices, most of the phones being ones normally not even available in the US (My SE w810i is one of those...no US provider offers it). So not only do you get a cool and unique phone of your choice, it's completely unlocked and you don't have to worry about any features being restricted.
     

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