Is it better to get a tri-band phone?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by wowoah, Feb 17, 2004.

  1. wowoah macrumors regular

    Jul 16, 2003
    Berkeley, CA
    Hey all. First of all, I shamefully admit that THIS QUESTION IS NOT MAC-RELATED. I'm posting it here because you guys all seem pretty tech-savvy and I've always only gotten great advice here, so I'm hoping someone would be willing to give me some 411 on this. If it helps anything, I am a Mac user and I'm typing this question on my PowerBook at this moment :)

    I need to get a new cell phone and I've totally fallen in love with the new Motorola C343. It's not too expensive and has all the featuers I'm looking for, except that it's a dual-band digital phone, and not a tri-band phone. I've been told that it's always better to get a tri-band, since you never know when you'll be needing that analog band.

    Is it really as important as people make it out to be, or will I be pretty fine off with just a dual-band digital? If only Verizon just supported more cool phones, there wouldn't be this problem :p

  2. MoparShaha macrumors 68000


    May 15, 2003
    San Francisco
    Personally, I prefer tri-mode phones over dual band because you never know when you need analog. With Verizon's excellent coverage, it's rare that you can only get analog, but if you travel out in the boonies often, it can help. When I go camping in northern California, way out in the forest, I still pick up analog signal on my phone. In an urban setting, analog is pretty much useless.

    The arguement for dual band phones is that they'll hold onto a weak digital signal better than a tri-mode phone. On a tri-mode phone, if the digital signal gets weak, and there's analog, the phone will just switch to analog, instead of trying to hold the digital signal. I don't know how much truth there is to this, but I don't think it's too big of a deal.

    If you feel you need analog coverage, you might want to look into the Nokia 3589i. It's pretty cheap, and it's a great phone. It's considered Verizon's best phone in terms of RF reception, and it's got a color screen. My friend has one, and I think it's a solid phone.

    In the end, if you stay in an urban setting most of the time, a dual band phone will be fine. If you travel a lot out in the middle of nowhere, you might want to get a tri-mode phone.
  3. 512ke macrumors 6502a


    Sep 10, 2003
    Tri Band

    Where I live, most people who use dual band experience some dropout. Tri band seems to work better here. For what it's worth I'd ask around and find out what is and isn't working for others in your area...
  4. russed macrumors 68000


    Jan 16, 2004
    also, with a tri-band phone you can use it in more than one country. for example, i live in the uk and if i only ogt a dual band phone, i could only use it in Europe, however a tri-band can be used anywhere in the world. so i suppose in that sense it makes it worthwhile if you travel around the world alot to have a tri-band to save you having more than one phone or relying on hotel room phones!
  5. Opteron macrumors 6502

    Feb 10, 2004
    South Australia
    It's better to get CDMA (Code division Multiple Access,) Great coverage. Vs GSM.
  6. kiwi_the_iwik macrumors 65816


    Oct 30, 2001
    London, UK
    Nah - get a Sat phone...

    :p ;)

    ...but if you're on a tighter budget, then go for the Tri-band if you do a bit of travelling (otherwise, if you don't intend to take your phone with you on business/holiday trips, it's pretty unnecessary).
  7. virividox macrumors 601


    Aug 19, 2003
    Manila - Nottingham - Philadelphia - Santa Barbar
    well triband comes in handy when you go to europe and parts of asia where the networks are GSM
  8. caveman_uk Guest


    Feb 17, 2003
    Hitchin, Herts, UK
    ...but it will only ever work in like three countries:rolleyes:
  9. Le Big Mac macrumors 68030

    Le Big Mac

    Jan 7, 2003
    Washington, DC
    Hold on, not sure what kind of tri-band we're talking about here.

    If it's a verizon compatible (or sprint), and you're talking CDMA + Analog, then, yeah, get that. Most you can turn off analog use, so it doesn't kick over to that (and incur roaming fees!), and use it only when you need to. Remarkably, my roaming charges when *way* down when I did that. Surprise--the phones aren't too good at staying on the free service.

    Now, if you're talking about a GSM phone for Cingular, ATTWS, T-Mobile, then it's a different matter. There are two general types, a "triband" with 900, 1800, and 1900mhz bands and "dual band" with 850 and 1900 mhz. The latter is better for pure US use, because 850 and 1900 are the only frequencies allowed for cellphones here. The 1800 and 900 bands are what's used in Europe. So, if you're going to Europe, you'll want one that can use those freqauencies, but you're giving up a good chunk of what you can use in the US.

    So, my advice: 1) Figure out what you need; 2) look for the US carrier version that's probably 850/1900, and very similar, if available; 3) wait for a quad-band version that is acapable of using all four frequencies and being a true world phone.
  10. Opteron macrumors 6502

    Feb 10, 2004
    South Australia
    Myeh, works for me.
  11. abhishekit macrumors 65816


    Nov 6, 2003
    akron , ohio
    even in this country cdma is going to shrink..with vodaphonre trying to pressurize verizon to change their standard.. Anyways if you ever go outside which you may., you would miss a gsm phone. So think about a gsm phone too.. And cingular bought att wireless now they are defacto biggest cellular company in US.bigger than 36 million strength verizon.
  12. Koodauw macrumors 68040


    Nov 17, 2003
    Just to clarify a few things.

    Bands and modes are two different things.
    A mode referes to a type of signal. In the US the major ones are CDMA, ( Sprint, Verizon, US Cellular), GSM ( Cingular, AT&T, and T-mobile), and TDMA which is an old standard that AT&T and Cingular used before updating to GSM towers. There is also Analog. Those are the four major modes. GSM handsets do not incorporate any analog for you to use. Which means you only get GSM towers, which a spring up fast, but cover no where near what Analog does.

    A band is the freguency in which the phones work. CDMA phones will run at 800 MHz or 1900 MHz, and most offer Analog capabilities. That said it is not possible to get a tri band CDMA phone, because there is only two bands. GSM uses 4 different bands though, depending on where you live. A tri band phone will give you the ability to use it over seas. Europe which is almost all GSM, uses different bands than the US.

    So back to the main question, don't worry that your phone isn't tri-band. If your going with a CDMA provider, they is no such thing. Add the CDMA coverage with anaolog capabilities and you'll have more coverage area in the US than with a GSM tri-band phone. The only real benefit of a tri-band phone is the ability to use it overseas. Sorry to make this such a long winded post.... the C343 will be a great phone for you.
  13. abhishekit macrumors 65816


    Nov 6, 2003
    akron , ohio
    Emulating my picky Professor... there is one more standard/mode used in US which is iden, a variant of GSM , and its used by Nextel.
    k..I feel silly enough to goto sleep now..

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