UK: Mobile (cell) advice appreciated

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Blue Velvet, Aug 1, 2006.

  1. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    It's time to get a new phone. I haven't had one for a few years now and it's becoming a pain not having one. in an ideal world, I'd like to pick one up in the next day or two.

    Being the kind of shallow looks-over-function typical Mac user I am, ;) I was looking at either the Nokia 8800 or the LG Chocolate but I'd appreciate any other suggestions... the Nokia 8800 is beautiful but a couple of drawbacks apparently include: low earpiece volume and short battery life.

    What I'm looking for is an extremely robust, simple but stylish model, preferably not a flip phone and with a good keypad with sizable buttons. Bluetooth would be nice (for my impending MBP) but I couldn't care less about cameras and other fripperies. Don't mind paying more for something of quality...

    My second query is...

    Price plans: The amount I'd probably use it wouldn't be that often. I'm probably the kind of person suited to pay as you go although a low monthly tariff would be OK, certainly not the £75 per month some networks want for the handset. At that price, I may as well buy the handset outright...

    To be honest, I'm a bit lost in this market and would appreciate some general guidance.

  2. dcv macrumors G3

    May 24, 2005
    Personally I'd steer well clear of Nokias (I *hate* them) and go with a Sony Ericsson handset as they're easy to use, well featured and play nicely with Macs.

    As for networks, I think the best offers are usually on Orange and T-Mobile.

    Vodafone and O2 tend to get the latest handsets first, but they're generally more expensive in terms of call plans or PAYG.

    3 from what I've heard is a load of crap, so stay well away!

    I'm with Orange and never had a problem with them. They used to do a "refer a friend" programme where I think the person signing up gets a £50 credit on their first bill and the existing customer gets £25, or something like that. Let me know if you're interested in that ;)
  3. iGav macrumors G3

    Mar 9, 2002
    Frankly I'm disgusted that as a designer, you're not already with Orange.
  4. Lau Guest

    I'd agree about the pay as you go – I use mine a fair bit and I'm still hovering between whether a contract is worth it or not. The only difference would be if a handset you really wanted was £200 pay as you go, in which case a contract of say £20 a month might be worth it. I'm not convinced though.

    I'd personally say stick with a Sony Ericsson or a Nokia, the two I've had were good. The SE ones around at the moment are nice. If you were tempted by another make, I'd definitely go to a shop and try it out for a while – see how things like predictive text and the menus work, because some are dire. I can vouch for both SE and Nokia menus/texting though, they're straightforward and good.

    I've got a Sony Ericsson W810i, and it's really nice, but is maybe a bit more bells and whistlesy (!) than you'd like. There's some nice SE's around that are less Walkmany and have a decent camera in them and are a bit more phone orientated. I know you said you weren't bothered about a camera, but there's no harm in having a good one if the rest of the phone's good. A Sony Ericsson K750i or similar maybe? You might find it for less than £130 somewhere else. A K510i is £99.

    Having said all this, I had a Nokia 1100 for ages, and it was £20 pay as you go. It was tough as a brick, virtually waterproof, the battery lasted for ages, and it made phone calls and sent texts. If I hadn't got a contract I'd still be using it now. If you could find one that was a bit more upmarket but still fairly basic, that might be worth thinking about. As it didn't have a camera or anything it was really small and light as well.

    Edit: Gav, to be honest, I think I am with Orange for the sole reason that I like their stuff. Easily swayed, me...:eek:
  5. satty macrumors 6502

    Mar 1, 2004
    You can't beat Wellington on a good day
    I totally agree on that one. Had a Nokia, having Sony Eric. since and there is no way back.

    I am with Vodafone. Simple reason: It's the only company with an acceptable reception at my secluded office. It might be worth checking the reception of the different companies at important places, like your office and home with friends/colleagues phones.
  6. Lau Guest

    That's a very good point. Definitely check this first if you can, although I'd imagine London is less of a problem than some other places. Well worth checking though. Can we all come round your house for tea and we'll bring our phones? :D
  7. bartelby macrumors Core


    Jun 16, 2004
    I was with Orange and some crap Nokia, but their covarage went really bad and I no longer got a signal in my house, which is on the top of a hill.
    I then switched to Vodaphone and a Samsung D500 but then my text useage out stripped their text plans, so I switched to O2 and to a Samsung D600.

    All 3 were contract and I went from Orange to O2 in 6 months.

    I really like the Samsung phones, way nicer than Nokia ones.
  8. Mord macrumors G4


    Aug 24, 2003
    The moto OS is not all that bad, and i love the way texts work, (i still hate texting, it feels like i'm slowly walking through syrup compared to my usual 50wpm typing)

    personally a much prefer flip phones, the screen does not get damaged and keys are not pressed so easily.

    i personally love my V3i, with a memory card it works just like a usb drive would when i plug it in, i can use it to access the internet from anywhere though my macbook and it generally kicks allot of ass, and the picture quality is decent.

    the best way to shop for phones is to write up a list of must have features:

    memory card slot
    >1MP camera
    the ability to be used as a modem with OS X
    isync compatibility
    not butt ugly.

    anyway, here is a random picture from my phone:


    yes thats a giant pint of guinness. :D
  9. Applespider macrumors G4


    Jan 20, 2004
    looking through rose-tinted spectacles...
    I'm on a price plan since I do end up calling people on mobiles so the free minutes are good plus I quite like having a new phone every year. I'm on O2 currently (last 2 years). I only stayed with Orange for a year but had T-mobile before that. One reason for going O2 is that their firmware on the phone is less obtrusive than the others. I switched from Orange because they were disabling some Sony Ericsson features to use their own version.

    SE definitely have the best UI in terms of being easy to grasp and things being relatively obvious. I'm not a big Motorola fan but I'm leaning towards trying Nokia again since none of the current SE Walkman phones float my boat particularly.
  10. Mord macrumors G4


    Aug 24, 2003
    oh and if you go pay as you go T mobile is good, if you do the everyone price plan it's 12p per min to any networks compared to others that charge 20p/min to their own network and 40p/min to other networks.
  11. Blue Velvet thread starter Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    Thanks everyone. That's a lot of help... and the reason why I'm not with Orange is that the last time I had a mobile, Orange hadn't even entered the UK market. :eek:

    DCV: As I want to lay my hands on one pretty quickly, I'm not sure whether the friends sign-up thing would be that easy to sort out in such a short time.

    I was looking at some earlier today and it's a disappointment how many feel like plasticy toys. I just know I'd break something like that too quickly.
  12. Kardashian macrumors 68020


    Sep 4, 2005
    Personally, I would stay away from the LG Chocolate. I had it, and it has poor buttons, not very user friendly - and is over all quite frustrating.

    I opted for the Samsung E900 (for sale on here, and eBay - if your interested) about a week ago - but have decided to upgrade (already) to a Nokia 8800.

    The 8800 on Sim Free/Pay as You Go, will cost a bomb, and to get it free on contract, I think you would be looking at £50+ a month, also.

    Sony Ericsson is the best route, they don't really do 'fashion' phones - but more trendy-looking workhorses that incorporate, well, everything.

    Samsung are also good, but many of their designs seem to be the same these days.

    And another thing to consider, is if your not a heavy user - contract may not be for you. I've made that mistake, to get nice phones, have 2 contracts at the minute - £50 a month in total. *eek!*

    Stay away from 3. No matter what them tempt you with, and believe me, it will be a lot - they offer around 15 HOURS of calls a month, to any network, any time, and a free 'top of the range' handset - that is crippled with their software. Imagine having a Mac, with your ISP's software/branding all over it - thats a rough idea. The customer service is terrible, and I mean, terrible.
  13. Dunepilot macrumors 6502a


    Feb 25, 2002
    Okay, here are my experiences:

    the UI of Sony Ericssons (I have had 2, including my current phone) is cluttered and confusing). They tend to put functions in some strange and unexpected places. Their features tend to be very good. Their build quality isn't any good - both of mine have had joystick problems and the current one's screen (k750i) has gone badly faulty, supposedly through water damage even though it's *not* been near any water (they have an indicator strip that turns pink if they think it's been near too much humidity and then won't honour your manufacturer's guarantee). However, I may buy another SE just because I like the features so much. The bluetooth works reliably with Macs which is a big factor for me for backing up the phone. Backups people, backups!

    I haven't had a Nokia for a few years now, but the last one I had went faulty because of a design flaw that Nokia admitted to - the LCD backing would come off the screen due to the heat generated by the battery, rendering the LCD text messed-up. However, the UI on the old Nokias was better than either of the SEs or the Motorola I've had since. My girlfriend has a Nokia 7XXX from a couple of years back, a recent SE and a brand new Samsung. She still prefers to use the Nokia due to the UI and the quality of the buttons. She wanted the Samsung because it's a flip phone and then when we got home we found out it won't work with iSync (non-standard data or something).

    The motorola I had was absolute crap. Worst UI on the market.
  14. cwedl macrumors 65816


    Jun 5, 2003

    Have loads of friends with 3 and they have been very happy, I was thinking about moving over in a few months, their deals are amazing as well.

    Saying that though, I have been with O2 for ages and I like them, But Vodafone and t-Mobile work well in the city. I have also noticed that O2 doesn't work that well on trains.
  15. Kardashian macrumors 68020


    Sep 4, 2005
    If cameras don't bother you *and I know you have a busy job* look into BlackBerry's.

    They are brilliant! Email, web, voice, data and text - on the move.

    Not stupid GPRS internet and e-mail, 'proper' email on the move, with a dedicated e-mail client - they work better than most email app's on computers. In America they are like an extension of your body - everyone has one. This would suit you down to the ground - you could in contact with everyone on the move, and they're very, very robust. :) (With FULL QWERTY KB)

    Or, if you want that kind of functionality in a more 'feminine' or 'trendy' casing, have a look at the T-Mobile SideKick II.
  16. Blue Velvet thread starter Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    But it is beautiful though, very Mac-like :(
    About £449-499 sim-free.
    Most contracts for it I've seen have been £50-75 per month.

    Think I better go down to the nearest Orange shop tomorrow and have a good look around.
  17. Kardashian macrumors 68020


    Sep 4, 2005
    I know.. I want one *badly!*

    I'm resorting to eBay for mine, as soon as my current one sells. £300 brand new, from a PowerSeller. Fingers crossed :eek:

    Also, don't go to a shop - you have to pay for the handset yourself, as well as a contract which they sting you on.

    Try these, who I have used in the past (they give you money back offers etc) e2Save, OneStopPhoneShop

    Personally, I favour O2 and T-Mobile over Orange - Orange brand and cripple all their phones.. although, ones you order from that site, e2Save, are all unbranded no matter what network you choose. Good luck, BV.
  18. UberMac macrumors 6502

    Jan 5, 2005
    Ok, so my £0.02. 8800 = NOT robust (or so my friends have found. 3 people have them. All have managed to lose a key, and 2 have gone back in for screen repairs...)

    I just got myself a Nokia 6111 - it syncs with iSync (I don't know how I lived beofre I could sync) and works with Salling clicker (big bonus for me). You can get it here on contract, over the course of 12 months its free! (£30/month - but then every three months you receive £90 in cashback) :D So that's a bargain if you're into being a cheap skate like me :) Comes with 250Xnet minutes /month and 100 texts /month too!

    I'd rather have the money and this goodish phone (with free calls and texts) than spend £350 on an 8800/chocolate!


  19. Maxiseller macrumors 6502a


    Jan 11, 2005
    Little grey, chilly island.
    Another vote for Sony Ericsson although I love Nokias too - I've had a couple of other brands but each lasted around a month before being thrown from a top-floor window.

    I'm on the Orange 200 mins/500 texts plan at £27.50 a month which I don't find too bad.
  20. Blue Velvet thread starter Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    Just want to say thanks to all who gave advice in this thread and elsewhere. :)

    Picked up a Sony/Ericsson W801i today on Orange from Carphone Warehouse. £35 pcm 18 month contract for 500mins + 500 texts with 50% cheque discount for the first 10 months.

    Now I've got to teach myself how to use it. :D

  21. iGav macrumors G3

    Mar 9, 2002
    Now you're a proper designer. ;)
  22. Blue Velvet thread starter Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    Curious as to why you say that... is it just the nice orange Helv Neue 35 on the black? :D
  23. miniConvert macrumors 68040


    Mar 4, 2006
    Kent, UK - the 'Garden of England'.
    I think you've made a sound choice.

    I'd have also advised Nokia or Sony Ericsson. Given your location the choice of network, I would imagine, would have largely not mattered, but I'd have advised you to stay well away from Three not least because they're a self-confessed 'media company' and by the sound of it that's just not what you want from a mobile. Lately it's positioning itself as a network for hoody wearers, which is somewhat of a curious business plan.

    The SE W810i(?) is a superb walkman handset and Orange, well, fine. On your tariff you're also entitled to free ADSL broadband from Orange (usage cap 2GB/month I believe, or you can pay extra for better caps) and probably a myriad of other services too since they completed their rebrand of Wanadoo.
  24. Blue Velvet thread starter Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    Oh really? Must say I didn't ask because I'm not sure I want to go through the hassle of changing ISP. Besides, my line's being upgraded to 8mb within the next 4 weeks for free. Thanks for the heads up... got to read the manual and spend some time on Orange's site.
  25. ®îçhå®? macrumors 68000


    Mar 7, 2006
    I suggest the LG Chocolate, the Pantech PG-3600V and my personal favourite, the Samsung D600. The OS of samsung is so good and easy to use and the phone looks stunning and is made out of good materials to make it robust.

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