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(Another) Smartphone suggestions

by dralcohen / July 2, 2009 11:33 PM PDT

I'm in the market for my first Smartphone-type device. I'm confused by the choices. Suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

How I would use it:

I'm not a big phone user. I don't want a contract! I would make the occasional call and rare text when traveling overseas (Europe). The main use would be to sync with my Google calendar and contacts via wi-fi. I would occasionally use it to check my email (an existing IMAP account). I would sometimes use it to listen to music and watch videos. I would prefer not to carry a separate PDA and phone.

Here are the details of what I'm looking for:

Required:
1) Can be bought without a contract (phone or data). I use about 5 phone minutes a week. I would like to be able to use my current T-Mobile prepaid Sim card.
2) It should be wi-fi compatible. I'm around a wi-fi signal all day.
3) Phone (US or Europe).
4) What I would really like it to do is sync with my Google calendar and contacts using wi-fi.
5) When traveling I would use it to check my email (existing IMAP and maybe POP) using wi-fi.
6) Play music and videos.

Would be nice:
1) Decent camera. 3+Mp.
2) Expandable memory.
3) GPS and maps. I'm confused whether I'd be able to use this feature without a data connection. It would be great if I could.
4) Compatible with Linux. I'm switching my computer over to Linux (Ubuntu), although I could always dual boot with Windows or use Wine just for the phone...
5) I would like it to be as portable (small) as possible, but with a usable keyboard and screen.
6) High quality (easy of use, durability, battery life, etc).

Ideally:
I could, in the future, sign up for a contract and use all the 3G bells and whistles. I'm willing to forgo this for now if it is not feasible.

Price range:
As low as possible, but I'm willing to pay a bit for the "perfect" phone.

Thank you very much in advance.

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Open your wallet
by Pepe7 / July 3, 2009 2:39 AM PDT

What you need is an unlocked GSM/UMTS handset w/ wifi. If you want to keep using T-Mobile prepaid this limits you even further since there aren't as many 3G devices with the 1700/2100 frequency bands required for T-Mobile's 3G service ;(. This means you have to spend some $$, or possibly switch carriers to have greater selection (or to obtain a cheaper subsidized device). While grabbing once via ebay is possible, you don't have the same control over warranty or returns that you do going the retail route.

For T-Mobile I don't see many options beyond the G1 right now. Sorry I can't help you with the specifics of compatibility w/ Linux. There are some great forums/subforums dealing with the G1/Android if you pop over to Howardforums.com. Another poster was in your shoes a few weeks ago if you click on my user name you can see the dialogue we had over his dilemma ;).

-Pedro

Collapse -
1700/2100
by dralcohen / July 3, 2009 10:04 AM PDT
In reply to: Open your wallet

I apologize in advance for the very basic questions; I am very new at this.

Am I understanding correctly? If I want to use the tmobile prepaid card, I need a phone that can use the 1700/2100 frequency? If so, that does seem to severely limit my choices.

Collapse -
Just 2100?
by dralcohen / July 3, 2009 12:05 PM PDT
In reply to: 1700/2100

What about a phone that just supports 2100 (e.g., the Blackberry Bold)?

Collapse -
2100=Europe/Asia 3G
by Pepe7 / July 3, 2009 2:20 PM PDT
In reply to: Just 2100?

You need 1700/2100 in the U.S. for 3G w/ T-Mo.

-Pedro

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1700/2100 are T-Mo's 3G bands
by Pepe7 / July 3, 2009 2:19 PM PDT
In reply to: 1700/2100

This covers you for 3G in the U.S. & Europe/parts of Asia. It also has GSM/EDGE on 850/900/1800/1900. Post-paid or pre-paid doesn't matter.

-Pedro

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yep
by Pepe7 / July 3, 2009 7:09 AM PDT

Battery life has unfortunately not yet caught up to the capabilities if the smart phones with large color screens. If you use wifi, 3G data and place lengthy calls, the battery might indeed run out in a day give or take. YMMV.

-Pedro

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