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Best non smart phone with smart phone capabilities

by crdunn / January 16, 2009 2:59 AM PST

I am looking for a new phone either with Alltel or Verizon and I am looking for one that has pda/smartphone capabilities along with a QWERTY keyboard and does not require that I purchase a data plan.
Thank you for any help.

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by maxinc24 / January 19, 2009 12:07 AM PST

I'm been battling the same problem for years. The non-PDA phones will do about everything BUT give you address fields and a place to store Word doc-type data. This seems beyond stupid to me!! I have Verizon and love the LG Dare or Voyager, but also want just a little more. The data plan restrictions have recently tightened and limit PDA options w/o data plans to the Moto Q the Palm Centro and the vx6900. The Moto is the best option of the three, but the Dare especially (camera, screen, call quality) and Voyager are better in virtually all non-PDA aspects. If limited syncing of a non-PDA phone with your PC is the issue, susteen offers a reasonable cost program that syncs with outlook for the Dare and Voyager. It does phone numbers, e-mail addresses, some calendar, photos and music BUT it can't even give you addresses from Outlook (only because the phones don't have a place/field for addresses! They can do all this other shtuff but can't store an address or even a note field related to the contact!!!??) Also, forget about other PDA-type syncing like with Word or Excel. If anyone knows a better option/softw/hack for the Dare to give more PDA-type functionality, please let us know.

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also looking for PDA capabilities
by ms*mountaineer / January 21, 2009 7:04 PM PST

I am also looking for PDA capabilities in a phone where I don't have to purchase a data plan. I just want to be able to sync my calendar, task list and contacts with my home computer. Just what my old Palm Pilot used to do - I want to do that with my phone. But I don't want to pay $30+/month for a data plan. I don't need to surf the web or check my email on my phone.

Does anyone have any suggestions for a phone or application that would suit my needs?

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I'd recommend the Verizon Wireless XV6800
by rbg08 / January 22, 2009 3:21 AM PST

I was in the same boat a few months back and decided to get the now-discontinued Verizon Wireless PN-820 Smartphone. I didn't want the added bulk of a qwerty keyboard and prefer the old flip-style phones. But if you want a qwerty keyboard I'd recommend the Verizon Wireless XV6800 which runs Windows Mobile 6 Professional. You can select it with a pay-per-KB data plan and then call Verizon to have a data block put on the phone after you activate it. You can still get internet access on the phone whenever you sync with your PC (that way weather apps and such can get updated).

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Totally Disagree
by maxinc24 / January 22, 2009 4:24 AM PST

Totally disagree....the PN-820 doesn't compare and all of the Verizon PDA-no-data-plan-req'd choices under $150 (Moto Q9m, xv6900, Centro) are much better than the $300-$400 xv6800.
Thanks but no thanks.

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LG Dare with bitpim
by victorj / January 22, 2009 6:04 AM PST

I was in the same boat recently. I had been using the Motorola Q without a data plan and syncing locally. Perfect. Then I decided I wanted something with a quicker operating system, maybe a touch screen. I went with the LG Dare. Its pretty good, very nice to use. For sycing I use a free program called bitpim ( and I'm able to sync contacts, calendar, etc. Keep in mind you're still bound by the limitations of the phone's calendar, so no notes can be added to the calendar, you can't add word docs or anything else to the phone, but this has so far been a decent compromise to keep things synced.

By the way, this software will work with lots of other phones. See if it works for yours. You may find it's an acceptable compromise. But I will admit this: it's still nothing like having a smartphone. I wish smartphones didn't have these additional monthly fees associated with them.

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Just stick w/ unlocked GSM phones
by Pepe7 / January 22, 2009 7:35 AM PST
In reply to: LG Dare with bitpim

You can avoid the mandatory data plans this way. It's often a money saver to simply compared the premium cost of an unlocked smartphone vs buying the subsidized version that requires a data plan for 24 mos. $30 x 24 mos.=$720 + <$99-249; price of subsidized handset>. Unlocked w/o data might be $500-600. YMMV. Places like Amazon, Newegg & CTI Miami are reputable sites to find unlocked phones with no commitment IME.


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How about CDMA unlocked?
by maxinc24 / January 22, 2009 10:23 AM PST

Unfortunately.... Verizon coverage in my area is just far superior to anything else. I'd love to switch for the sake of phones, but can't handle the poor signals.

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unlocked only applies to GSM
by Pepe7 / January 22, 2009 11:37 PM PST

What's your zip code, btw? I think it may be worthwhile for you to at least take a peek at their recent coverage viewer. ATT is in the process of acquiring a couple of different regional GSM carriers that could possibly make a difference depending on where you're located.


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by maxinc24 / January 23, 2009 7:29 AM PST

47715, lower midwest

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near Evansville, IN
by Pepe7 / January 24, 2009 10:47 AM PST
In reply to: ZIP

It's true- Verizon has more spectrum there, but I've never heard that ATT performs poorly by comparison. Is it only indoors that you have issues?


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thanks for the bitpim victor7
by maxinc24 / January 22, 2009 10:18 AM PST
In reply to: LG Dare with bitpim

Haven't heard of that one, and free? How bad was the learning curve on your Dare touchscreen, and does the notebook function help any? I'm having a terrible time deciding between the Moto Q (no monthly fee req'd Vz) and the Dare with the nice display and better camera - and I normally wouldn't be excited with a camera on a cell phone, but the extra quality might make it worthwhile.

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LG Dare learning curve
by victorj / January 23, 2009 1:20 AM PST

The LG Dare does have a bit of a learning curve with the touch screen. In contrast to the ipod Touch/iPhone, where the touch screen is pretty intuitive and seems to react to pressure the way you'd expect, the Dare is a bit too sensitive some times (I've actually called people I didn't want to, just because I scrolled past their name in my address book and pushed too hard) and not sensitive enough other times, where you push a button on the screen and it doesn't recognize it, even after 2 tries. It can be a bit frustrating, but I can assure you that you figure out the correct pressure after awhile. My first few days with the Dare I was ready to take it back; now I'm pretty happy with it. If it had a full-featured PIM suite (or the ability to install one separately) I'd give it very high marks.

One thing I will say about your dilemma: I also had the Motorola Q and went to the Dare. I'm already thinking about when I'll switch back to it, or another smartphone. It's not really a question of "if" but when. Since I have a lot of data that I'm used to on my PDAs and now my phone, the Dare just doesn't have the ability to handle all of it. The Notebook feature is nice, and is something most normal phones don't have, so that's a plus. However, I do think in the future I'll be going back to my smartphone, just because the capabilities are so much more. If you're in the same boat, this may apply to you too. The Dare, and most non-smartphones, just aren't customizable enough, and don't have enough of what more advanced users need.

And about the Dare's camera: it really is that good. I've taken photos that you wouldn't have thought came from a cell phone. It's really nice.

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Waiting for an LG PDA phone??
by maxinc24 / January 23, 2009 7:26 AM PST
In reply to: LG Dare learning curve

I did some more hands on with the Dare today. Other than the address fields and an occasional word doc, we're actually pretty light pda users. Like you, need just a little more PIM and would pay for a good hack - if possible - and I'd be in bliss. And I don't mind buying SD cards. Probably will get the Dare for us and leave the addresses at home. The notebook, screen size and camera may have closed the deal. Just tired of carrying the HP2215 IPAQ and a phone. I just hope the bitpim transfers aren't too much of a hassle between initial transfer from Outlook to bitpim to phone. Also, I hope the make an LG "Smarter" as I still don't want to pay for a data plan or would have considered a Blackberry. I hope I'm not sorry I didn't latch onto a Q.

Thanks for all the great feedback.

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About initial Outlook transfer...
by victorj / January 26, 2009 12:42 AM PST

Just wanted to respond, just in case you haven't bought the LG Dare yet. So far I haven't found a way to transfer Outlook info to either the LG Dare directly or into Bitpim. So, the process you would be looking at is exporting the data from Outlook into a container type (.CSV or flat ascii text most likely) and then taking that and putting it into Bitpim. It will most likely be messy, with lots of manual cleanup required by you. That was my initial experience when I had to do this. It's a one-time thing, but depending on how much data you have, it can be a pain and take up some time.
See this thread (check out all the comments, where they specifically talk about Outlook with the Dare):

Hope this helps and you have success.

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Smartphone Options
by scrp777 / November 20, 2009 11:24 AM PST

A few months ago I sold my iPhone 3G to a college kid who then unlocked it and took it to t-Mobile. He put a data lock on the phone so it couldn't access the t-Mobile network, paid only for voice, and used data over wi-fi when available. This cripples a lot of the apps that want to update regularly, but most can be set to update only on wi-fi or manually. It's an option. I wonder if you could buy an unlocked phone like the Pre - which probably would not be that expensive, and bring it to Verizon and do the same thing.

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by Pepe7 / November 20, 2009 12:50 PM PST
In reply to: Smartphone Options

Verizon won't accept Sprint branded phones on their network. Also, a CDMA/EVDO phone like the Sprint Pre cannot be 'unlocked' as such. That's currently reserved for GSM/UMTS handsets & networks.

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best non smart phone with smart phone capabilities
by 1958star / November 18, 2009 5:24 PM PST

I am looking for the same. What is the answer?

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Smartest phone without a data package from Verizon in 2012
by kakuromom / September 7, 2012 5:10 AM PDT

It's 2012, and I'm still looking for a phone with a good PDA that doesn't require a data package. I had the Palm Centro and absolutely loved it, but when I tried to renew, the salesperson told me it now requires a data package. Does anyone know if that is true? Or is there another alternative that works? I don't need to check email or surf the web all the time, but I do want to have a great calendar, a way to take detailed notes, and an easy way to make lists.

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by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 7, 2012 5:16 AM PDT

I know the Palm models all too well (I maintain PalmOS apps.)

Even now I have yet to see any phone rival the old Palm calendar and such apps. If you are in the right markets you can shop around for an Android phone from Virgin Mobile and see if that 35 buck a month plan will work for you.

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Have to stay with Verizon
by kakuromom / September 7, 2012 3:53 PM PDT
In reply to: Ouch.

I would have to switch my whole family - we have the Verizon family plan. Are there really no options for Verizon? Could I reactivate my old Palm Centro but block the data plan, or is that really no longer an option?

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If you've been following along (news, discussions)
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 8, 2012 1:30 AM PDT

The carriers are wise to doing such. If you did that, and they sniff out it's a smart phone, they auto-upgrade the account to include the data plan.


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Seems you need 2 devices.
by Kees_B Forum moderator / September 7, 2012 5:18 AM PDT

1. A phone (just a basic phone, to call somebody)
2. A tablet with WiFi to check e-mail and surf the web occasionally, a calendar, a note making app and a list program (and much more useful things!)

It's only marketing and sales, of course, that dictate you need a data package to maintain your calendar and make notes on your phone. There is no technical reason, they just want to make money. So you split it to save money. Totally your choice.


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Don't want to tote a tablet!
by kakuromom / September 7, 2012 3:55 PM PDT

Wasn't the whole point of the Palm Centro that you could have your PDA and phone in one device? I certainly don't want to tote around a tablet! I've been carrying the old Palm as a separte PDA, and was hoping there was another option!

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Sorry folks.....
by birdmantd Forum moderator / September 11, 2012 5:46 AM PDT

This thread was started 3 years ago. If there any questions related to this thread or more discussions,, please start a new thread. Closed !!!

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