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Choosing a cell phone ...

My employer just bought about a gazillion minutes of air time for employee cell phone use. The result is that I can get a cell phone for a heavily discounted price with essentially no risk of incurring air time charges.

Now for the hard part. I have to choose a phone.

I live in a fringe reception area so receiver sensitivity is important. In an ideal world I'd get something that would replace both my Palm T|X and my phone, but the device has to be sturdy (I carry my phone when I go mountain biking and I do sometimes fall). I don't have much need for mobile email, and a Blackberry won't support the most important app I use (ePocrates) so that's out.

I've never found objective information regarding phone performance in fringe reception areas, and I've never found objective information regarding the sturdiness of phones. My impression is that some cell phones are fragile. I've been told that Razr phones are especially fragile and that they do not do well in fringe reception areas but I do not know if that is accurate.

The two choices my company offers in the 'smart phone' category are: UTStarcom 6700 and Treo 650. The Starcom phone uses the Windows OS and the Treo uses the Palm OS. Most of the medical apps I use on my Palm are available for either OS, but I would have to give up a few non-essential apps if I switched to Windows. There may be comparable programs for the Windows OS but I have not found them yet.

Any suggestions for obtaining information on either of these devices?

It is not critical to get a 'smart phone' but it would be convenient. I can always just keep on using the Palm for now and get a plain old cell phone. In that case, does anybody have any suggestions about sturdy phone with good reception? (and ideally with a built-in camera, bluetooth, ...)

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Can You Hear Me Now?

In reply to: Choosing a cell phone ...

Bill --- Between the UTStarcom 6700 and Treo 650, I would recommend the Treo 650 PDA Phone as it is ePocrates compatible.

It is a particularly good choice for you since you already use the Palm T|X, and do not want to have to "give up those few non-essential apps" you would have to give up if you switched from Palm OS to Windows OS.

See: http://phones.strategy-blogs.com/2005/06/palmone_treo_65.html

JP Cool

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No idea and glad of it.

In reply to: Choosing a cell phone ...

I'm a TracFone user. I hate phones anyway and only have it mainly for
emergency use. I paid $30 for the phone at Walmart and $50 for 4 months
and 250 minutes and still had time and minutes left over after my 2 weeks
in Florida.

I can ask my teens. They have Samsung and Motorola and of course
their friends are quite up on what the bennies are for various phones. I know
as a doctor you probably need all the extras, but for me, I'm quite content
with my very low budget cellphone. As an interesting aside, if you know
anyone who feels they only need one for occasional use but worried about
use on trips, I can say I had no problem at any time using the TracFone along
I-95 between Baltimore area and down far as Tampa. I checked back with our teens
as we pass through each state on way down (wife and I with youngest) and always
had reception.

One advantage to the TracFone is if I start to get telemarketing calls
on the number I now have, I can let the service lapse and get a whole new
number which I update with the ones I do want calling me. I don't know
if it's that easy to swap phone numbers with the other providers, but I
like the idea.

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I don't really NEED extras ...

In reply to: No idea and glad of it.

I do need a cell phone, but I don't need a lot of bells and whistles. I don't even use all that much air time. I'd like to have a phone with a bluetooth headset or some similarly convenient handsfree mechanism. Bluetooth would also be nice since my Palm has bluetooth so it SHOULD allow me to exchange information between the phone and the Palm. Or so I've been told. I like to carry a camera when I ride my bike, but most times I don't because I only have so many pockets and it's just one more thing to fool with. But I can't say I NEED those bells and whistles. I've never used text messaging, I don't plan to exchange a lot of photos with other phone users, I don't NEED Internet access on my phone, and who has time for games?

I also need a PDA. As soon as one of the medical students visiting our office showed me ePocrates I knew that I NEEDED a PDA. I simply cannot remember everything I need regarding drug interactions, new medicines and all that stuff. I think I'd go through physical withdrawal if I couldn't use ePocrates at work. The PDA's calendar function is useful and the phone list function is nice, but I never considered buying a PDA just to get those things. My DayTimer worked OK for those. My attitude changed once I saw something that made me more efficient at work.

It would also be nice if the phone could function as a pager in addition to having Palm functionality. If I could get a combination phone/pager/PDA then I'd only have to carry one device instead of 3. But I can't really claim I NEED to have all of that in one package.

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I've also been looking for a cell phone

In reply to: I don't really NEED extras ...

The thing is, I'd like a relatively higher-end cell phone. But, the problem with that is that they won't work with the economy services. If I want a nice phone I can use for pictures, that would be nice. But Virgin, Trac, To Go, and so forth, seem to have their own programming and "guts", which wont work with the good phones. It's kind of a quandry. I guess I'll end up with a more mediocre phone and economy-priced service, since I won't use it all that much.

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I can't win !!!!

In reply to: Choosing a cell phone ...

Consumer Reports just did a review of cell phones that included information about signal reception ... they included multiple different providers ... BUT they did not include any useful information about the provider my employer chose.

The Treo that they tested for 2 different networks did not do especially well at signal sensitivity. They didn't test a UTStarcom phone.

Oh well.

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Maybe you could take a look

In reply to: I can't win !!!!

at blackberries. I know you said you aren't interested in text,but I think they can have cellphone capabilities.

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Unfortunately, though

In reply to: Maybe you could take a look

Blackberry products don't support any of the essential applications that I use.

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Check out the issue.....

In reply to: Choosing a cell phone ...

... that arrived today of Consumer Reports. They have an in-depth story on cell phones and cell phone companies. This incldes all of the phone features available, and which ones they recommend.

Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email

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Thanks ...

In reply to: Check out the issue.....

I saw that article, and some of the information is useful, but they didn't cover the offerings from my employer's cell phone company of choice.

I did not see any of the phones available to me in the ratings.

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Russian review site?

In reply to: Thanks ...

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