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CNET reviews lack cost consideration of operating phone

by zlandar / December 3, 2007 4:38 AM PST

This is something that has been really irritating me when I read the reviews here. Anyone who owns a smartphone or PDA phone knows that the initial cost of the cell phone is peanuts compared to the actual monthly costs of operating the phone. All the major phone carriers charge what I consider excessive data charges. Most "unlimited" plans charge roughly 40 dollars a month, which would double most people's monthly fee. Over a two year contract that works out to almost a 1000 bucks.

So when analyzing a PDA-type phone, the first thing I ask is "does it have WiFi?" Without this function you are basically consigning yourself to either those monthly data charges or using your PDA phone as a regular cell phone. Granted you do not have the flexibility of using your device anywhere, but you also don't have to shell out 40 dollars a month extra. The choice is up to you, as it should be.

I recently left one cell phone carrier for another because they refused to offer PDA-style phones with WiFi. I have no proof they purposefully stripped the function, but it's pretty odd how only one PDA phone by an obscure manufacturer is WiFi-enabled while similar product lines by other carriers have the option of WiFi.

To sum this up, I can't think how a product review can be complete where the actual costs of running a phone as reviewed is not discussed.

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by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 3, 2007 6:16 AM PST

Should they supply costs for each town in the US? It varies with not only location, carrier, but what specials are underway at the time. Dang them for their incomplete reviews.


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by zlandar / December 3, 2007 9:39 AM PST
In reply to: Yes.

When you consider that a cell phone plan + data plan can push the cost of a monthly cell phone bell close to a 100 dollars a month, I don't consider that some trivial fact. A review should be geared to protect the consumer, not the product manufacturer and cell phone company. When I received my Tilt phone the first thing I did was to figure out how to avoid data charges. The only reason I knew to do this was browsing detailed review forums where users posted their experiences and tips. The phone itself has no way of turning off data access and I noticed the phone hopped onto the 3G network despite being connected to my home network. Only after learning you can actually call ATT and tell them to turn off data access to your phone (not listed anywhere in the manual or provided as an option when I ordered the phone) was I safe from the ridiculous high data charges ALL cell phone providers have. I remember reading how iPhone users who went out of the country had outrageous data charges despite their attempts to manually stop data usage (useless because the phone passively connects to check email).

If everyone at CNet considers the highest cost of the cell phone (the monthly fee, not the initial cost itself) as trivial, well so be it. Maybe the reviewers here are afraid of being Gamespotted.

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Be sure to add that to the user comments at the review.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 3, 2007 12:26 PM PST
In reply to: Cost

Given how volatile that pricing is (I have a plan with a biz for under 18 a month for data, all you can eat) your price point of 100 must be the gold standard for fleecing.


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by dpnolen / December 4, 2007 8:53 AM PST

You have got to be the cheapest person in the world. It's like saying that I want to buy a Ferrari or Porsche, but i want it to perform best on 87 octane gas. Either buy a basic "cell phone" or quit griping.

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by Danwo / December 4, 2007 3:17 PM PST

The prices are about the same across the board, so it's consideration is not really necessary.

And the kind sir above me lacks the understanding that the structure of the wireless industry has the consumers', well, *ahem* jewels in a vice. Forty dollars a month, simply put, isn't necessary; PDAs and smartphones aren't that nice.

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