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Desperately Need Expert Advice

by Arokh / April 2, 2005 6:00 AM PST

I have been researching phones and plans for days now and I desperately need help in making up my mind. I used to have a Nokia 5190 through Aerial. Both the phone and the service were great but I didn't need it anymore when I switched jobs. Fast forward a few years and a few jobs later, my soon-to-be-wife and I are looking at getting a family-share type plan. I'm flexible on the provider, it's really the phone that I'm having a problem with.

I primarily work in a fairly large office building but I do travel between buildings every now and then. Hands down, my basic concern is coverage/reception. I would like to use the phone in my building and that seems to be a problem for some of my co-workers.

Next in my order of priorities is decent battery life. I don't need the phone to last a month in between charges but I don't necessarily want to have to charge it every day either.

Speakerphone would be nice. I could see myself using it but from what I've read, no company has truly perfected the option. Most don't even offer it.

Bluetooth isn't absolutely necessary, as long as there is some way to hook it up to a computer. I'd be happy with a USB cable.

I'd be lost without my Calendar, which I hope to sync up with Outlook at work. This doesn't seem to be a real problem, nearly every phone I've looked at can do this with some sort of add-on.

A decent camera phone would be nice. I have a real digital camera but I could see myself using the cell phone camera every now and then so I don't want the pictures to be absolute garbage. A flash would be nice if it worked, but this seems to be a gimmick that tends to ruin pictures. Video isn't really necessary, but if I'm going for video, it better record sound with the clip.

Price isn't a major concern. I'd be happy if I could keep it around $100-$300 but how can you really put a price on your perfect phone?

I live and work in the Minnesota metro area (St. Paul/Minneapolis). I'm somewhat concerned with roaming charges so I've only been looking at Verizon and Cingular (both with no extra roaming charges) but that gets me to my next dilemma; GSM or CDMA? Which is better and why?

Thanks in advance for any advice that you can offer!

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