The 411: From Rugbys to BlackBerrys

Every two weeks, CNET editor Nicole Lee answers your questions about cell phones and cell phone accessories in The 411.

Nicole Lee Former Editor
Nicole Lee is a senior associate editor for CNET, covering cell phones, Bluetooth headsets, and all things mobile. She's also a fan of comic books, video games, and of course, shiny gadgets.
Nicole Lee
3 min read

Welcome to the 411, my column answering all your questions about cell phones and cell phone accessories. I receive plenty of questions about these subjects via e-mail, so I figured many of you might have similar queries, too. At times, I might solicit answers from readers if I'm stumped. Send your questions and comments to me at nicole.lee@cnet.com. If you prefer to remain anonymous, let me know in the e-mail.

Hi Nicole, I am trying to find a little information on the new Rugby II and thought you might be able to help. I've been using the Rugby for about 2 years now and my contract is about up, I like the phone but do have some trouble hearing (especially female voices) conversations. Does the Rugby II perform any better, if so in what areas? Would it be worth the upgrade? Thank you. -- Tom, via e-mail.

Samsung Rugby II SGH-A847 - black (AT&T) CNET

Senior Editor Kent German reviewed the Samsung Rugby II a few months ago, and according to him, the Rugby II is very similar to the Rugby in terms of design. So if you like the old Rugby, then you'll be in luck with the successor. Also, he says in his review that the previous call quality issues with the original Rugby are alleviated in the Rugby II, with better audio overall. The new Rugby II also has voice dialing where the previous one did not. As the price of the Rugby II is fairly inexpensive at around $49.99 with a two-year contract, and you seem to be a fan, I say go ahead and get the new one.

I have a question. My friend gave me an old iPhone 3GS. I would like to use it and wonder if: 1) it can be unlocked easily, and 2) if unlocked, can I just put my T-Mobile SIM card in it and use it as a regular phone, or do I have to pay for a data plan even though it is an unlocked phone? -- Lara, via e-mail.

It can be unlocked quite easily by yourself, but you should exercise caution when doing so. There are plenty of instructions floating around the Web on how to do it (just Google "how to unlock the iPhone"), and it usually involves downloading and installing third-party software and then following the instructions. I would definitely back up all your information first, and read through all the instructions from start to finish to make sure you understand everything. Also realize you're probably breaking a warranty by unlocking the device, and future iOS updates might lock up the phone.

If it is unlocked, then yes, you can just put your T-Mobile SIM card in there and use it like a regular phone. If you're careful to turn the data off, then yes you can theoretically get away with not having to pay for a data plan. I've not done this myself however, so I would love to hear from folks who've done this successfully.

I've got the 9700 Bold on T-Mobile. Any idea on when I'll be able to update it to OS6? I heard stories early on that the T-Mobile Bold and a couple of other carriers' recent Berries would be able to be upgraded to OS6. Was just curious. -- Brad, via e-mail.

We have heard from RIM that the Bold 9700 is on tap to be upgraded to OS 6. Unfortunately we're just as in the dark as you are with when T-Mobile and RIM are going to roll it out. Hopefully we'll know more about the OS rollout by the end of the year.

Hi Nicole, can you tell me which cell phone has the biggest image (screen) for Internet use? -- Susan, via e-mail

The largest smartphone screen size at the moment appears to be around 4.3 inches diagonally. The Motorola Droid X has that, as does the HTC Evo 4G. There's also the whopping 5-inch screen on the Dell Streak, but that verges on the territory of tablets rather than smartphones. Any of them will do wonders for Internet surfing as well as watching videos.