The 411: Traveling with Android

Every two weeks, senior associate editor Nicole Lee answers your questions about cell phones, smartphones, and all things mobile.

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 new Q&A 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 the same questions, 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.

I was wondering if you could recommend a good Android Phone with GSM capability as I travel internationally extensively.  The Evo 4G and Incredible are both CDMA, so I am unable to buy due to that. Your advice on the matter is much appreciated. -- Chaitanya, via e-mail.

HTC Nexus One by Google (unlocked) CNET

That's a good point, Chaitanya. As much as we praise the HTC Evo 4G and the HTC Droid Incredible, we have to admit they are not very useful when traveling abroad. When traveling, we still prefer GSM phones, especially those with quad-band support. Luckily for you, there are several good GSM Android phones, such as the HTC Aria for AT&T and the MyTouch 3G Slide for T-Mobile.

However, perhaps my favorite choice for international travelers is the HTC Nexus One. You can buy the Nexus One unlocked, so you can use it with T-Mobile or any other GSM carrier. You might not be able get 3G data speeds with it, as T-Mobile has a different 3G frequency than what other carriers' use, but you can still make and answer calls. While the Nexus One may not be as flashy as some of the newer Android phones are, it's still a solid handset with a nice screen and decent performance. Also, Google tends to push Android firmware updates to the Nexus One first, so it's nice to get the new OS features and fixes first.

I am looking for a way to cut down on my cost on cell phone. I am in Los Angeles. I do not use too many minutes a month (usually under 300), but I do enjoy the unlimited Web that I have been getting from T-Mobile. I also would like a touch-screen smart phone if it is at all possible. Basically, I am looking for a new phone with a prepaid plan--the most economical monthly plan that I can find. Can you suggest a couple of options? Thank you very much for your time!!! -- Queenie

I think a good option for you would be Boost Mobile. Boost offers one of the more competitive prepaid plans available, especially if you want unlimited data.  It's $50 per month plan includes unlimited talk, text, and Web. Boost currently only has one touch-screen smartphone, the Motorola i1. It is an Android based smartphone, but it only has version 1.5 of the operating system on it, with no immediate plans for any updates. However, it's still a decent phone with a 5-megapixel camera, stereo Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and, of course, the robust Android OS. However, a potential downside is that the i1 is fairly pricey at $350, but that's because there is no contract. We'll have a review of the Motorola i1 up soon, so be sure to check that out. 

I read your article after looking for Bluetooth issues with the iPhone 4. My issue is that my Plantronics Discovery 975 is not working with my iPhone 4. If I put the phone in my pocket, wear it on my belt, or take just 1 step away the headset disconnects. Apple has not answered my e-mail about it, so I have made a genius appointment. According to the representative on the phone, there are known issues and they will check compatibility using special equipment during my appointment on Friday. Have you received other reports about regular Bluetooth headsets? -- Douglas, via e-mail.

You're not the only one, Douglas. I have received several e-mails that have reported that the iPhone 4 does not work with their Bluetooth headsets. These headsets range from the Plantronics one that you have to the recent Jawbone to another Jabra headset. We have a few of these models here at CNET, and have not been able to recreate these problems with our iPhone 4. My suspicion is that this is a software issue that affects only a handful of iPhones, and it's potentially fixable with an update. We're continuing to find out more about this issue, so any insight any of you readers can provide regarding this would be helpful to us.