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  1. #1
    Feline Member kelric's Avatar
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    Default Advice on Cell Phones / Plans, etc.

    So I think I'm going to actually join the 90's and get a cell phone. Most of the reason is that my landline is costing me around $50 a month now (more if I use long distance), and I'm thinking that the difference in price for a cell phone plan is probably worth it, given that I'd have data ability, basically all of my calls are long distance, etc.

    Problem is, I know little more than zero about cell phones. Other than that pretty much any provider in the US is going to suck, and will use their service as a platform to suck as much out of me as they can. This annoys me already .

    Here are what I'm thinking about my requirements:

    • "SmartPhone" : frankly I'm much more likely to make good use of the data capabilities than the actual phone ones on a day-to-day basis.
    • GSM: I'm looking to travel internationally, and perhaps with long stays overseas -- I'd want to be able to just pop a new SIM card in to get service for foreign providers. Sorry Verizon.
    • Unlocked / Easily unlockable: I don't like the idea of being tied to a certain provider, with a long-term contract. I'd rather buy the phone up-front and pay less monthly, and be able to change whenever I want.
    • Service at Home: The idea that anyone would pay for a phone that didn't get service at home boggles my mind. This will replace my landline. Obviously nobody (including me) will know what will work at my house, but ideas on how to find out (other than web coverage maps) would help.


    So, based on this, I'm thinking that what I'm looking for is either:
    • a Google Nexus One on T-Mobile
    • an iPhone on AT&T


    The Nexus One is my preference, based on what I know so far -- more open, less AT&T "we don't let you do this" sort of junk, more reasonable plan prices, etc. I have gotten to see/use one that a friend has, so I know that I liked the basic interface (frankly it seemed a lot like an iPhone).

    What does everyone think? Any ideas or experiences that I'm not thinking of? Anyway, thanks for any advice .
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  2. #2
    Habitual Fi LineStepper JocktheMotie's Avatar
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    I have a Nexus One and I'd make love to it if I could. Plus, if a lot of your calls are international, you can make great use of a Google Voice number which, naturally, works flawlessly on Android. Also, T-Mobile's unlimited plan is quite a bit cheaper than ATTs. You also have to keep in mind that T-mobile's 3G coverage is not as extensive as ATT but that depends more on where you live. T-Mobile also offers an option to use your home's wireless internet to make calls if your home coverage isn't that great, I think, but I don't know if the N1 does that.

    If you look at ATT and T-mobile's sites you can also check their coverage maps.



  3. #3
    Feline Member kelric's Avatar
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    Thanks Jock -- good to know that I'm not looking at a completely foolish option. I have looked at both AT&T's and T-Mobile's coverage maps in my area, and both classify me as in the "good" category for both voice and data. I live in suburban St. Louis, so that's not a complete surprise, as far as their planned coverage goes. Actual reception... who knows .

    I drove out to the T-Mobile store today, after having read that Google no longer sells the N1 via the web, but as it turns out, T-Mobile hasn't heard anything about direct-from-the-store sales, and Google still *does* sell it over the web. Shows me to believe what I read on the internet . That's a good thought about the phone-over-Wifi -- I'll ask them about that if I get that far.

    I know a lot of iPhone lovers, and truly, it appears to be pretty slick. But I hear nothing but bad about AT&T -- and they're more expensive. Any AT&T advocates out there?
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  4. #4
    Senior Member swordpath's Avatar
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    Dude, trust me, get the iPhone 4. You picked a good time to be browsing the market, with apple releasing their new phone this past Tuesday.

    I just got mine and it's so great and simple to use. I'd suggest going to an AT&T store and messing around with it. If having the newest bells and whistles isn't important to you, the iPhone 4's predecessor, the 3GS, just dropped in price significantly. It's just as solid of a phone but lacking in some features.

    As for AT&T service, it's really all I've known, so I can't do much comparing; but aside from the bad spot I'm living in now (the hollow of a small mountain), I haven't had many problems.

  5. #5
    Feline Member kelric's Avatar
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    Thanks, Beat . How has your luck been with AT&T? I got a chance to play around with an iPhone3g last week (granted, not the new one), and I didn't see a whole lot of difference between the basic features and those of a Nexus One (other than more applications for the iPhone, and more open for the Nexus One, but I expect the application value to equal out over time).

    AT&T seems to be more expensive (especially as I'd not be able to get "unlimited" data, as I could with T-Mobile), and I've heard of all sorts of horror stories from people who have tried to get support, dropped calls, etc. Granted that some of that's region-specific (ie, in San Fran/San Jose area it sucks).

    Oops, you edited and already answered -- thanks
    Last edited by kelric; 06-26-2010 at 03:08 PM. Reason: Beat already answered my questions!
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  6. #6
    Senior Member swordpath's Avatar
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    Yeah, I haven't spent any time with iPhone competitors' products, and I'm biased (proud to admit). lol.

    I'm sure there's a smarter decision for being frugal with money, than going with AT&T/iPhone. Basically, if you didn't fall in love with the iPhone when you played with it, then don't try force anything because maybe it's not worth it after all.

    That's weird that AT&T got rid of their unlimited data plan. I had unlimited data when they offered it, so I get to keep it. "Grandfathered in" so to speak.

  7. #7
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    I am a tiny bit biased since I used to work at T-Mobile (engineering, non-sales) but I do think they are a better provider for a few reasons. As you said, you want GSM service so that narrows it down to T-Mo and AT&T. Both have extensive roaming agreements so advertising claims about network coverage are irrelevant as long as your plan includes it. That leaves the remaining factors of plans, service, and phones. T-Mobile gives you more in a plan for the same price than AT&T. Also, T-Mobile is renound for winning the JD Power award for customer service many years running. And lastly, since both services are GSM you can use any unlocked GSM phone with a few restrictions when it comes to phone-specific services like for the iPhone. The T-Mobile Android phones do not have this restriction because they are open source and all the features run over the same data network connection as the non-android phones. The only downside to T-Mobile is that their 3.5G HSPA network is still being deployed and is competitive with the "4G" networks of Verizon and Sprint.

    As for which phone to get, my best advice is try it out in the store for 10-15 minutes and read a lot of online reviews. IMO the best phone available now is the G1, which isn't one of the new phones but as far as I know it's the only android phone with a tactile keyboard (IME way better than software keyboard could ever be)

  8. #8
    Feline Member kelric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by foolish heart View Post
    As for which phone to get, my best advice is try it out in the store for 10-15 minutes and read a lot of online reviews. IMO the best phone available now is the G1, which isn't one of the new phones but as far as I know it's the only android phone with a tactile keyboard (IME way better than software keyboard could ever be)
    Thanks for the info . Right now I'm still thinking of a Nexus One -- I've got a friend who has one and I liked it when I played around with it for a bit. Originally I was quite pro-tactile keyboard, but as was pointed out, it's not like I'm going to be doing any serious typing on it, and the extra heft/smaller display probably isn't going to be worth it for what I'll use it for most.

    Right now my only question really is reception at home. The coverage map says that I should get "good" coverage, but I hardly want to drop the money on a phone (remember, I want an unlocked, no-contract one) if I don't *know* I'll have coverage at home -- *inside* my home, particularly. The sales guy (who was sort of a tool and seemingly less informed than I am :confused basically got all wishy-washy when I asked him about that, and then "showed" me the online coverage map that I'd told him I'd already seen. Not real encouraging. Unfortunately my friend who has the Nexus One lives across the country, or I'd just have her check at my house .

    So I think I'll ask around to friends to see if they have T-Mobile and if so, see if they'd come by and check the signal at my place. Unless anyone else has any better ideas -- I can't think of any.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  9. #9
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    ^Ah makes sense. Whatever fits your needs. I have just seen a lot of people get the latest greatest phone thinking it must be great to find they use some things more than others. Sounds like you have the right idea already! Gluck

  10. #10
    Feline Member kelric's Avatar
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    I decided to go ahead and get the Nexus One. I picked it up at FedEx last night, and went to a T-Mobile store today and got a SIM card and plan for it. The guy at *this* T-Mobile store (I went to a different one in my area than SalesTool's employer) was great. He got everything set up for me, scoured various ways he could waive the activation fee (my employer has some sort of agreement that he found - nice!), and told me how I can get my friend $25 for "referring" me. Then he gave me a free OReilly book on "best Applications" and helped me set everything up. Quite a good experience, all-in-all.

    So the only question at that point was whether or not I'd get a cell signal at home. So far, it seems fine - I get 2-4 bars of signal (out of 4) in the middle of the house, with better if I'm by a window. So I should be good there, too.

    So here's a (somewhat lousy -- used a webcam) photo of it - it looks much better than this in person .



    Anyway, thanks for all of the input/help, guys . Next thing is navigating the apparently torturous process of having my landline cancelled. Should be something I can get through eventually though.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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