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Can you hear me now?

If you're familiar with current cell phone models, I need your opinion.

My cell phone, a Motorola RAZR V6 MAXX, is crap. It functions passably as a SMS device, and I can play Sudoku on it, but despite only having owned it for a couple of years its signal is so bad that pretty much the only thing I can do with an actual phone call is tell the other person (after repeating a few times) to call me back at a different number. It's also gotten into the habit of randomly rebooting on me.

So I'm looking for a new one, and I'm very curious to know if anyone has suggestions. (Not very scientific of me, but hey- I'm lazy.)

I don't think that my criteria are especially extravagant, but so far I'm having trouble finding a single phone that meets them all. I'm also rather overwhelmed by the number of offerings.

Here's the nitty gritty:

* I'm currently using T-Mobile. I'm willing to "jailbreak" a phone or buy through a 3rd party, but I'm not in a position to switch carriers. This is non-negotiable.

* Here's what seems to be the big limiting factor: I need to be able to sit on it. Constantly. My current phone is a clam shell design, which is nice and sturdy and protects the screen very well. It doesn't have to be a clam shell, but if it's not of equivalent durability I'll end up cracking the screen in a few days. I keep my phone in my back pocket, and I have concerns that a larger phone would be subjected to too much flexing stress to survive. Sadly, this rules out the iPhone, which I suspect would otherwise work beautifully for me. I'd like to say that this is a must, but I'm starting to fear that I'll need to bite the bullet and change the way I've distributed stuff in my pockets for most of my life to accommodate a new phone. :-(

* Belt holsters aren't an acceptable compromise. I'm a total geek, and already keep my iPod on my belt. There's no need to advertise my geekiness to the world. The Batman Utility Belt looks awesome on joreth. On me, not so much.

* I need to be able to send and receive SMS messages, and a very large storage capacity would be preferable. Currently, for some reason my phone's outbox can hold up to around 500 messages, but my inbox can only hold about 20. This is actually a bigger problem than my inability to reliably hold phone conversations!

* Bluetooth is a must, as I'll need to pair the phone with both Gir (my PowerBook) and with the Prius.

* It has to have a camera, though I'm not especially picky about resolution. Video is nice, but not a requirement.

* I also need to be able to download messages from the phone to Gir and save them in a non-proprietary format. Again, this is a must. I currently use Blue Phone Elite, and while it has limitations it works well enough to get by. I'm willing to use other software, as long as it'll allow me to export messages in bulk from the phone to a text spreadsheet format with date/time stamps. I'm also willing to use a physical cable to do this (if it doesn't want to play with Gir via Bluetooth).

* Also, it absolutely must be compatible with iSync. I store my entire address book on Gir and keep it updated there, and I'm not at all willing to re-type my whole address book into a phone when my laptop can just push that data in a minute or two.

* It needs to have a vibrate mode, where it's silent but I can feel it ring. Yes, apparently they still make phones that don't do this.

* I need to be able to assign my own ring tones to individuals, either as .mp3s or .wavs.

* Games are great, but not an absolute requirement. Likewise for voice dialing, access to an app store, etc.

* Likewise, a "smart phone" would be nice, but again isn't an absolute necessity.

* Windows Mobile is right out. Personal preference. Not flexible. All other phone OS's are acceptable candidates.

So, my pretties, any advice? Thanks in advance!


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 21st, 2010 08:47 pm (UTC)
A few thoughts, though no final answer.

1) There exist hard cases for cellphones.

2) If you get a phone with good music capability, you won't need to carry an iPod, so you could holster the new phone and only have one device holstered.

3) I like LG brand phones, though I have no clue if they're available for your carrier service. They have decent durability - I've been using assorted LGs for something like a decade, and I often throw mine in a bag with things like keys, binder clips, physics textbooks, magnets, and credit cards, with no detriment to any of the above. (I do try to keep the magnets away from the credit cards, but I've never had my phone wipe a credit card, nor a magnet mess up a phone.) And they have good battery life - I've only ever once had to get a new battery and it was after around 2 years of usage, and I never do the official "only charge when the battery runs out, and then charge it overnight while powered off" thing. Unfortunately they seem to have a software constraint of 100 txts per box (Inbox, Sent, Drafts are each separate boxes), as this wasn't affected by the addition of a 1 Gig memory card in my current LG Dare. The LG Dare does not appear to be compatible with Macs, however I haven't tried very hard since it's not something I care about.
Jun. 21st, 2010 09:17 pm (UTC)
I haven't had TMobile in about 2.5 years, but I'm pretty sure you can jailbreak the iPhone and use the TMobile SIM card in it. To verify I would check either the TMobile forums, or the iPhone forums once you decide which generation iPhone you can get that is within the realm of your budget. With everything you're looking for the phone to do, this would be my suggestion.

You can get a hard case for the iPhone; Mike's son has ruined 2 iPhones by somehow getting them in contact with water (1st time washing machine, 2nd time ocean). His now 3rd iPhone has a waterproof case. It makes it a little more bulky, but it has protected it from him dropping it several times now. And I'm sure it will help protect it from butt-bending...however, I would DEFINITELY consider moving it to the front pocket, or a side cargo pocket when available.

Your other commenter is right, get a big enough iPhone and you won't need the additional iPod. You can then use it as a spare music source, or perhaps something dedicated to your automobile...or a mobile DJ machine when you're at a friend's house, doing, you know...what *you* do with your lovely scantily-clad friends. (queue Benny Hill music here) :-P ;-) (/music) If you're replacing your iPod, you can use that newly-freed space on your belt for your iPhone and not have to worry about butt-bending.

You can get a reasonably priced previous-generation iPhone that has been jailbroken on eBay or other auction sites...might luck out and find one on Craig's List as well if you search for a bit. I'm quite sure that the earlier generations of the iPhone will do everything you need it to do, and more.

Good luck!! :-) If I see anything else that might work I'll let you know! --Marissa :-)
Jun. 21st, 2010 09:54 pm (UTC)
I wouldn't necessarily shy away from a phone with a big screen - I've had a G1 for 21 months now, and have kept it in my back pocket most of that time...along with having dropped it a large number of times. That said, I wouldn't recommend a G1, since it's pretty old hardware. Of the phones TMO currently has in the lineup, I'd recommend the myTouch Slide if you want a hard keyboard, and the Nexus One if you're OK with relying on a touch screen and don't mind paying a premium for the phone (and buying from Google directly). If you're OK with just a touch screen, and want to get it directly from TMO, I'd wait a bit, as the rumor is that the Samsung Galaxy is coming to TMO in about a month. IPhone's great too, and the screen's not prone to cracking, though I don't think it's got the super-strength glass that the next-gen will.

All three of the non-iphones are running Android 2.1 or later...and all support stereo and mono bluetooth, and have 3.5mm jacks, so if you wanted, you could transfer your music from the ipod and listen directly from the phone. That would drop the simple connection with ITunes, but there are some good music players in the Android market. Also, your messages would become essentially unlimited. Not sure about isync, since I don't use it, but I'd be stunned if there wasn't an app for that. And any of the Android phones will sync with your GMail address book, so if you can sync your Gir address book with GMail, you'd be all set.

I'd be glad to answer any questions you might have ;)


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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