June 21st, 2010

Dancing Gir

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!
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