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Big Bad Cell Phone Redux of '06

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  • Big Bad Cell Phone Redux of '06

    ok.. so I'm tired of T-mobile .. or at least I think I am, but am having a bitch of a time determining how I can accomplish what I desire in a cell setup for the least amount of money. So, here's my prod to the community:

    1) I want a PDA/Phone
    - I want it to have multiple features; bluetooth seems standard, but things like higher end camera, wifi device of some sort, memory card of some form
    - I want it to fucking work! I thought I had a great thing going when I snagged up the HP6315 .. and initially it seemed cool, until I determined that 90% of the functionality I desire doesn't work for shit, causes hard reboots that make me lose all my data, and otherwise functions like a toned down regular pda OR a big overweight flat phone.. and only one or the other.

    2) Range
    - If I can't get decent signal in my own home, there's probably an alternative.
    - I don't need global coverage, but for the 50 states I generally bounce around I would like to take the phone more than 5 feet from a main highway and still get some coverage.
    - It's nice to be on a campout and have some signal, not great, but at least not be entirely dead in the water.

    3) A Geek Plan
    - I make 2-6 minutes worth of voice calls a month .. to check voicemail. This is an instant problem, since most cell plans focus exclusively on how many thousands of minutes you need to listen to your friend chat about your other friends fucking Usher/50cent/etc ringtones.
    - I use SMS, although anticipate this could be almost eliminated by migrating entirely to data.
    - I want data, unlimited, ssh into your mothers box and spam your dad with viagramail kinda data. I want to be able to use the data on the phone; I also want to be able to connect the phone to my box and use it as a 'modem' device. I don't want restrictions for the latter if possible.
    - With all that in mind, I still want the option of making a voice call / sms if needed, whether payper or on tiny plan like they offered half a decade or so ago
    - While we're at it, lets add in the ability to add additional phones/lines.. say, one for my wife (to crutch minutes if a plan, or otheriwse add similar features

    4) Price
    - Let's say for argument purposes that I can afford $70/mo and don't anticipate my desires coming to anything less
    - I could not dream of surpassing $140 a month unless I whored myself out like Paris Hilton or <insert pop actress here>. Increasing the monthly bill to this would incur pain from my wife.. and from my ability to balance the budget.. but at this point I'm willing to negotiate, since I'm back to having an $80/mo sms plan.
    - I don't care about phone price. If it's all it says it is and does what I want, I'll pay it. $90 crap phone vs $200 mediocre phone that pretends to function vs $600 absolute working device.. I'm at the point of paying the money.


    So .. what are your experiences with cell service? This does not have to be entirely tailored to my situation.. hence.. this is the big bad cell thread, if you have a different scenario, post it.. post what you know.. something a little more involved than '<service> sucks/rocks'.
    if it gets me nowhere, I'll go there proud; and I'm gonna go there free.

  • #2
    Re: Big Bad Cell Phone Redux of '06

    Originally posted by converge
    ok.. so I'm tired of T-mobile .. or at least I think I am, but am having a bitch of a time determining how I can accomplish what I desire in a cell setup for the least amount of money. So, here's my prod to the community:
    I'll be honest here... I'm really happy with T-Mobile and wouldn't change off of them for the earth. Their customer service has been excellent for me, and since I need GSM (I use my phone out of the country) it's either them or Cingular, whom I despise. They've also been great on expanding the network and improving coverage where they claim they will, when they claim they will. Having said that:

    1) I want a PDA/Phone
    DO NOT GET THE TREO 650. I made this mistake last October, and after putting up with its shortcomings for nine months the phone's going to a new owner this week. Palm has totally lost the plot when it comes to mobile devices running their own OS, and I say this as a longtime Palm bigot. Biggest annoyance: let's say a call or SMS comes in while you're using pssh to shell into a box somewhere. If you inadvertently answer the call or read the message, Palm OS' lack of multitasking unloads pssh, dropping your shell session, so that you can talk or reply. This got old REALLY FUCKING FAST, as well as having to reboot the phone every 48 hours to keep it from locking up under normal use. Oh, yeah, and then there's the 802.11 support - it doesn't have any, and the SD wireless card compatible with the Tungstens, etc. specifically checks to see if it's running on a 650 and disables itself. The keyboard sucks as well.

    Palm fucked up bigtime with this device.

    - I want it to have multiple features; bluetooth seems standard, but things like higher end camera, wifi device of some sort, memory card of some form
    - I want it to fucking work! I thought I had a great thing going when I snagged up the HP6315 .. and initially it seemed cool, until I determined that 90% of the functionality I desire doesn't work for shit, causes hard reboots that make me lose all my data, and otherwise functions like a toned down regular pda OR a big overweight flat phone.. and only one or the other.
    Check out the T-Mobile MDA or Cingular 8125. They're functionally-equivalent (same hardware & software platforms), but while the 8125 looks cooler its keyboard was a lot harder for me to use. There's also the upcoming T-Mobile Sidekick 3, but as I haven't got my hands on one yet I can't comment. Never been huge fan of the first two, though.

    2) Range
    - If I can't get decent signal in my own home, there's probably an alternative.
    - I don't need global coverage, but for the 50 states I generally bounce around I would like to take the phone more than 5 feet from a main highway and still get some coverage.
    - It's nice to be on a campout and have some signal, not great, but at least not be entirely dead in the water.
    Honestly... This is going to be entirely dependent on where you are. Personally, I don't count on my phone working in the back of beyond, which is why I keep a couple of old AMPS phones around for emergencies. Even though they don't have service, AMPS coverage is pretty ubiquitous and you can still dial 911 on them without having to sign up with a cell carrier. Pick up a bagphone at the local charity store for $10 and figure out a way to get power to it and you should be good from that perspective.

    3) A Geek Plan
    - I make 2-6 minutes worth of voice calls a month .. to check voicemail. This is an instant problem, since most cell plans focus exclusively on how many thousands of minutes you need to listen to your friend chat about your other friends fucking Usher/50cent/etc ringtones.
    - I use SMS, although anticipate this could be almost eliminated by migrating entirely to data.
    - I want data, unlimited, ssh into your mothers box and spam your dad with viagramail kinda data. I want to be able to use the data on the phone; I also want to be able to connect the phone to my box and use it as a 'modem' device. I don't want restrictions for the latter if possible.
    - With all that in mind, I still want the option of making a voice call / sms if needed, whether payper or on tiny plan like they offered half a decade or so ago
    - While we're at it, lets add in the ability to add additional phones/lines.. say, one for my wife (to crutch minutes if a plan, or otheriwse add similar features
    Can't help ya there. I use all of the above except for ringtones.

    4) Price
    - Let's say for argument purposes that I can afford $70/mo and don't anticipate my desires coming to anything less
    - I could not dream of surpassing $140 a month unless I whored myself out like Paris Hilton or <insert pop actress here>. Increasing the monthly bill to this would incur pain from my wife.. and from my ability to balance the budget.. but at this point I'm willing to negotiate, since I'm back to having an $80/mo sms plan.
    - I don't care about phone price. If it's all it says it is and does what I want, I'll pay it. $90 crap phone vs $200 mediocre phone that pretends to function vs $600 absolute working device.. I'm at the point of paying the money.
    Breakdown of what I'm paying now:

    $49.99/month: voice service (1500 minutes, free nights & weekends)
    $19.99/month: unlimited EDGE data (which should be 3G in the next few months)
    $3.99/month: 500 text messages

    So that's $75 before tax. If you fiddle the voice plan down to something less capacious (I believe they have a 600-minute plan), that could drop further.

    So .. what are your experiences with cell service? This does not have to be entirely tailored to my situation.. hence.. this is the big bad cell thread, if you have a different scenario, post it.. post what you know.. something a little more involved than '<service> sucks/rocks'.
    Fuck Sprint. Find me at con and I'll fill you in on exactly why I hate those shitclowns so much; there isn't enough space here for my vitriol or experiences. Verizon uses Sprint's network, but may work better (depending on where you are) than Cingular or T-Mobile. Cingular sucked for international use for my needs, so they're out. Never had a problem with T-Mobile except where I'd expect all cell coverage to suck, so YMMV.
    Last edited by skroo; July 2, 2006, 18:26.

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    • #3
      Re: Big Bad Cell Phone Redux of '06

      I have heard TONS of horror stories about the GSM version of the Treo 650. I don't know, I never had one. I had the Treo 600 (CDMA, Verizon) and never had any problems. I recently upgraded to the Treo 700p and am happy as hell (although I should point out that with this being a new release and me being an early adopter I am prepared to deal with some weirdness).

      I love the EVDO Broadband network with the 700p, but skroo is 100% correct that if you are doing anything on the Intarweb and you leave the application it closes your session. The 700w (Windows Mobile based) does not have this problem as it can actually DO multitasking.

      One nice addition with the EVDO network (over the 1xRT network that the 650 and the 600 used with Verizon and Sprint) is that you can now receive calls while actively using the web. With the 1xRT network, it would kick directly to voice mail.

      I agree 100% with skroo that Sprint SUCKS. That said, Verizon is easily the most expensive provider of both voice and data. I travel a lot and their network is awesome for coverage so it is a requirement for me.

      Another thing....if you consider Verizon you should know that they have a tendancy to cripple their phones. An example of this is the PPC6700 (I think Verizon actually calls it the V6700, but you can google it to see the phone I mean). It has built in WiFi. The Sprint version works perfectly, but Verizon crippled the phone so that if you are using the WiFi you can't make or receive calls. I am pretty sure they did this so that you will have to use the EVDO network (at a whopping 45 bucks a month in addition to your voice plan) if you want to use data services and receive calls...and that is pretty jacked.
      perl -e 'print pack(c5, (41*2), sqrt(7056), (unpack(c,H)-2), oct(115), 10)'

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      • #4
        Re: Big Bad Cell Phone Redux of '06

        Originally posted by Chris
        I have heard TONS of horror stories about the GSM version of the Treo 650. I don't know, I never had one. I had the Treo 600 (CDMA, Verizon) and never had any problems. I recently upgraded to the Treo 700p and am happy as hell (although I should point out that with this being a new release and me being an early adopter I am prepared to deal with some weirdness).
        Yeah, I probably should've been clearer on that point. The couple of people I know with them on CDMA haven't had nearly the amount of issues that the GSM users I know (myself included) have. Having said that, the latest firmware (1.20-ENA - I'm running the unbranded firmware on an unlocked phone, though this really shouldn't have much to do with it) seems to be better than the previous versions. Of course, the upgrade took a dump partway through and I lost pretty much everything stored on the phone that wasn't in the SIM, but that's another story and could've just been a freak incident.

        One other thing that sucks about Palm-based devices right now: Palm Desktop hasn't changed much since about 1999, nor has their sync method. Again, as much as I hate to say it: ActiveSync works better. This really annoys me, too, because if Palm had bothered to develop their products they'd be wiping the floor with Microsoft's offerings.

        I love the EVDO Broadband network with the 700p, but skroo is 100% correct that if you are doing anything on the Intarweb and you leave the application it closes your session. The 700w (Windows Mobile based) does not have this problem as it can actually DO multitasking.
        One shortcoming with T-Mobile: data speeds are limited to EDGE rates, which for me is working out to around 150-180Kbps. Not bad, but certainly nowhere near what EVDO is providing. T-Mobile is painfully aware that they're behind in the data arena and has assured me that they're going to go 3G early next year, though, so the situation should improve dramatically. We'll see.

        One nice addition with the EVDO network (over the 1xRT network that the 650 and the 600 used with Verizon and Sprint) is that you can now receive calls while actively using the web. With the 1xRT network, it would kick directly to voice mail.
        For T-Mobile users, this isn't an issue provided you're using a handset that can multitask - but there is a timeout (3 minutes, IIRC) on how long it'll hold the data channel open without activity while you're on a call. This is fine for 'hi, uh-huh, OK, bye' type stuff without dropping your shell session, but not for keeping it alive while calling phonesex lines in Guam for hours on end. I can kinda see the point of this, though - if they didn't time them out, they'd end up being busied out.

        Another thing....if you consider Verizon you should know that they have a tendancy to cripple their phones.
        As does Sprint, though I understand they've got better about that in recent years.

        An example of this is the PPC6700 (I think Verizon actually calls it the V6700, but you can google it to see the phone I mean). It has built in WiFi. The Sprint version works perfectly, but Verizon crippled the phone so that if you are using the WiFi you can't make or receive calls. I am pretty sure they did this so that you will have to use the EVDO network (at a whopping 45 bucks a month in addition to your voice plan) if you want to use data services and receive calls...and that is pretty jacked.
        I believe that part of this was a fear that people would use their cellphones to bridge cellular calls received on it out to VoIP networks or some such horseshit. Either way, agreed, it's pretty lame.

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        • #5
          Re: Big Bad Cell Phone Redux of '06

          My Verizon XV6700 is the cat's ass. My wife and I both have one and we love them. It has coverage in the CONUS. Considering Vermont's tree huggers bitch and moan about every cell transmitter and tower that gets put up, I'm actually amazed at how good the coverage has been locally.

          The only feature it really lacks is international GSM, which sucks somewhat for us, but I can live without.

          Features:
          Phone (duh)
          PDA running Win Mobile 5
          Camera
          Internet via EVDO
          WiFi*
          Bluetooth

          *Sort of. You have to switch off the phone function in order to use WiFi, although a RegEdit can let you use them simultaneously. Also, it is restricted to 802.11b speed, and only has WEP128.
          Last edited by Thorn; July 3, 2006, 15:11.
          Thorn
          "If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning." - Catherine Aird

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Big Bad Cell Phone Redux of '06

            Originally posted by Thorn
            *Sort of. You have to switch off the phone function in order to use WiFi, although a RegEdit can let you use them simultaneously.
            That's good to know. I had considered the VX6700 since it seemed way better than the 700w, but the crippled WiFi was a big reason I didn't get it...which is ironic since I got the 700p which has no wifi support whatsoever.
            perl -e 'print pack(c5, (41*2), sqrt(7056), (unpack(c,H)-2), oct(115), 10)'

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Big Bad Cell Phone Redux of '06

              Originally posted by Chris
              That's good to know. I had considered the VX6700 since it seemed way better than the 700w, but the crippled WiFi was a big reason I didn't get it...which is ironic since I got the 700p which has no wifi support whatsoever.
              A friend with the same phone just old me that the latest upgrade from UTStar allows this without the registry edit.
              Thorn
              "If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning." - Catherine Aird

              Comment

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