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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Chicago suburbs
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    1,244

    Need advice on Smartphones

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    I need a new cellphone...badly. I'm with AT&T, and have been for over a decade. My contract with AT&T will not expire until March, and I don't know if I'm willing to wait that long to consider other carriers. My current phone is an outdated Nokia flip-style phone, which no longer holds a battery charge. I've tried replacing the battery to no avail. I just became eligible for a phone upgrade this month, so I have a list of phones that I can choose from at a discounted price. Problem is...I am totally clueless on Smartphones. I'm not even really sure that I need a Smartphone. At the very least, I would like a phone that is more text-friendly than the one I have now. I currently don't even have a text package on my plan, but it is something that I would like to get with my new phone. My sister (who is ill with cancer) and both of her daughters communicate primarily by texting...so I feel like I should move into the current century by getting a phone with a text package so that I can more easily communicate with my sister if she needs me for something. This is where I'm torn...do I get just a text-friendly phone with one of those slide-out QWERTY keyboards? Or do I go full-blown Smartphone? I'm not too keen on shelling out the $70 or so a month, for a data plan...especially if I know that I won't be using the internet features all that much. There are so many phones out there to choose from...it's dizzying! I have no idea which phones are better than others. I keep seeing the commercials on tv for that new AT&T Impulse 4G for 29.99 (Best Buy has it for $1) which seems like a great deal...but I've read some not-so-stellar reviews on it, so now I'm hesitating. Can anyone here offer up some good recommendations on a new AT&T phone? Or at the very least, some tips on what I should be looking for in a new phone? Decent battery life is one of the more important points for me, but other than that I really don't know what to look for. THANKS!!

    Linda
    2012 Seven Axiom SL - Specialized Ruby SL 155

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Indianapolis IN
    Posts
    328
    I am not with AT&T and I dont know much about their plans. ..
    In my home there are android ,windows and Blackberry phones. I believe any of those will charge you for data plan and you said you are not really wanting to pay for that service. But If what you need is battery life? Blackberry is the way to go. After fully charged, they last a couple of days or more depending on the usage. I use mine a lot and it last 2 days without recharging....

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    St. Louis, Mo
    Posts
    119
    I can no longer imagine life without an iphone.

    My husband, who isn't all that tech-savvy, got one recently and he loves it (even though he doesn't use it to its full potential). He says he's glad he got it...really enjoys the features he does use.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,984
    I don't know about AT&T phones, except for iphones.

    But I do know it's not a good deal if it's not a good phone, even if the price is low.

    Personally I love having internet, email and maps in my pocket.

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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Whitmore Lake, Michigan
    Posts
    930
    My friends with iPhones and Androids love them and swear by them. I am a Blackberry gal and won't part with it at this time. I don't surf the net but I do use it for email, scheduling/calendar, tasks and notes. I also use it for GPS mapping. I look at it like a tool for my work and it happens to be a phone.
    Those features come with a cost that I could not justify if it wasn't a necessary tool.

    If you want to use it primarly for texting and phone, I would not bother with the smartphone features or cost associated with them, but do look for something with the full keyboard. I wish I could help you out more with the regular phones but don't know as many people with them.
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    2,050
    I replaced my old phone with an Iphone (also on AT & T). I do like it, though perhaps don't use it as fully as some people.

    I have the $15 /month data plan, and try to use wi-fi as much as possible, so I haven't had any trouble staying in the limits. The phone itself was $175 with a 2 year contract. Don't forget you will want to get a case to protect it.

    I appreciated the map app when I needed to confirm a bike route, have used weather apps, internet to look up addresses for businesses, have used the camera quite a bit, have talked to my daughter in England using Skype, and bought one app for identifying Irish tunes. I also listen to podcasts and music on the phone instead of using my Ipod.
    2016 Specialized Ruby Comp disc - Ruby Expert ti 155
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Newport Beach
    Posts
    5

    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by azfiddle View Post
    I replaced my old phone with an Iphone (also on AT & T). I do like it, though perhaps don't use it as fully as some people.

    I have the $15 /month data plan, and try to use wi-fi as much as possible, so I haven't had any trouble staying in the limits. The phone itself was $175 with a 2 year contract. Don't forget you will want to get a case to protect it.

    I appreciated the map app when I needed to confirm a bike route, have used weather apps, internet to look up addresses for businesses, have used the camera quite a bit, have talked to my daughter in England using Skype, and bought one app for identifying Irish tunes. I also listen to podcasts and music on the phone instead of using my Ipod.
    I have a new Droid Razr. I have had many smart phone but not I Phones. It really depends on what you want to do. Everyone in our family sends text messages and if you are a rider, it is a great way for you or anyone else to communicate with you rapidly.
    The major thing to look for is easy to use keys so you can write something. The kids are much faster than we are.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    3,869
    I'm right there with you nscrbug, my six year old Razr was giving up the ghost so it was time for a new phone. I agonized over it because I did NOT want a smart phone. However with AT&T the monthly cost difference was only $15 to go from a phone, to having a computer in my pocket. I travel a lot so it ended up being a better choice to go with a smart phone... and since I use a Mac at home I went with an iphone 4.

    It's pretty intuitive to use so I think I'll like it, as soon as I get over being scared of it.

    Electra Townie 7D

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,470
    I got an I Phone 4S when my flip phone was in the same condition as the OP; it wasn't taking a charge. I don't use it for much, compared to most people, but i do need to be able to check email since I drive to my clients and also check my VM at work all of the time. I can't check my personal email from the computers at work, so, I use my phone. We have a family phone plan (AT&T) and DH was kind of disturbed at how my rate of usage went up after getting the I Phone! However, neither of us have texting as part of our plan, so we just pay by the text; we don't use it very often, me mostly if I am trying to communicate with someone at work when I am out at client's homes/heading out on the road. I use the WiFi when i can find it, but at my office, there isn't any that isn't locked. We looked into a data plan that included texting and it was 30.00 a month, so we said we'll just keep things the way they are. DH expenses most of his calls, but still, we've had the same plan for years, both kids were on it at one point, until DS #1's wife, then GF, had Verizon, so he switched so they could have a cheaper way to communicate when she was commuting from NYC.
    I have loaded 3 apps, none of which I have looked at yet. Once in awhile, I find I touch something, and then I can't figure out what happened, mostly when I am on TE....
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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Posts
    1,686
    I will play devil's advocate: while you thin about the smart phone, replace the battery on your phone (replacements are typically sold) and enable text messages if you can. I have a flip phone, too, without a text plan. I can send and receive SMS messages at a per message cost (5 cents). With my level of "texting", I still pay less per month than any of the plans for SMS messages. It just goes against my balance for calls.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,645
    If replacing the battery hasn't helped, something else is going on and you're probably going to need to replace the phone. MicroUSB and similar-looking ports can be fragile - or maybe there's a short somewhere - either way, unless you have an independent repair shop near you or you're comfortable trying it yourself (what do you have to lose, after all), you're looking at a new phone.

    If the people you communicate with the most prefer texting, then I can't even begin to describe how much quicker it is NOT to have to hit a keypad button three or four times for every character to spell out a word.

    It is an extra expense - but assuming you're going to have some phone, then look at the extra expense when you consider whether it's worth it, not the total. The difference between my current voice+data+text plan vs. the minimum number of minutes with a basic phone is $30 a month.

    Battery life is definitely a consideration, but I don't necessarily trust manufacturers' claims on that. Talk to people who own phones that you're interested in, and/or visit online forums (there are lots).
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Vermont
    Posts
    1,414
    A small thought... if your sister or her daughters have iPhones, with iOS5, Apple has introduced iMessage, which is a free text/media messaging service between iphone users (text rates don't apply). I haven't tried it yet, though, so I can't offer a review.

    http://www.macworld.com/article/1629..._imessage.html

    I recently replaced my limping, four-year old Blackberry Pearl with an iPhone 4s. I love it and use if for all sorts of things. It's quite handy for traveling, for instance - on my last flight, I checked in on my phone, received flight regular flight status updates, found out connecting gates, was able to access a map of the airport as well as lists of amenities, all on my phone.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    the dry side
    Posts
    4,403
    Quote Originally Posted by azfiddle View Post

    I have the $15 /month data plan, and try to use wi-fi as much as possible, so I haven't had any trouble staying in the limits. The phone itself was $175 with a 2 year contract. Don't forget you will want to get a case to protect it.
    ATT here also. Both DH and I use the $15/mo data plan. You really only need the unlimited plan if you are going to stream media such as Pandora. So look carefully as to what your usage would be. You can also start on one plan, and then change it if you see your use (which you can check on your phone) has changed.
    2015 Liv Intrigue 2
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  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Chicago suburbs
    Posts
    1,244
    Thank you, ladies...lots to think about here. I hadn't thought of starting out on the lowest data plan at first, and then possibly switching to a larger one later....that's a great idea and a great way for me to see exactly how much data I would be needing/using per month. I know that the salespeople will always try and steer you towards the bigger data plans, thinking that most people need it...but I am probably in the minority and can get by with the lowest plan they offer. As a Mac user, the Iphone intrigues me...but I'm just not sure I can justify the cost (not to mention DH not being able to justify it). I only have 1 personal friend that has an Iphone (older model)...she loves it, but is longing for the new one. Most of my colleagues at work use Android phones, which they also love. I've read some fantastic reviews on the new Samsung Galaxy S II with AT&T, but at $200 ($150 at Best Buy) it's not any cheaper than the Iphone.

    I guess this brings me to another point...has anyone here ever renewed their contract through places like Best Buy, Target, or Walmart? Are there any major differences by renewing or purchasing a cellphone contract through these big box stores vs the actual carrier's retail stores?
    2012 Seven Axiom SL - Specialized Ruby SL 155

 

 

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