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Good deal on a smart phone?
March 31, 2007 4:57 PM   Subscribe

Are there any deals in the smart phone world? Someone told me she had some voice plan plus unlimited internet for ~$40. She had a sidekick. Did I misunderstand?

I'd like to use it to surf. I could deal with limited minutes or with limited transfers or with limited text messages. I'd like to be able to use it for navigation - not just looking at maps but location aware instructions. I'd like to be able to use it to get a laptop online but not often or for long. I'm also willing to agree to a 2-year commitment. Does such a deal exist?

Amazon has a T-Mobile dash for free after rebate but the plan is $70-80 with low minutes, limited texts and unlimited internet. They also have a Treo ??? for -$55 after rebate The lowest plan is $50 but nowhere on the site do they mention internet access. Would I add that on after I commit? Could it possibly be included? According to Amazon both these deals expire today but I think I'll pass unless I'm more confident. How often is this type of phone available for free with a 2-year contract? Is there somewhere I can follow deals on cell phones and wireless plans?

Or, ignore all of that and just tell me: what's the best bargain phone-plan combo that does a minimal amount of neat stuff?
posted by stuart_s to Shopping (8 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
I said: Is there somewhere I can follow deals on cell phones and wireless plans? While we're at it, how 'bout some place that explains this stuff like they were talking to a three year old?

Thanks.
posted by stuart_s at 5:00 PM on March 31, 2007


Or, ignore all of that and just tell me: what's the best bargain phone-plan combo that does a minimal amount of neat stuff?

SPRINT. SERO.

I signed up a little before Christmas when the plan was 'open' and got a treo 700wx for $300 with $150 rebate. By some act of god they sent me a $350 rebate. I have 500 minutes/month, free nights/weekends and unlimited 3G data for $30/month ($36 after taxes). The lack of text messaging was the only downside.

It does non-location aware directions (plus traffic) with google maps and you can bluetooth or USB-tether your laptop to it (get your laptop online) for free if you buy PdaNET (third party app - don't tell sprint).
posted by datacenter refugee at 5:11 PM on March 31, 2007 [2 favorites]


The Sidekick does not have GPS, so it can't give you location-aware directions, and it will not connect to a PC to allow it to get online. That said, you used to be able to get an unlimited data and low voice minutes plan for $40 a month. I believe the same plan is now $50. Regardless, Sidekick data is always unlimited, you just pay varying amounts for the associated voice plan. If you _just_ want data, you can get a data-only plan for $30 a month I think. T-Mobile does not give away the Sidekick 3, which is the current model, but I believe you can get it for $200 with 2 year contract. Regular price is $300. T-Mobile is the only carrier that sells it, so just check their site to see what the price structure is like.

The Treo and other related smart phones do not, as far as I know, offer GPS. It might be possible to connect a GPS SD expansion card to a Treo - Google could confirm that pretty quickly. Actually, it just did. Even better, the Treo can connect to bluetooth GPS devices. The Sidekick, although it has bluetooth, cannot do that. The Treo, depending on which carrier you get it from, can be connected to a computer to get it online - I know my friend does it with his using Sprint.

I believe that Verizon is the only carrier that offers phones with GPS _and_ a navigation/directions service with them. That is, you can buy a simple phone like a RAZR, and it has GPS in it and gets directions from a Verizon computer. Someone may prove about that though.

It sounds like your best bet would be to look for a used Treo on ebay or craigslist, and then set it up with service. You could simply call a Sprint or Verizon store near you and ask them what the cost for different voice and data plans for a Treo would be. They should be glad to help you out.
posted by autojack at 5:21 PM on March 31, 2007


Keep in mind, though, if you decide to go with Verizon and a used/refurb model, that you will *have* to make sure you have a verizon-specific phone since they use something other than sim cards. I just went through this- I accidentally ordered a cingular one on ebay instead of a verizon one, and had to send it back to get exchanged before verizon could activate it.
posted by Glitter Ninja at 5:24 PM on March 31, 2007


datacenter refugee: is that $36 for the entire plan? or $36 for internet + $30 for the minutes = $66? My fiance has a Tmobile plan for her Treo: $55 for 300 min + unlimited internet, but I don't know whether it is still available.
posted by Manjusri at 5:44 PM on March 31, 2007


s that $36 for the entire plan? or $36 for internet + $30 for the minutes = $66?

Straight from my last auto-debit:
AUTOMATED DEBIT SPRINT PCS EFT PCSSSLP $36.32

That's the whole bill. I hate cell phones in general and wouldn't have gotten one If I hadn't found this deal. There's even a cheaper one with less minutes available if you don't talk much.
posted by datacenter refugee at 10:43 PM on March 31, 2007


The Treo and other related smart phones do not, as far as I know, offer GPS.

The Blackberry 8800 does, and apparently the mapping software with it is damn cool. Not sure if that is classified as a smartphone or not, but thought I'd point it out :)
posted by antifuse at 4:39 AM on April 1, 2007


You can add text messaging ot SERO for $10 a month, IIRC.

GF and I both have SERO- I couldn't be happier.
posted by Four Flavors at 2:41 PM on April 2, 2007


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