Help novice select a new cell phone
August 27, 2008 8:14 PM   Subscribe

I know next to nothing about cell phones over the past year, but now find myself in the market. I need: simplicity, battery life, functionality most important is ease of use of phone including contacts import from outlook, calender syncing with outlook (my office doesn't seem to use the kind of MS exchange server that would easily allow that option), and occasional web browsing with maps for travel. what do folks recommend? I see Costco has a special today: free Blackberry Pearl with one year contract with Tmobile
posted by dougiedd to Technology (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
About a year ago I got the Motorola Q on Sprint SERO (google that). It has everything you ask for, except good battery life. It syncs with Outlook via infrared port, and for $30 a month I get 450 anytime minutes, unlimited nights and weekends and unlimited data (!). It cost $100 up front for the phone, with contract.

You can also get a larger battery pack. Probably pretty cheap on eBay.
posted by Dec One at 8:30 PM on August 27, 2008

I forgot to specify, maps are available for free via the Google Maps Mobile application, if you have a data connection.
posted by Dec One at 8:31 PM on August 27, 2008

Go for the BlackBerry. It has a rock-solid OS with outstanding messaging features, a decent browser, and all models work great as a simple phone. They all offer excellent integration and syncing with Windows computers and if you ever switch to OS X, you're covered there too. The Pearl has pretty good battery life and has a great form factor. I'm actually partial to the Curve (my previous phone before iPhone/iPhone 3G). It has excellent battery life and full QWERTY if you ever get really into email on your phone. BlackBerry OS has a Google Maps application available which will give you business searching and directions - some versions of the Curve and Pearl line have GPS built-in. Also, every Blackberry sold right now uses the ubiquitous mini-USB connector for charging so you can plug it in almost anywhere for a top up.

Also, Windows Mobile will make you want to gouge out your eyes with a rusty spork within a week. I guarantee it.
posted by cgomez at 8:37 PM on August 27, 2008

Sprint SERO (the type of plan that Dec One) has is no longer available in that form. I think the plans starts at $50 or more now and aren't quite as good of a deal.

I have the Motorola Q (9c) and it does indeed sync very well with Outlook, both contacts & calendar. Unfortunately, my life is in google / gmail. But good for you I guess!

The google maps application you can download from (I think) is very good, and the Q9c has GPS so it can track your actual location.

The somewhat larger battery pack came standard with mine. It protrudes, but most days after a day of pretty hard usage it still has all but 1 bar of battery left.
posted by polexa at 10:45 PM on August 27, 2008

I would recommend the iPhone. Doesn't have the best battery life, but it's easily enough provided you're near a charger most days. Beats anything else on ease of use, web browsing, and maps; you can sync contacts with Outlook easily enough through iTunes or use other solutions (also easy) to sync with Google Calendar/Outlook over the air. Whatever you do, don't get Windows Mobile, because it's painfully slow; have never tried BlackBerry.
posted by PTCHFRKR at 6:03 AM on August 28, 2008

I've had a Pearl for about 2 years. It does exactly what you're looking for, and does it much better than the Nokias that I'd previously owned or the Samsung I have from work. It's relatively small as phones go, which my pockets appreciate, has good battery life and decent call quality. I've been very happy with mine, for a very similar set of requirement to yours.

It's also much, much cheaper than an iPhone. The comparable BB to the iPhone is the Bold.
posted by bonehead at 10:48 AM on August 28, 2008

Not sure if this applies for all cell service providers, but (at least with Sprint) the Blackberry-flavored phones require an additional Blackberry plan, which can add a significant amount to your monthly bill. Not that this isn't the case with the iPhone, but be sure to scout out the contract details.
posted by polexa at 1:09 PM on August 28, 2008

I like the iPhone, along with half a quadbillion other folks.

If you have an Apple store close by stop in and ask for a demo- bring all your questions, in fact if you buy the thing there sit at the Genius Bar and ask them to help you set it up so it works the way you want it to. The phone has been, with out a doubt, the easiest to use cell I have ever had. (Seeing how this phone marks my 35th one you could say I have sampled most all of them)

I am not a big fan of any cell service provider but AT&T puts my calls through so I consider that all I can expected from them.
posted by bkeene12 at 7:55 PM on August 28, 2008

Response by poster: thank you all. i passed up the costco offer today so will look a bit more.
posted by dougiedd at 11:32 PM on August 28, 2008

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