A good quad-band phone for Europe?
August 10, 2009 12:22 PM   Subscribe

What's a good quad-band, GSM, UMTS-compatible, QWERTY-keyboard phone to take to Europe?

I'm going to the Netherlands soon for nine months, and am keen to find a good phone (or rather, a shell) to take with me. The plan is to buy a Dutch Sim card upon arrival and recharge with gusto, yielding an affordable telephone solution. The basics of what I want (or at least what I, in my admitted uninformitude, *think* that I want!):

1. GSM: As you can imagine!

2. Quad band: 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 mHZ bands. I'll be doing a great deal of traveling, and having all four bands would save a lot of headache later, for instance, when I come back to the States.

3. Unlocked: I'd like to be able to swap up Sim cards when I get there, as you can imagine.

4. Euro Power! Comes with a 220v/European/Eurocompatible charger: don't want to have to buy one separately.

5. No Camera: I really don't want or need a camera in my phone. If it made no real difference in price, I suppose I wouldn't care, but beyond that, a camera is not a plus for me.

6. Keyboard: It might be nice to have a small QWERTY keyboard and texting capabilities. I always prefer sending something text to calling someone, since I'm an incorrigible, irascible hermit!

7. Shape/Durability: Durability definitely matters, so nothing peculiarly fragile, but beyond that I'm not picky. As far as shape I do think I might like a 'slider' shape, but either slider or clamshell is fine. 'Bar' shaped phones are a no-go.

8. UMTS-Compatibility: Ideally, I'd like to be able to link into UMTS (3G) in Europe. However, I don't know much about whether a card that is running a bought Sim card can, well, fully access UMTS/3G (would I need to buy a special Sim?).

9. Portability Not an Issue: Weight, size and shape aren't terribly important factors to me. I currently carry a i560, which is a rubber-encased, bright yellow hockey puck (that I adore), so I'm not wedded to any particular aesthetic.

Any advice that any of you can give as to what to buy - or positive/negative experiences in Europe with phones like the one I'm hinting at above - would be great. Thanks, all!
posted by ninotchka to Technology (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I love my Nokia E75 - quad-band, slider with large keyboard, charges via USB. Watch SlickDeals for a sale.
posted by djb at 12:48 PM on August 10, 2009

Nokia has an online shop for most European countries - here's their Dutch site. Browse and have it delivered to somewhere over there to be ready when you arrive, or just wait a couple of days until after you get here. Here are the technical specs of a random phone that has a lot of what you want for €199.

Here's a list of service providers.

Basically, phones exactly as your describe are ubiquitous over here in Europe, and that you may find a deal on a model not even available in the States when you arrive. Depending on your residency/visa status, you might also find you get a free phone with a cheap subscription; keep in mind that voice is often more expensive than texting, the reverse of the situation in the US.

The keyboard thing seems necessary if you aren't a frequent texter, but even with my T9 keypad I'm happy enough with the predictive-text functions (in English on a phone I bought in Indonesia, with a Polish SIM card inside currently...).

You also won't have the same issues with unlocking or eBay shadiness - you can also skip the online thing, walk into any old store here and just buy a phone.
posted by mdonley at 12:49 PM on August 10, 2009

This is where you will find it. Just plug in EXACTLY what you want.

posted by hal_c_on at 3:58 PM on August 10, 2009

I don't have any experience with the Netherlands, but in the UK, mobiles are generally much better value than the US. Given that you're going there for 9 months, I'd wait and buy one when you arrive contract (if you can get one) - or you might need to go pre-paid.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 6:57 PM on August 10, 2009

Have you looked at Nokia E71. Works very well. I dont think you can tether it as a modem which would be a good option to have if you want to use internet on a laptop.
posted by london302 at 1:47 AM on August 11, 2009

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