Please help me narrow down my phone selection - Blackberry or other? Thanks!
September 28, 2009 2:58 PM   Subscribe

I'm getting a cellphone! Currently, I'm looking at a refurb'd Blackberry Curve from AT&T. I want to spend less then $100 (preferably as little as possible) but still have a 'geek' phone.

There are a few caveats in place, though, due to the family plan I'm joining: It must be AT&T, no data plan option (so good by iPhone, jail-broken or otherwise), less then $100, but I'll have unlimited texting. I do want the Wifi, but will the Blackberry be clunky to use at home without a data plan, or can I just always make it default to wifi or nothing? Is the Blackberry the best choice (given my constraints) for someone who'd prefer an Android but can't afford one?

Also, if the Blackberry IS a good choice, what's a good resource for a new Blackberry owner who is familiar with hacking their hardware (I've got a modded Wii, an XBMC, and I flexed my old Razor before I stopped having a cellphone for a while)?

And last (sorry for the three part question, I know they're frowned on, but they kind of lead to each other)... are there any "Must Have" Blackberry Apps that aren't default?

Thanks to everyone! Go go gadget Hive Mind!
posted by TrueVox to Technology (9 answers total)
You may want to double-check to see if AT&T will allow you to own a Blackberry without a data plan. I know for my own carrier (Verizon) that this is not an option.
posted by cazoo at 3:17 PM on September 28, 2009

Response by poster: According to the page I linked ( it does not require one. It says on the left for other phones that do, anyway.
posted by TrueVox at 3:19 PM on September 28, 2009

Are you sure by "no data plan required" they don't just mean that you'll be put on a pay-as-you-go data plan? In which case you'll have to actively make sure your phone doesn't use the network, or else you'll ring up very high data fees. There have been many AskMes about people trying to make sure their phone does not use the cellular network, but I'm not sure if they have been entirely successful (it is a phone after all).
posted by meowzilla at 3:36 PM on September 28, 2009

To be honest, you're probably going to wish you had data when you can't use your BlackBerry anywhere but public wireless hotspots and your house. People call them CrackBerrys for a reason. I've also found setting up the WiFi for each network to be a slow process, so I never use it.

The apps I like are pretty generic: BBWeather, Gmail, separate Google app where you can use things like Reader, Docs, etc., CNN. These are all free. I'm too cheap after paying for data to buy apps, but there are some pretty cool ones out there.
posted by ishotjr at 3:38 PM on September 28, 2009

Response by poster: Very helpful so far, thank you everyone! I don't know if they'll put me on a "Pay as you go" plan... probley, sadly. :( But I'm willing to deal with that if I have to, i'm just hoping I can tell it to not use the cell network when WiFi is available. We'll see.

As for using my Blackberry away from the house... eh, I wouldn't have mobile internet on ANY phone I can get right now, but at least the Blackberry has Wifi, so there's SOME internet (and some is much better then none, right?).

So, I'm hoping that it's safe to say, since no one has brought up other options, that the Blackberry is a safe choice... but is it hackable? Or does it even need to be hacked? Perhaps it's "good enough" as it is, I donno. Are there any good enthusest sites out there (like Xbox Scene for Blackberries)?
posted by TrueVox at 4:37 PM on September 28, 2009

I was considering buying a refurb phone from AT&T at one time. A salesperson at the AT&T store recommended against doing this. This was several years ago so I don't remember exactly what he said. Go chat w/ an AT&T rep. There may be other cons to the refurb.
posted by fishtree at 5:58 PM on September 28, 2009

you will definitely want to check with AT&T about the data plan being optional. As far as I know, it is NOT optional anymore.

If that is the case and you're required a data plan, I would STRONGLY suggest you consider an iPhone 3G. It's $100, so it fits in your budget.

85,000 apps and counting, a robust jailbreak/hacking scene. Those two things put it well beyond the Blackberry, especially since you're not a business/enterprise consumer anyway.

You might also be able to find a refurb of the 3G, which would save a little bit more.

Seriously, if you're required to take a data plan with it (and I don't see why a family plan wouldn't allow data on one of the family member's phones. My brother has it set-up that way on his AT&T family plan), then an iPhone 3G is perfect for you.
posted by smersh at 1:18 AM on September 29, 2009

Response by poster: Sadly, the Dataplan is NOT an option right now. In the future, maybe. Now, no. Part of the reason I'm able to afford a phone right now at all is that this will be costing me $10 a month. The data plan quadruples that.

So I guess if I AM required to take a data plan (which it doesn't look like from the web site, but it could be an omission) then the Blackberry is out, as is the iPhone (as I mentioned in my initial post).

Thank you, Fishtree, btw. That's a good heads up. I hope you're wrong about that, but I'll make sure to check into that.
posted by TrueVox at 3:41 AM on September 29, 2009

Response by poster: OK, sadly I spoke with an AT&T rep last night, and just about everyone here was correct - even though it CLEARLY appears to not require a data plan, it prompts you to pick one when you sign up for it. So, no BB for me. :'(.

Thanks for all the help everyone! I think I'll just go back to some trusty Moto Razr descendant in light of this.
posted by TrueVox at 4:06 AM on September 30, 2009

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