Hope me the legitament phone filter
October 7, 2009 10:01 PM   Subscribe

Help me choose a legit new cellphone that's on the market now that can meet all of my 21st century needs and demands.

My trusty old cellphone recently met with the business end of cutting edge Swedish furniture design (phone in pocket; bumped into table). Higher powers have recognized that a phone is essential for them to keep tabs on me - so they in their great wisdom have decided to fully subsidize my replacement and left the details up to me. However, I really have not been keeping up with current technology. That is where I need you, hive mind.

My budget is ~$500 CDN, although the less spent the better. I don't mind if it goes over, but nothing too ridiculous. The plan is to basically get a phone second hand/off ebay/the black market/whatever and stick in my current Rogers SIM card. However, I don't have a data plan (on family plan right now) and don't plan to get one, so I suppose a smartphone would be out of the question.

A few other things to consider:
  • Wifi capability would be excellent. I am almost always in a multi-bar zone and would like to put it to good use.
  • Must have a decent music player (and expandable storage). I was thinking of getting a new mp3 player to replace my old zen micro from eons past, but now that cellphones can do virtually everything, this seems like a good way to kill two birds with one hand-held device.
  • A decent camera would be nice (same reason as above).
  • FM Radio. For when my music gets monotonous.
  • Bluetooth would be cool.
  • Must be black. I can live with blue or dark gray.
Most importantly, I plan to take care of this phone and need to last a long time, so something that wont be obsolete in at least a few years or so would be preferable.
posted by shoebox to Technology (8 answers total)
I nominate the Sonim XP3 Quest.

Popular Science listed it as one of 2009's hottest products:

"The world’s most rugged cameraphone is molded from a rubbery polyurethane, which can absorb the shock of a six-foot drop, and a rigid polycarbonate plastic so strong you could drive your car over it. $500"

Comes with a 3 year guarantee. No MP3 player, though.
posted by torquemaniac at 10:29 PM on October 7, 2009

If you are on Bell, I love my Pre. It doesn't have FM, but I am using a Shoutcast client and Pandora (that one may be an issue for you in Canada though) and there are a few other streaming apps and podcast clients that could fill that void. The music player isn't expandable, but it does have some room at about 6.5 GB after it all evens out. A lot is made about the on again off again relationship with itunes that the Pre has, but I just drag and drop the music I want on over and he music player finds it easily. Bluetooth is a go and I am using my Moto S9 headphones for music and calls daily. The camera is decent and handy. The homebrew app community is really kicking and the official app store is taking off right now so it is worth looking at if your provider is right.
posted by spartacusroosevelt at 10:41 PM on October 7, 2009

doh, just saw the smartphone caveat.

I do love my Pre though.
posted by spartacusroosevelt at 10:42 PM on October 7, 2009

Response by poster: I do love my Pre though.

Actually, if you know of someway I can jailbreak the Pre to get it running on the Rogers GSM network, it would definitely be great. I'll have to avoid data usage outside of the Wi-Fi areas here though.
posted by shoebox at 11:00 PM on October 7, 2009

My initial reaction was to suggest the Nokia N95-4. You can read an extensive review here. This is a solid phone which is on its 3rd revision, 8GB flash storage for mp3s, 5mp camera with a nice lens, Wifi, Bluetooth, FM Tuner, GPS, Symbian OS with a good web browser and more, all completely functional without a data plan and currently runs ~$250 US. That being said, everything in the cellphone industry is moving towards data support, and all the best phones cater to this. If you are really going to use the Wifi for web browsing for instance, you want some kind of real keyboard. You said you don't want a phone that is going to be obsolete in a few years, that puts you into a different set of phones, iPhone, Palm Pre, HTC, etc, for which your carrier really wants you to have a data plan. Depending on the phone, of course, you may or may not be able to hack your way around this, but the only ones really worth going through the trouble for right now would be the iPhone or the Pre.
posted by sophist at 11:53 PM on October 7, 2009

you're not going to be able to use the Pre on the Rogers network (if, as you say, Rogers is GSM) because the Pre is currently only available in CDMA. (though there are lots of rumors surrounding impending launches of a GSM Pre.)

I think you're looking for a S60-based Nokia of some sort, and sophist seems to nail it with the N95.
posted by namewithoutwords at 4:34 AM on October 8, 2009

Best answer: I bought a Nokia E71 after it was recommended here and have been quite happy with it. It does WiFi, FM radio, MP3, expandable storage, has a passable 3.2mp camera, bluetooth, metal casing, comes in (I think) black, white, or silver, does standard smartphone-type things (calendar wih alarms and sync, Exchange server, POP/SMTP/IMAP, PDF reading, Excel/Word/text document reading and editing), GPS, and supports J2ME apps.

One of its best features is it has the best battery life of any smartphone. If I just use it as a phone and for texting and light browsing/sudoku playing, it will go for just about 2.5 days without a charge. Media playing/heavy browsing/extended talk time will cut that down to under 2 days.

It's currently running just under US$300 online.
posted by notashroom at 9:47 AM on October 8, 2009

nth the N95. I've got the second version with 8Gb storage, and it does all these things. Also, if your music gets monotonous it has a nifty built in search- and download-podcasts feature that I only found recently.
posted by pompomtom at 3:09 PM on October 8, 2009

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