My T-mobile phone is still on the dark side
June 8, 2010 6:35 AM   Subscribe

Can you suggest a good, cheap, hopefully easily-available-on-ebay-used T-mobile phone? I don't need a ton of features, but I want something that does all the basic stuff really well.

My ex-gf gave me her old AT&T phone, which I unlocked and got a SIM card to use with T-Mobile's no contract plan. The phone works well enough, sounds good, etc. But texting is a nightmare (totally clumsy interface), accessing voicemail is a pain and the phone is generally not fun to use at all.

I'd like to find another simple phone that works better than this one. Basically I need something that is easy to use for text messages and voicemail. If it had a basic, useable web browser, that would be great but not essential. If it had a keyboard, that would be great too, but more of a priority is small size.

The phone I have seems favor AT&T even after unlocking (all the apps refer to AT&T and say "not available" after I unlocked it). So something that works natively with T-mobile would be great).

I'd be looking for this phone on ebay unless otherwise directed.

Any thoughts?

posted by sully75 to Technology (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I really like the Motorola V195s. I've had mine for three years and it's still working just as well as when I got it. It's not pretty, but it's solid, has good call quality, and the battery life is amazing. I only need to charge it once every three or four days, even after using it for three years. I don't know if it's easy to find a used one, but if you do, grab it.
posted by number9dream at 6:43 AM on June 8, 2010

I bought a brand new Nokia 1660 from a T-Mobile store for $20. They use them as disposable pre-paid phones, but they take a real SIM card.
posted by chrchr at 7:20 AM on June 8, 2010

I have a Motorola V195s I got from T-Mobile that's about the same age. I'm charging it now to see if it still works. I switched to Metro-PCS a while back because (among other things) I realized I didn't like the always-running-out-of-minutes-at-the-most-inconvenient-times thing with the T-Mobile prepaid plan.

Anyway, I'll see if it still works. If you're interested, MeMail me.
posted by trip and a half at 7:26 AM on June 8, 2010 [1 favorite]

Funny, I just looked up the phone that I inherited from mr. epersonae in a phone swap...and it's a Motorola V195. When we bought it, that was the simplest phone that still had bluetooth. I miss the keyboard on my old MDA for texting, but otherwise it's a damn solid little phone. Creating & accessing texts and checking voicemail are straightforward. The loud ring setting is impressively loud...good enough to hear in my purse on the back of my bike while riding at 15 mph.

This one is almost four years old, has been dropped off of a moving bike a couple of times, and is still running great, good sound quality, excellent battery life, etc. I charge it once or twice a week.
posted by epersonae at 8:42 AM on June 8, 2010 [1 favorite]

It's really a question of what operating system feels intuitive to you. I hate Sony-Ericson and love Nokia and their T9 predictive text -but I've heard people sy exactly the opposite!

For me I'd get a nokia candy bar phone.
posted by Salamandrous at 9:21 AM on June 8, 2010

Nokia phones are great for texting. If I could buy any unlocked phone from eBay, I'd go with the Nokia 5310 (a little pricey at $120 but super thin and hip). Cheaper: Nokia 1661 ($25), 5330 ($60), 2720 ($30).
posted by Xere at 10:47 AM on June 8, 2010

The V195(s) fits your two most important criteria. Voicemail is completely intuitive, and texting is fast and painless (although the predictive texts are pretty awful). Speakers and battery life aren't half bad. The construction is incredibly solid. I have knocked it off the top of a moving ambulance twice and down the stairs once, no obvious signs of damage. The speakerphone is crap. The screen is too small for effective web browsing, though it has a reasonably speedy web browser for a phone of its generation.
posted by skyl1n3 at 11:51 AM on June 8, 2010

I'm tempted to recommend the Motorla ZN5, which at $90 used will get you a ton of features over the v195, most notably WiFi and a decent 5MP camera.
posted by unmake at 11:08 PM on June 8, 2010

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