Fuckety! Iraqi Insurgents Stole My Precious Phone
December 7, 2010 2:21 PM   Subscribe

Please help me find the perfect mobile phone! (To replace my previous perfect mobile phone, that was stolen and is now no longer made and woefully out of date, SOB.) It might be the Samsung S5550, but I'll have to order sight unseen. Very special snowflake details inside.

I had a little tiny Samsung slider, vintage 2005 or so, that I loved like a sister. It was stolen a few years later, and I bought two replacements on ebay that crapped out in short order and did I mention that I LOVED THAT PHONE? Since then I've had a series of hateful replacements, each more despised than the last.

The new Samsung Shark 2 S5550 looks like it might fit my requirements: tiny, slider, quadband (with bonus 3G that I think is the Japan band, which is nice but not absolutely essential). I hope it has teachable T9, because I like to use the word "fuckety" a lot, and that gets tiresome to manually re-enter each time. The S5550 is not available through regular U.S. channels, but I can get it online and I'd want it unlocked anyway. The problem is that all the "reviews" seem to be rehashed from a few sources. Has anyone actually seen this phone?

If the Shark 2 isn't all that, I'd love recommendations for a web-enabled T9 phone (I like T9, dammit, and can't get the hang of the iPhone keyboard) that is very small and will work globally. I've had good luck with Samsung products, but could go outside the brand. My price range is around US$200. Thanks so much!
posted by cyndigo to Technology (10 answers total)
Sorry I'm not adding exact info, but the iPhone keyboard takes some getting used to (you need to trust it before you can actually use it with any sort of precision). I've been in your situation too, had an amazing phone that was the bees knees at the time (Motorola v8160) but after getting used to the iPhone, it's the best phone I've used.

And as far as any of the new phones, you are looking at either a touchscreen or a full on keyboard. T9 is history my friend, embrace the future.
posted by darkgroove at 3:58 PM on December 7, 2010

There are a large number of Nokia phones running S60v3 (old-school non-touch symbian) that would meet your needs. Symbian gets a lot of hate, but it's a great OS to have on a phone without a touchscreen. It was designed specifically for that, after all. It's got a good (Webkit based, just like iPhone), too.

You want one with at least "feature pack 1" or preferably "feature pack 2". The N86 has an 8MP camera and is available reasonably inexpensively used. There's also the 6710 Navigator that comes with free Ovi Maps that's probably in a form factor you'd like. Personally, I'd go with something with a form factor like the E75 or the 5730, which are thin candybar-style phones with a side-sliding qwerty keyboard, giving you the best of both worlds. You can see the entire lineup here.

Like the Samsung you mention, none of the Nokias except the most recent, support all the 3G bands, so you'll have to decide whether you want 3G in the US, Canada, and certain Latin American countries or 3G overseas and get the appropriate version. All the Nokia smartphones made in the past several years support quad-band GSM, so you'll be able to make phone calls just about anywhere, even if your data speed isn't the hottest ever.

The Samsung may be fine, but I have hatred in my heart for them and LG after seeing all the at&t branded crappy free phones that can't get a signal in places where most phones are fine.
posted by wierdo at 4:31 PM on December 7, 2010

It's got a good web browser, too. Not a good, too.
posted by wierdo at 4:32 PM on December 7, 2010

I was going to recommend Nokia also. They don't seem to be popular in the US, but they dominated the pre-smartphone market in Australia. I had three of them over a nine-year period and had no complaints. The UI was quite clean and organised, something I took for granted until I bought an LG and had to fight the UI every step of the way.

I haven't used a Nokia phone since 2006, so I can't comment on their current models.

(Like you, I loved minimalist phones... and then I bought an iPhone. Game over, man.)
posted by Georgina at 5:51 PM on December 7, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for the advice, please keep it coming!

The bf has an iPhone that I use pretty often. While the convenience is nice, I hate hate hate using the keyboard.

I actually want my phone to be mostly a phone, though I'll use it for quickly checking m.gmail and for the odd FB and tweet.
posted by cyndigo at 5:53 PM on December 7, 2010

Response by poster: Because I've had Samsungs for years, the Nokia interface seems less--intuitive to me, plus there's that whole Siemens Iran thing, so they're pretty low on my list. (Sorry, I should have mentioned that in the original post.)
posted by cyndigo at 5:56 PM on December 7, 2010

If the Iran thing isn't enough to completely turn you off, you should sign up for a developer account and hit the Remote Device Access (requires Java Web Start) site and check out the various models they have available for testing. That way you can decide on a live device whether the UI is good enough for you or not.
posted by wierdo at 7:07 PM on December 7, 2010

I dont know if this will address all your requirements but if T9 is a main consideration you could go for an android phone (they come in all shapes and sizes these days, there is a list with pictures here) and then download Smart Screen app which lets you replace the native keyboard with a T9 keyboard. This way your T9 will never die and you will be able to get all the features you want (except physical keyboard)
posted by london302 at 1:59 AM on December 8, 2010

T9 is dying, take a look at a slider with a full qwerty keyboard, like the Epic or G2 or Droid Pro
posted by jrishel at 7:19 AM on December 8, 2010

If you just like the compactness of T9, and are willing to consider an iPhone or Android phone, you can download an alternate keyboard app, free (at the moment). I use it on my Windows tablet, and it's great (if confusing to people who borrow my computer). The Windows version allows macros for commonly used text, don't know if the smartphone versions do. Try it out on bf's iPhone!
posted by timepiece at 9:17 AM on December 11, 2010

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