What's your favorite cell phone?
October 3, 2005 2:18 PM   Subscribe

What's your favorite cell phone? (Taking both form and function into consideration.)

I have a Razr, and love the form, but can't stand the function. The Motorola software just stinks, in my opinion, and gets in the way all the time.

You know how gadgets in the movies have totally implausible interfaces, but they Just Work? That's the experience I'm looking for in a phone.

Part of my problem is that I'm in the US, but I don't mind ordering from overseas if it will work here.
posted by o2b to Technology (26 answers total)
Sony Ericsson K750i, 2 Megapixel camera, MP3 player, takes Memory Stick Pro Duo (upto 32 GB when available), Radio with RDS, decent video player and recorder, Bluetooth 2.0, infrared, great OS, painless messaging, Java programs. GSM 900/1800/1900.
posted by riffola at 2:21 PM on October 3, 2005

Oh and it just works.
posted by riffola at 2:22 PM on October 3, 2005

Danger Hiptop, marketed as T-Mobile Sidekick II. The interface just works. Fantastic for email and IM, acceptable for phone, and a little slow but mostly functional for Web.
posted by trevyn at 2:24 PM on October 3, 2005

Bumping the K750i.
posted by lemonfridge at 2:27 PM on October 3, 2005

I love my Nokia 6620. The SK2 seems nice - certainly nicer than the original SK I had - but personally I'll never do business with T-Mobile again.
posted by phearlez at 2:39 PM on October 3, 2005

Is the K750i actually available from any carrier in the US? I know I can get an unlocked one from overseas for a bunch of dough and drop a T-Mobile SIM card in it, but I called T-Mobile previously, and they said they didn't have plans to offer it (and it seems to use the wrong spectrum for Cingular).
posted by eschatfische at 2:41 PM on October 3, 2005

You can get its twin the W800i from Sony Ericsson USA or physically at Sony Style stores.
posted by riffola at 2:45 PM on October 3, 2005

The Nokia N70 looks great to me, at least on paper.
posted by gyc at 2:52 PM on October 3, 2005

All I really want is a small phone can serve as my calendar, sync-able with Outlook. Which makes my Nokia 6820 perfect - a little phone with a very usable fold-out keyboard. I look for excuses to use that keyboard.

The OS is ancient (Nokia series 40, I think) so functionality is limited. But it has Bluetooth and a camera. And it just works.

I do wish the camera was better.
posted by lbergstr at 2:53 PM on October 3, 2005

Again on the K750i/W800. I'm using a T616 now after learning the same lesson about the RAZR (but then making a further mistake of getting the RAZR stolen, so no cash for a replacement/trade-in).
posted by xueexueg at 3:01 PM on October 3, 2005

The Motorola v3 Razr. Not necessarily *impressive*, but it's the first phone I've had that Just Works... the voice quality is great, as is the form factor... I love that I don't have to move it between my ear and my mouth like I did with my Sony t610.

My buddy swears by his Crackberry 7100t (the little one), but i Hated the keyboard.
posted by SpecialK at 3:14 PM on October 3, 2005

P.s. ... I don't use the razr for anything 'cept talking on, but I do that to the tune of well over 1,000 minutes per month.
posted by SpecialK at 3:14 PM on October 3, 2005

The K750i and I assume the W800 have great organiser functions. I sync my Phone/Address book and calender with my Mac. I dont see why it shouldnt be as good/easy with a PC.

It really is a great phone.
posted by lemonfridge at 3:20 PM on October 3, 2005

You're correct - the Motorola interface is awful. Even the ROKR sucks. Having said that, so do most mobile phone UIs - screen size is the limiting factor. The standard Sony Ericsson UI is a little better though still frustrating at times. The various Nokia interfaces are, in my opinion, the best of a bad bunch. Although you've not seen a horrible UI until you've used a 7280: text messages by click-wheel, anyone?

If a device's interface is really important to you, I'd suggest looking at some of the newer smartphones; the larger touchscreens give a pretty good user experience and can be customised/ hacked more easily.

Those caveats aside, my current favourite cellphones are:
Tiny, makes-calls-and-that's-about-it: Nokia 6610/6620
All-in-one-small-package-don't-care-about-the-clunky-UI: SE K750i
Feels-wonderful-in-your-hand, your-bank-manager-will-hate-you: Nokia 8800

As for smartphones, the Treo 650 is as wonderful as everyone claims - Palm OS so outdated UI but there are any number of replacements - and I like the i-mate JAM too. Windows Mobile is actually a pretty decent UI for a smartphone.
posted by blag at 3:23 PM on October 3, 2005

For what it's worth, the 3-dimensional click wheel on the Sony Z5 remains my favourite one-handed UI device.
posted by blag at 3:29 PM on October 3, 2005

You need to ask yourself what you really want to use the phone for. The camera functionality is not great on any phone and if it's really that important, I would suggest getting a Razr and a separate slim digital camera. Better quality, looks and it will still be less weight in your pockets. If you want to sync address's etc then the Sony Ericsson's, using float's mobile agent or a Symbian phone are good, but only really with PC's.
After trying out many phones I found the main feature I really appreciate is battery life, sounds basic, but after a weekend out and having the only phone left standing is worth way more than a 64Mb MP3 player built in
posted by bluefin at 3:42 PM on October 3, 2005

Tiny, makes-calls-and-that's-about-it: Nokia 6610/6620

Seems like a simplification to me. Mine stays synched (via bluetooth) with Outlook for my contacts, calendar, todo and notes. Searching in the phonebook is nice and fully featured. The alarm clock works well and you can set the noise to be any MP3 or ringtone you like. You can use any MP3 as a ringtone if such things matter to you. It's got a camera sufficient for what I use it for 99% of the time (pictures of FOR SALE signs or price signs in the Home Depot) and a calculator app. There's some nice Symbian software for it that does different things - better picture gallery, motion alarm using the camera. It comes with some kind of password vault thing but I don't use it so I can't speak to it's quality.

It's not an organizer with a proper keyboard and I haven't seen any instant messenger apps for it but it's way more than just a phone.
posted by phearlez at 3:49 PM on October 3, 2005

Nokia 6680. Not the most beautiful, but a great feature set. I still like my original N-gage, but it is nice to have a newer version of the Series 60 operating system and a camera.

I wouldn't by any phone that doesn't run Series 60. You may think it's overkill, but the ability to install significant third-party apps is very useful.
posted by krisjohn at 4:12 PM on October 3, 2005

Seems like a simplification to me.

True, phearlez - it is more than just a phone. However, pretty much every modern phone has these features and many have implemented them in a better way than the 6610. I still use one for pubbing and clubbing though - it's a reliable, durable and tiny phone.
posted by blag at 4:24 PM on October 3, 2005

throwing in my 2c for SE (the K750i as well as its earlier siblings as well as other things - including SE's flipphone and only quadband Z520i - are available from expansys unlocked, just check that the phone supports your network). the newer SE phones have a very usable phone book. Moto's software is horrible and, personally, I don't much like Nokia either. I really, really miss my T610.
posted by mrg at 6:16 PM on October 3, 2005

id sure pay for a well designed fone with an mp3 player and an fm radio .. the nokia n series looks decent - probably be a year before verizon adds anything good to the junk heap of phones they offer.
posted by specialk420 at 8:04 PM on October 3, 2005

It's way expensive, but I love my (work-financed) PPC 6700. It does everything, and it does it pretty straightforwardly. I can Remote Desktop to our servers for administration, check multiple email addresses, and it works as a wireless broadband modem for other devices. Between the wifi card and wireless broadband, I am ultimately connected.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:24 PM on October 3, 2005

I'm a big huge geek and gadgeteer. I only use Nokia phones. I can't stand anything else. Nokias just fucking work. Get one.
posted by redteam at 8:41 PM on October 3, 2005

Take a look at Symbian Series 60 devices. Several have been mentioned above (all Nokias, though they come in other flavors) including N-Gage (not recommended but same standard UI), N70 (super high end), 6620, and 6680.

I've had a Series 60 device for three years and just upgraded to the 6682 which is fabulous. If you're big bugaboo is mobile phone UI, I have to agree that Nokia sets the bar. (Though the Sidekick is spiffy as hell).
posted by donovan at 10:25 PM on October 3, 2005

My audiovox smartphone SMT5600 kicks some serious a$$...and runs on Microsoft Mobile 2003. I can't recommend it enough.
posted by naxosaxur at 7:15 AM on October 4, 2005

Sidekick / Hiptop (I have a 1, not a 2 so I can't comment on them). Love it. I wish I could change the theme, but other than that...awesome. SSH client, email, web, phone, sms, camera, full qwerty kb, flip screen....love it.
posted by jikel_morten at 9:31 AM on October 4, 2005

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