Cell phone recommendations?
January 7, 2004 1:54 PM   Subscribe

My company is buying me a new cell phone. I don't need anything super-high tech, I just want something sturdy and lightweight, and I like the ones that flip open. My current phone is a Motorola StarTAC, which I've been very happy with, but they're not making it anymore. Does anyone have any recommendations?

My service provider is Verizon (don't know if that makes a difference) and I'm considering maybe the Motorola T730 or LG VX6000 from this page. I certainly don't need photo capabilities, but since the firm's paying, why not? Does a camera significantly impact battery time or anything else?
posted by widdershins to Technology (14 answers total)
Personally I've had very poor personal experiences with Motorola cell phones and I know that the T730's predecessor, the T720, had tons of problems. I'm also wary of the LG phones, so my recommendation would be the Samsung A530, based on what I see Verizon offers on its website. I don't think a camera makes a significant difference battery-wise, unless you're actually using it.
posted by gyc at 2:14 PM on January 7, 2004

I have the T720 w/ AT&T and have had no problems - I drop it all the time, and it works like a champ.
posted by drobot at 2:24 PM on January 7, 2004

My LG VX4400 serves me well. If you don't want the camera,the VX4400 might be preferable to the VX6000, which can't use analog networks.

The better Verizon phones are probably LGs and Samsungs.
posted by kickingtheground at 2:45 PM on January 7, 2004

I've got Sprint, so I don't know how much it matters, but I've been very happy with the Sanyo phones I've had.
posted by me3dia at 3:22 PM on January 7, 2004

Mobile Burn
Howard Chiu

Both give good cell phone reviews. The only downside is I think both are English and a lot of the cool phones aren't available here. It's really amazing how limited we are in our selections of phones compared to the rest of the world. I blame it on the mobile industries deals with Nokia and such.

If you don't want to be limited by the selection, Just-Talk sells phones not available in the US but will still work in the US network. I'm not endorsing them, I have not bought from them but was looking into a replacement phone. I like small, simple, functional without looking weird or having a bunch of features. The phone I want doesn't exist, they have to charge $500 for some needless feature.

If you do order a phone off a web site or ebay I think you also have to unlock it somehow. I don't know if your mobile company will do it or not, but there are ways to do it yourself.
posted by geoff. at 3:46 PM on January 7, 2004

very happy with the sony ericsson T610, which despite technically being a bells-and-whistles "camera phone" is a lot simpler than many an offering. great form factor, relatively painless interface, use it as a bluetooth modem, you're g2g.

never thought i'd say anything good about a sony product but there you go.
posted by adamgreenfield at 4:08 PM on January 7, 2004

I also got the t610 recently. There's a lot to like about the phone, but I'm not convinced that it has good signal reception, which (for using as a phone, not a camera) is important. Since I switched services from Sprint to Tmobile at the same time, I really haven't been able to benchmark this phone objectively.

I've got some other nits with the phone's usability, which I wrote about in excessive detail on my web page, but I like it pretty well. It comes with a pretty good wired headset that is a pleasure to use. Bluetooth is really cool (if you've got a Mac, get Salling Clicker to use with the phone).
posted by adamrice at 4:43 PM on January 7, 2004

the batteries on nokia phones are amazing--and they're built like tanks and sound good.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 5:20 PM on January 7, 2004

Without going in to specific models, I have purchased 9 cell phones for myself and various family members, all being Nokia except for one that was an Ericsson. The only one that I have had any problems at all with was the Ericsson. All the Nokia phones have had pretty tough lives, being dropped (and/or thrown), sat on, stood on, chewed on, rained on and generally abused without giving a hint of problems. One of them actually got left on the roof of a car, fell off when the car drove away and the next car ran over it with the only ill-effects being a few scratches in the case. For what it is worth, I am looking at a new phone for myself at the moment and will not consider any other brand but Nokia.
posted by dg at 5:22 PM on January 7, 2004

Verizon's selection is similar to what's offered by TELUS Mobility in Canada, who I work for, and I've used a fair number of the phones (or their modified-just-slightly variants).

I'm currently on the T731c, which is bound to be the same as the T730, and I love it. Motorola makes a good product when they get it right, and this is right - fine sound quality, I never drop calls, and highly customizable. I charge the battery twice weekly. I suppose feelings on the size and navigation of these devices is pretty subjective, but the T731c suits me fine.

The Samsung A5xx series are OK, although there's usually something wrong with the first few runs of Samsung products. If this A530 has been out more than 6 months, it's probably good, but if not, I'd stay away.

I tried the LG 4600, which seems a cross between Verizon's 4400 and 6000, no camera. Loved the size, great sound quality, beautiful color screen. I would avoid any cheap, low-end LG offerings, but their higher-end stuff works very well.

The other major manufacturer here is Audiovox, whose 8900 cameraphone has a nice form factor, but is otherwise shrug, nothing too special.

To answer the question about cameras and battery - I haven't noticed a huge difference in battery life when taking lots of pictures, so long as you're not using the viewfinder for minutes on end. The full-color screen will drain the battery more quickly than something less detailed.

(On preview, while some will swear by Nokia, it's been my experience that they do not make a good CDMA phone, which is what you're buying w/ Verizon. Nokia leads the pack for GSM, but Motorola, Samsung and LG are all ahead of the game otherwise.)
posted by danwalker at 5:30 PM on January 7, 2004

i have the lg vx6000 from verizon and am in love with it. the only time the camera makes any difference in battery life is if you use it a lot as i do. good reception where i live (dallas), sturdy case, intuitive navigation....i'm a fan. feel free to email me if you want more info.
posted by amandaudoff at 8:10 PM on January 7, 2004

Samsung phones (e.g. V200, A800) are pretty nice, and they have a flip, but if you're used to Startac's, go for a Motorola V66I or T720, as the menus will be similar.
posted by BigCalm at 6:47 AM on January 8, 2004

Ask and ye shall receive. Thank you everyone for the good advice!
posted by widdershins at 6:54 AM on January 8, 2004

I have the Samsung A530 and have been happy with it. I got it when it first came out (this past April or so) and haven't had any problems. The only real flaw is that it takes a long time to boot up when you turn it on.

It came with an extended battery and an offline charger, so I basically never have to worry about running out of power—just keep the second battery charged and swap as needed. Whatever phone you get, I strongly recommend an offline charger.
posted by staggernation at 7:07 AM on January 8, 2004

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