i need a wifi-capable smartphone
March 20, 2007 7:00 PM   Subscribe

I need a smartphone with wifi capabilities. Should I purchase a smartphone now or wait?

So far, the ones that fit the req's are the Cingular 8525 and the Treo 750 with wifi SD card.

Should I make the investment now or is there something better that I should wait for?

(And please don't say iPhone. i'm not interested)
posted by beammeup4 to Technology (15 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Have you seen the Nokia e61?
posted by Kwantsar at 7:14 PM on March 20, 2007

Recently I've been fairly happy with the T-Mo Dash (aka HTC Excalibur). It's dirt cheap and small, but doesn't have the feature set of the Treos.

checkout http://howardforums.com/ and c|net
posted by jivesoul at 7:24 PM on March 20, 2007

I'm assuming you are on cingular, but if you don't mind going with eBay, you could always but an unlocked T-Mobile SDA. It's basically the cingular 2125, except it has wifi. I have the SDA myself and it's a great phone, and it actually has really amazing battery life, even with wifi turned on. And a bonus is that Microsoft is going to send out an update for Windows Mobile 6 in the coming month, so the SDA could be a great way to get in on some WM6 action on the (relatively) cheap.
posted by zacharyseibert at 7:25 PM on March 20, 2007

If there's any universal truth about the computer industry, it's this: no matter what you buy, no matter when you buy it, within a week something better and cheaper will be announced by someone. If you "wait for something better" you'll wait forever, because there's always "something better" just around the corner.

If you need a smartphone now, buy a smartphone now.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 7:28 PM on March 20, 2007

Note that the phone service providers generally DON'T want you to have wifi access on the phone, because they want you to use their phone network for the data traffic instead. That makes them money and possbily locks you into their service. So that's why you don't see many cell phones with wifi.

See also "Apple strongarming Cingular".
posted by intermod at 8:28 PM on March 20, 2007

And SCDB is generally right about timing, but sometimes it helps to do a little gaming of your purchase timing ...
posted by intermod at 8:30 PM on March 20, 2007

The e61 is a dream compared to the dash. What really turned me off to the dash was the horrible battery life.
posted by bigmusic at 8:35 PM on March 20, 2007

I'm personally waiting for Treo 755p. it hasn't been announced yet but there are plenty of leaks and rumors pointing at may 14th.
posted by rubberkey at 9:01 PM on March 20, 2007

I had the e61 for 7 or 8 months, I recently switched to the Black Berry 8800. The e61 was a dream. The wifi worked great and there is a host of 3rd party software for s60 3rd edition phones.

If you're curious as to why I switched it's because I'm a phone whore. The fact that I held onto the e61 for as long as I did is a testament to how well the phone worked - I usually go through phones every 2 to 3 months.

FYI - if you're willing to wait, Black Berry should be releasing the 8820 soon - wifi and gps.
posted by ASM at 9:22 PM on March 20, 2007

i have an e61. Part of me loves it, but part of me feels like it's an alpha release not quite ready for the public. Pros: great web browser, good simple email client that can pickup pop/imap mail.

Cons: complicated to manage Wifi access points. (esp. with encryption.) Wifi access can be flakey on some routers. (It also doesn't help that you get no useful error messages, you just wait and wait...) Installing applications can be tricky. It also feels slow to move to launch applications and move around through the menus/folders.

I think I am willing to live with the shortcomings because i just love being able to use wifi instead of the expensive cell networks. In short, I am happy with the e61, but i wouldn't recommend it to someone who was slightly non-technical, or not willing to spend some time to learn how it works.

so the e61 is avail now. there is a new e61i coming out sometime...
posted by kamelhoecker at 9:43 PM on March 20, 2007

Response by poster: Probably too late to mention, but I mentioned the Cingular 8525 and the Treo 750 because they have both a camera AND wifi capability.

Yeah, I know wireless companies hate devices with wifi since it takes away from their ridiculously expensive high-speed cellular connection, and that's exactly the reason why I'd like a device with wifi.
posted by beammeup4 at 9:45 PM on March 20, 2007

I bought this phone and have been happy with it so far. A bit cheaper than the phones you identified and I think Verizon and Sprint/Nextel carry it.
posted by nameless.k at 8:54 AM on March 21, 2007

One more vote for the Nokia E series phones, though in my case I have the E70. I dumped my Treo and have never looked back.
posted by j-dawg at 9:06 AM on March 21, 2007

I also own a Starcom / Sprint PPC-6700 and have been fairly happy with it. Battery life was strong in the beginning, but now that the phone is a year old, wi-fi does tend to kill the battery.
posted by RossWhite at 11:56 AM on March 21, 2007

I have a Nokia E61 (see my posting history for a question I asked before buying it) but I haven't used the wifi capabilities - here in the UK I was able to get a cheap fixed-price data plan to use on the mobile (cell) network. It will do wifi, though.

I'll second what kamelhoecker says - it's not for those who like things to be perfect out of the box, it does need some setting up, but it is pretty good.
posted by altolinguistic at 12:01 PM on March 21, 2007

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