Finally making the jump to cellphone. Some questions...
March 27, 2007 4:11 PM   Subscribe

Finally getting a cell phone. The only "feature" I care about is reception. I don't need any doodads, email, mp3s, video etc. etc--the only exception is I need to store 75 numbers or more. Price doesn't matter. What phone should I get? I'm in Toronto (east end/beaches) but am willing to buy thru eBay or whatever if necessary. Should I go with Rogers? Fido? Telus? (Refuse to go with Bell so that one's out). Lastly, I'm okay with doodads and whatnot as long as they don't affect reception so if you've got opinions on those, please share. I'm on a Mac.
posted by dobbs to Technology (17 answers total)
My RAZR is the first phone I've had that works in my elevator and way down on 'P3'. (no clue if it's the phone or some random network upgrade though, could be coincidence)
posted by imaswinger at 4:26 PM on March 27, 2007

If you are using a Mac, do you store your phone numbers in Address Book? If so, you may wish to choose a phone that can synchronize with your Mac, so that you don't have to manually enter those numbers.
posted by bchaplin at 4:37 PM on March 27, 2007

I've had good experiences with Rogers, although that's after coming out of a nightmare relationship with Bell Canada so take that for what it's worth. For the simplicity you're looking for I think it'd be much cheaper to go with Telus or Fido though. I've heard great things about Telus.
posted by saraswati at 4:37 PM on March 27, 2007

So you know, Fido is owned by Rogers now, and is on the same network.

I've always had great reception and excelent customer service experiences with Telus (with the cheapy pay & talk phone with no extras)
posted by cathoo at 5:05 PM on March 27, 2007

Rogers has the best reception, bar none. Unfortunately, I'm stuck with Bell. Bloody contract. I've told several Rogers reps that if they'll pay my early termination fees, I'll be happy to switch. They won't do it. Bastards.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 5:06 PM on March 27, 2007

I'm with Rogers now and they're great. I personally haven't heard too many great things about Telus (I'm on the westcoast) but YMMV

As far as what phone to get, by the sounds of it, I think you'd be happy with a Nokia of some sort. They have great phones with a nice range depending on what kind of budget you're on. I've always had a good experience with them.
posted by 913 at 5:36 PM on March 27, 2007

I've been with Rogers (and all it's prior identities) for 10+ years. Reception is simply the best, but that won't help you if you're stuck somewhere that simply doesn't have coverage. Stay far far away from Telus - I have my own personal hatred towards them for other reasons, but just about everybody I know who is out of their contract is ditching them for Rogers now that number portability is available.

Nokia's are good phones, and are all I owned previously. I'm now using an aging Motorola, without complaints.

I've you've never had a cell phone (and hence don't have a SIM card), buying an unlocked phone from ebay probably won't help you much. If you're willing to sign a contract, you might as well get the deals (free/cheap phones, etc) Rogers and company will give you with the new activation.
posted by cgg at 7:00 PM on March 27, 2007

Argh. "I've you've never" should be "If you've never".
posted by cgg at 7:01 PM on March 27, 2007

Since it's no longer 1999, any cell phone you get will be chock full of features. In other words, there is no real way to save money by forgoing features. Other than a $600 PDA phone, it's pretty much all the same. Especially since as a first time cell phone buyer you'll get good deals on phones. You're on a Mac, which means you have some tech savvy (or at least the potential to), so why not find a phone that you can easily sync with your Mac and get the most out of it? You'd be surprised how helpful a couple extra features can be, without having to succumb to some crazy gadgety thing.
posted by sneakin at 7:32 PM on March 27, 2007

Sounds like you have plenty of great advice for service providers. On the phone side, nothing beats the quality of Sony Ericsson phones. They make the J120 and J110, both "bare-bones" phones with excellent quality and reception.
posted by Geoffh at 7:45 PM on March 27, 2007

Avoid: SonyEricsson, their phones are junk. Also, cheap Nokias are pretty crap too.

It used to be that external antennas were a good sign of signal strength, but I'm not sure that's the case anymore.

Siemens phones are pretty bulletproof. That's probably where I'd head if I only cared about the call quality and didn't want my phone to double as a basic PDA. Looks like they've teamed up with BenQ, which is a decent cheapy brand. I found this one, it seems to be one of the more basic.
posted by krisjohn at 1:07 AM on March 28, 2007

As far as I know (but I am not really a phone technician, i am a geek in other fields) most modern telephones, even cheap ones, are able to offer good reception. The problem is in coverage a.k.a how many cell towers in the area and how far from each other. I wouldn't bet on finding MUCH difference between companies and opinion will show incredible variations...just ask the local people who has got the better coverage.

The phone, afaik, will increase its signal strenght by increasing the power of the output, necessairly draining the battery. There are some advanced technical options that could reduce the draining, but I don't think they are going to make a difference most of the time. Still, if the coverage is poor, the phone will try to put more power out, so battery is important..

What I would recommend is

1. buy cheap were cheap is the 50-150$ range

2. make sure there is enough memory in your SIM card (the little plastic thing you must put in the phone) and ask if you can have one SIM card (or whatever the name outside europe is) coming with as much storage for phone numbers as possible. You want to store the numbers in that sim card and NOT in the phone memory, if possible.

3. if you plan to talk a lot (1-2 hours day or more) you will buy an headphones set as well, it's cheap and useful

4. buy also a spare phone charger and maybe one for the car too, depending on how much you move. No matter what the promises are, when you need it the phone battery is more likely to go down then not. Without becoming obsessed, but by simply connecting the phone to the chargers anytime you stop you will enjoy almost continuous phone battery life.

As for Nokia, I always owned them (6-7 i guess) and change d because I like certain features, but no one of them every failed me once. I abused a 3310 forever, it's a sturdy no nonsense phone, minimalistic and would make socialites puke, but it still works, my father got it.
posted by elpapacito at 6:18 AM on March 28, 2007

Motofone F3 - 600 address book entries, 300 hour standby battery time, dual antenna and its super easy to use.
posted by Lanark at 11:26 AM on March 28, 2007

Whatever you do, take the time to read the entire contract. (IAAL)

My wife had her phone stolen and didn't discover the loss for a week, by which time the thief had made over $2,000 in overseas calls. Unlike every other service, the @$#*&) AT&T contract made her responsible for all calls made before she had the service turned off, and she had to pay.
posted by KRS at 1:16 PM on March 28, 2007

Thanks to number portability, I recently (few days ago) picked up a Sony Ericsson Z710i through Fido.

So far I'm quite happy with it. It's feature-heavy, but not cumbersome.

Is GSM a consideration for you? I believe Rogers/Fido is the only way to go for that.
posted by Merlyn at 1:59 PM on March 28, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks to all for the answers.

Lanark, that phone looks awesome. Have you actually used it? I don't see it available in Canada and only one eBayer's got it for sale in the USA.
posted by dobbs at 7:43 AM on March 29, 2007

^ yes but I'm in the UK
posted by Lanark at 11:12 AM on March 30, 2007

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