what phone should i get to replace broken RAZR?
December 27, 2007 2:28 PM   Subscribe

What basic cell phone do you recommend that is not a RAZR?

So, I bought a RAZR V3 (stupid me), and of course, it only worked one day. I'm returning it, but would like to replace it with something of quality.

Just the basics, I don't really care about music, email, photos (but if these are decent, I won't exclude a phone on that basis). Looking for less than $150. Something small, bonus points for a nice design & good user interface.

Any recommendations?
(I have AT&T/Cingular by the way, but I probably won't buy the phone through them)
posted by hazel to Technology (28 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Response by poster:
I did see this previous thread, but it was more than a year ago so I'm hoping for some updated recommendations. thanks!
posted by hazel at 2:29 PM on December 27, 2007

I have an LG CU400 (also with AT&T), no complaints. It was free.
posted by Kellydamnit at 2:38 PM on December 27, 2007

I've got a Samsung A430. after four months, it's worked wonderfully; it's smaller than the razr and only a tiny bit thinner. Lack of a speakerphone is really annoying, and no special stuff like music or email, but as a phone it works great. Good battery life, decent sound quality, great reception. Interface isn't wonderful, but (generally) isn't an actual problem.
posted by Tomorrowful at 2:40 PM on December 27, 2007

I stand by my rock solid, no frills Motorola v195.
posted by sharkfu at 2:40 PM on December 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

i have a motorola L2 that is a great, cheap, no-frills bar phone. there's not even a camera. very thin.
posted by gnutron at 2:45 PM on December 27, 2007

I have a Samsung A437, and I'm happy with mine too. I usually don't want to pay anything for the phone, I splurged and spent $30 with my reupped contract this time because I liked this phone much better than the freebies. Also, it's a kicky color of red.
posted by desuetude at 2:48 PM on December 27, 2007

I like the Pantech C3, though it's very very light on features (for instance, there is apparently no way to email pictures to yourself).

It's also good if you're into getting comments from people about how small it is (with and without references to Zoolander).
posted by dhammond at 2:48 PM on December 27, 2007

I second the v195. I just got a Blackberry, but the v195 never gave me any issues, and the batteries lasted more than 5 days if I didn't talk too much. Bluetooth, clean UI, and it charges using a mini-USB jack.
posted by mazatec at 2:48 PM on December 27, 2007

Anything Nokia. For the interface alone.
posted by TrashyRambo at 2:58 PM on December 27, 2007

I just got a Samsung Sync with my contract renewal and it is a counter-intuitive, poorly made nightmare. Yesterday it ceased being able to access my address book, so I'm heading back to the Cingular store and will try to once again deter myself from capitulating and buying an iPhone because it's so goddamned pretty.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 3:07 PM on December 27, 2007

I've learned that Sony-Erickson and Nokias benefit from superior interfaces and better quality control than all the Motorolas, Samsungs, LG's, Pantechs and the like.

Save for the iPhone, of course.
posted by sourwookie at 3:07 PM on December 27, 2007

But < $150 makes it tough to get these through third-party.
posted by sourwookie at 3:09 PM on December 27, 2007

I have the LG Shine and I love love love it. It's got great sound quality and beautiful screen. Texting is a bit tough to get used to on the smaller keyboard, however I blame the fact that my work blackberry has spoiled me.
posted by banannafish at 3:14 PM on December 27, 2007

I've got the Samsung Trace (t519) from T-mobile, obtained after I lost my flip Nokia (since recovered.)

I've always sworn by Nokia for usability and durability, but so far (many months) this Samsung is standing up and highly useable. From T-mobile it's crippled (I can't move files directly from my computer to the SD card I put in it; I have to go to the phone memory first, which presumably is a purposeful crippling to keep people from sharing tons of mp3s or something; T-mobile's tech support was completely unhelpful, surprise!) but the phone itself is great. Really thin, too, and has survived a few concrete floor drops so far.

One thing, though: locking the phone is so easy as to have been completely un-find-able to my normally Nokia'd self. Turns out you only have to press and hold the * button for a bit; used to Nokias, I kept hitting an action button THEN the * button (which has a little lock icon on it) and got nowhere fast. It isn't in the manual, either.
posted by davejay at 3:24 PM on December 27, 2007

My Sanyo Katana is very slim but has excellent battery life.
posted by Airhen at 3:45 PM on December 27, 2007

My boyfriend and I both have the Motorola v195. (Mine was branded a v197 when I bought it on eBay, so you may see it listed out there as that, but it's the same phone.) His was the first cell he ever bought, in March; mine was the second cell I ever bought, to replace my Motorola v188 in August.

The v195 is great, rugged, and absolutely meets your requirements—we wanted the same things in our phones. No frills, completely customizable Motorola interface, big screen, sort of rounded and small, like the PEBL (but with a sturdier hinge than the PEBL), and it's GSM, like the RAZR, so you can use a SIM card in it.

Oh yeah, and you can get it for like $50-$60 with shipping on eBay.
posted by limeonaire at 4:21 PM on December 27, 2007

Oh, and don't get the tri-band GSM Samsung Stripe—it's what my mom and brother got, 'cause they wanted a phone like my v195, but those were no longer available at the T-Mobile store. I set theirs up for them, and in the process learned how completely uncustomizable and counterintuitive the Samsung interface can be. The phone is cute on the outside, but ugly on the inside.
posted by limeonaire at 4:24 PM on December 27, 2007

I had an LG phone a couple gens back and loved it. Simple, good phone. I had a RAZR for a while. Bad reception compared to the LG, bad user interface compared to the LG, but it was thin and expensive! I can see why you're just steering clear of the RAZR line.
posted by TeatimeGrommit at 4:47 PM on December 27, 2007

Second the Nokias; the basic phones are particularly sturdy. The cheapest one around I believe is the Nokia 1208 and it even comes in an extra-tiny box (relative) to prove it.
I've had my Nokia 1200 for a while now and it doesn't worry me at all when I accidentally (or not) drop it.
posted by drea at 5:47 PM on December 27, 2007

Go by Radio Shack or anywhere that sells AT&T/Cingular prepaid phones. You can buy a phone there for cheap, drop your SIM card in, and away you go. There are usually pretty good phones available, and some of them are as cheap as $20. Good way to replace a broken phone without having to pay through the nose or get the "we'll only give you a cheap/free phone if you sign a new contract" spiel from your carrier.
posted by azpenguin at 6:09 PM on December 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

Echoing sourwookie. Had a Sony Ericson several years ago, moved to Nokia afterwards. Have owned one Motorola and won't ever buy one again. Every Nokia I've ever played with, owned or borrowed has been beautifully simple to use. Even my technologically-clueless mother-in-law was able to switch to a Nokia without needing to read the manual to figure out how to use it.
posted by caution live frogs at 8:57 PM on December 27, 2007

Well, the phone which I have (LG Trax, an ATT approved phone) has FAR more features than you (or I) need.

It's where I got it that matters, however. The first time 'round, I went to the ATT corporate store. After I choked on their prices, I went everywhere--Best Buy, Target, whatever big box store you could think of that might sell electronics for less. I finally ended up at Wal Mart, not exactly my favorite store. But, Wal Mart has uber-cheap prices on phones (cheap, I should qualify, if you are able to re-up on the contract....still sub $150 even if you aren't, though).

I second the GoPhone recommendation if you prefer it, but keep in mind that Wal Mart can also provide what you're looking for. It's worth taking a look at (well, depending on your views on Wal Mart, of course).
posted by librarylis at 10:16 PM on December 27, 2007

I am pretty happy with my Samsung Sync. It gets very good call reception, keeps a charge for days, holds 2 GB of MP3s (with a MicroSD card), takes (mediocre) photos, and gives me access to Gmail and web pages. It's got a nice slim form factor.

Negatives: External screen and MP3 player controls aren't very useful; menus are a lot more complicated than they need to be; there is one proprietary port for recharging and data uploads/downloads.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 10:35 PM on December 27, 2007

More on the Sansung Sync: I find it a decent phone, although I do not use most of its features. Although slim, it is a bit broader than I might like. Although it has a proprietary port for data uploads/downloads, you can get around this by using Bluetooth, if your computer supports that.
posted by JiBB at 11:24 PM on December 27, 2007

I have no complaints about my Sony-Ericsson Z550a, the interface is great. My unlocked version was something like $150 new.
posted by cmonkey at 2:04 AM on December 28, 2007

I just got off a plane in germany and got a throwaway cell at the airport. they practically begged me to take an unlocked nokia 1110 with me. no charge, so I took it. the little bugger is as basic as it gets -green and black screen and all- but it works. perhaps this is your kind of phone.
posted by krautland at 6:59 AM on December 28, 2007

Thirding the Motorola "V" series recommendations. Recently picked up a replacement V188 on ebay for around $20 including shipping.
posted by omnidrew at 7:35 AM on December 28, 2007

Response by poster: cool, thanks...i'm doing some research and trying to track some of these down so no decision made yet
posted by hazel at 1:41 PM on December 28, 2007

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