HELP: I’m Updating My Cell Phone

I need some advice and I’m hoping some of you can help me out… I’ve been looking at BlackBerry phones and other phones with QWERTY Keyboards but between the “Hot Deals,” the “Best Sellers,” and the user and expert reviews, I’ve managed to simply confuse myself and work up a whopper of a headache.

So here’s the skinny. I’ve carried a cell phone for years but it’s never been an essential tool in my arsenal of work gadgets. It’s handy to have in case I’m lost or were to ever need assistance on the road with two kids in tow, but other than that my current military-grade, too-big-for-any-purse-pocket, chunky cell phone is fairly useless. I don’t send and receive text messages and I don’t use my phone to take pictures. Nor am I ever wandering around town in need of finding the nearest pizza or ice-cream parlor location. In rural America it’s not a very practical application since I already know where everything is (and I mean EVERY store and EVERY source of take-out food within a 30 miles radius).

Now that we’re changing carriers and updating our cell phones, I realized it was high time that I upgrade my cell phone to something that will also allow me to do a bit of work every now and then. I take a laptop with me on vacations and extended trips anywhere but I want to be able to check email, respond to email, and even surf the Internet a bit without firing up the HP Pavilion and looking for WiFi I can connect to. I’d also like to be able to find the closest ice cream parlor location when I’m on vacation and needing a banana split fix.

I figured it would be a fairly simple task to look at the cell phone choices available these days and pick one that’s functional and pretty but now I’m feeling like a total techtard and having flashbacks from the Spring of 1998 when I first began trying to teach myself the basics of html coding.

Here are the phone currently topping my “learn more about this” list:

  • Apple iPhone of course – 3G is available when, Friday?!
  • BlackBerry Curve 8310
  • BlackBerry 8820
  • AT&T Tilt
  • MOTO Q Global
  • Samsung SGH-i617 BlackJackII
  • Pantech DUO
  • BlackBerry Pearl 8110

Am I missing anything in my list of considerations?

And here’s what I want to be able to do with my new work-gadget:

  • talk on the phone of course
  • read and respond to email on multiple accounts
  • send and receive instant message via Yahoo
  • surf the web

That’s it. I don’t like to txt nor do I like to snap photos to save or share. I really just want to be able to stay on top of work communique (email and IMs) in addition to having the handy cell phone to call someone in case of emergencies.

Looking at pictures and reviews, I love the iPhone 3G of course, but do I really need all that? The AT&T Tilt looks nice and am thinking maybe the higher price tag is worth the bigger, slide-out QWERTY keyboard it shows. I read reviews and the BlackBerry Curve 8310 seems to out-satisfy many of the others. Then I also see more expensive BlackBerry 8820’s but in comparison there doesn’t seem to be much more to those than the 8310’s. So before I spend the money I’d love to hear some first hand knowledge.

If you have any words of wisdom or personal experiences you think might help me come to a decision, feel free to drop a comment. I sincerely appreciate the input.


  1. Wow – no advice from all those cell phone sites and users out there. So I’m left to my own researching skills and common sense to select something I think will fit the bill.

    I’ve learned a couple important things and narrowed my choices down, so might as well share the info here in case someone else comes along wondering which cell phone / pda / smart phone / blackberry / iPhone might suit their own needs.

    My first great revelation after reading everything I could find is that, in my humble opinion, the Apple iPhone 3G is wildly over-rated. While I know this statement probably won’t make me popular and may even gain me some enemies, I don’t see where it’s all that practical or handy for what I want to do. I do envy the simplicity of design and use Apple’s known for, but I can’t envision myself using the screen to type letters for a quick email response. I think I’d like to actually feel the tiny keys under my thumbs. I’ve also eliminated the BlackJack II, the MOTO Q, and the Pantech DUO from my list of considerations so at least I’m making progress.

  2. Lisa,

    Sorry I couldn’t give you any advice, but if I had tried to, it would have been a case of the blind leading the blind!

    I’ve also heard not so great things about IPhone, and there was a news report today that the latest version is having software problems.

  3. I wish I could help you, but I have the same decision-making problem you do! Are you a perfectionist, too?! I hate trying to choose a cell phone! Or the plan!

    I have to use a Tmobile MDA, which I’ve had for about 18 months now. Not the same one, mind you! I’ve had my share of replacements – a couple have broken and were replaced and one was dropped in a puddle of water!

    The reason for the MDA is I’m tied to a Tmobile contract and I’m a REALTOR® – the MDA is the only phone they have that has the infrared I need to open lock boxes. Since they don’t offer MDAs anymore, which is really just a Tmobile branded HTC Wizard, I’m not sure what I’ll do!

    I know there’s been a lot of hype about the new Iphone, but I’m hearing around the web today that it’s a lot better than the first gen – we’ll see, I guess.

    Good luck with your decision and let us know what you decided and how much post-purchase dissonance you experience!

    And if you ever find the perfect purse, let me know that, too! 🙂

  4. Jeanne –

    Yes, I admit I’m a perfectionist which is probably why I have trouble wading through all the reviews and comparing plans, too. I’ve gone back and forth between the choices and have come full circle back to the MotoQ.

    I’ve got one particular purse that seems to fit my lifestyle and while I’m always testing the waters with a new bag, I end up going back to the little brown number I’d picked up nearly 2 years ago. Now that you mention it, the MotoQ won’t fit where my previous phone fit. So guess I’ll be on a quest for the perfect purse again, too!

  5. Blackberry pearl will do. Stylish and functional. Or any smartphone will do. If you can find one, get those with windows mobile OS.

  6. Thank you, Sonnie. I appreciate the advice!

    I’ve actually ordered just this morning and chose a Moto Q from Motorola which runs on Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0. I’ve got my fingers crossed that it turns out to be a good fit for what I’d like to do. Guess I’ll be posting again about it soon. And maybe I’ll have a going away party for my Motorola i560 brick.

    If, by the way, anyone is looking for a rugged phone that can survive nearly any natural disaster or rock-climbing excursion, I can honestly recommend the i560 to weather any storm or survive a fall from any height.

  7. My daughter’s looking at the same types of phones. She’s more or less settled on the Pantech Duo. It has the keyboard that slides out from under the phone portion, so it is pretty cool looking. If you’re an AT&T customer, you can get a refurbished one at their site for $70.

  8. I am a Blackberry fo’ life owner. Here’s why. I like the big screen, using the BB to text is easy, particularly with a QWERTY keyboard. VZW (Verizon Wireless) has awesome service, not a lot of call drops and they are everywhere. I’m waiting on the BB Bold to come out, and purchase one on ebay unlocked.

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