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Looking at smartphones

(12 Posts)
confuseddotcodotuk Sun 26-Jun-11 10:42:05

I really don't know where to begin? I know nothing about them, but want to take the leap and get an android so that I can have a calendar synced to my pc, a game or two and other bits and pieces. I know nothing about sim plans and if they're worth it as opposed to buying a phone without one (I'm on a sim-only monthly plan with orange atm) and generally know nothing about smart phones.

ApplesinmyPocket Sun 26-Jun-11 10:59:16

I took the leap a year ago (first smartphone) and took an HTC Desire on a 2 year contract, £25 a month with T-Mobile (which handily merged with Orange a short while later, which improved coverage in my rural area no end) inc. monthly allowance of texts, calls and unlimited free internet. I chose the Desire because, funnily enough, there was an MN topic about it at the time and many posters said it was a good choice.

I'm so glad I did, I absolutely love my Desire, it is the most useful (and fun) thing. It goes with me everywhere and does everything. Sheer class.

confuseddotcodotuk Sun 26-Jun-11 12:36:43

Haha, I'm glad you said the desire, I'm looking at one of those or the Desire Z with a keyboard smile My sim-only is £15 a month at the moment and I thoguht getting a decent phone with it would be handy and the desire seemed to have a good deal on it.

How do you find the keyboard on it? That's the main thing that's putting me off of most smartphones as I'm not a fan of the iphone-style keyboards and I'm a bit worried about the touchscreen thing, how do you keep it clean?!

NetworkGuy Sun 26-Jun-11 13:56:09

There are 4 or more which have QWERTY keyboards (with 5 MP camera).

> GSMarena search < for QWERTY with 3 MP or better finds over 3 dozen.

NB some of those might have alternative names in UK or not be available here (yet) as the site is global and might have phones for N America or Far East that we may never see.

I used the 'phone finder' and selected QWERTY, camera spec, and a few other settings, such as 'must be smartphone' (section about 'operating system' - so you could restrict to Android if you want).

Although personally I would prefer a QWERTY phone, for around 100 quid there's the Orange San Francisco (ZTE Blade) and now at about 70 quid, Vodafone has a new PAYG model 845 available. I saw boxes on the shelves in Asda Living but Carphone Warehouse does not have them yet. These might not be of immediate interest but it shows how prices are going smile

wellwisher Sun 26-Jun-11 14:10:55

I have the original HTC Desire but am finding its battery life and memory insufficient - I use it a LOT though and have lots of apps. If I was going to get a new smartphone now I would get a Samsung Galaxy S II. They look awesome.

The Android keyboard is OK but if you don't get on with it you can download others from the app store - I'm useing Swiftkey at the moment. I'd go for a contract, and make sure it includes insurance. You can buy protective cases and stick-on screen protectors very cheaply from ebay.

Do it! Everyone should have a smartphone!

confuseddotcodotuk Sun 26-Jun-11 19:38:48

NetworkGuy: thanks for the link smile i'll have a play with the search settings and see what comes up. I would prefer a qwerty too, just because it's what I'm used too though, I could get used to something different but it'd take a while. I think andrid would be my chosen OS purely because it's something that is common enough to have apps made specifically for it but isn't throwing me into the apple market smile

I was checking out the San Francisco, I'll have another look at it now you mention it smile

wellwisher: My boss has a desire (as I discovered after posting this! grin) and she said the battery life was a bit rubbish too, that and the camera, but I'm not too fussed about the cam as I have a digicam I carry with me everywhere anyway.

I played with the keyboard and didn't find it too bad, but I was using it horizontally, not sat upright as the phone would normally be.

that samsung is so pretty... grin

niceguy2 Sun 26-Jun-11 19:59:11

I second the Orange San Fran. It's a lot of phone for the money. The only downsides is that the screen is a little small and it comes with Android v2.1 by default.

Now it's not that hard to upgrade it to 2.2. There are plenty of instructions on the Internet like here but it does look daunting for anyone not techy.

But if you like a keyboard then this could be a dealbreaker since it is certainly doesn't have a keyboard and the smaller screen may mean you struggle.

But as a starter smartphone to "get you into it" then it's a bargain.

My recommendation if you decide to go for it would be to buy it from Orange, get it unlocked and pop a GiffGaff SIM into it.

prism Sun 26-Jun-11 20:03:17

The San Francisco is great if you, or someone you know, can erase it and install Android 2.2 to replace the crap that Orange supply it with. If you do that, it is one of the best value smart phones you can buy. But if you leave it with the lousy software it comes with, you'll have a seriously reduced systems, and end up paying Orange loads in data charges (because for instance their email client only works through the phone network, not wi-fi). But if you're up for the joyous process of erasing everything and putting your own copy of Android on it, it's brilliant, for the money.

confuseddotcodotuk Sun 26-Jun-11 21:27:27

niceguy, I think it may be a bit too complicated for me! blush I think it being a 2.1 was the main reason I skipped it before actually, i have mainly been looking at 2.2's.

I think I could handle not having a keyboard with a larger screen. I'm mainly after something to keep me going for at least a few years, something that will be still have valid technology (able to use new apps and whatnot) 3 years down the line iyswim?

I'm looking at switching to 3 possibly, as they seem like they have good deals on, especially their 'one' plans with 'all-you-can-eat-Data'. I'm liking the samsung and htc still admittedly...

NetworkGuy Mon 27-Jun-11 00:17:12

Only hours ago I saw mention of v2.2 being put on the San Francisco anytime soon (sorry, forgot the exact date, but if you can wait a fortnight, it may be 'the norm' on that phone, and something to specify [in writing] when buying so if they don't provide it, they are not meeting your request!)

As a Three user (downloaded about 5 GB today, but have a dongle and allowance of 15 GB a month, with a few GB left to use within next 6 days) I may be the first to say it may not be the fastest (so streaming video may disappoint) but it depends what modem you get and where you live to some degree... I'm in a semi-rural part of N Wales (despite town having council HQ etc, no date for fibre optic broadband yet) and the modem has been in use since October 2008, so far from being "the latest" IYSWIM.

If you stream video at home on wi-fi, then should have no problems, but the all-you-can-eat offer does look good (and their pricing for data generally compares well against other networks). Also check if you can use Skype from the phone (does not count against data allowance, usually, on Three).

confuseddotcodotuk Mon 27-Jun-11 21:28:20

thanks for the info smile

Skype was one of the first things I cheacked, all free from their phones :D

I think the streaming videos would be more of a novelty, only handy when I'm trying to learn some 'circus skills' where I can't take my laptop outside to watch the videos!

How does the internet work on the phones?! Does it take from wifi hotspots or generate it's own internet signal? I'm not too techy in regards to phones tbh, can do well with computers in regards to software, but anything techy is off limits to me! grin

NetworkGuy Tue 28-Jun-11 09:42:08

Most modern phones can be set to access your home wireless router (which means you get higher speed data transfers, and for any mobile network with limits like 500 MB or 1 GB a month, you avoid eating into that allowance, so it is available when you're out of the house).

In general the phones will try to use the mobile network when you're out, but some networks may offer access via hotspots too, and of course if you are in an office, they may allow users to connect to the internet via the office network (but not all do, and even if they do, some websites might be blocked, and one should remember all traffic might be logged somewhere).

Back to Skype (which I don't use on my PCs), some of the handsets have it built in, so I assume they keep a connection active all the time in case of an incoming Skype call, but you should check in a Three Store to find which phones have it as standard, if it is high on your list.

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