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Topic # 57581 18-Feb-2010 02:14
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Hi all

I'm currently using a brick of a phone: a Kyocera ke414. Foot in mouth I'm sure I don't need to say that it's long past time for an upgrade! The thing is that there are so many phones out there these days. I've got a lot of fairly specific requirements so theoretically it shouldn't be hard to narrow down the field. The problem is that I'm no phone afficianado so I really need some advice.

I'd like to say in advance that I know my requirements are pretty high-end. I'm absolutely prepared to pay a correspondingly high price for the right phone (if it exists). I also want to say that everyone I have previously spoken to suggest the iPhone almost straight away; I'm not an Apple fan and would much rather go with an alternative.

Alright, on to my requirements...

Summary:
I intend to use the new phone just as much (or more) as a portable music player and/or netbook (for document viewing, email, web browsing, Google maps etc.) as I would for its regular phone capabilities. I'd also find a camera very handy. In other words, I'm looking for a jack-of-all-trades phone that doubles as an mp3 player, computer and camera.

Must have's:
- 3G HSDPA support
- 3.5mm audio line out
- Music playback (mp3, m4a/aac)
- WiFi
- USB
- Bluetooth
- Gmail access
- Google maps access
- Decent web browser
- Reasonable camera (2MP+, flash, shake compensation)
- At least 32GB storage. This could be via USB since I already have a 32GB USB stick (is this possible?). Alternatively a microSD card slot that can handle 32GB cards would be alright.
- Document viewer (plaintext, pdf, doc/docx, xls/xlsx, ppt/pptx). Alternatively the ability to use online viewers like http://www.viewdocsonline.com/ would be okay.

Big wants:
- Music playback (wav, flac)
- 850, 900 and 2100MHz UMTS support (for ability to use the phone with any service provider)
- Ability to develop apps (free SDK), open source OS, accelerometer, gyro etc.
- FM radio

Nice to have's:
- Flash support
- Video recording
- Video playback (mpg, m4v)
- Touch screen interface
- Torch
- QWERTY keyboard?

Thanks in advance for any advice!

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  Reply # 300000 18-Feb-2010 06:48
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There are no handsets that do 850, 900 and 2100 UMTS so you'll be out of luck there.




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  Reply # 300008 18-Feb-2010 07:58
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What about the Sony Ericsson Aino? If there really aren't any phones out there with that ability then does anyone know why that is the case - from a non-phone person's perspective I would have thought there would be a market for such phones... Is it something that is being worked on?

That criterion is important but if there really aren't any phones out there with that ability then I'd have to set it aside and probably go for an 850/2100MHz phone (Telecom, 2degrees???)...

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  Reply # 300223 18-Feb-2010 20:20
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Not easy to get a phone that fulfills all your requirements. If I were you I'd focus on 3 smartphones that you like. I'm assuming you're not too worried about networks ie. Telecom or Voda? Personally I can suggest the Nokia E72 and the Iphone 3GS. Nokia have put symbian open source now. Are you wanting a full qwerty keyboard or touch screen or both? I use the iphone 3GS and it meets all my needs. Good luck finding your new toy.




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  Reply # 300682 21-Feb-2010 12:36
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I personally like my Nokia 5800 and has most of the features you are looking for

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  Reply # 300684 21-Feb-2010 12:58
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I look at your requirements and they scream iPhone iPhone iPhone, It can Run on Both networks just not on Vodafones Extended 3g 900mhz.


Does everything Your Requirements Needs it to do except flash. and has most of you Big wants and Nice to Haves



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  Reply # 300716 21-Feb-2010 15:02
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Thanks for the advice everyone!

@gadgetmannz: Thanks for the suggestion about narrowing my choice. I agree that I definitely need to find a way to make the choice more concrete because at the moment the number of phones and the lack of knowledge make it overwhelming. The question is how do I narrow the choice - I need an advanced phone search like gsmarena combined with pricespy (for NZ prices) and integration with provider plan info! In response to your question, I'm not sure what sort of interface/keypad I should go for. I think the idea of a qwerty keyboard and touch screen is nice, but without having handled/trialed such a phone it is really hard to judge...

@boby55: Fair enough observation. As I said in the OP, other people I have talked to have said the same thing. I guess I'm just looking for alternatives. One of the things that puts me off the iphone (aside from the fact that it is from Apple - a personal taste thing) is that it is *very* expensive and doesn't have expandable memory. Admittedly phones with microSD card slots can only handle up to 32GB anyway so maybe the comment about storage is a moot point. However there are definitely phones out there that have many/most/all(?)/more(?) of the features of the iphone at a cheaper cost.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I said in the OP that I was looking for a jack-of-all-trades phone. I don't think I properly explained the background or what the motivation behind that is...

In reality I am not a huge fan of phones. I'm sitting on a prepaid plan using ~$5 (!!!) a month at the moment (and I would stay prepaid with the new phone for the forseeable future - probably 2degrees). For some time though I've been thinking about buying a high end portable music player and/or netbook.

Portable music players are great except that they generally can't connect to the internet or do anything other than play music, and if they can they tend to be prohibitively expensive. Netbooks are nice if you think of them as being an ultra-portable laptop, but I think the compromise between performance and form-factor just isn't right for me. In my opinion a smartphone has enough processing power for my mobile "applications", and the size advantage of a phone over a netbook is a huge.

On top of that I think I've got to the point where (and I hate to say this) I can't really *not* have a phone. The idea of having one device that fits in my pocket and does most/all I need as opposed to two or three is *very* attractive. The fact that it happens to be a "phone" is almost beside the point for me.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I apologise for the length but I really hope that background makes sense. I'm still really keen to know what the deal is with the Aino network support. I watched a couple of review videos over the last couple of days and seems cool. The fact that touch only works on the media menu is a bit weird but other than that I kinda like it...

Three more quick points:
1. Baring any problems or unforseen new technologies I plan to hold on to the phone for a good long time - I'm talking ~5 years. With that in mind I definitely want to buy the phone outright rather than go on any sort of plan. I'm also very tempted to wait for 4G, usb3, wireless-n, SDXC etc. Are any of these things worth the wait???
2. My budget is probably ~$700, but up to $1000 would be okay within reason.

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  Reply # 300881 22-Feb-2010 02:52
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I have some suggestions, but keep in mind you will have to specify to whom ever you purchase from that 850 WCDMA/HSPA is a requirement, furthermore some manufacturers sell multiple versions of the same device offering different combination's of 3G Network support - UMTS/HSPA 800/850/900/1700/1900/2100.
My Suggestions -
Sony Ericsson X10, X10 Mini Pro, Vivaz, Vivaz Pro
Nokia - N97, N97 Mini, E72, N900

In terms of the Aino...It is a bit of a waste of a touch screen. You want something that developers will be working with for some time. So consider the operating platform. A great example is the iphone and Windows Mobile. You can find an app for just about anything, and this development community will enhance the usability and functionality of the device over time.


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  Reply # 300890 22-Feb-2010 07:18
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If you're not a phone fan particularly you might find the N900 a bit hard going, since its actual telephony functions are a little underdone at the moment (definitely has the best browser in terms of flash capabilities).

I'd say the N97 mini is a reasonable choice, and perhaps even the original N97 (since you want a large storage capacity, its latest firmware apparently addresses many of the non-hardware related issues). Worth pointing out that the Nokia devices (N900 excluded) will give you free voice-guided navigation, not just Google Maps access.

The iPhone works for quite a few of your requirements, but I don't know if it'll play Flac encoded audio for you, it may not support all the bluetooth functions you want, you won't be seeing flash support, and you'd have to give away a hardware keypad. If those things are less important then it could be a pretty good fit. Most people suggest the iPhone because for the most part they are ignorant of alternatives, goes without saying that this is not true of people here..

If you're giving away the keyboard though then the HTC HD2 becomes a real contender, along with the upcoming Sony X10, HTC Desire, HTC Legend. The HD2 will best the iPhone in the area of documents, with a built in viewer/editor, and its 800x480 (WVGA resolution) screen, although it will only take microSD cards for storage (so limited to 16GB for now, with 32GB cards coming very soon, possibly this month from Samsung). The Samsung i8910 is another excellent keypad-less handset to consider. Value for money the Nokia 5800 is unbeatable and fulfills most of your requirements.




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Blogs: HeadphoNZ.org


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  Reply # 300981 22-Feb-2010 13:33
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Have you gone into a mobile store and had a play with any of the phones? The shop attendants should let you have a play around with the phones. Afterall they'll be hoping for a sale! That's how I chose the Iphone 3GS. I was worried about the touch screen element and how accurate the typing was. Once I picked it up and had a go I was sold. Makes it easier having a hands on demo. Don't disregard the importance of youtube aswell. They usually have some solid hands on demos. Hope that helps.

Also let us know what you go for and how you're finding it.






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  Reply # 301296 23-Feb-2010 00:35
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Thanks once again for all the suggestions and feedback folks. I've been looking up your suggestions on gsmarena, pricespy and youtube and I have to say that I was most impressed by the value of the 5800. For the price I think I could very easily be satisfied with that! In comparing it with other suggestions I find that the more expensive phones tend to have larger, better quality, higher res screens, ditto for camera/video, maybe faster processors, and often more streamlined interfaces... all things that are nice, but probably not worth the cost difference for me.

I am going to try and get into a Vodafone and/or Telecom store in the next couple of days and handle the 5800, n97 and some similarly priced HTC models (Touch2 sort of thing) as well as the iphone and some other more expensive htc units like the HD2 (hopefully they have appropriate demo/display units!). At the moment I'm leaning towards full touch (at least I don't think I like the e72 style) and not waiting for the new models that were mentioned by some of you but obviously we'll see how things go...

Thanks once again!

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  Reply # 301320 23-Feb-2010 07:45
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Remember that Pricespy is your friend! and good luck.

<edit> Ooopps you already mentioned that. Nothing to see here, keep moving.





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  Reply # 302106 25-Feb-2010 14:29
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Well I've been to 2 out of the 3 vodafone shops in my city today and they don't seem to have a lot of stock of anything. Apparently the 5800 and n97 are both being phased out. They didn't have any stock and couldn't get any in just for a "demo". They also didn't have any of the HTC models I wanted to look at. The only thing I could really do was have a play with the standard iphone display model...

Any suggestions for other ways that I could get my hands on phones without having to buy them (other than stealing of course ;) )?

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  Reply # 302130 25-Feb-2010 15:00
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Hmmn, there is another user asking about trying my HD2 - perhaps Geekzone should have a mobile-phone themed get together here in Auckland...




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  Reply # 302132 25-Feb-2010 15:07
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mm1352000:
Any suggestions for other ways that I could get my hands on phones without having to buy them (other than stealing of course ;) )?

Parallel Imported or similar? I did a lot of phone 'hands on' there before buying the 5800. Cheaper than Vodafone as well...




Huawei Mate 7, on 2degrees



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  Reply # 302350 26-Feb-2010 01:06
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I live in Palmerston North - don't think they have a PI store/warehouse here. Might have to try my luck with more generic places like DSE etc.

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