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727 posts

Ultimate Geek
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Topic # 89213 28-Aug-2011 17:41
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It's a jungle out there!  Information is lost among rumour, speculation, misinformation and even disinformation.  Please help if you can.

Basic scenario:
I'm done with 2 Degrees and my old Sony Ericsson T100 is pretty much knackered anyway.
Shoe-string budget.
Very, very low expected usage - except in emergencies I never make mobile calls and very rarely send txts.  I have a mobile phone really "just in case".
Terrible signal coverage where I live on VF/2D; Telecom, unknown.
Telecom landline.

I'm not interested in "social networking" in any of its various manifestations, nor games/gaming.

I use an old Apple iMac G5 PowerPC based machine with OS X 10.4.11.  I have no Windows capable machine and no access to one nor would I want it.  ADSL (ahem) 'broadband'.   I have a 100 Mb/s ethernet LAN with 802.11g WiFi that does not broadcast its SSID and is protected by passwords, encryption, and a permitted MAC address list. The iMac has about 10 TB of external storage available to the LAN via SMB.  This is almost all .TS video files.

Absolute requirements:
1. Telecom XT compatibility
2. Eligible for inclusion on the "One Bill" scheme so no monthly costs or "top ups" that expire
3. Send and receive phone calls (obvious I guess); send and receive txt messages (also)
4. No spam
5. No parallel imports

Very highly desirable:
6. New, rather than used
7. Android (I think, but certainly nothing from Microsoft), but only if actual functionality warrants the additional cost; V2.2 minimum, V2.3 preferred;
8. Wireless internet access via my 802.11g WLAN for web browsing and email

Highly desirable:
9. Capacitive touchscreen - no physical keyboard needed
10. Ability to block or cap 3G data access to avoid unexpected bills
11. GPS, including at the very least, the ability to determine position without data charges
12. Free offline topographical maps of NZ
13. Wireless access to the video, and other, files on the SMB shares, and the ability to play them
14. Camera > 3 mpix, with recording of GPS location (I think this is called "geotagging")
15. Robust and at least shower resistant
16. Wireless (probably bluetooth) 'hands-free' call handling; this can be an optional add-on
17. If Android-based, then updatable, and in particular, without 3G data transfer and without requiring any computer other than my iMac and OS X 10.4.11.

Desirable:
18. Voice note/dictation function
19. Connectivity to my iMac via Bluetooth for the purposes of syncing contacts, etc
20. Decent customer support, and warranty

Mildly interesting:
21. GPS based driving instructions

Irrelevant:
22. Pretty much everything else I think, but maybe I've missed something

Price:
23. Under $350, all up (SIM, SD cards, GST, shipping, whatever)
 
---
Contenders at the moment are the Huawei X1 and the LG Optimus One P500.  The Huawei Ideos X3 nearly made the list, but is 900/2100, not 850/2100.

The Huawei X1 has a relatively low resolution screen (which wouldn't matter if I can't access my video files), slower 3G download speed (which I won't use if I can avoid it) but offers 802.11n (which I don't need yet), but there are reports that it has trouble making decent WiFi connections.  Mind you, it is cheap ($169 at The Warehouse, including SIM).  Telecom reports that it will "work" with OSX 10.3 or later, but the proof of the pudding, etc.  Mind you, they also told me that neither phone had cameras that recorded the GPS location of the image (but both claim "geotagging" support), and that no current phone could report GPS position without real-time 3G data (which strikes me as absurd).

The LG P500 is said to have a nice screen, bigger, and with twice the resolution of the X1 (but of course it's impossible to compare them in shops since they are all cardboard cut-outs, and, as above, if I can't get to my video files, so what?).  Any sort of interoperability with OS X seems problematical.  It's not even possible to download a manual from the LG site without first downloading and running some Windows-only software!  LG customer support were appalling when I posed some questions to them.  There are various reports of an update to Android V2.3, but nothing "official"; LG avoided the question when I asked.

I appreciate that many of the functions I want may be addressable by 3rd party add-ons, possibly with associated costs.  In particular, offline mapping and SMB access will fall into this class, I expect.

I can't get a lot of sense out of the suppliers when it comes to specific details; none seem to have actual working phones to try (I was astounded to discover that all of the phones arrayed in a Telecom shop I went into were fake, with plastic labels instead of displays - ridiculous); none seem to offer a right of return if the device doesn't work as intended (Telecom shop staff say "No"; Telecom online says 7 days - go figure); none would put themselves in the position where the 'fitness for purpose' aspects of the CGA would apply.  It's up to the consumer to take a stab based on what they read on the net and risk their money.  Incredible.

I've been given a number for Telecom support experts to call on Monday, and they may be able to answer some questions, but how much faith I'll put in verbal confirmations, should they be forthcoming, I'm not sure.

I'm leaning toward the X1 as I doubt that any supposed benefits of the P500 would actually be of use to me, or warrant the much higher cost, and anything that being an Android phone allows the P500 to do is probably also true of the X1.  However, the price increment of the X1 over a "dumb" phone is probably worth it in order to see how the technology works, but if it is just going to be a disappointment, then probably the cheapest phone out there would do the trick.

So - what do you say?

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Meow
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  Reply # 513123 28-Aug-2011 17:53
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Honestly go for the P500 - it's not a bad phone, higher resolution screen, faster processor, more ram and Android 2.2. For it's price it's really not too bad at all.

From there, like you say - put it on the Onebill with the $6 50mb Mobile Broadband pack (for the times when you are out and about and require a small amount of internet)

You can install a app called "APNdroid" which allows you to turn off Mobile Data with the press of a widget on the homescreen.

If you /really/ wanted to you can install Cyanogenmod 7 (Android 2.3.5) on the P500, no I will not post instructions or give you pointers - this is something you will have to look up and research yourself to make sure you don't break anything. Otherwise even with Android 2.2 it's a heap better than the X1.






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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 513129 28-Aug-2011 18:00
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Thanks for reading and responding. Yes - I do like the idea of the larger higher resolution screen of the P500, but spending $300 instead of $170 in the hope that I can get to and play my .TS files (and even want to watch them 3.2" across rather than 50"), and with so many other unknowns, makes it a tough call when funds are scarce.

Aussie
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  Reply # 513133 28-Aug-2011 18:10
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Buy second hand?



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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 513143 28-Aug-2011 18:40
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blakamin: Buy second hand?

You're a trier, I'll give you that. ;)

If the weight of opinion is such that the benefits of the P500 seem to be worth the cost to me, I'll take another look at your offering. I have to say though that I'm not keen at the moment: I've not seen any other reports of P500s that are fully compatible with VF/2D and XT (which is not to say that they don't exist), and I'm not eager to buy a phone that has already had alternative system software loaded onto it.

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  Reply # 513144 28-Aug-2011 18:45
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You forgot to mention how (situations) the GPS is going to be used - very important as not everything called GPS is the same.

Even many real dedicated GPS units (no, not the ones for in your car) have issues in the bush - actually just being around any trees will cause issues accuracy of  cheaper GPS units. They need continuous clear view of the sky to get satellite locks and get the coordinates.

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  Reply # 513148 28-Aug-2011 18:52
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xarqi:
blakamin: Buy second hand?

You're a trier, I'll give you that. ;)

If the weight of opinion is such that the benefits of the P500 seem to be worth the cost to me, I'll take another look at your offering. I have to say though that I'm not keen at the moment: I've not seen any other reports of P500s that are fully compatible with VF/2D and XT (which is not to say that they don't exist), and I'm not eager to buy a phone that has already had alternative system software loaded onto it.


I don't think that all P500's are the same - some have chip sets with frequencies tailored for VT/2D, and some for Telecom.

(I could be wrong, but that is the case with a number of other phones so assume the P500 is the same)



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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 513152 28-Aug-2011 18:58
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keewee01: You forgot to mention how (situations) the GPS is going to be used - very important as not everything called GPS is the same.


Thanks for that.

Light bush/forest cover, mostly in the Waitakere Ranges in Auckland, and probably out of 3G coverage, I assume.
The sort of use I'd put it to would be to find out where I was on a track (or heaven forfend - which way TO the track).  Integral maps would be nice, but if all I get is co-ordinates, I can look on a paper map.

I've no doubt that a dedicated GPS unit would be more appropriate, but the money just isn't there for it unfortunately.  If it turns out that no phone I can afford will give me GPS that is going to work, then that just makes for one less reason to get anything more than a basic phone that does "hello" and "goodbye", and maybe txts just for a special treat!



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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 513156 28-Aug-2011 19:06
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keewee01:
xarqi:
blakamin: Buy second hand?

You're a trier, I'll give you that. ;)

If the weight of opinion is such that the benefits of the P500 seem to be worth the cost to me, I'll take another look at your offering. I have to say though that I'm not keen at the moment: I've not seen any other reports of P500s that are fully compatible with VF/2D and XT (which is not to say that they don't exist), and I'm not eager to buy a phone that has already had alternative system software loaded onto it.


I don't think that all P500's are the same - some have chip sets with frequencies tailored for VT/2D, and some for Telecom.

(I could be wrong, but that is the case with a number of other phones so assume the P500 is the same)


Yeah - that's the query I have.  The P500 Blakamin's selling he says is VF/2D compatible, but that according to some test on a Telecom website based on some code from the phone, it is compatible with XT.  That would make it compatible will both 850 AND 900, and I've not heard of that before; again, I'm not saying it isn't the case, just that it's a risk I can avoid.

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  Reply # 513168 28-Aug-2011 19:40
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I'm seriously not bothered if someone buys my phone or not. If I was in a hurry it would be on TM.

I'm still gunna say buy secondhand. Mainly for the reason of the screen.
I've always said, on any "what phone" thread to do with android, DO NOT BUY a phone that has QVGA.
They suck! Anything less than HVGA is a waste of time and money.

So if you cant afford the extra $100, wait and save or buy secondhand.

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  Reply # 513173 28-Aug-2011 19:59
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blakamin:
I've always said, on any "what phone" thread to do with android, DO NOT BUY a phone that has QVGA.
They suck! Anything less than HVGA is a waste of time and money.


I have to agree - QVGA sucks BIG TIME!!! I have a IDEOS (U8150) and I seriously hate the screen on it!



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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 513174 28-Aug-2011 20:03
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OK - thanks - screen sucks big-time on the X1. Check.

(Oh - the thing about saving is that that implies discretionary income! For me it's a matter of how much debt I want to carry until the end of my financial drought.)



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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 513179 28-Aug-2011 20:16
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The suggestion was made to me (thanks 'Dothack') that I should look at Nokias because of OVI maps. I checked the Telecom website and it looks like none of the Nokias are Android, which is why I didn't spot them I guess.

Looks like the only one in my price range without a physical keyboard (and thus a decent sized screen) is the 6700.

[Comparing to P500]
Much the same price
Not Android.
Ouch - 2.2" screen! (but oh! the colours!)
Half the standby time.
About 1/3 the memory.
Video calling and voice dialling (which I don't care about)
2 cameras, including 5mpix and flash (ho hum)

Hey - what's this?

No GPS?

No sale.

Looks like any Nokias would involve a deal breaker, either format or price.

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  Reply # 513204 28-Aug-2011 21:20
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Have you had a look at http://talkischeap.co.nz/ they have a good range of XT phones.



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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 513213 28-Aug-2011 21:59
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crazynz101: Have you had a look at http://talkischeap.co.nz/ they have a good range of XT phones.

Thanks, I'll take a look, but sight-unseen, I suspect parallel importation.

I'm not against such importation in principle, but in practice, compatibility and warranty service issues are so common as to be problematical, especially in these days of essentially absent quality control during manufacture.

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  Reply # 513214 28-Aug-2011 22:02
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xarqi:
crazynz101: Have you had a look at http://talkischeap.co.nz/ they have a good range of XT phones.

Thanks, I'll take a look, but sight-unseen, I suspect parallel importation.

I'm not against such importation in principle, but in practice, compatibility and warranty service issues are so common as to be problematical, especially in these days of essentially absent quality control during manufacture.


Not parallel imports as far as I know, from their website:

Talk Is Cheap is a division of Telegistics Repair Ltd. Telegistics was created in 2005 as an after sales service company for mobile phone devices, we manage the service on behalf of Telecom for all of their ranged handsets. 

At the beginning of the 2010 we diversified a little and began to also operate as a nearly new mobile phone outlet. All of the product that we sell are sourced directly from Telecom and are authentic XT handsets. 
http://www.talkischeap.co.nz/about_us




Seems as though they sell returned products from Telecom that can not be resold through retail stores as they have been used / opened.

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