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Phoning it in

I have a Motorola Razr phone and I'm on AT&T, with a plan they no longer offer, probably because it's too cheap for them now with all their fancy schmancy stuff (it's a holdover from when I was on Cingular). I'm not dedicated to them (evil corporate entity and all), and my phone was long ago paid for, and I got the Razr off eBay because it was unlocked. But the firmware is absurdly out of date, and I have no way to update it without paying for it, plus the phone keeps breaking when I drop it. The back cover has come off so many times, and I have to SuperGlue it back on, which means that when I need a new battery, I'll probably have to drop it again so the cover comes off.

There are things about it I love, and things I'm not super fond of. I wouldn't even really need a phone these days because only about two people ever call me on it, and I don't text, but now that Dad's in a bad situation, I use it more (this is always true with me and cell phones -- whenever someone's in a bad way, I use it a lot, the rest of the time it just sits there and I use it primarily for long distance). AT&T covers the two areas I travel to most often, while I've seen a friend unable to call in the Ventura/Santa Barbara area.

I'd really like to be able to keep my SIM card so that all my phone numbers are stored and I don't have to go through that again. From what I understand, many companies don't use SIM cards on their phones, so transferring my card wouldn't be possible if I buy one of their phones. However, I don't want to get locked into a contract with someone just so I can buy their effing phone.

I assume most plans give you free long distance these days (my primary reason for using my mobile), and they seem to emphasize the unlimited texting but I don't really care about that. While I like the idea of having a smart phone for traveling, the truth is I don't travel much anymore, so the idea of paying for a really complex phone that I'll use for GPS once a year or something seems wasted... and I don't DL fic to read or whatever. I have an iPod or two, so I don't need another place to put music, though I see the utility of putting music and phone together in one device; I'm just not sure that's enough value for me to yet again have to move my music around. I just need to be able to call when I'm at Escapade or Vividcon or somewhere else (yes, I'm even dreaming of Vidukon, but I have a feeling that's really just a dream).

So, given all that, if I were inclined to get a new phone, which I kind of am because this poor phone, while I love it, keeps breaking and it does have some features I don't like (the buttons on the side of the top flip make me nuts), is there a phone/carrier you might recommend? While those emergency based phones/plans like from AAA are interesting, they often don't have phones that display the number calling (essential), or they don't have long distance or roaming. It's interesting that texting and web access have become more important than roaming and long distance...

Is there a less schmancy smart phone you like that you think is a value? All this 4G 3G shit drives me crazy and I don't care. I only really care about coverage. Are there... I guess... lesser smart phones than going batshit and getting an iPhone or a Droid, which I don't think i want to pay for? Does your phone/carrier use a SIM card or not?

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Jan. 26th, 2011 11:32 pm (UTC)
We're waiting for hubby's plan with Verizon Wireless to sloooowly run out, then I'm betting we're moving over to http://www.credomobile.com/ because they're less evil than any others. We used their land-line plans forever and loved being able to donate to good causes. It was the only bill we had that I gave them more money than we owed, lol.

Oh, and we only use our phones as, ya know, phones. No texting. Nothing smart. Just phone calls. Weird, I know.
Jan. 27th, 2011 01:47 am (UTC)
I can't speak to phones, but IMO Verizon is my favorite carrier. I've had most of them, and Verizon wins in terms of service. Hands down.
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Jan. 27th, 2011 11:23 pm (UTC)
Just something to keep in mind is that coverage depends on the carrier, and not the phone at all. The best coverage in the US is probably Verizon and Sprint -- though phones on those carriers can't be used outside North America (unlike AT&T or T-Mobile). If you want to try to keep your sim card, at least until it can port the phonebook, then you need to stay on AT&T or T-Mobile. Plans, like how much data/texts/voice minutes are included are also strictly a function of carrier, not phone.

I would say, first, decide what carrier you want -- if you want to stay with a sim-card compatible carrier or if you are willing to switch to Verizon or Sprint. Once you've made that decision, then you can start looking at phones.

You sound kinda interested in a smartphone? But what is "less schmancy" is in the eye of the beholder. If you aren't interested in using your phone for web browsing or apps, you don't need a smart phone, and there are a lot of low-cost (probably free-with-plan) options -- basically updated versions of your current phone. If you do want a smartphone, your main choices are Windows, Android and iOS. Then it's just down to a comparison. In terms of having cheaper options, I'd say Android is more flexible, because at the moment there is only one iOS phone and not a lot of Windows ones either. I love my Android phone, though to get full functionality out of it, you do have to be willing to using Google apps for things like your calendar and contacts.

(How many stored #'s do you have? Transferring them might not be as hard as you think.)

I'd be happy to take a walk/drive with you to a wireless store at Escapade, if you'd like.
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