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 Mobile phones: The official thread

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BlackZarak
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PostSubject: Mobile phones: The official thread   Sat Jan 22, 2011 2:35 am

My contribution to BSS, in this thread, I will post reviews for various phones I can get my hands on. This time, we will look at the LG GW-300, also known as the "LG Gossip", which is the (stupid) name FIDO (a GSM/HSPA carrier in Canada) gave this phone. The GW-300 is marketed as an affordable messaging phone, is it worth a look? For sanity's sake I will QUOTE the reviews. BUT before the review, here is a handy reference that explains the jargon I will be using. Also, any questions about phones, networks, etc are welcome, I will help as best as I can.

Quote :
AMPS: 1st generation analog standard. Analog was first introduced in 1983, and remained the primary mobile phone system until roughly 2001-2002, where new standards were developped and implemented. Analog is very susceptible to static and noise, possesses zero call privacy, and has relatively bad sound quality. In fact, calls made from an analog phone could easily be picked up with the proper scanner. Analog transmission also requires significantly more power, and therefore, analog phones have short standby/talk time VS digital phones. To this day, analog is dead and buried.

TDMA: 2nd generation digital standard. TDMA is a direct evolution of AMPS/Analog. TDMA brought significant improvements VS analog/AMPS - now using 100% digital encoding (which operate at a MUCH lower power level), the battery life of a TDMA handset was dramatically superior to that of an AMPS/analog phone. The second generation network also introduced data capability, text messaging and calls were now encrypted, thus offering voice privacy (It was no longer possible to pick up conversations via a scanner). A new audio coded also DRAMATICALLY improved call quality. If you have never used TDMA, crystalling call quality sums it up. To this day, like analog/AMPS, TDMA is dead and buried.

GSM: 2.5 gen digital standard. GSM was TDMA's successor and competitor. TDMA and GSM are similar, though GSM brought more improvements - the introduction of SIM cards, which allow you to switch phones simply by sliding the card into another GSM phone, provided it's unlocked or from the same provider (see my notes regarding handset locking in this post) and also having the proper bands, introduced another call encryption algorithm (which was later revealed to be weak and easily broken) and voice codec (though GSM sound quality is inferior to TDMA), and improved data speeds. Roaming is also significantly easier with GSM, being that it's a worldwide standard. GSM is widely used today, and GSM phones are still widely available. As HSPA -- and even LTE, the 4G standard which I'll get to shortly -- becomes more widespread, GSM will slowly fade in the background. GSM has many years left in it before it becomes end-of-life.

HSPA: 3rd generation digital standard. The evolution path from GSM, HSPA is actually a very different breed of animal. HSPA uses some traits from GSM, and some traits from CDMA (which I'll get to a little later), making this one an hybrid.

As for the fourth generation, LTE, or long term evolution, has been adopted as standard evolution path for HSPA. LTE has been deployed by some carriers, but the technology is still in it's infant stages and has yet a long way to come before reaching it's true potential. There is also WiMAX, a competing standard, and I've heard mostly good things about the speed the network can offer. Also, strangely, the more strain put on a WiMAX network, the better it performs.

It does not end here, however. Qualcomm developed another family of wireless standards which were introduced as an alternative and competitor to the TDMA/GSM standards.

The standards, in chonological order:

cdmaOne: CDMA is another 2nd generation wireless standard developped by Qualcomm. cdmaOne networks were adopted by carriers because of the lower cost of a cdmaOne network versus a TDMA network. Calls were encrypted, but to a significantly stronger degree than TDMA - at the cost of a cdmaOne handset having lower battery life than a TDMA handset, which is a worthy tradeoff if you are worried about voice privacy. cdmaOne also introduced a new codec that drastically improved sound quality. Like TDMA, cdmaOne is backward compatible with AMPS/Analog.

cdmaOne is still used today, and there are no set deadline for a shutdowning networks, so even though cdmaOne is considered legacy, it still is a viable choice if you are looking into older handsets, or have one such handset. Verizon, however, no longer activates cdmaOne phones because they do not have a built-in GPS for E911 requirements. Check with your potential carrier.

CDMA 1xRTT 2.5/3rd generation digital standard. 1xRTT was cdmaOne's successor and competitor. It retains the core cdmaOne specifications, though brought improvements vs cdmaOne - improved sound quality via the introduction of another codec, improved battery life, faster data speeds, and nearly doubles network capacity. 1xRTT is backward compatible with cdmaOne, so if you find yourself in a place not yet covered by 1xRTT, the phone automatically rolls back to cdmaOne. It is also backward-compatible with AMPS/analog.

CDMA 1xEVDO: 3rd generation digital standard. 1xEVDO is an evolution of 1xRTT which retains the core 1xRTT fundamentals. EVDO further improved network capacity and data speeds, but remains similar to 1xRTT in terms of voice calls. EVDO, however, is NOT backward compatible with analog, which means that EVDO phones are pure digital phones.

1xEVDO has been vastly deployed and is widely available.

OTHER STANDARDS:

iDEN: 2nd generation digital standard. iDEN is a proprietary standard developped by Motorola, famous for being the first standard to support PTT (or Walkie-Talkie). iDEN is a TDMA-based standard. Older iDEN handsets had to be programmed, while newer ones uses SIM cards. iDEN also is data-capable, but at relatively low speeds.

WiDEN: 2.5 generation digital standard. WiDEN is simply a software upgrade of iDEN, which improves data speeds (up to 100k/s) and network capacity. Telus removed the upgrade after they realized it required more spectrum, and they were not willing to invest, instead milking the iDEN network as much as they can. Same goes for Nextel, WiDEN was powered off and was never powered back on.

Quote :
Yep, it's that time again, my 42nd or 43th addition -- can't quite recall, I'd have to check -- to my collection. Fine spare phone, I keep a FIDO backup phone for places where iDEN doesn't have coverage. Messaging phone to boot. I will be referring to this phone by it's model number, GW300, instead of the stupid arse name Fido gave the phone.

Modes: Quad-band GSM. Shame there is no HSPA, as it would have made it an affordable 3G messaging phone.

Signal: I happen to live about a block away from a cell, so in my flat, FIDO/ROGERS has zero reception problems. As for the GW300, I have yet to see it lose a freaking bar of signal. Everytime I looked at it, FULL SIGNAL. Now... either this is a signal supermagnet or the RF indicator is rigged because it's ridiculous. I see iDEN signal drop a bar or two every now and then, but the GW300 remains superglued to the network.

Battery life: Up to 400 hours standby and 5 hours talk time. Now, I don't rattle my jaw for five hours in a row, and I don't use that much airtime either. I managed to squeeze out about 9/10/11 days with heavy/moderate/light use.

Sound quality: Before I get to this... I am a longtime iDEN user, so I am used to crystalline sounding phone calls (as iDEN has TDMA ancestry), and with dual-mic noise cancellation, calls sound smoother than ever. That being said... I have found sound quality on the GW300 to be very good, I mean VERY GOOD. Of course, compared to iDEN, GSM is ear-shreddingly painful noise, but for a GSM phone, the GW300 is pretty damn good.

Formfactor/keyboard/phone feel: Slab, with a full QWERTY keyboard. The GW300 feels pretty good in my hand, and the keyboard is wonderful. I tested both my Samsung Hype and the GW300 side-by-side, and I prefer the GW300, by far. It has larger keys than the HYPE, and the keys are made of rubber instead of hard plastic. I barely make typos with the GW300, the keys are perfectly sized for my fingers, and I like the tactile feel of the keyboard as well. I also have no problem operating the phone with one hand with the exception of writing SMS of course.

Screen: 320*240, 262144 colors TFT LCD. My modified British flag background looks sharp and crisp, and the GW300 has a nice screen. Readability in the sun is somewhat painful.

Camera: 2MP, also does video capture though I haven't tried it out yet.

Memory card: Yes, up to 4GB. Mass storage mode or PC suite mode, I just use Mass storage to drag and drop music. MP3 player is good, has equalizer options and can run in the background without slowing the phone down too much like the garbage Telus JAVA music player.

The bottom line: The GW300 is an good, affordable messaging phone. Unlike some other LG messaging phones (*cough*Banter*cough*), the GW300 doesn't look like a girly phone. The GW300 is a mix of black and steel grey/silver that looks fine. I plan on getting a black faceplate to match the piano black front. There was the weird speakerphone cutout in the back faceplate that looked like a flower of some kind, and with the help of my faithful assistant Edgy, it is no more. If it fits, I an going to try and secure a small metal grid on the inside of the faceplate to properly protect the speaker. if you want a good price/quality ratio, the GW300 is worth checking out. It costed $100 on prepaid (well, 89.99+TAX) and the larger keys makes this phone a viable choice if one is looking for a messaging phone that doesn't look girly. Seriously, the "Black and red" theme on the Banter (AKA Rumor2) was more like "Black and PINK".

Final score: 8/10. Check it out.

Adding HSPA (aka 3G, 3G+) would have made the phone a tidbit more expensive, perhaps, but this is a fine phone that definitively SHOULD have HSPA. With HSPA now widely deployed, why NOT have made this phone capable of taking advantage of the BETTER HSPA NETWORK! Maybe we could see a HSPA version pop up someday, and I'm getting this one if it ever comes out.

PIC:


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Last edited by Type O Negative on Sat Jan 22, 2011 4:11 am; edited 3 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Mobile phones: The official thread   Sat Jan 22, 2011 2:53 am

Thank you, ToN, for the information. Would it be possible for you to go the basics and explain iphones to a dummy like me who knows nothing about what you are talking about?

Remembering that I have a vision problem can you recommend a iphone for me to get? Something simple to use.

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PostSubject: Re: Mobile phones: The official thread   Sat Jan 22, 2011 3:07 am

Nak, on the user end, the result is the same, the phone makes/receives calls, sends/receives text messages. The difference is in the core network technology, and I give a brief history of the technologies behind the networks, an interesting read for someone interested in the field like I am.

Keeping your vision problem in mind, I think the Sanyo Vero which is currently offered by Sprint, would be a good choice. It's a simple, no-nonsense phone, and it also has larger buttons as well. I have owned several Sanyo phones in the past, and I can tell from experience that Sanyo makes great phones, apart from MiKE phones, Sanyo are my favorite brand of phones. If you are with Verizon, or another provider, let me know, I will go through their lineup then offer my recommendations.

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PostSubject: Re: Mobile phones: The official thread   Sat Jan 22, 2011 3:30 am

I am on Verizon at the moment. When I got my cell phone they didn't offer me anything that was truly vision friendly. Maybe I didn't ask the right questions. I did ask if they had anything that was larger for a person like me. I explained my problem to them and got some basic help but have had to ask other people to help me with just simple things like programming numbers in. I can't use it for texting.

I don't know if I can switch to Sprint because Verizon sets up a two year contract and I think I still have a year to run.

Thank you for the help. I would be interested in the history your mentioned assuming that I could understand what you are talking about. Laughing

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PostSubject: Re: Mobile phones: The official thread   Sat Jan 22, 2011 4:02 am

Looking through the Verizon lineup, the Samsung Haven might interest you. The display is simple to read, and the background font can be adjusted, meaning you could set the text to be bigger and easier to read. Verizon might allow you to renew with a new phone if you've reached the middle of the contract. Telus, my provider, allowed me to renew and get the Motorola i1 half-way through my contract with my Motorola i576, and while I had to pay a fee, it was possible. Here is a pic of the actual phone:



Not much to say, a simple, no-nonsense phone. But, like I said, simplicity is good. Hypocritic coming from someone using a smartphone running Google's Android platform, but I enjoy going back to the roots of telecommunications, an era when phones were communication tools, and that's it.

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PostSubject: Re: Mobile phones: The official thread   Sat Jan 22, 2011 4:12 am

It looks like the phone I have, a Samsung. I should go over to the office and find out if it is the same and if the can help me with text messaging. They were nice. I just did not know what to ask.

Any information you think I might need I would appreciate.

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PostSubject: Re: Mobile phones: The official thread   Sat Jan 22, 2011 6:39 pm

I almost forgot Jitterbug. They are a provider (technically, as they use the Verizon network) who aim their service and phones to senior citizens. The Jitterbug J has large buttons, even more so than the Sanyo Vero or the Samsung Haven. If I remember correctly, the phone has two options for the user interface: simplified, and standard, and it's a simple matter of switching between either. I'll have to do deeper research on the phone and Jitterbug itself, but the Jitterbug J has been designed with senior citizens in mind, and could be of interest for you.

Pic:


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Nakia the Rogue
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PostSubject: Re: Mobile phones: The official thread   Sat Jan 22, 2011 6:53 pm

Wonderful, ToN. Does it really come in red? I love that. Easy to see, easy to find when I lay it down in some stupid place.. Let me know if you get more information.

I would still need to switch providers, no? I will need to find out how far into my contract I actually am.

You are a wonder. Thank you so much. Very Happy cheers

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PostSubject: Re: Mobile phones: The official thread   Sat Jan 22, 2011 9:28 pm

Yes, the J is offered in graphite, white or red. I took a look at the rate plans, and seeing I wasn't sure how much minutes you would need, I'm including all their rate plans lineup. Interestingly, in all the plans, your unused minutes roll over to the next month, giving you more minutes in your airtime pool. Those extra minutes will roll over for the next two months, before expiring.

Quote :

Basic 14: 50 anytime minutes - $14.99
Basic 19: 100 anytime minutes - $19.99
Premium: 400 Minutes + free evenings starting at 7PM - $39.99
Simply Unlimited: Unlimited minutes + unlimited texting - $79.99

All plans have a one-time $35 "setup" fee, which is a sneaky way to say activation fee. I hate those, but that's the way the big providers went. I had to pay it when I first signed up for my MiKE/iDEN service. Telus also charge a revolting equipment swap fee when renewing, and there is no going around this one.

...but I digress. Back to Jitterbug, they offer the Samsung J for $100, and they also have a $40 black Samsung candybar phone (when the phone is one piece, not two like the J), but don't touch that other one, it's garbage.

Verizon's Early Termination Fee for ending a contract early is $175, which I personally find very steep. The coverage map is very coherent, and it actually is the Verizon network. Despite using the same network, Jitterbug is a completely different company from Verizon, and I do not think they would waive the ETF.

I think this covers it all, Nak.

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PostSubject: Re: Mobile phones: The official thread   Sat Jan 22, 2011 10:52 pm

Excellent information, ToN but that brings up another problem. I actually have a 4 in one plan, Home phone, cell phone, TV and Internet connection which runs me about 150 a month. My calling plan is unlimited national coverage.

This will take some thought. I really need a better iphone one which I can actually use and this Jitterbug sounds like the right one. Through Sprint right? I will have to find out what Sprint has to offer. I don't need a lot of hours although if I can get the phone working properly I would probably use it more. I also have SKYPE which hooks up through the cell phone.

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PostSubject: Re: Mobile phones: The official thread   Sat Jan 22, 2011 11:47 pm

Nak, I was mistaken, Jitterbug now operates on the Verizon Wireless network. Where exactly in New Jersey are you? With that information I could find a Jitterbug store near you, or here is the company's phone number: 800-733-6632.

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PostSubject: Re: Mobile phones: The official thread   Sun Jan 23, 2011 2:44 am

Motorola i1 review

The i1 is an Android smartphone for iDEN networks. Here in Canuckland, TelusMike's lineup ONLY have the BlackBerry 8350i and the i1, so if one wants a smartphone powered by iDEN, well, there's not much choice. The 8350i is vintage, classic, tired BlackBerry. Don't get me wrong, BlackBerryOS does the job and does it well... but it just pales compared to Android, and even Windows Phone 7, as much as it pains me to admit it.

The i1 runs Android 1.5. Yes, it's an old version, BUT this was the most recent version available when work began to integrate DC functionality in Android. It will be updated to 1.6, which, some people say, is an outrage. I, for one, do not care about that. Some apps don't work, and that's pretty much it. I am also debating rooting the i1 and installing a custom Android ROM.

Signal: The i1 easily latched on the MiKE network, and like a rabid pitbull, refuses to let go. ZERO dropped calls because of low signal, and while I had some calls cut, the problem isn't on my end. It is better than the 8350i, and it also outdoes all my iDEN dumbphones. Enough said.

Sound quality: The i1 has dual-mic noise cancellation, and sounds TERRIFIC! The two speakers on the bottom of the phone are INCREDIBLE, listening to music on them is a real pleasure, and so is calls/DC calls. Callers told me I sounded very clear, and calls on my end also sounded great. Volume is pretty good, though as usual... I would've cranked it up a bit more.

Screen: 320*480, 262,144 colors (18-bit) TFT LCD. It is also a capacitative touch screen which is a MILLION MILES AWAY from those old, stiff resistive touch screens. The phone responds quickly and smoothly to my touch. The screen looks gorgeous... an HTC EVO this is NOT, but the i1 is a VERY SOLID upgrade to the geriatric 8350i.

Cam is 5MP, which makes the i1 the BEST cameraphone in my collection. Pics are on-par with my bro's standalone 5MP digital cam. Flash is great to catch pics in dark environments... Video capture is pretty good, too.

The stock Android music player is EXTREMELY BASIC, lacking an equalizer. Also... Motorola, WHY A 2.5MM JACK? WHY??? Now I don't have the convenience of using my own headphones, and worst, the adaptor from my former Keybo2 (yes, I actually sold this POS) is INCOMPATIBLE... sound only on one side. Still... Moto had the decency to include a pair of 2.5mm headphones, and they're good quality, actually. The i1 also had NO problems with my 8gb microSDHC. 32GB cards are supported, but they're not yet available in my backwater primitive province.

DATA is surprisingly pleasant with Opera Mini. It is adequate for basic web browsing. The i1 also has WiFi, and it had no problem with my bro's WiFi network. The 8350i also has WiFi, but I never got it to work.

Bottom line... some might question the purpose of an iDEN Android smartphone. Well, first of all, it has DC... NO LD fees ANYWHERE IN NORTH AMERICA for DC calls, and in terms of sheer speed, DC is STILL UNMATCHED. Secondly... iDEN has THE BEST SOUND QUALITY, PERIOD. It's a bold statement to make, but I will make it -- iDEN'S SOUND QUALITY OUTDOES HSPA, GSM, CDMA, IT OUTDOES EVERY SINGLE NETWORK TECHNOLOGY AVAILABLE! Thirdly... SMS on the TelusMike network is FLAWLESS.

Fourthly... some of us CHOOSE to use iDEN because of it's advantages. For the voice/SMS/DC centric crowds, the i1 is truly the fusion of a beautiful Android phone using a powerhouse of a network who, despite it's age, still does the job damned well. I CHOSE to return to the iDEN network, because it is THE BEST for my needs.

Anyone using Nextel/Boost/TelusMike and looking for a smartphone should check out the i1. Motorola build quality, at least in the iDEN department, has always been FLAWLESS, and the i1 is a solid piece of hardware and it feels that way.

I was always harsh on Motorola for the laughable build quality of some cheap GSM/CDMA models -- anyone remember the C333? -- but in the iDEN department, Motorola is UNTOUCHABLE.

The iDEN gets a GOLDEN SEAL OF GREATNESS. I am not one for parting with my phones, but the BlackBerry 8350i feels so primitive I just might sell it.

*****. 10/10.

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PostSubject: Re: Mobile phones: The official thread   Sun Jan 23, 2011 2:45 am

BlackBerry 8350i review

After a brief fling on HSPA, I visited a friend of mine who runs a smalll phone store. I had not seen him for quite some time, and he assumed I was still on iDEN, and showed me a MINT 8350i, and I IMMEDIATELY madly fell in love with the phone. Think of the Curve, but on iDEN. Burned a hole in my budget, but WHAT THE HELL, it's WORTH IT, so I got it.

First thing first... moving TO the MiKE network (the name Telus has given it's iDEN network) FROM HSPA/CDMA is a PAIN IN THE ASS. It took 48 hours before they had everything up and running, BUT I wasn't stuck in limbo, the HSPA phone still worked. When the 2730 Classic dropped dead, I Master Reset the 8350i, and VOILA. I also broke a misconception by using an old SIM that HAD BEEN USED BEFORE. And it worked. Providers will tell you that SIM cards CANNOT be reused, but that's because they prefer selling a new one than going through the hassle of reprogramming it. Think about it -- is a SIM truly cannot be reprogrammed once a number has been assigned to it... how the hell do they do phone number swaps then?

Anyway, back to the buisness at hand... at first, there were no appearant way of sending SMS, other than going through the browser. Okay, that's nothing that OS5.0 cannot fix. I never was able to install 5.0, but I didn't need to, merely restoring the Berry to factory settings (full wipe) made the Send SMS option appear. It also removed policies set in place by the former owner of the Berry.

Modes: iDEN 800. Yes, DATA is lackluster, but the 8350i has WiFi.

Battery life: Consistently 3 days. Which is fine with me.

Signal: The 8350i does a fine job of latching and holding on Telus' iDEN network. It also handled the Dead Zone vault test, calls did not drop but there was some choppiness during the vault test. Otherwise, no dropped calls and great RF make the 8350i a great phone.

Sound quality: As good as I have came to expect from the MiKE network... clear and crisp. The speakerphone is UBER LOUD, and it plays music DAMN well, and it handles DC DAMN well, too. My one complaint would be that the earpiece volume is too soft, but that has been a recurring complaint in my phone reviews.

Form factor/phone & keyboard feel Slab. The 8350i is comfortable in my hand, and the keyboard is a little cramped for my big paws, but SMS/Email is a smooth experience.

Screen: 320 x 240 pixels QVGA TFT. An HTC EVO this is not, but that's just fine with me. The 8350i's display is crisp and clear, and automatically adjusts backlighting strength according to the light level, and this function works very well.

Others: The 8350i has a microSD slot under the battery. Supports up to 32GB cards appearantely, but since I only have a 8GB SDHC, I can't confirm that. The media player is no-nonsense, but it does the job perfectly. The lack of a 3.5mm port means I have to use the adaptor from the horrible steaming pile of goat **** known as the Keybo2 to use 3.5mm headphones, and the said adaptor does the trick just fine. Playback volume with the media player is LOUD... WAY louder than the 2730 classic.

Cam is 2.0MP, seeing as I'm no photography enthusiast, it's more than enough for my needs. Pics are clear and crisp, and the flash is INCREDIBLY bright... then again, what else to expect from a Xenon flash?

Final score, the bottom line: Considering the small number of smartphones available to iDEN users, the 8350i is, IMO, the quintessential communication tool. It handles phone, SMS, fax, DC, Email and does all of that SUPERBELY. Add RIM's tried-tested-and-true PDA functions, and add a simple yet very effective media functionalities, and you got the 8350i. Like I said, DATA with the iDEN network is NOT GREAT, BUT that's WHY the phone has WiFi.

Final score: 10/10. Don't get me wrong, I have grown pretty fond of Android, but the 8350i feels like home to me, having used plenty of Berries in the past. It looks good, works good... I was thrilled to add the phone to my collection, and the more I use it, the more I like it.

One more thing... in the US, NEXTEL has BOOST, which is prepaid service using the iDEN network. I often hear how "BOOST/NEXTEL SUCKS!", and network saturation is your problem. Telus, OTOH, markets (well, when they do a MiKE ad every 100000 years that is) MiKE/iDEN to BUISNESS users, NOT to the general public. Telus WILL activate iDEN handsets for the casual user on demand, but for the most part, only buisness users are on the MiKE network. The MiKE network has fewer subscribers, which means more available spectrum for those that do use it, and that reflects into a SMOOTH experience. SMS/email ALWAYS come through with ZERO delay, I've NEVER had a call drop on the MiKE network either.

MiKE/iDEN user 2 THA DEATH! The 8350i is AWESOME!

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PostSubject: Re: Mobile phones: The official thread   Sun Jan 23, 2011 2:50 am

Nokia 2730 mini-review

Back to the 2730, as I said, reception is SUPERB. I hate using bars because they aren't a reliable way to gauge signal strength, but for what it's worth, the 2730 wavered between 2 and 4, half-signal and maximum signal respectively.

Call quality-wise, THANKFULLY, HSPA's blood ties to CDMA means the ANNOYING INTERFERENCE BUZZ IS NO MORE! TDMA, GSM and iDEN are all guilty of that, but the noise that results of the interference is different on the standard.
-> TDMA made the EAR-SHREDDING NOISE OF DEATH. I was in a party and the host had a pretty big and power sound system, and when I got a phone call during the evening... hoo-boy, lots of people didn't like the Audible Apocalypse the interference spewed out.
-> GSM makes some higher pitched buzzes repeatedly (being a Time Division Multiple Access standard), annoying, but so much more less than TDMA.
-> iDEN makes lower-pitched buzzes repeatedly, akin to a CD skip. The speed of those buzzes will be machine-gun like if you're in a call, and prior to receiving a call and upon disconnecting the call it will slow down. The interference is absent in the CDMA standard. TDMA/iDEN/GSM are all time-division based standards (multiple users using the same channel transmit on a turn-by-turn basis, the delay being in milliseconds, it's not noticeable. CDMA is a spread spectrum standard, and this is where it different from the time division counterparts. Transmitting on a CDMA network spreads the encrypted data/voice on multiple channels. Bottom line, the result is the same -- phone calls, SMS, data, blah -- but the difference is HOW transmission is done in both standards. HSPA, being Wideband CDMA, shares the air interface so interference is absent.

...but I digress. Back to phone calls on thw 2730, they sound TERRIFIC. As I said, HSPA has CDMA ancestry, and it CLEALY shows when in-call. Calls sounded great on both ends, the speakerphone is awesome (it plays music DAMNED WELL), and calls didn't stutter, chopped or anything of the sort. There was one instance of a call dropping, but I'm not sure if it's on my side or not. The phone gets great signal, even in call, so I doubt it's on my end.

As for battery life, I swapped the BL-5C for a BL-6C, which is thicker, and gave me a hell of a hard time sliding the back faceplate in place. The BL-6C battery is bundled with CDMA phones, like my old 2125i, 6275i, 6010, etc. It's not fair to bench a new BL-5C against a BL-6C which has seen a fair amount of use... but I consistently get about a day-ish more out of the battery. Officially, the BL-5C battery is rated for 5 days standby. I get 6ish with a BL-6C.

Oh yeah, of course, the phone has quadband GSM, too. Once unlocked, this phone will be UNIVERSAL IN NORTH AMERICA.

Memory card slot accepts microSD up to 2GB. Encoding music in WMA is a great way to save space and cramp up more tracks. *EDIT* Actually, the box LIES, the 2730 WORKS WITH a 8GB microSD HC card.

Cam is 2.0MP. It lacks a flash, which is no big deal, but would have been nice. Pics are not the best I've seen, but as far as I'm concerned, they're fine.

In short, the 2730 Classic caught my eye on first sight, vintage Nokia design I loved... I am glad I picked this one up, as not only does it LOOKS good, it also WORKS great. I also have to admit that HSPA has exceeded my meager expectations. The convenience of a SIM card, CDMA's sound quality wrapped in one package.

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PostSubject: Re: Mobile phones: The official thread   Fri Jan 28, 2011 3:25 am

NOKIA 6103 review

Yep, a blast from the past, and my very first working Nokia brand clamshell phone. My love for Nokia phones is well-known, well, I loved Nokias before I was introduced to Motorola's iDEN phones and network.

The 6103 is a sweet throwback to a not so distant era, before the smartphone revolution. This will sound hypocritic from an Android-powered Motorola i1 user, but simplicity is good.

Modes/bands: 850/1800/1900. This makes the 6103 a world phone, and while world phones are common nowadays, back in the days tri-band and quad-band phones were just starting to appear.
Signal: Since I live close to a ROGERS/FIDO base site, my GSM phones are usually superglued to the network. The 6103, however, frequently drops to half it's signal gauge, and while I did not had dropped calls, sometimes some calls wouldn't go through on the first try. In that aspect, the 6103 is pretty good and overall reliable, but I've seen better RF performance from other Nokia phones.

Sound quality: Like I said, I am an iDEN user, which is know for crystalling call quality... but punching in the secret code to enable EVRC, sound quality on the 6103 is very good. Too soft, but very good.

Battery life: The phone uses a BL-4C battery, which is a close sibling of the BL-6C used in CDMA phones. Seeing as I have no idea how the previous owner of the phone took care of the battery, I ditched it and popped in one of my multiple BL-6C. I squeezed about 8 days out of it.

Form factor: Clamshell

Screen The external LCD does not work, but it's not broken. It displays a wallpaper fine, but does not light up nor displays anything. I have asked a friend of mine who studied electronics to take a look at the problem. I knew on purchase the second display doesn't work, and if it can be fixed, good, if not, then no big deal. The inner LCD is 128*160, 65,535 colors. TFT screen, not STN... STN are cheaper, but they look like crap.

Phone/keyboard feel: The 6103 feels very good in my hand. It's easy to open with one hand, it feels very solid and well-built, which is what I came to expect from Nokia throughout the years. The keypad is top notch, the keys are responsive and they don't creak or feel cheap.

Camera: VGA, 640*480. Unless you are a megapixel nutcase, the cam does just fine, handy to catch pics on the go. Video capture, however, is 128 x 96 and looks TERRIBLE, and I do not mean that in a nice way. The phone has NO external memory slot and VERY LOW internal memory, so use this only when your life depends on it.

What else? Bluetooth, and guess what? The File Transfer Profile has NOT been crippled! So despite lacking an external memory slot, I was able to personalize this one by sending wallpapers/ringtones with my Nokia 2730 Classic, and voila. A bit of a hassle, perhaps, but I am NOT paying for ringtones.

Final score: 8.5/10. The 6103 is everything one would expect from Nokia -- a reliable, well-built piece of hardware. If you're not a diehard SMS enthusiast and don't need all the latest gadgets, the 6103 is a nice throwback and a very good choice for an older phone. I quite like mine, and they are affordable nowadays -- mine costed CAN$30 + tax.

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PostSubject: Re: Mobile phones: The official thread   Fri Jan 28, 2011 4:09 am

Alright, I skimmed through my old reviews, and more than a handful of them are no longer relevent, like the Nokia 3390, 3590, Ericsson T39, Siemens M46, StarTAC 7868W, Samsung T809... I could go on and on but suffice to say that those older phones are no longer of interest to the techno-driven crowds that demands always more and more bells and whistles. Still, if anyone has any questions regarding phones, or want my opinion on a perticular phone, just give the word.

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PostSubject: Re: Mobile phones: The official thread   Fri Jan 28, 2011 9:42 am

I need some phone advice babe! My contract is up for renewal in a few months so I'm going to change my call package and upgrade my phone.
I'm totally clueless with phones though so I don't know what to get. I use my camera a lot for work so I need decent camera phone. I also need to be able to get quick access to email and various web-sites as well. Plus I need it to have bluetooth as I tend to get a lot of calls when I'm driving (my handsfree is a bluetooth system built into the car. In fact, all my cars have the same setup so something that's easy to link up would be good!). Finally, I need something with a good volume range for both the ringtone and in-call so I have a chance at hearing it...and a vibrating alert for the times my hearing is really bad.

If it could stack the dishwasher and cook dinner as well that'd be good Laughing

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PostSubject: Re: Mobile phones: The official thread   Fri Jan 28, 2011 6:42 pm

Sil, first and foremost do you want to remain with a regular phone or do you want a smartphone? Second, I'll need to know who your provider is, so I can take a look at their lineup of phone.

In terms of mobile email, BlackBerry is still the best, but Android smartphones work flawlessly with Gmail as well.

However, some of the best cameraphones are smartphones. My Android-powered Motorola i1 has 5MP, and Nokia has released a Symbian phone that has 12.1MP. If you use the cam a lot for work, a good flash is a necessity, and also external memory, microSD is the widespread standard. Bluetooth is pretty much standard nowadays as well, and pairing the phone with a car should be fairly easy.

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PostSubject: Re: Mobile phones: The official thread   Fri Jan 28, 2011 6:58 pm

What's a Smartphone? My provider is T-mobile

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PostSubject: Re: Mobile phones: The official thread   Fri Jan 28, 2011 7:00 pm

I've got a Nokia 1600... Laughing

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PostSubject: Re: Mobile phones: The official thread   Fri Jan 28, 2011 7:03 pm

BlackBerry, Android, Windows Phone 7 and even the dreaded iPiece of iGarbage are all smartphones. They all run an operating system, and they are much more advanced than regular phones and therefore can do much, much more than a regular phone. Like I said, the better cameraphones are smartphones.

I'll skim through the T-Mo lineup and I'll get back to you, deario.

Cara, I own a Nokia 1208 which is similar to your 1600. Good, no-nonsense communication tool.

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PostSubject: Re: Mobile phones: The official thread   Fri Jan 28, 2011 7:05 pm

Thanks sex-pot Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: Mobile phones: The official thread   Fri Jan 28, 2011 11:59 pm

Alright, Sil, I am currently browsing the T-Mobile UK lineupm and I see a lot of potentially interesting phones phone for your. I see the Nokia N8, which is the Nokia I mentioned who has a 12.1MP cam. It is powered by Symbian, which is Nokia's smartphone operating system. Symbian, like Series 40 and Series 60 is no-nonsense, and because the OS is lighter than Android, Windows Phone, or even the dreaded iOhsoSucky. The N8 doesn't have a crappy cam, this one is a Carl Zeiss lens with a Xenon flash. I don't know how familiar you are with photography, but Carl Zeiss lenses are DAMN GOOD. microSD cards up to 32GB but that's overkill, I have an Android phone and 8GB is plenty.

On the Android side, there is the Samsung Galaxy S. This one has a jaw droppingly beautiful screen, and the cam is 5MP. I'll be honest, Android takes a learning curve, and I admit, it confused the hell out of me at first, but the more I use it, the more I like it.

Another Nokia, the C7, Symbian powered as well. Similar to the N8, but the cam is 8mp, and it has Dual LED flash and 10x digital zoom, making this another great cameraphone.

On the BlackBerry side of things, the Torch 9800 I hear is pretty good but I hear about an updated version coming out in the future. The original Torch has a 5MP cam with image stabilization, and when it comes to email, NOBODY, and I mean NOBODY can touch RIM. This one also has a physical keyboard, and you can use the phone completely as a touch phone or use the keyboard. It also sports BlackBerryOS6, a definitive improvement on RIM's operating system, and BBOS7 will be even better.

I am currently on contract with an Android phone on an iDEN network. I, however, am probably just going to buy the phone when money allows and stash it aside, then wait out the rest of my contract on the iDEN network then switch to HSPA and the N8.

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PostSubject: Re: Mobile phones: The official thread   Sat Jan 29, 2011 10:50 am

I don't really like Nokia phones. What's an Android?

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PostSubject: Re: Mobile phones: The official thread   Sat Jan 29, 2011 8:10 pm

Android is the name Google gave their smartphone operating system. If you don't like Nokias, then I'd say the Samsung Galaxy would be the one, or the Torch if you want a more no-nonsense operating system, BlackBerry is less complex than Android.

I'm sort of having second thoughts everytime I look at the Galaxy, or the Desire and Desire HD of having gotten the i1. Beat my head against the wall one more time...

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