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Which Smartphone?
Thread poster: Mara Ballarini

Mara Ballarini  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 20:04
Member (2006)
English to Italian
+ ...
Sep 24, 2009

Hi everyone!

I know there are already a few threads on this topic, but no recent ones, and since this technology changes so quickly, I'd like to get some 'fresh' info on it.

I don't really know much about this world, so I apologise now for any silly things I may say.

For the lifestyle I have, I realise my need for a good phone that mainly allows me to receive and reply to emails in real time, read attachments when needed, and to buy a good one, I thought I could get a gps with navigator too.

My questions are:

1. Of course, what's the best choice for a reasonable price? I mean, I'm not even thinking of getting an iPhone, although I've heard they're pretty good, because they're simply too expensive and since I'm gonna leave the country soon, I can't even get hooked up with any special plans for a couple of years, so I've got to pay the full price.

2. What's the difference between the different technologies (GPRS-EDGE-GSM-HSCSD-UMTS, etc.) and which one should I be looking for?

3. Do all phones that have an integrated GPS work as a normal navigator or am I thinking of a different function here (sorry again if it's a silly question)? And if it does have this function, does a satellite pick up the are where you are even if you are in a different continent (I'm going to move back to Australia soon) or is there a program you can download for a different area when you change, let's say, continent?

4. Any better brands? I know Blackberry and Nokia are pretty good, but what about Samsung or Sony Ericsson or LG for a Smartphone? And HTC? Are they all well established everywhere in the world?

5. (and most importantly) If I've understood correctly, once you buy a Smartphone/Blackberry, whatever, you need to set it up with a local (ie national) provider. If you were then to move to a different country, like me, ie to Australia, you'd need to cancel this configuration and set it up again with a provider of the country where you're moving to. Now, someone told me that this may be hard with a Blackberry because of the software, or whatever else, that it uses. Does anyone know if this is true? (so far I've got some contrasting answers even from mobile stores, so I'm really confused)

6. and last (I think and hope) If I was to choose a Blackberry, which one would you suggest between Curve8900 and Bold9000? What's are the main differences?

Thank you so much in advance for any help/suggestions/advice you may want to give. I'll really appreciate it!!

Cheers,

Mara


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aronakos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:04
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Anything but Palm Centro Sep 24, 2009

Mara,

although I do not know the answer to most of your questions, I do know one thing for sure: few month ago I bought a Palm Centro and this was a really big mistake.
My husband has a Blackberry and he is happy with it, so far he was able to use it in Europe, in the US and in South America.
I've heard great things about the iPhone, but you are right, it is really pricey.
I know, this is not really the answer to your question rather an advice to stay away from Palm.

Good luck,
Gabriella


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Elisabete Cunha  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 10:04
Member (2006)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
HTC Sep 24, 2009

I own an HTC Tytn II and I am very satisfied with it.

http://www.htc.com/www/product/tytnii/overview.html

[Edited at 2009-09-24 23:17 GMT]


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Mara Ballarini  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 20:04
Member (2006)
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Gabriella Sep 25, 2009

aronakos wrote:

Mara,

although I do not know the answer to most of your questions, I do know one thing for sure: few month ago I bought a Palm Centro and this was a really big mistake.
My husband has a Blackberry and he is happy with it, so far he was able to use it in Europe, in the US and in South America.
I've heard great things about the iPhone, but you are right, it is really pricey.
I know, this is not really the answer to your question rather an advice to stay away from Palm.

Good luck,
Gabriella


Any advice is more than welcome. Thank you!!!
Any specific reasons why you don't like the Palm Centro? And what Blackberry does your husband have?
THank you again for your time!!

Mara


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Mara Ballarini  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 20:04
Member (2006)
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Elisabete Sep 25, 2009

Elisabete Cunha wrote:

I own an HTC Tytn II and I am very satisfied with it.

http://www.htc.com/www/product/tytnii/overview.html

[Edited at 2009-09-24 23:17 GMT]


Thank you Elisabete!!
I've had a look at it - I hadn't seen this model yet. I noticed it's got a GPS antenna, does it mean it works as a navigator, as far as you know?
And was the configuration easy?
Thank you again!

Mara


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Alexander Chisholm  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:04
Italian to English
+ ...
Blackberry - definitely Sep 25, 2009

I have a BlackBerry Pearl and I use it in Italy through Wind.
The monthly data charge is €12 for unlimited data traffic - although if you try to use it as a modem for your PC or make Skype to phone calls, you are charged extra for the data traffic involved. But all data traffic to your blackberry (for all other applications - email, google maps, web browsing etc.) is included in the monthly fee). I have taken it aborad several times and it works fine in roaming mode, although roaming data charges are expensive - so try to keep traffic to a minimim - just emails with no heavy attachments - make sure you subscribe to the cheap roaming options BEFORE you leave Italy. The phone is not blocked so setting it up with a provider in the other country who provides a blackberry service should be OK, but you'll need to pay whatever rate they charge. But if you're going to be in the other country for more than a couple of weeks, this will still be a lot cheaper than using the roaming data options. It can use GPRS an EDGE to transfer data - EDGE is faster than GPRS, but in more remote locations (at least in Italy) GPRS is usually the only service available. It has a GPS receiver and you can find your location on Google or Blackberry maps, but there is very limited navigation function. Google maps will give you some very basic navigation help. Again, if your using this in roaming mode, you'll be paying to download and update the new maps you are using - all the time. If you want to pay less for navigation use TomTom where the maps are actually loaded on the handheld, but I'm not sure if its available to run on the BlackBerry.
I also have a slightly older HP/Compaq iPaq 640. This is a great smartphone - except for the phone part!! Its a terrible phone, but its a great modem. It has HSDPA, EDGE, GPRS and can also use UMTS. HSDPA is very fast - almost as fast as using ADSL at home, but beware, at least in Italy, only cities have reliable HSDPA services. Everywhere else, you'll be relying on EDGE or even GPRS. EDGE is OK, but if you're used to having access to high speed data transfer GPRS will drive you crazy. I live in Sicily, and in Palermo you can get good HSDPA service - but I live there so its pretty useless to me. If I go out of the city, and that's exactly when I want good mobile internet, I have to rely on EDGE (which is OK) but somethimes even GPRS - which is may too slow to be reliable.
However, the phone is a piece of cake to set up as a modem, it has TomTom installed so you can navigate "for free" and since tomtom is a proper navigator, it tells you where to go and recalculates if you miss a turn etc.
If my phones where to break tomorrow, I would buy a Blackberry storm or bold. Its bigger than the earl and has HSDPA - my only doubts would be running TomTom on it and what kind of rate they would charge me if I were to use it as a modem.
In general, the majority of phones bought in Italy are not blocked,this means you can use them with SIM cards from many providers, even foreign providers. This is not the situation in all other countries, especially the UK, where it seems the majority of phones are locked and will only work with the provider who gave you the phone - althougb this can be got around at the risk of invalidating your warranty - note of caution, Apple iphone users who did this had their phines completely destroyed when thry later upgraded the software!!

In short - in Italy, Blackberry from wind is cheap and pretty reliable - just think about the locations you want to use it in. Roaming for short times is OK, but expensive in the long run, and think hard if you wan to use it as a PC modem.

Hope this helps.

Sandy


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Victoria Bourseul  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:04
Member (2007)
French to English
In defence of Palm Centro! Sep 25, 2009

I have a Palm Centro and love it! Having said that, I suspect it does not have all the functionalities you are looking for, Mara, but in case others are reading the thread with other needs I just wanted to say why I opted for it.
I posted a thread about 18 months ago also asking for advice on which Smartphone to go for. I simply wanted a phone on which I could consult my emails when away from my desk, and reply to them. My Palm Centro allows me to read and edit attachments and create Word, Excel and Powerpoint documents and read PDFs.
The main reason I chose it over a Blackberry was the cost of the monthly subscription. I only pay 16 euros a month, whereas for a Blackberry I would have had to pay over 30 euros a month. For what I needed it for, I couldn't justify the difference.
My husband has a Blackberry and is in fact quite envious of my Centro, although his Blackberry is coming up to 3 years old, so in the mobile phone world, rather archaic! My Centro is now 18 months old, so I suppose it's also getting on a bit!
The one big drawback with the Centro though, is the key pad. It is quite a compact smartphone and consequently the keys are very small. I rarely need to type more than a sentence or two, so it's not a big problem, but I imagine it would be very frustrating for those typing longer texts.

Victoria


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Mara Ballarini  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 20:04
Member (2006)
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
thank you Alexander and Victoria Sep 25, 2009

Alexander, or Sandy (?), your info was really really useful, especially the clear and down-to-earth explanation of the different connection modes. And all the rest too - I now know what I should be looking for in regards to the navigator. Thank you very much!

And thank you Victoria, too. I think I did read your old posts in the other thread...Very useful info regarding the keyboard and what the phone can do with all the different formats - it's certainly something I need to be aware of since I want to be able to read all my attachments too. And now that there are so many phones, why settle for a slice, when you can have the whole pie (don't know if my right-in-this-moment-created idiom makes clear what I mean - I hope so).

So, thank you very much guys!!!

Mara


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Michele Johnson  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:04
German to English
+ ...
Love my Centro Sep 25, 2009

That's weird - I absolutely adore my Centro, and have had good luck with Treos in the past. Does not have navigation or WiFi though. You could get one without a SIM lock and take it with you to Australia. If you're moving soon, you probably don't want to sign up for a 2-year contract, so maybe look into prepaid options in Italy. Palm also has some newer products out that look promising, including a sort of iphone knockoff, but I don't know very much about them.

aronakos wrote:

Mara,

although I do not know the answer to most of your questions, I do know one thing for sure: few month ago I bought a Palm Centro and this was a really big mistake.
My husband has a Blackberry and he is happy with it, so far he was able to use it in Europe, in the US and in South America.
I've heard great things about the iPhone, but you are right, it is really pricey.
I know, this is not really the answer to your question rather an advice to stay away from Palm.

Good luck,
Gabriella


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Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:04
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Why don't you wait until you get to Australia? Sep 25, 2009

Hi Mara,
If you are about the leave for Australia, why don't you wait and see what is available there, what kind of service, etc.? If you worked without a smartphone until now, it should not make a difference to wait a bit.
My feeling is that you would be better off by buying a phone and a service that definitely works in the local area wherever you end up in Australia.
Many of these smartphones are locked with one provider, and you need to do all sorts of hacks to be able to use them with another provider.
Another thing to consider when moving electronics from Italy to Australia is that even thought the voltage is the same (220V), I think the shape of the plug is different.
Here is the info on Australian plugs.
So, unless you want to fight with adapters, you are better off buying your phone and the charger there.

Here is a handy table about voltage and plugs in various countries.

Katalin


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Mara Ballarini  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 20:04
Member (2006)
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I can't really Sep 25, 2009

Hi Katalin,

and thank you for your suggestions. Unfortunately this wouldn't solve my problem: first of all, I'm in Italy for a few more months (till March next year) and I need to change my old phone now, which is falling apart (antenna missing and so on...); then I'll be living in Australia for a while, but I'll be back here and we'll keep moving back and forth at least for the next few years, so I really need something I can use in both countries albeit so different and far apart, and with so different settings for everything. The different plugs are something I've been coping with for years now, and I've got so many appliances I buy in one country and use in the other or viceversa that using adaptors is part of my daily life, not an issue anymore or at least the smallest of a long series...
Thank you for the handy links, though.

And thank you Michele for your input, too!!

Mara


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xxxEric Hahn  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 11:04
French to German
+ ...
Samsung C6625 Sep 25, 2009

Hi Maria,

I don't know much about other smartphones, but it's a good and cheap one. It has Windows Mobile 6.1, an AZERTY keyboard, no touchscreen, but it can easily open MS-Office and PDF files and share the internet connection with a notebook. The display is too small for GPS maps ...

BTW, if you'll keep moving back and forth, maybe you should opt for a "dual sim smartphone".

[Modifié le 2009-09-25 17:46 GMT]


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oligyp
Local time: 05:04
Spanish to English
+ ...
Blackberry Bold... Sep 25, 2009

I personally have a Blackberry Bold and absolutely love!! I can edit and work on any document I receive that needs to be worked on right away. Most of the time, I receive documents when I'm away from the office or home, all I do is open the attachement and go to the Word To Go application (which opens the attachemnt as a Word file) and start working on it directly from my phone. Isn't that great? Hope this helps and good luck!

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xxxEric Hahn  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 11:04
French to German
+ ...
dual/twin/double sim Sep 25, 2009

Mara Ballarini wrote:

a dual sim? interesting! how does it work? do you know any phones in particular that have this option?

thank you!


These phones hold two sims and you could switch between them depending on your location. Simply google "smartphone dual sim". BTW, there are even tri-sims ...


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