Buying a new cell phone, and other personal matters

Cingular 8125 w keyboardGenerally I’m pretty good about sticking to marine electronics, but today I’m going slightly off topic. For one thing I’m looking for a new cell phone and service contract, and I’m betting Panbo readers may have some helpful opinions. I’m thinking of dropping my venerable Nokia 5165 with AT&T analog and TDMA service in favor of Cingular GSM and a HST Wizard, aka the 8125 above. It’s a hell of a phone, and would let me try at least one of the wireless e-mail and web services that some boaters are becoming fond of (nicely combined with WiFi), not to mention Windows Mobile marine apps like the coming ActiveMap. I also need a better phone because I’m going to be spending a lot of April and May in Boston getting some medical treatments (one of those prostate problems us old guys run into). On a cheerier note, I’m pretty much set on GSM because it’s finally gotten to midcoast Maine and also because my daughter thrillingly reminded me of its global capabilities by calling me from a boat on the Ganges River last week. She just bought an Indian SIM card and popped it in her T-Mobile Sidekick II; the call quality was superb. She’s why I went to India in 1999, when she was an exchange student, and now she’s briefly back there as part of a course called Covering Religions that she’s taking at Columbia Journalism School. A hell of a course! Check out her contribution to the class blog. (She’s the one with magenta forehead, and she makes me proud!) 

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Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now excited to have Ben Stein as very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Panbo is going to the next level in 2019 and beyond.

6 Responses

  1. Todd Huss says:

    A friend of mine has the Sprint PPC-6700, the CDMA version of the Wizard http://www.mobiletechreview.com/Sprint-PPC-6700.htm It is very similar and it’s a running joke among our friends how bad the phone is. It reboots, locks up, drops calls, you name it… on a daily basis. The phone you’re looking at may not have these issues but I would do some thorough blog searching to get the opinions of users who have had the phone for more than a few days.

  2. Pat Harman says:

    I too have an older Nokia phone. I have two requirements when I upgrade. It must have a way to connect to my external antenna on my boat. affordable internet access is becoming a reqirement. I do not like the two year commitment at all.
    I will be watching this thread, should be educational for many of us. Thanks for starting the topic.
    Pat Harman

  3. John says:

    Hope all goes well.

  4. Joe Merlini says:

    You may want to look at the HP IPAQ hw6940 mobile messenger due this summer.

  5. Eli says:

    Ben,
    I’m using the Samsung i730 PDA smartphone, and it is generally pretty good. The EVDO works well, as does the WiFi. My version of the phone is not GSM, however I have Skype installed, and I have made calls via wifi through Skype. It would be nice to be able to use the phone as a modem while sailing, however Verizon has dumbed the phone down so you can’t do that….they want you to buy a separate EVDO wifi card and buy a separate data plan, eventhough most data plans are a flat rate for unlimited use. The new version of the phone I think is going to be GSM and possibly allow for use as a modem. While the keyboard on the phone is functional, the Sprint phone keyboard does look much easier to use.

  6. You might be interested to know that Memory-Map has just launched the Windows Mobile Smartphone version of Pocket Navigator, although it is not on the web site yet…
    The advantage of a smaller phone is you are more likely to carry it everywhere. On the other hand, the lack of a touch screen makes it hard to design usable software.
    There is quite a sharp trade-off between true portability and usability in these devices. It is interesting to see a variety of new devices trying to span the gap between phone and PDA, and between PDA and laptop.
    Personally, I am not into thumb keyboards. There are some good soft-input solutions through the touchscreen, and I would rather have a bigger battery instead of the keyboard. If you want to type, connect a bluetooth keyboard.

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