My pursuit to find the perfect phone

Finding the perfect cell phone has become a daunting task lately. Kristopher has been on his never ending quest to find that perfect super-phone which has led him to go through half a dozen different PDA phones. I myself was looking for a new cell phone too. After having plenty of regular phones from an older Nokia 5190 to a SonyEricsson T610 I tried using an HP iPaq 6315 Windows Mobile 2003 phone for a while. This was a temporary replacement for my aged and dying SonyEricsson T610. The little brick did everything from keeping synchronizing with my Outlook Calendar and Address Book to surfing the internet while I wasn’t near a computer.

I fell in love with Windows Mobile but the honeymoon was short lived and the device started crashing constantly. Aside from the random crashes and overall slowness of the iPaq I put up with it and joined Kristopher on his search to find the perfect super-phone. After months of searching and playing with various PDA phones from Cingular, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon I lost hope. After being a T-Mobile customer for nearly six years it was hard to simply drop it and go with another provider. The sad thing is to get decent data performance I would have to switch to Sprint or Verizon which I’m not too fond of since I prefer GSM for its ease of phone upgrades.

Cingular was the only GSM choice for decent data performance but after hearing horrible billing stories from friends I avoided Cingular completely. This leaves me with T-Mobile and its MDA or SDA PDA and smartphones. Neither was too pleasing. While the MDA had a nice form factor and a gorgeous screen it didn’t cut it for me. The SDA seemed like a decent choice but Windows Mobile 5.0 is a pain to navigate without a touch screen. After months of searching and using the iPaq I came to the conclusion a super-phone wasn’t for me. While I loved the idea of having my calendar and address book synchronized it’s wasn’t worth the costs. PDA phones aren’t cheap and the T-Mobile MDA was around $300 after rebate. On top of that there’s a $30 for data services which includes Hot Spots which I have no use for.

Things weren’t looking so good for PDA phones. There’s also the safety factor too. I tend to be in the car quite a bit and found the Windows Mobile interface is a pain to use while driving. I can’t dial a number due to the touch screen sensitivity and it lacked easy address book navigation while driving. It was a bigger distraction than any other phone I’ve ever owned. There’s also the crash factor where it’d crash as I’m driving or trying to answer the phone.

I gave up and decided to look for regular phones. After researching I ended up with a Samsung T809 slider phone. T-Mobile’s regular phone selection was quite limited and consisted of Motorola, Nokia and Samsung phones. Since I despise the RAZR and dislike Motorola phones in general I went with Samsung. I have nothing against Nokia but find its current lineup lacking and too radical for my taste. I settled on the Samsung T809 in part because I’ve never owned a slider phone before and it’s the only phone T-Mobile offered with a microSD memory slot.

The phone works great and calls are crystal clear. It has yet to crash on me or give me any kind of troubles. After two weeks of use I love it and it’s by far the best phone I’ve ever owned. The slider is pretty neat too, kind of an in-between candy-bar and flip phone form factors. I do have plenty of gripes with it though, mainly due to the T-Mobile branded firmware.

T-Mobile decided it would be nice to disable a few features of the t809 such as Outlook synchronization. This would be fully supported if I was to get the Europeon D820 but T-Mobile thought users wouldn’t need Outlook synchronization. Luckily it’s easy to flash the firmware to turn the T809 into a D820 which I will be doing soon. Phone firmware neutering is something all mobile phone providers do and is a big annoyance, however that blog will have to wait for another day.

"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." -- Bill Gates
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