Four days of the week, she thinks I'm the enemy...
And baby, talk dirty to me...

Call me...

As of this coming October 1, Katie and I will have served our sentence in hell and will be jumping ship from Nextel/Sprint to either Cingular or Verizon.

We enjoyed Nextel in the early months. However, there remains very little justification to stay with them. Too many things happened that have soured us on the whole experience. For example:

  • We thought we might save some cash by using the walkie-talkie feature ("Direct Connect") to talk to some of our Nextel-enabled family and friends and, to be honest, we've only ever really used it with each other.
  • We get very few minutes during prime hours and run out of them quite quickly requiring Katie and I to talk to each other on Direct Connect, which is annoying as hell. I've become one of those people that sits there talking out loud on his phone holding it like a child holds a tin-can phone.
  • That chirp. Damn that horrifically ear-shattering chirp that lets you know a DC call is coming in.
  • The battery life is practically non-existent. We've needed to charge these things on a daily basis since the starting gate. And replacement batteries are expensive as hell. One Nextel rep I spoke with said that it takes a lot of battery power to connect and stay connected to their network. My ass.
  • The selection of phones is minimal and the only one or two decent ones cost upwards of $300. And those couple phones pale in comparison to the features and useability of well over half of the phones that are offered by just about any other service out there.

So, the one thing we know for sure is that we are leaving Nextel come October. They keep sending us promos for free minutes if we resign. I just throw them away immediately. Nothing is changing our minds about this decision.

Motorolarazr Oh wait, actually there is one other thing we do know for sure... Katie is getting a RAZR phone. She has loved them since they were first released on the public about a month or two after we first signed up for Nextel. She always said that if we had known that phone would soon be released, we may have stuck with Cingular -- which is where we were before -- just so she could get one.

I, on the other hand, am unsure of what phone I want to get. In all honesty, I hate cellphones (I hate phones in general). They are a nuisance that I'd just as well live without. However, since I've had one for so many years and it's become the primary source of communication between Katie and I when we're not physically together, I kinda have to have one. So I want one that's going to make me enjoy the experience. Is such a demand possible to meet?

As nifty as Cingular/Verizon phones are in comparison to Nextel handsets, I still find myself doubting what is out there and not knowing if I, too, want a RAZR. Plus, now that we're moving out of the Nextel zone, I've discovered just what it's like to actually have a real selection of phones at my disposal. So, as would be expected, I'm confused as hell because there's so damn many to choose from.

Here are some of my demands from my future cellphone:

  • durable - able to be dropped and not die
  • long battery life with a low price for replacement batteries
  • color screen
  • game enabled - both pre-installed and downloadable games at a low price; they're great when you need something quick to pass the time
  • downloadable ringtones - nothing fancy, just ones that are better than the pre-installed fare; perhaps one that would allow me to use my MP3s?
  • ease of use - can you imagine how nice it would be if cellphones were as easy to use as iPods? Ha!
  • cameraphone - I realize that, being the photography nut I am, any cellphone camera is going to pale in comparison; but it's a nice thing to have around all the same
  • Mac compatible - but only if I'm going to need to sync it up for whatever reason (datebooks, photo downloads, music uploads, etc.)
  • small size - my current phone is junior-sized brick

What phones have each of you used? Am I missing something on my demands list? Is such a combination reality or fantasy?

What about service? Verizon or Cingular?

I'm so lost as to what I should do.

Being the geek I am, you'd think I'd love this sort of thing.

I don't.

Comments

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Jacquie

I have a Motorola flip phone. I'm not sure what kind it is. It's blue and it came with my contract. It's ok. But I have had to replace it about 3 times (because of dropping it... shhhh, don't tell.) If you find a phone that is small and durable, please let me know.

MadIrishMan

I like Cingular service. I get service almost everywhere and never have dropped calls. Nextel service sucks donkey balls. I am so sick of calling people with nextel and hearing that message, "Please wait while the Nextel subsrciber is located!" Shut up and just connect me!

BUT, the razor phone with cingular has been having problems. Make sure, if that is the phone Kate wants, that you check to make sure that they have fixed the problems. My boss has one and has traded it in like 5 or 6 times.

I would assume that Cingular has the most towers, considering they took over AT&T. Which, AT&T had the most service area prior to that.

Allison

My new LG isn't bad. Camera feature is decent and it has withstood several close encounters with the concrete. Plus, it was free (after rebate) with my Cingular account. We get a decent family plan with Cingular, too. Free calls to all Cingular customers, free nights/weekends after 7 pm and a combined 1200 peak time minutes with rollover. We have 4 phones on the plan and have NEVER come close to using all of our minutes because most of our calls are between each other and/or at night. The only crappy part of the contract is the lack of text messages. I don't play games or anything like that, so I don't know how they rate there.

Personally, I will never use Verizon. A little sh**head stole my credit card and used it to buy Verizon phones. Verizon, even with a police warrant, would not provide any information on the account so that we could prosecute the little f**ker. They said it was because we couldn't provide any account information like a phone number or delivery address... DUH! We didn't order the PHONES!!!

Allison

Okay, sorry. That post was WAY too long.

Neil

I may be wrong, but I think different carriers may be better/worse in different markets. I have cingular, and I get lousy reception in some places in LA, but great reception other places. New Yorkers seem to love Verizon. I would ask your neighbors first what they use.

Johnny C.

I don't know about those Razr phones man. My girl hates it and I've heard alot of other complaints. Sounds like you need a PDA for all of the crap you want to do. Maybe you should just get a laptop with internet phone connection.

Tracy Lynn

I use Tmobile for my personal cell and we use U.S. Cellular for our work cells. My little Nokia has been a true workhorse for the last few years, but I'm not a big cellphone person.

ms. sizzle

i have cingular and it is ok. can't say i get the best reception but who does? (seriously, who does? i need to know!)

:) sizz

Kevin

Jacquie, I will be sure to let you know.

MIM, will have to remember to ask about technical issues with the RAZR. What were his specific problems? I want to know because Cingular may deny any problem when asked, but if I can give them specific complaints, it's harder to deny.

Allison, that is a good point about the free phone-to-phone calls. But I have to be careful because then you can harass me on the phone. Damn!

Neil, yeah, I know about the different market problems. I never thought to ask neighbors, though, that's a good idea. Thanks.

Johnny, really? What does she hate about it?

Tracy, what kind of Nokia do you have?

Sizzle, Jack Bauer, that's who. He never has a dropped call!

Dave2

I liked my RAZR phone (good reception, nice signal) but had to trade it in for a "World Phone" so I can have service when I leave the country.

I have been with Verizon for ages, and there's a few things I really like about their service... COVERAGE (which is amazingly comprehensive... I travel all over the US, and their network is simply amazing). IN-CALLING FREE CALLS (most of my friends are on Verizon, so any calls to them, no matter where they are in the USA, are free). SERVICE (I've heard complaints about all mobile companies, but have nothing but good things to say about Verizon CS).

The down-side to Verizon is that they are slow to get new technologies, because all the cool phones are made for GSM carriers first (Verizon is CDMA). Verizon was a year late getting RAZR, and some technologies (like BlueTooth) are only just now making it into their phones.

Alissa

I've been with Verizon for years and like it. My sisters both have Cingular and both drop calls constantly, plus, when I was in DC, Verizon was the only underground network, meaning I could use my phone on the Metro. Bonus.

I have an LG camera phone which works well, but I don't need the gaming capabilities that you do, so I can't recommend it. I haven't downloaded any ringtones either, but you definitely will want to, I'm not impressed with verizon's stock ring tones.

Good luck!

Alissa

Ohhhh! And my dad and brother-in-law each have a Treo and LOVE THEM. It takes really good photos too.

jackt

Used to be that V had the best network, but I think C is doing a good job these days. The GSM phones (C, T-Mobile) are nicer than V's CDMA phones. I think these days most of these networks offer free in-network calling, so calling a fellow V subscriber costs you nothing. I always get the cheapest phone they have, and I make sure everyone in the household uses at least the same brand so that we can interchange chargers.

Kevin

Dave, I thought GSM was the worldwide standard, not the CDMA that Verizon employs. Yeah, Cingular's Customer Service can really suck ass sometimes. I know from my three years with them prior to Nextel. Oh, and if you think Verizon is slow on the upswing, try Nextel for a year. You'll swear you're in the dark ages of cellular usage. Really sad.

Alissa, that underground factor would be nice. Not that I'm on D.C.'s Metro all that often, but it means it might work in other dark spots. I don't mean any big-deal games. Just the little card and skill games like Solitaire and Bejewelled that sometimes come preloaded on phones. As for the Treos, don't you have to pay extra for them because of their Web connectivity or can you just buy them as standalone?

jackt, yeah, the in-calling is the same with Cingular as well. Not Nextel, though. Odd considering their parent company, Sprint, does have it. I don't get it.

sandra

I've heard good things about Verizon (Jacynth has them, and she is definitely a customer service connoisseur) -- and if you sign up with them, I believe you can get the groovy new Motorola Q phone.

Karl

I have Cingular and I'm pretty happy with them, though I did drop calls a couple of times the other night. I'm pretty sure it's a battery problem and I've got a new battery on the way. I use a Sony Ericsson phone and when my 2 years is up in September, I'll be getting a new NON-Sony phone, that's for sure. Not happy with it, and it's the second Sony Ericsson phone I've had.

Course, I live in a small town, so I can't really speak for network coverage. Cingular has worked well for me, though, when I traveled to Orlando and Dallas. No problem in those areas.

Carly

I find samsung phones are really good. They have a Razr-like phone too, but I think it's available through Sprint. (BTW, Nextel does suck, but in my opinion, Cingular and Verizon - whom I've been with before - suck worse. See if you can switch to Sprint. I've been with them for three years and never had a problem.)

Brandon

I may be the only person left under 35 that doesn't own a cell phone, and I couldn't be happier about it. I don't have to think about any of these things.

Eve

I've had Verizon ever since getting my first cell phone, which was like 10 or so years ago now. I STILL have my Motorola StarTac phone from like 7 years ago. Up until last month, the battery held a very long charge. I don't have text messaging, camera, or any other extras the kids go for these days, but I really don't need them. The reception has always been exceptional, so that's why I've stayed with them.

Now, I need a new phone, and my problem is that when trying out other people's cell phones, I find that they're just not loud enough. Therefore, my quest for a new phone will be for it to be loud enough and hold a long battery charge.

Hopefully, I learn something from the comments on this entry.

BTW, problems with the camera phone is that they are banned in a lot of places, and the last thing I want is my phone taken from me somewhere (and of course, the more features you have -- camera, color screen, etc), the less battery life you will get out of it.

Elaine

I've got a RAZR phone with Cingular. I'm pretty happy on both ends. The phone is sleek and makes me feel cool (ha!) and it's pretty reliable. I've also never had a dropped call with Cingular.

Kevin

Sandra, I'm not familiar with the Q. I will have to look it up.

Karl, sounds pretty par for the course for Sony products anymore.

Carly, I'd try Sprint because of their plans and the flexible minutes thing they do; but Sprint is notorious in Illinois for having the worst service of the bunch.

Brandon, lucky bastard. You and my friend, Mojo. Ironically enough, he works for NASA and doesn't even have a cellphone. You'd think he'd be required.

Eve, that's a helluva lot of life from a phone. I've never heard of that except for the old late 80s bag phones and the console mount mobile phones that business people once used. I remember when StarTacs were the shit. I've never heard of cameraphones being confiscated... banned, yes, so you'd have to leave; confiscated, no.

Elaine, I think that's why Katie likes it. Small and cool.

Eve

Here's a good one, spare no expense: Gold Moto Dolce & Gabbana.

nicole

I can't blame you for dumping Nextel. I always hated them. The Direct Connection worked only half the time and it would drop our calls. Verizon wasn't much better to be honest. Any reason you haven't considered T-Mobile? I really like them. The only thing I don't like is that the time isn't linked to their network so if you have a phone like mine that doesn't keep good time, you have to constantly update it in your settings. But other than that I've been pleased with their service and coverage.

As far as the the Razr goes, this may be a dumb question but has Katie picked one up and played with it at a store somewhere? My friend has one and I really thought I wanted one too until I played with hers and realized how annoying it is trying to push the buttons with nails (and mine aren't even that long!). Just something to consider if she hasn't already.

Hyperion

How did cell phones become the new microwave? When microwaves first came out people were suspicious, but now you simply can't imagine a modern home without one.

It's the same for cell phones. The very idea that you might get rid of them causes panic in the upwardly mobile: heck; even street kids are blowin' up the digits.

So here's the real question: What's the next product that everyone will simply not be able to live without?

BA

I'm moderately pleased with my Razr. It has battery problems (like suddenly dying after 2 minutes of charging) and has had software issues (don't ask). Unfortunately, where I live all cell phone service sucks, so my goal of making it my primary phone went into the crapper.

However, if you're willing to spend, I would recommend the Sony/Erickson camera phone that slides around rather than opening (I can't remember the model number, but you'll see it on their site). It looks like a camera and was one of the best digital cameras I've ever used. But in poor reception areas, like where I live, it just couldn't do the job. In larger metro areas, it's great. It works seamlessly with a computer (although I have a PC, so I couldn't tell you about Mac). And, best of all, it's unlockable. So, if you decide Cingular is giving you the shaft, you can switch to Verizon or Sprint or whatever without buying a new phone. Really, it was my first choice...damn undeveloped area!

Bec

I work for a phone company (shhhh)... The RAZR (aka V3) is good but get the V3i or V3x variation is you can - the battery life and camera are better. But, for sheer pretty, get the PEBL (now in a range of colours) if you like flip phone or the Sony Ericsson K750i if you just want a standard (non flip smartphone.

Oh my God, work is rubbing off on me.... I feel dirty.

SJ

Bret and I are longtime Cingular customers (separately and together) and our only complaint is the exorbitant roaming fees. Their service is excellent, and I've never had a problem with their CSRs.

You can't beat Nokia quality. I have a Nokia that I've used for three years. Can't remember how many times I've dropped it and gotten it wet. It's like a little pink tank — nothing stops it. The model is (of course) obsolete now and it doesn't have cool features like a camera, but I love my glow-in-the-dark hot pink paisley cover and Innagaddadavida ringtone. When my phone rings, I know it's mine!

Nicole

Too many comments for me to read and see if this is repeat info. I just got a new Razr and actually made $50 off the deal (check out the deals at amazon.com - they offer rebates so you actually MAKE money on most of the Razr's). I probably would have gone with Verizon as my service provider because I have more friends and family who use them, but it's not available where I am moving. That left it between Cingular and T-Mobile. I went with Cingular because I like the rollover minutes (yeah, like I'm not going to use all my minutes and then some) plus I have a few good friends on Cingular I can now talk to for free. Could this comment get any longer? Yes it can. I was going to tell you to check out a free program called iSquint to change your downloaded files into iPod format. I've already converted all my episodes of The Office and am now anxiously awaiting my iPod so I can test it out. Um, The End.

Belinda

I have that phone in the picture. I haven't figured out half of it yet. My three-year-old, has, however, managed to take pictures with it, while I haven't. She also set it to "speakerphone," and I was stuck with that for about 3 days. Now Alex has his sights set on that new Motorola "Q" thing.

Kevin

Eve, I refuse to show my wife that one. She'd want it just to spite me.

Nicole, yeah, Katie has played with one that belongs to a coworker at the gym and one that belongs to our future SiL. She likes it.

Hyperion, teleporters. Forget gas costs because everyone will be broken down to nanodust and transported from one pad to another in order to travel. That's the future, baby!

BA, what does that Ericsson bad boy cost if it can jump from service to service? Sounds pretty cool, though! Will have to check it out.

Bec, but it helps! So don't feel really dirty. I just hope all those are available this side of the pond. Who makes the PEBL?

SJ, yeah, their roaming is bad. I've been hit hard by that every once in a while. I do miss my old Nokia phone. But I will not choose one with paisley. God help me! ;-)

Nicole, iSquint, eh? Thanks! I've also thought about an Amazon deal, but doing the whole thing online makes me worry since I want to port over my old phone number and I would think that would require some human contact to initiate. Maybe it doesn't anymore. I'll check it out. Amazon does have some killer deals.

Belinda, I actually did manage to figure out the camera feature on the RAZR using my future SiL's phone. Kids love screwing with their parents' heads, don't they? I used to take my dad's cellphone and set it to work in another language. He couldn't even figure out the menu options to go in there and change it back himself. Fun times.

Bec

The PEBL is another Motorola... Here's a handy link

BA

Sony's unlockables definitely cost a bit more than a pretty penny ($300-500 range is typical). But usually providers offer discounts based on the length of your service contract. CNET is pretty good at reviewing phones. Make sure to check it out.

Kevin

Bec, that thing is sweet looking. I think I have seen it before and just within the last couple days actually.

BA, I'm already currently checking them out. Thanks for the tip.

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