New Cell Phone Advice Requested

Hey kids, I could use some advice on choosing my next cell phone because my contract is up with Verizon in about 2 months. I've pretty much got my sights set on a Helio Ocean, however the more I read about it on forums and such, the more I see people having problems with the device, as well as complaints about the processor, UI, and so on.

Now I've been trying a lot of phones from all the carriers (not just Verizon) and while the Ocean is my favorite contender, I also like the Blackberry Pearl. Now I've tried both phones in my hand (I like the feel of the Ocean better, and think the UI is fine) and have been doing TONS of research on both phones to see if they have what I'm looking for (both phones also get pretty positive reviews, making the choice even more difficult).

Basically what I want is:

Good call quality
Built-in GPS
Robust messaging features (I'm addicted to email and IM and both phones seem well suited to this)
Decent PIM featurs (the Pearl seems to have a leg up in this category)
Good multimedia features (the Ocean seems to have a leg up in this category)
Comfortable keyboard to type on (I love the Ocean's keyboard, the "Suretype" keyboard on the Pearl is kind of funky)
Well built and solid
Good variety of third-party apps (the Pearl might win in this category, I'm not too sure)

Now again, I've tried both phones in my hand and I like the feel and the keyboard of the Ocean better. However, from what I've been reading it sounds like the Pearl is a more mature and stable phone. This also doesn't take into account the possibility of an "Ocean 2" being released in the next month or two.

Now my experience with cell phones is limited (I'm currently on my third ever) and I've never owned a spartphone, so this is where I need some helpful advice. Based on my criteria for what I want in my next phone, as well as your own opinions and experiences, which phone do you think might better serve my needs?

Thanks in advance for your help.

I can't recommend the HTC Tytn II enough. It's also known as the AT&T Tilt (some minor differences, I think), the HTC Kaiser, the O2 XDA Stellar, the T-Mobile MDA Vario III and a few other names, depending upon operator.

It's a Windows Mobile 6 phone, as much a pocket PC as a phone, but it looks to be about the same size as the Ocean.

The call quality is as good as anything I've ever used before, and it supports G, E, 3G, H and wifi, so plenty of good data coverage for email and web browsing. It comes shipped with Windows Messenger, but there are loads of freeware and commercial clients for chat as well, including a few IRC clients. The keyboard is good, and the screen tilts to about 45 degrees so that you can rest it on a desk to type.

You should get an entire pocket Office suite with it, too.

There are a huge variety of apps for these devices. WM6 is a bit clunky out of the box, but the level of customisation that you can do is amazing, especially using commercial applications like SPB Mobile Shell, but even the free HTC plugins for the Today screen go a very long way to addressing the shortcomings of the OS.

There is a large and healthy ROM cooking scene as well, so you can always find something that fits your spec.

There is a lot of PIM software out there, though the stock Calender and Contacts apps are fully compatible with Outlook on the PC or Windows Mail, if you use those.

The built in GPS is fast and capable, though you would need some software; most providers only offer a trial.

The only problem is that video playback is not what some users want. You do have to re-encode video files to get decent playback on the unit; a 750mb DVD rip you have made to watch on a PC will not play well or at all. Frankly, I wouldn't have expected it to, but some users seem to be up in arms about a lack of drivers dedicated to this purpose.

I don't think that there are many devices that can match this. I've been using pocket PCs for almost a decade now, and cell phones for longer. I switched to an integrated approach a couple of years ago, and upgraded to the Tytn II this year. Frankly, it blows me away.

If I can offer any more assistance, please feel free to ask. I tend to follow developments in the world of these devices quite closely.

You're not the first one to recommend the tilt. I'll see if I can find it in a store and give it a whirl. Thanks!

My new every two is up at the end of May and I'm getting the XV6800 on Verizon. It's the HTC Mogul which is similar to the Tytn II but a slider rather than silde and tilt. I'm excited as this is the level of convergence I've been wanting. I hated carrying both a phone and a clunky PDA but until recently full-featured smartphones were just a clunk PDA with a mic and a CDMA/GSM radio. Now you can actually get a beefy PDA in a phone-sized form factor.

Here are some links:
http://www.ppcgeeks.com/
http://www.xda-developers.com/
http://www.smartphonejunkies.com/
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=3LRbkH... (no rick roll)
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=zXOp_x...

Edwin wrote:

FYI on the TyTnII

Yeah, I'm very familiar with the site and issue. It basically relates to the issue I mentioned about drivers.

They have been running for some time, without any sign of an actual class action, just a lot of moaning. I have had very few of the problems mentioned. My Stellar runs TomTom far better than the one on the link provided on that site, and as well as any of the other 3 devices I have run TomTom on in the past.

If video is properly re-encoded and run on the pocket core media player - which I have done on all of my devices, as Pocket Media Player is as bad as it's big brother - it is fine.

I can only assume that some people have bad hardware, a bad ROM flash, are running too many pieces of software at once, or - my favoured theory - are expected far too much high end power from something the size of a couple of boxes of matches.

Still, they are a small but vocal minority. http://forum.xda-developers.com/forumdisplay.php?f=377
is a good place to read (as LiquidMantis says), since the threads were dominated by whinging about these issues until the mods stepped in. I would recommend checking how many times the same few usernames appear, though.

I've been reading more reviews and am going to go to a Sprint store today to try out the Mogul. The tilt also looks interesting, and I'll swing by to give that a try in coming days. Thanks!

I wish I could be carrier agnostic, but the fact is that literally almost everyone I talk to is on Verizon and now that I'm out of state from my friends and family the unlimited in-network minutes has been a godsend. Plus in my experience with friends on other networks Verizon has been unbeatable for solid coverage. I just wish they didn't continually screw the pooch on phones and nickle-and-diming features.

Oh believe me I'm not unhappy with Verizon at all, or their service or my current phone. I'm just not going to limit myself if there's something out there that better suits my needs. I've tried a bunch of Verizon phones and still few of 'em really click for me except maybe the Pearl. Who knows, maybe they'll release something before July that'll keep me around.

So now the Helio Ocean has free push email for Gmail and all other IMAP email accounts. I'm pretty much sold at this point...

I'm getting a BlackJack 2 in a few days. No wifi is the only bummer, but it'll be nice to have 3G after my old GPRS smartphone!

ARISE!!!

I'll be heading back to the states at the end of the month and starting up a new contract. I had T-mobile previously, their prices were good but I didn't like how spotty their coverage was at times. I'll be living in Southern California until April-ish, then Indiana for a few months, after that I'm not sure as I haven't settled on a college yet. Can anyone recommend me a phone and/or provider?

1) Provider-wise I'm looking at either AT&T or Verizon, I've heard great things about Verizon's coverage but not much about AT&T
2) I'm looking at higher end smartphones, I had an Android phone previously but I'm open to WP8, I just don't know enough about it.
3) No iPhones.
4) 4G is a big plus.
5) Price isn't much of an issue, I've looked at rates and both are reasonable for me.

I used to try to keep up with phones but I haven't been able to lately, and I'll be grabbing a new one the day I return, so any help would be greatly appreciated.

If price isn't a huge concern for you then I'd go with Verizon. They have the best coverage.

The only issue with Verizon that may or may not matter to you is that with their standard service (CDMA?) you can't talk and do data at the same time, so if you're on the phone, forget trying to look up directions using your maps app or whatever. I think this restriction may actually apply to their 4G service as well, but would have to look it up to be sure. So for me the real decision is between better coverage or better service when in a covered area. Unfortunately, there's no perfect carrier.

AT&T has excellent coverage in the old Cingular Wireless area; Cingular did sh*t right, and the South is still very well-served after being bought by AT&T.

But if you're in the West, or you travel much, AT&T has a very poor network. Las Vegas is especially horrible; my first-gen iPhone was almost completely useless there. It barely worked at all, and I missed many calls. I remember the San Francisco Bay Area as also being very poor, although not as terrible as Las Vegas.

complexmath wrote:

The only issue with Verizon that may or may not matter to you is that with their standard service (CDMA?) you can't talk and do data at the same time, so if you're on the phone, forget trying to look up directions using your maps app or whatever. I think this restriction may actually apply to their 4G service as well, but would have to look it up to be sure. So for me the real decision is between better coverage or better service when in a covered area. Unfortunately, there's no perfect carrier.

I'm currently on Verizon's 4G, and internet does work while I'm on the phone.

A moot point for you, but on Verizon's iPhone 5, you can not use voice and data simultaneously even when connected to LTE.

On all of their other LTE devices, you can.

Oh that explains my confusion. What a weird restriction. Maybe the iPhone 5 doesn't do "real" LTE?

Thanks, it looks like I'll probably go with Verizon. I just hate that you can't get a non-"share everything" data plan with them anymore.

The iPhone 5 on Verizon supports actual LTE, it's more to do with its single-radio and/or single-antenna design.

I think it's down to either an SIII, Note II, or HTC Windows Phone 8x. I just haven't heard/talked to anyone that's had a Windows 8 phone so I don't know how it stacks up.

Did you check out the Windows Phone thread in this forum?

I can't even bring myself to consider buying a Windows 8 phone. There's not really interesting to me. Missing too much stuff right now and I'm not willing to put up with growing pains in a phone.

If you're going GSM, the Galaxy Nexus and the new Nexus 4 are both universal GSM phones; they will work with both T-Mobile and AT&T in the US, and will work with almost any carrier in the rest of the world. (I think China's a little messed up, not clear on the details.) Given your uncertainties about coverage, that could give you a fallback carrier if you don't like the first one you choose.

Also, incase you were curious, the iPhone 5 on Verizon (CDMA-based) comes with unlocked GSM capability, and is even usable on AT&T, as well as throughout the world. It just doesn't support non-CDMA LTE, from what I've read.