Time for a New Phone

by Derrick Story

Sony T637

I've be using, and happy with, the Sony Ericsson T637 phone. But it's starting to act up, and it's time for something new. This leads me to the same of dilemma that I always face when updating my handset: what should I get?

I'm leaning toward compact, such as the Motorola RAZR V3, hoping that it syncs well with my Mac. All I need are contacts, calendar, and good Bluetooth connectivity for file transfer and SMS messaging (I like to use Address Book for sending SMS because keyboards are easier than phones for typing).

My plan is Cingular, so I don't have the hottest phones available such as Motorola's Q. I can't even get the latest Treo...

So, my fellow Mac user, what do you recommend? I'd like to hear what you're using. I'll need to make up my mind by next week.

Technorati Tags: , ,


54 Comments


2006-07-07 08:28:51
I use a treo with the palm operating system. It is a great palm pilot, ok phone, but I need to restart it at least once a week. The V3 won't hold all of your contacts.
Kirk Bateman
2006-07-07 08:31:09
The V3 is a little slow for some things, such as Java applications, and you MAY have some issues with bluetooth filetransfers, I seem to remember some networks limited the bluetooth capabilities (like sound transfers to stop DMCA violations). Personally (due to the menu interface), I prefer Sony Ericssons (and they are pretty decent performance these days too), since you've been with the T6xx try something like the K700 / K750 or the W550i if possible.


Regards


Kirk Bateman
Managing Director
Synaptic Technologies Limited (UK)

Phil
2006-07-07 08:32:53
I had the T637 also (with Cingular), and I used it with my Mac. Syncing was fine, but hated the phone. Now I have a RAZR v3 (still with Cingular) and it syncs just fine via Bluetooth. The phone looks great, but is not as easy to use as a Nokia. I miss Nokia phones.
Derrick
2006-07-07 08:33:01
Good point about contacts. I need it to hold at least 400.
Kirk Bateman
2006-07-07 08:37:51
SE K700i does 510 contacts as the maximum, so I'd guess that the 750 and 550 (which I use) are the same or higher..


My main reason for suggesting the SE devices is there is no major changes to the menu system since your current phone (everything is still in the same place, I think).


Phil, thanks for clearing up the bt sync query.


Regards


Kirk

Kirk Bateman
2006-07-07 08:39:38
Just checked... W550 expanded the contacts book to 1000


Cheers


Kirk

Eric Shepherd
2006-07-07 08:43:32
Even though it's not the latest and greatest, the Treo 650 is still a great phone. I love mine.
fryke
2006-07-07 09:02:28
I'd also say go with SE if you generally liked yours. K750i, W800i, W810i etc., they're all great. The V3 might have the initial wow-factor, but I hear it's actually simply not that good. The keypad is bad (style over function) and even if you intend to text through the computer, there are still situations where you actually want to _use_ the phone, right? SE's phones have had good iSync support from the start (T68i).
Douglas Scott
2006-07-07 09:05:37
Dispite the fact the the GUI on the Motorola Razr V3 is user hostile, the iSync features from my iMac G5 via Bluetooth have been flawless to this point.


File transfers are easy using the Bluetooth file browser. I've had little problem adding custom MP3 ringtones (Booker T. & the MGs Green Onions) and video. The slow transfer speeds are what you would expect from Bluetooth. Small price to pay for ease of use.


Like Derrick, I like using my keyboard to send SMS messages. Unfortunately, the Address Book SMS feature does not work with the V3 Razr. I cannot figure out if it is the phone or my provider (Rogers Wireless). Third party SMS apps such as SMS Mac, BluePhoneElite and others are acceptable workarounds but I wish it would just work without having to spend hours troubleshooting and resorting to a third party solution.

Robert 'Groby' Blum
2006-07-07 09:11:00
Stay away from the RAZR. It looks cool, but is only mediocre. The deal breaker for me (which I of course discovered after I signed up for one) is the address book - it doesn't store adresses. Silly me. How could I expect that?
Derrick
2006-07-07 09:13:06
Actually, the SMS is a big deal for me, both in sync with Address Book and typing on the phone itself. Has anyone else had the same problem as Douglas using Address Book SMS with the RAZR? This would definitely be a deal breaker for me.

2006-07-07 09:22:40
I have recently had both a Razr V3 and a Sony Ericsson W600i. If these I am still carrying the W600 and have passed the Razr along to my son. After using the W600 it is clear how pokey the menus are on the RAZR. And the pictures are much much better on the Sony. The only real downside is that it is bulkier than the RAZR, and since I carry it in my pocket, that is important to me.


I also use it as a modem over bluetooth for my computer, and both the RAZR and the W600 worked fine for that. I can't tell a real difference in speed for that function. Can't tell much of a difference in reception either.

David Demaree
2006-07-07 09:24:58
Have you considered a Nokia phone? I've had a 7610 for about a year and it's worked out quite well, and I have my eye on the N80, which is somewhat bulky but absolutely feature-packed. The main reason I stick with Nokia is because unlike Sony, Palm or Moto, Nokia's Bluetooth is reliable and reliably Mac-friendly.
Rick
2006-07-07 09:47:59
Hi,
I'm a die-hard Nokia fan really, I just like the interface. I've just got the Nokia N80 and it is very good. I had to do a little hack for iSync to get it to recognise it (google to the rescue!) and then sync but it's been ok. The big thing about it I like is the wi-fi access, it means I can go online without paying through the nose to my ISP! The N80 uses the Symbian S60 Series 3 operating system which for me now would be hard to live without, there's a bunch of applications that are just great (Putty for SSH access is awesome! typing a bit slow but there is a bluetooth keyboard available!), also the Series 3 Symbian phones come with a the web browser that's based on Safari's webkit.


So, Nokia all the way! Next one I'd like is the N93 ;)

Andy Markham
2006-07-07 09:49:31
I did a bunch of research last summer and opted for the Nokia 6682. This phone has been a DREAM. The UI is fantastic (which is absolutely not the case for Moto phones) and it does a masterful job of bluetooth syncing my calendars, to-do items and contacts. Also, since it uses the Symbian OS, there is a ton of software available for it. I highly recommend it, although I'd suggest taking a look at the Nokia N80 if I were going to buy one now.
Rick
2006-07-07 09:50:09
Sorry, that should have been 'phone provider' not 'ISP' in my previous post! Obviously I pay my ISP, I just don't like how much it costs for data use on mobiles, I find it prohibits the potential of larger uptake on mobile internet use.
John
2006-07-07 10:01:39
I have a Razr V3 and I'm happy with it's Bluetooth syncing my phone numbers and email addresses. As noted, it does not sync addresses and is limited in the number of phone numbers per person. Also, check with the carrier- in my case Verizon has crippled some of the Razr's features. There's no file transfer via Bluetooth- I have to send pictures and recordings through their network. Supposedly you can use it as a wireless modem, but that's a hack with Verizon as I understand it.
MSchienle
2006-07-07 10:06:07
I have a Moto v557, which apparently has similar software as the RAZR, but an older style. I use it to sync contacts, calendars, etc. One thing that it does not do is store physical addresses, just email addresses and phone numbers. Also, if you have multiple email addresses for a contact, it will store them all separately and it is difficult to distinguish which is which. It's a decent phone, but if you need it to store addresses, look elsewhere.
Derrick
2006-07-07 10:10:18
I'm finding the discussion about the RAZR very interesting. One of the things I did when I first started thinking about a new phone was check Apple's iSync page, and it indicates full compatibility with Address Book. Looks to me like that just isn't the case. Phone shoppers take note...
FJ
2006-07-07 10:15:31
With the exception of the Bluetooth Address Book Live Link (SMS sending...) that flat out does not work, I have found the RAZR to perform admirably in every category. Contacts sync without a hitch, as do calendars. Bluetooth file transfer is limited to small-ish files but, apart from this obvious issue (one is unlikely to upload the Mac OS X Kernel to a phone), is fully compatible with Apple's own Bluetooth File Exchange Utility.


The phone interface is a tad sluggish at times but clear and rather intuitive so this fault is excused -- also, my model is an early one so I assume bugs have been fixed since.


I bought my phone without an operator contract. This made it more expensive, for sure, but gives me the freedom to go someplace else at any time and it has proven a wonderful argument while discussing "special features" with my current ISP.


FJ

Bruno L
2006-07-07 10:45:11
Former user of T630 myself (local version of t637) and had to change, I went for SE k750i after having had a chance to play with a colleague's moto v3 (looks awesome but not very usable in my opinion)


k750 integrates into macOS X seamlessly, ical and AB isync without a problem, and AB support for SMS and incoming call alerts easy to setup as per this hint


It operates in the same way as the t630 but is packed with alot more goodies and a 2mp camera which isnt bad for occasional point n shoot (nothing like pro photography of course)
I also love the form factor of this phone, and feels sturdy and solid


if you liked the t630 you will love the k750

noel
2006-07-07 11:10:56
Old phone: SE 610 with Cingular service. Upgraded to a SE W600i. Quite happy with it since it works great with iSync (contacts and calendar) AND Salling Clicker. Reception for me is decent, though not outstanding. Drawbacks: mediocre camera (don't use it much), limited space for music (not upgradeable), and slightly more bulky than the SE 610 it replaced.
Greg
2006-07-07 11:18:23
I have recently used both the Treo 650 and Nokia 6620. The Treo synced well using Missing Sync, but it made a lousy phone. I recently sold it and went back to my 6620 (which is very similar to the 6682). The Symbian based Nokia is fantastic. iSync works great with the 6620. It syncs most of the contact fields. It also syncs iCal todos and events. It omits the note fields though. It will also send SMS from the OS X Address Book over bluetooth. I have also used it as a bluetooth modem for my Powerbook. My 6620 is nearly two years old and I will probably replace it with the 6682 or N80.
mw
2006-07-07 11:26:18
Nokia N70. *iSync* your contacts and calender flawlessly. u can IM using GPRS (3rd party app needed).


And I am sure you will regret if you get a Moto V3 - it's simply not powerful enough for geeks.

alex
2006-07-07 11:43:30
the real question is, what do you want to be able to do with your phone? sync it with your mac? take photos and transfer them to your mac via bluetooth? use your phone as a wireless modem? have fast data connections? listen to itunes music? full keyboard for sms?


i agree with the commenters above about the motorola v3. my issue with motos is that they have great hardware designs, but their software and ui is junk (though that may also be the fault of the carriers which often modify the software).


nokias are quite good for smartphone functionality, if you don't mind the lack of a non-qwerty thumboard. there are lots of applications that are popping up for the s60 software, and some of their newest phones pack some great multimedia functionality. however, much of the s60's interface still reminds me of windows 3.1. sorry, i'm a mac user that really appreciates the way things look (even though my personal phone is a nokia 6270).


for the best combination of all the features above (save playing music downloaded from the itms) as a mac user, i think your best bet is a sony ericsson phone. cingular's currently pimp'd model is the w600i (mentioned above), which is a great phone. however, it's gettin a little long in the tooth. cingular's supposed to introduce the w810i in the next couple of months, if you can hold on, but the fact of the matter is, that phone is based on older technology as well.


if you're sticking with cingular, and you don't mind spending a little more upfront for the phone you want, just pop out your t637's gsm sim, and find a reliable place to buy a gsm phone, and look for the latest sony ericsson, something like the k800.

brian d foy
2006-07-07 11:49:08
I was very disappointed with the Razr, which I discussed in an earlier O'Reilly weblog.


Basically, I like the hardware and hate the software, which is the opposite problem I have with Nokia phones where I hate the hardware and love the software.

denny
2006-07-07 13:12:15
i've been using a SE T616 since January 2004 and will continue with it until January 07, possibly later. i've never had a better phone. bluetooth is great with os x address book and apps like bluephone elite. reception has been better than almost any phone i've had and better than most phones used by folks around me. battery life great. i have zero complaints.


contrast that to my previous experience with moto (2002-03) as well as my extended family's very recent use of motorollas. we're all on cingular and they (2 siblings and spouses for a total of 4 phones) have gone through i don't know how many motos and battery replacements. i lost track of the many returned phones and replaced batteries. of the 4 they have all been replaced at least once and a couple more than once. constant complaints about reception and constant dropped calls. they liked the camera and video (it's a moto flipphone with camera and bluetooth but i'm not sure which one though i know it's not the razor).


after 15 months they all finally gave up and have all switched to a SE flip phone (funny how they all seem to copy cat each other), not sure which one... (Z 520 i think) and after two weeks seem happy. time will tell. i will say that i spent 5 minutes with one and loved the improved interface. very nice. if all else is equal (bluetooth, syncing, battery time, reception) i'd say great.


i'm fairly certain that i'll be sticking to SE especially if my family's experience verifies my own.

al3x
2006-07-07 13:25:49
I was in the exact same boat a few weeks ago: T637 that I enjoyed went on the fritz, needed a new phone from Cingular. After brief consideration of importing a more exotic GSM phone I got a Motorola SLVR L7. I have a few thoughts about the phone on my blog if you're curious. The short version is that it works great with a Mac. I also can't recommend BluePhoneElite enough. It puts the built-in Bluetooth integration to shame.


Good luck!

Roger Weeks
2006-07-07 14:26:27
I'm sticking with my SE T630 until it dies. I like it because it's small. It has NO external antenna to break off like half of the flip phones do.


Personally, I've broken something like 10 flip-phones in my last 10 years of using mobile phones. Either they get dropped and the hinge breaks, or they're in my pocket and fall out and the hinge breaks, or the hinge just breaks. I hate hate hate flip phones and will never get another.


I've used my coworker's RAZR and boy are the menus sluggish, and the interface as noted is rather lame.


Unfortunately it appears many of the new SE phones are also flip phones. However I really like the looks of the K790, coming soon:
http://www.sonyericsson.com/spg.jsp?cc=us&lc=en&ver=4000&template=pp1_loader&php=php1_10411&zone=pp&lm=pp1&pid=10411


EDGE and GSM, and a nice form factor similar to the T6xx series.

Peter
2006-07-07 14:39:21
I've got the cingular RAZR v3. Sync's well enough with my Powerbook via bluetooth. The calender is a bit hard to get to so I don't use that functionality. Otherwise I've been happy. All told though, and I'm sure plenty of people have already said this, I'd really like to see Apple bring their easy-to-use software espertise to cell phones. As it is today, there are too many features in most phones and not enough functionality.
Joe
2006-07-07 16:06:41
I've been very happy with my Motorola RAZR V3. There are the inevitable quirks, but it syncs nicely and I don't have much desire or need for internet services from it.
Walt French
2006-07-07 17:01:15
Be sure that you check out the RAZR software before you commit. I have an older T-Mo RAZR that makes certain things -- especially, scrolling thru a couple hundred iSync'd contacts -- hugely frustrating.


I understand there's new firmware (in fact, I have D/L'd it onto my work PC, since it requires a PC to interface to the phone), but the fact that my provider doesn't help me deal with a horrible interface makes me more than a bit concerned about turning the thing into a $300 paperweight if the upgrade fails.

whyoung
2006-07-07 18:45:24
I have used Motorola's V551 for about a year now and it certainly doesn't shine as far as features are concerned, but if all you need is good Bluetooth connectivity for syncing your iCal and Address Book, and file transfer a Motorola should do great. At least my V551 does and one would imagine the Razr V3 would as well. Pairing was simple right out of the box.
Victor
2006-07-07 20:49:02
I replaced an aging SE T68i with a Motorola PEBL. It syncs well via USB with my iBook. Love the feel of the phone and the flip mechanism. Downside, Java apps is slow and the UI doesn't allow for font size switching.


If I had to select again, I would choose one of the newer SE models (W810i) or maybe wait for the Z710 clamshell cameraphone. SE's UI and Java apps performance is definitely top-notch.

altadel
2006-07-07 23:35:14
I recently replaced my Nokia 6190 dual-mode with a RAZRv3. Menus aren't as good, but the major problem is that the screen is illegible in sunlight. Granted, it's bright indoors, but can't be seen in direct sunlight. Feh.
Derrick
2006-07-07 23:39:10
And the winner is... After all of this amazing feedback and a bit more research based on it, I'm going with the Sony Ericsson W810i. I like the Quad band, which is important when you're a Cingular user (need that darn 850 band), love the storage (20MB internal + 2GBs memory card), intrigued by the Walkman and FM radio capabilities, heartened that it now works with iSync (as of 10.4.7), want the 2 megapixel camera and video recording, looking forward to trying EDGE, like that it's Mass Storage USB too, and am a sucker for its looks. Will post a report after I've tested it. Thanks to everyone for contributing to this great conversation.
Zyg
2006-07-08 10:04:06
I have been using a Motorola Razr V3 from T-Mobile for 6 weeks and am very happy with it. It syncs to my Bluetooth G5 effortlessly. I got a 15" Macbook Pro 2 weeks ago and the phone syncs with it perfectly also.


Were I leave (Coarsegold, CA.) only Verizon and T-Mobile connect well. I had a billing problem with Version that ended up costing me over $600 for their mistake so I will not use them. I am very happy with T-Mobile and the added a Hotspot account which is great since I travel a lot.

Frank
2006-07-08 20:54:33
Derrick, the W810i looks like a nice phone. Personally, after using a BlackBerry for the past 9 months I won't purchase another cell phone without a qwerty keyboard. In my opinion most of the cool non-voice features (text messaging, email, internet, etc.) are a pain in the rear without a full keyboard. In fact, I would not use any of those on a regular basis with a standard numeric keyboard, and that takes away all the fun of the fancier phones.
Carla Schroder
2006-07-08 22:40:55
Mr. Story, think different! Cast away your electronic leash and revel in freedom! I know, some claim that getting rid of your cell phone is the gateway behavior to running around stark nekked and painting flowers on your body. But is that so bad? Well, yes, when it's cold. But I digress. Be free, my friend, be free!
Stephen
2006-07-09 03:10:08
Nokia N70 works nice. Sync, bluetooth, internet. Reasonably small and full featured.
I also use a Nokia 770 with it. With an iBook it is a pretty sweet setup.

2006-07-10 06:24:55
Not the Razor, Motorola has yet to make a decent interface. I got one for my mother when we switched plans and the thing is just a pain to used compared to Sony Ericsson or Nokia phones.
Chad
2006-07-12 15:49:10
Well, this is a question near and dear to my heart! I've gone through nearly every phone from AT&T, Verizon, T-mobile and now, Cingular. In a word, they all suck. I want a phone with: Good reception, good voice quality (Treo and BlackBerries are out), lots of contacts (I have over 800), e-mail (prefer push but can live without), simple web browsing, small form factor (don't like to wear my phone as clothing), sync with Entourage (a requirement).


I've tried them all. Verizon has by far (in all my travels) the very best reception and voice quality. T-Mobile has the worst reception. BlackBerries great for e-mail and browsing (and toys like Google Maps) but stink for voice quality and size. Treo nice for contacts and browsing, stinks for voice quality. If you've ever had someone call you from a Treo, you know what I am talking about.


To make a long post shorter, I've finally stuck with the Cingular 2125. Yes, it is a WM 5 phone, BUT... It sounds great, holds all my contacts, has a decent IMAP client, can surf the web, holds my 800 contacts with plenty of room, has a decent interface AND syncs perfectly with Entourage (or Address Book / iCal). I'd prefer it to be on Verizon but you can't have everything. Before you slam the WM 5 OS, until Apple makes OS's for phones, this one is not half bad - and the form factor is perfect. Clean screen and it fits easily in my jeans pocket.


Just my 2 cents...

Frank
2006-07-13 09:27:43
>> Not the Razor, Motorola has yet to make a decent interface.
>> I got one for my mother when we switched plans and the
>> thing is just a pain to used compared to Sony Ericsson or
>> Nokia phones.


I would tend to agree with this. However, I would like to add that I read an blog post from David Pogue where he was praising the menus of his LG phone in response to someone bashing Motorola's interface and someone from Verizon responded by saying that the interface was not courtesy of LG but instead it was courtesy of Verizon and that he would find the same great interface on all of their phones, including the RAZR. See the post here:


http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/28/technology/poguesposts/28pogues-posts.html?ex=1152936000&en=642bfce5119446b1&ei=5070

Chin
2006-09-02 08:25:03
If you need to send SMS from the Mac, you might want to pass on the RAZR. While iSync will sync your phone book and appointments (iCal), it WILL NOT export these phonebook entries to the Address Book. Why? I don't know. Also, while Address Book will allow you to send SMS messages once your phone is paired, THIS FEATURE DOES NOT WORK with the RAZR. I wouldn't know what model to recommend, but the RAZR doesn't do SMS well at all with the Mac.
Andy Dent
2006-09-13 23:53:09
I'm very happy with my Sony Ericsson k750i, syncs well with the Mac and the killer feature for me as a software developer is the camera is really good at taking whiteboard pictures - you get 1632x1224 pixel images which are readable even for big boards.


Musica latina
2006-10-10 19:15:08
[URL]http://www.musica-latina.anticoit.org[/URL]
Test
2006-10-11 06:13:32
Hi all!


G'night

Hafiz
2006-10-11 10:41:54
I have the W600, its a great phone, however I'm havint problems using it as a modem, any suggestions on how to set it up?
It dials the #, but the says "remote computer did not respond" not sure why, i'm trying to use Bell Dial-up.
jeff
2006-12-16 19:35:28
Chad, how can you transfer your contacts from Mac Address Book/iCal to the 2125? I had a Nokia 6682 and loved it (highly recommend it) which synced to mac perfectly with all info intact including contact pics, iCal events, etc... But it was lost and the insurance plan replaced it with the 2125 which isn't talking to my mac for any of the above.
Bev
2007-01-01 01:13:46
I have a new Nokia 6103 which I can transfer phone and addresses from Mac 0sX but it seems only 1 at a time with Bluetooth.... Help... I won't live long enough to do that... Is there a solution to this? I hate this phone as it seems that I have push about 10 buttons to do a search for names? Is this really possible today?