I’m looking for a good new mobile phone

It's that time again, time to upgrade the mobile phone, and though I've pored over reviews, and talked to sales people at the shops, and read friends' weblogs, I'm still not sure how to proceed. So once again, I'm turning to you dear readers, to hear your thoughts about the latest and greatest in mobile technology. Here are my requirements:

– Reasonably decent camera on phone (doesn't have to be 1 MB pictures, but something decent that I can post to Flickr, etc. and have things be recognizable)

– GSM so I can use it abroad

– Works on T-Mobile

– Decent form factor and interface, if possible. I'd rather it weren't a giant phone too large for my pants pocket, or one with some annoying interface like my current Ericsson T68 (which seems to require an inordinate amount of inputs just to add a contact)

Any suggestions? Do you love your phone? Or hate it? And why? Thanks so much for your help!

Update: I've closed the thread because I've gotten enough recommendations and I've decided on the Nokia 6600. More to follow once I've had time to play with it.

19 thoughts on “I’m looking for a good new mobile phone

  1. I just moved from AT&T wireless to Cingular, so I had to get a new phone, moving from a Sony Ericsson T616 to a T637. After some searching, I didn’t find any models with Bluetooth that were much more compelling for the same price.
    The T616 was sturdy and worked well, and I imagine the same will hold true for the T637, which has the added bonus of even better reception. The camera isn’t wonderful, but it’s passable, and the connectivity works great with the car and my computer.
    As for the interface, I had to use my T68 for a week and it felt ancient by comparison, so your complaints may or may not hold true for the new phones.

  2. I just had to replace my phone (stolen by a pickpocket in Greece) with a new one, and got another Motorola flip-phone, the v551. I love it–it’s got a good camera, nice interface, and even throws in video and AIM (the latter was something I really missed after giving up my sidekick). The downside is that iSync doesn’t support it yet, though I suspect it will soon. In the meantime, I can still browse it as a bluetooth device from my mac and transfer pictures.

  3. Well, if you were looking to simply upgrade the phone to the new model you could check out the Sony Ericsson T637/T63x phone. I have been a fan of the Ericsson/Sony Ericsson phones since the T28 model, so I may not be too objective about it. I have used both the T68i and the T610 and I think the menus for the T610 are a little more intuitive than the T68 (not to mention faster). A friend of mine has the T637 and he says that the daylight visibility is much improved over the T610, though I think the buttons are a little strange looking. The benefit is that you wouldn’t loose any features like Bluetooth or infrared since it’s pretty much the same phone with improvements, and you wouldn’t have to get used to new menus. Then you just have to worry about getting the refuse-to-change syndrome. I don’t have an answer to the ‘adding a contact’ problem though…

  4. i have the motorola v600 on t-mobile and it works really well. flip phone, so no unwanted calls, good camera, gsm, bluetooth. what more could you want!

  5. Megan dear —
    I’m sorry to contact you via your blog, but I was drunk when you told me your e-mail address the other night and I had to get in touch. This is my new e-mail and blog. Write me.
    And buy the American Idol phone from Nokia. It’s endorsed by Ryan Seacrest, so you know it’s good! Seriously, I love everything about it except Web browser. But I think that has more to do with AT&T and less to do with the phone.

  6. “some annoying interface like my current Ericsson T68” Oooh! Burn!
    I am shocked how nice the Sharp TM-150 is. I have a Nokia 7610, which is towards the top of their line, and the camera, screen, and UI on the Sharp is just outstanding. Works great with T-Mobile and has everything but Bluetooth, but that’s probably overkill for what you want anyway.

  7. I’m afraid I don’t know much about the US cellphone networks and phone availability. However, I do have 2 great phones for you to look at and I know you can get them over there.
    1. Nokia 6230 (http://www.nokiausa.com/phones/6230) – the one I have now. It has a more than adequate camera (things are def. visible, see: http://www.flickr.com/photos/globaljen/)
    I got this phone a while back, it’s a fab phone and I have enjoyed using it. I got a not-very-sexy-but-v-practical plastic sleeve for it, but it means I can use the timer in the kitchen without spills killing it. I really love the camera, it’s easy to use. I’d say you might have to have quite diddy (small) fingers to really use it fast, but once you get used to it you can fly. The left option button gives you a quick shortcut to anything on the phone that you want (and this is customisable) – this I feel is very good. It’s nice and light, but the screen is big enough and has good resolution. You can upload MP3s to the phone and use them as ringtones (I have the Red Hot Chili Peppers!). There’s a 32mb card which really can pack a lot of video and photos on there. And it’s very easy to send a photo directly to flickr too. You can synch it to your PC and play the videos and music on your PC that you’ve recorded /downloaded to your phone. It is triband, and has bluetooth/IR. Ace phone!
    2. Nokia 5140 (http://www.nokiausa.com/phones/5140) aka the one the got away. I wanted to get this, but it wasn’t available on my tariff. I thought I’d post it as a contender as it has some good options for the next marathon! Firstly it is pretty much indestructible – they tested this on a gadget show here – first they put it on a BBQ, then froze in liquid nitrogen, then blew up in a truck – and it still worked! So good enough for your training in Nantucket 😉 It has a load of personal training features, digital compass, self-timer on the digital camera/video recorder, and radio. I will probably get this next time/if I lose mine, as it is more indestructible than the one above, and i tend to mistreat my phones! Perhaps a good idea for the kitchen, this one!
    I am not a Nokia salesperson (promise!) – but I have tried out other phones and find their interface the easiest to use. The two above are the pick of the bunch when I did some indepth research on my new phone 2 months ago.
    HOpe this helps…

  8. I work in the mobile industry and spend lots of time with lots of phones. I love my Nokia 6620 (available as 6600 on TMobile)–great screen, fine VGA camera, open Symbian OS so lots of apps. The 6230 is also a fine phone–couldn’t keep ’em in stock earlier this year–smaller candy bar than the 6600.
    The 7610 has a megapixel camera, as does the 6670 which is not available in the US (but you could probably find on Ebay (see: http://www.nokia.com/nokia/0,,63734,00.html). Both of these support the Nokia Lifeblog, which might be of interest: http://www.nokia.com/nokia/0,1522,,00.html?orig=/lifeblog
    I know multiple folks that have had problems or have been disappointed by the Treos and the Moto V300/400/600. The Razr is sexy and small and I like the way it “feels”–don’t know about the quality of the camera.
    Hope that’s helpful.

  9. Meg, I’m using the Nokia 6600 and has been very happy with it. Works on T-Mobile, GSM, camera (not high quality, though), etc. Best of luck.

  10. I have never been a fan of the Sony Ericson Interface either.
    My last 2 phones have been Nokia Series 60 (3650, and now a 7610). I really think they are brilliant. They don’t have the eye candy polish of the Sony Ericsons, but the interaction design is much better (still not perfect though).
    I bought my 7610 from expansys since it was (is?) not available in the US yet. It runs fine on T Mobile in New York though. I basically got the same phone as my older 3650, but in a much smaller form factor and enough room to let Opera run (but browsing the web on the phone is still painful).
    You can pickup a Nokia 6600 in the states (through T Mobile) rather easily and get the added benifit that it work with isync now.
    Besides working nicely with flicker, there is also a wonderful little ftp app (Yellow FTP) for the Nokia S60 phones that you could use to ftp your photos to any server you like.

  11. hi meg,
    i think first you have to decide do you want a clamshell or a candy bar. clam shells seem to be trendier in the states than they are here in europe. for ease of use of the interface, i don’t think you can beat nokia. i have been playing around with a couple phones of late and the nokia’s are very definitiely the nicest (in my opinion) to use.
    nokia introduced their clamshells last year and they are quite trendy. they are also pretty robust, seem to cope well with being dropped on the ground etc. also, they don’t seem to have antenna’s like a lot of the other clamshells have.
    a tri band phone will allow you to roam on GSM networks in Europe. We have the GSM standard throughout Europe as you probably know. Also, the UMTS network roll outs are starting here in Europe. For instance Vodafone UK went live a couple of weeks ago with their 3G.
    I am not sure if the model numbers for nokia phones are completely different in the states. http://www.nokia.com is a good place to start.
    some of my friends have siemens’s and they are quite flimsy phones, buttons prone to breakages etc. sony ericsson’s have nice cameras. they are robust enough to withstand dropping also. if you are getting a camera phone, make sure that they have a little lens protector that you can slide shut!

  12. posting from Asia, am very happy with the T610 although after awhile expect to see scratch marks on the metal casing.

  13. I wouldn’t suggest 3650 – it’s getting old, has stupid keyboard (I think it’s the same in US version) and camera is only so-so. I’ll second to 6230 – real nice and smooth and excellent keyboard.
    I’ve played around with SonyEricsson Z600 for couple of weeks – a bit on the big side and because it’s a clamshell it’s not so sturdy. So not so sure about Z500 that is for US market.
    Oi, and it’s GSM 🙂

  14. Do take a look at the Treo 650. I’m not sure if or when it will be available for t-mobile.
    I have the 600 and while it certainly is flawed, it does combine a PDA and a phone with web and email access. It is basically google to go.
    The camera on the 650 is better (it sucks on the 650 though I can put use the SD card from my Canon SD100 to upload better photos using the Treo).

  15. I don’t have a phone recommendation but a question: do you add contacts via PC/Mac as well as on the phone? If not, maybe that’s the way to overcome the problem _most_ of the time; you’ll still have the problem if you’re out and you have to add a new contact, but otherwise you can use a regular keyboard and whatever contact database you normally do.

  16. Just to remind you:
    I think Nokia 60 series phones, i.e 3650, 3660, 6600, 6620, 7610… are the only ones out there which are able to multitask. This means that you can have your IM and e-mail apps running in the same time as you take a photo or do someting else. You don-t have to close an application to do something else. Nokia’s have this “alt+tab” button with which you can see all the applications running and pick one to use. Just like with your PC.
    I find highly convinient and this lacks even from the top models of SE, like P 800 and P900 series.
    Some of the companies (even SE) have licenced the 60 series from Nokia, so find some of their 60 series models, if you don’t want to buy a Nokia, but multitasking is something you want your phone to able to do. Trust me!

  17. So, if you are concerned about the UI, Nokia used to be the only company that could get this right. This has changed a bit- partly because other companies have realized that user testing is important and partly because Nokia has been drawn towards including more and more features on underpowered processors.
    Don’t buy a phone that you can’t personally play with if the UI matters to you. Even if the documentation (imagine that) were to show the complete ui, it wouldn’t give a sense of responsiveness, etc.
    Sometimes I wish consumer electronics companies could realize the value of a web based simulation of their product’s interface.
    Back to phones, if you want a posh, geek capable phone and don’t care so much about the price, look at the Motorola RAZR v3 and the Treo 650 (although you’ll have to wait for the GSM version of the latter for a month or so). You can run an unlocked phone on any GSM network, so you can consider purchasing through expansys or another online site to avoid selling your soul to a provider for a year.
    If you’re looking to spend a bit less money, the Motorola V551 is an amazing phone from the specs at a fairly reasonable price. The Sony Ericsson T637 is cheaper still, just as good on specs, and has one of the best reliability records in the field. However, it is not a flip phone, which seem to be all the rage right now.
    For more info, check out HowardChui.com which is a decent resource for such info.

  18. Thanks for all the info. I’ve decided on the Nokia 6600. Will let you know what I think after I get some time to play with it.

Comments are closed.