Finding a Cell Phone for vacations...

Laptops, PDAs, Cell Phones, and all other tech that you carry with you.

Moderators: mac_h8r1, Nelliesboo, David

Finding a Cell Phone for vacations...

Postposted on Mon Jan 17, 2011 9:38 am

I don't own a Cellphone. Generally speaking, I don't have a use for one. There is an exception to that... when I travel. I only travel about two-to-three times a year for a week at a time. I've been trying to find a "plan" and phone that work for just those occations. I was hoping someone here might know a decent way to research that (or just know the right kind of deal for it).

I would need to be able to read twitter feeds ideally.

I'd rather own the phone itself instead of being "on a plan".

I just want to sign up for data/texts and the occational phone call for a week (or a month if I have to) at a time. I've heard that AT&T has a pre-paid plan that does something like this but researching it has been a headache.

Any help would be appreciated.
Creamsteak
Gerbil First Class
 
Posts: 113
Joined: Wed May 14, 2008 6:29 pm

Re: Finding a Cell Phone for vacations...

Postposted on Mon Jan 17, 2011 1:51 pm

t-mobile's pre-paid pay-as-you-go might be what you're looking for. I have an old bare-bones Nokia that I keep on such a plan, and it works fine -- I only pay for my actual usage, so there are months where effectively I pay nothing (the phone is still active -- there's nothing to turn on or off with the carrier -- but it doesn't cost anything if you're not using it; just beware that the minutes will expire on you eventually). There may be caveats if you're going overseas (you'd be better off getting a sim card and/or phone locally there) or using a ton of data, as both could get more expensive than just biting the bullet on a "plan." Also by all accounts their data network is not as good as AT&T, so if you were planning on heavy data usage it wouldn't be a good choice -- but in that case you should probably be looking for a plan anyway, and it doesn't sound like that's your intended usage.
UberGerbil
Gerbil Khan
 
Posts: 9999
Joined: Thu Jun 19, 2003 3:11 pm

Re: Finding a Cell Phone for vacations...

Postposted on Mon Jan 17, 2011 2:43 pm

Travel as in overseas, or within the US?

If the former, having an unlocked phone and just getting a prepaid SIM card at the destination is a popular solution.

Since you don't use seem to use your cellphone very much, a high end device like the Nokia N8 ($400) is probably overkill. Shame, cause it's probably one of the best travel phones around. Carrier unlocked, quad band GSM and pentaband 3G antennas, free lifetime GPS with turn by turn navigation and worldwide offline maps, great camera for snapshots/travelblogging and ultra long standby battery life. I just got a topographic GPS app for outdoor activities as well.

If you're confining yourself to the US, AT&T has a $2 unlimited daily plan where you only get charged on days you use the phone (I'm assuming that you'll continue to not use the phone when you're at home).
Wind, Sand and Stars.
Voldenuit
Minister of Gerbil Affairs
 
Posts: 2455
Joined: Sat Sep 03, 2005 11:10 pm

Re: Finding a Cell Phone for vacations...

Postposted on Mon Jan 17, 2011 4:27 pm

Right now I've been traveling strictly within the US (Boston and Seattle so-far). That's not to say I wouldn't go outside the country, but it hasn't come up yet. Ideally, I'd like to avoid any sort of "roaming" charges if they would come up though. Basically, I don't mind paying up front to avoid a monthly bill or a ridiculous use charge when it did come up.

I really like some of the more expensive phones but they don't appear to offer the "pay as you go" options. I was wondering if I can just buy a nice phone like one of the Galaxy S ones and use that over another phone companies pay-as-you-go service. For example, AT&T has a galaxy S phone, but they require you bundle it with a $15/month data plan. They don't offer it as an option (even with the $500+ price tag) with their "gophone" deals. At least not online. I don't know if that's them just trying to avoid that deal, or are they really wouldn't offer it.I was looking at the "unlocked" one on Amazon and while it's expensive innitially, it looks like it has some great features. Only thing it seems short is the little slide-out keyboard.

I guess I could use one of the cheaper "gophones" with the web browser at last. Verizon also seems to have a similar deal up there.
Creamsteak
Gerbil First Class
 
Posts: 113
Joined: Wed May 14, 2008 6:29 pm

Re: Finding a Cell Phone for vacations...

Postposted on Mon Jan 17, 2011 10:59 pm

Unlocked is the only way I fly. I'm not a fan of carrier locked phones and their associated bullsh*t (crippled firmware, preloaded - and uninstallable - software, locked to carrier roaming rates, etc).

If you want to go unlocked, though, nokia seems to be the only game in town, as the only penta band 3G phones I know of offhand are the nokia N8, C7 and E7 (a search for penta band phones on gsmarena showed up no entries from samsung, sony, htc, motorola or blackberry). The Galaxy S is tri-band and the actual frequencies supported depend on trim and carrier - e.g. stock Galaxy S is 900/1900/2100 whereas the Google Nexus S (same phone) is 900/1700/2100.

AT&T 3G is 850mhz/1900mhz. T-mobile uses 1700/2100MHz. European and Asian carriers will use their own frequencies as well. Having a penta band phone means you can buy a prepaid SIM from practically any network on the planet and it will support that carrier's 3G implementation.

From what I can tell (you want a high end phone, unlocked and carrier agnostic) the nokia N8 may be the best choice for you. Since you don't use your phone much, the added features - free lifetime GPS with navigation and currently the best camera in a mobile phone may be of use to you when you're not travelling. And they will certainly pull their weight when you do travel.
Wind, Sand and Stars.
Voldenuit
Minister of Gerbil Affairs
 
Posts: 2455
Joined: Sat Sep 03, 2005 11:10 pm

Re: Finding a Cell Phone for vacations...

Postposted on Mon Jan 17, 2011 11:18 pm

The key here is data. Look at the $2 plan that UberGerbil linked. That one counts in kilobytes. So go to a webpage that is 1 meg in size you are dinged $10 already. I don't know how much data twitter uses but you do it enough times the bill racks up pretty quick. If you are going to use data, prepaid is really not the way to go.

Considering your usage, you may as well just ask for hotels (and offices, assuming you are going for business) that have wifi access so you can use your notebook/iPad/whatever, and at the same time force yourself not to be so addicted to Twitter while on the road. After all, you won't die if you don't post messages every 15 minutes.
Image
The Model M is not for the faint of heart. You either like them or hate them.

Gerbils unite! Fold for UnitedGerbilNation, team 2630.
Flying Fox
Gerbil God
 
Posts: 24580
Joined: Mon May 24, 2004 2:19 am

Re: Finding a Cell Phone for vacations...

Postposted on Tue Jan 18, 2011 12:24 am

I've never used twitter before in my life, but a number of the cons I go to have live twitter feeds for updates on events, lines, meet-ups and whatever else is going on at the moment. For that reason, I kinda want an easy access method I can have with me at all times.
Creamsteak
Gerbil First Class
 
Posts: 113
Joined: Wed May 14, 2008 6:29 pm


Return to Mobile Tech

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests