My Cell Phone Needs Replacing

My NEC 515 cell phone has started to exhibit random erratic behavior. Sometimes when it’s on, it fails to connect to a network; people call me and I don’t get a call or a message or even a “missed call” notice. Sometimes when I want to make a call the phone book is unavailable – it’s “sorting” endlessly. Sometimes it starts beeping at me that the SIM card is unavailable. None of this is good.

I’m somewhat locked into Cingular as a carrier, because most others don’t seem to have a signal that can be received inside my house, and we have a family plan too.

So all of a sudden I need a new GSM phone. Here’s the wish list:

  • I’m pretty used to flip phones, and like the idea of a phone that won’t accidentally call someone in my pocket.
  • I have a preference for quadband ‘world phones’ that can work anywhere. Failing that, I’d at least like one that works in Europe too.
  • I need an unlocked phone
  • And here’s the tough one: I’d like a phone that speaks to my PC, one that would let me upload and download numbers, ringtones and maybe even photos without having to pay the insane rates charged by Cingular

On the other hand, I don’t need some features that are heavily promoted:

  • I don’t care if it plays electronic games; I don’t
  • I don’t use my phone for Internet access.
  • I don’t particularly need much in the way of additional features like calendars and the like
  • All other things being equal, a camera might be fun, but it is not essential

If any readers have advice or pointers, especially about the connecting-to-the-PC part, I’d be most grateful.

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7 Responses to My Cell Phone Needs Replacing

  1. schwa says:

    The Motorola V551 is your friend. It’s not unlocked, but it can be unlocked — there’s no shortage of places which will do it for you. As for talking to your PC, the coolest and easiest way to do this is if your PC has Bluetooth — most laptops do these days. Then they’ll talk wirelessly to each other. If you don’t have a Bluetooth-capable computer, bluetooth adaptors aren’t expensive, or there may be a cable-based solution.

    I own the V551’s T-Mobile cousin, the V330, and adore it.

  2. Michael says:

    I gather the battery life on the v551 is pretty awful….

  3. fiat lux says:

    Check out the Razr. I’m not sure about quad-band unlocked, but it does pretty much everything else.

  4. An Ericsson T39 might meet your needs. It’s tri-band, not quad band, and it’s no longer made, but they are still readily available on the secondary market.

  5. Ann Bartow says:

    I’m pretty used to flip phones, and like the idea of a phone that won’t accidentally call someone in my pocket.

    Inquiring minds want to know: Who is in your pocket?

  6. paperwight says:

    Re the not-calling-someone from your pocket problem, my Nokia has a keylock feature — it’s 2 keypresses to lock or unlock it, and I’ve never accidentally called anyone. So, I wouldn’t limit yourself to flip-phones — check out the feature set.

  7. scott says:

    I don’t have useful specific recommendations, but here are some resources.

    Phonescoop ( lets you shop by specification. You can choose (or ignore) lots of features (everything you mentioned, I think). The nifty part is that you can prioritize each feature on a scale of Required > Very_Important > Important > Preferred > No_Preference.

    For talking to your computer, here are some things I’ve gleaned from the boards at (You should heavily discount my 2¢, because I haven’t tried any of these myself.). Each of these has people who swear by it — and at it.

    – Datapilot ( is supposed to be the best commercial software for cellphone/computer sync. You can get just the software, or they can sell you a kit with the appropriate cable (or ALL of ’em). I’ve read raves and pans, so before shelling out research compatability with Cingular and your phone.

    – Bitpim ( is a free, open-source application. It’s in version 0.7.35 (and still looks kinda beta-riffic, I think). And it doesn’t cover every phone, yet.

    – There’s also something called QPST, which is supposed to be the software used for Qualcomm phones (and any phone with a Qualcomm chipset). It’s not hard to find, but it’s warez. Again, I haven’t tried this and cannot vouch for it (or the others).

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