. nsumer Reports, Fall 2000 *see note at end of report* Cons: Rather low talk time (2.5 hours in digital mode) Arms that hold earpiece break frequently Cost: $150 Kyocera QCP 2035 Pros: Two way text messaging Vibrate alert Sprints cheapest phone Cons: Not quite as trendy looking as some of Sprints other options Cost: $100 Motorola Timeport P8167 Pros: Built in vibrate alert Great reception, great menu access Can receive text messages Cons: All ringer options high pitched and irritating Very costly Three-colored screen not available through Sprint (only Verizon) Cost: $230 Verizon Nokia 5185i Pros: Accessories very easy to find-especially faceplates Tri-mode Cons: Phone book only holds 99 numbers Lacks many popular options Cost: $50 Kyocera QCP 3065 Pros: Built in Palm Pilot w/software Vibrate alert Tri-mode Cons: Large size Fragile flip cover Cost: $399 Motorola StarTac 7868 Pros: Small size Tri-mode Cons: Weak battery Lacks many options most phones have standard Cost: $149 Audiovox CDM 9000 Pros: Data capable Can receive text messages Tri-mode Cons: Weak battery Phone book only holds 99 entries Cost: $60 Motorola Vulcan V8160 Pros: Smallest phone available Web enabled Cons: Too small for comfortable use Expensive Cost: $199 **Also available through Verizon: Kyocera QCP 2035 and the Motorola Timeport P8767, reviewed through Verizon** Recommendations For general and personal use: For the average person’s needs, Verizon and Cingular Wireless make the most sense with their expandable coverage plans and inclusion of free night and weekend calling with all plans 19.99 and up (does not always apply to Verizon). As a college student I find I use 95% of my minutes in the evenings and on the weekends, and my phone is off the majority of the daytime. Unless a more advanced phone is desired, the Ericsson’s and Nokia’s are reasonably priced and come with a wide array of options.
Hidden costs are minimal and with three options for coverage, roaming charges can be reduced to a bare minimum.A plan for thirty to forty dollars offers between 200-400 peak minutes, which is often more than enough for general use. Verizon and Cingular offer caller ID, call waiting, three-way calling, call forwarding and voice mail, all free of charge. For business use: Sprint’s nationwide coverage attracts many, while offering the most peak minutes at the lowest rates. Watch for promotions where you can quickly double the minutes of a plan for the original price; they seem to have them every few months. All calls for most of their plans within the continental United States classify as “local calls” as long as you are within their digital coverage while the call is in progress. Features such as caller ID and voicemail are presented as options, but rarely can you get all the options you want without having to pay an additional cost. These “pick and chose” promotions can be misleading, as they have hidden costs.
The Samsung SCH 3500 and the Motorola Timeport are great choices, with the Samsung being the most cost-effective of Sprints available phones in that it offers the most options for the lowest cost. While the Timeport is quite expensive, it is the best phone on the market and can act as a modem with the proper cable. This can be quite handy for those who frequently use laptops and need an Internet connection available to them. Other Options: Some of Sprint’s plans are still month-to-month; this is an asset to those who don’t want to be tied down to a contract.
This is a very expensive option but can be cost saving if a phone is only needed for a short period of time. Another cheap alternative to a yearly contract (all starting at 19.99) is prepaid cellular service. Usually the phone is included, and for around sixty cents a minute you can get prepaid communications with a prepackaged phone and calling card.Oftentimes this is a strictly analog phone (less reliable), but can be of great help in an emergency-the most common reason for the purchase of a prepaid phone. These packages and additional calling cards can be purchased at a wide variety of places, but are most commonly found in gas stations and supermarkets.
Throughout the 1990’s, Nokia and Motorola controlled the mobile phone market, but with companies new to wireless communications such as Samsung and Sanyo, the leaders have had to release better phones at lower prices. Within the last few years’ features that were once only available to land lines, became available to mobile phones, and with time these features became free of charge for most plans. Caller ID and call waiting are two of these features.While the major phone companies still charge for these features along with many others, cellular users have been enjoying them free of charge for some time. Choosing a phone can be quite difficult, and with the pros and cons I have listed, the reception is not taken into consideration as it varies dramatically based on location, battery power and numerous other elements. Merely being near a computer or behind a brick wall can cause even a tri-mode phone to struggle to find a signal. Many who purchase a cellular phone believe that it will work everywhere, without a glitch.
They quickly realize that this is untrue, and oftentimes try to return the phone as defective.However wireless communication is not perfect, nor can it perform as reliably as a landline. There are certain areas, such as basements and electronics stores, where cellular phones just cannot operate. What you are paying for is wireless communication, not another phone line. However by knowing your phone limits and the limits of your carrier, you can maximize your reliability while using your phone almost as if it is connected to a landline. Many times a mobile phone bill is comparable to that of a home bill, while offering more features and giving you the major advantage of being entirely wireless.
I encourage everyone who uses a telephone to compare his or her home bill to that of a cellular customer, and consider joining the millions who already have gone wireless. The best way to go about choosing a cellular provider is to stop into their local stores and analyze each one’s service through their provided literature and by talking to a representative. I recommend staying away from the service providers in the mall, as oftentimes they have less knowledgeable staff and are less likely to bargain with you on certain aspects of their plans.
By gathering all the latest information on all three providers, looking at your current phone bill, and talking to current cellular users, one can quickly gain all the insight they need to make an intelligent purchase. *The reason the Samsung SCH 3500 was rated top mobile phone by Consumer Reports is because their analysis was based solely upon features available on the phones themselves.The major downfall of this phone is that it is only available through Sprint, and thusly available only to those within Sprint’s limited PCS n Technology Essays.