Finally, a new cell phone

836I’ve had a Nokia 6160 phone since about 1997 – when I moved to Texas. And for even longer I’ve had AT&T Wireless service – back when they were CellularOne – and then more recently when ATT sold off to Cingular.

So finally my old phone starts to act up and it’s time to get something new and whizzy. But Cingular wants me to sign up for a 2 year contract – even though I’ve been a subscriber to the company they just bought for 8 years. Well hell – may as well shop around, then.

Nextel caught my eye. Partly because they’re geared for business use. And partly because they make phones for people, not kiddies. Only one of their phones has a camera, everything else is just for work. And then I read about their built-in GPS and the TeleNav software which lets your phone function like a in-car GPS. Well I’ve been wanting that a while, but I only need the functionality once or twice a month. Spending $1000’s on in-car GPS was a waste, but the $10/mo charge for Nextel is about right.

So I got the brand new i836 phone – because it looked cool, it was small and easy to carry (unlike the Nokia “brick”), and the case matched my Dell laptop.

Other cool things about Nextel and the phone:

  • You can sync your address book over the air to the web. No futzing with USB cables and Outlook. You can also access a secondary contact store over the web, great for archiving older entries.
  • Great rate plan, for the same $55 I was getting 600 anytime minutes from Cingular, Nextel gave me 1000.
  • Very functional addressbook – the one thing a phone must have that most of the phones the other carriers just suck at.
  • Awesome speakerphone and sound quality. And the speakerphone is easy to get at from several ways too – important for in-car use.
  • Internet connectivity was built into the design instead of being an afterthought. I still wouldn’t want to surf on this thing, but its clear some thought went into making this at least available in a pinch.
  • The phone feels solid. For something so small and light, it still feels well made and durable. This model has a really nice keypad layout too.
  • All in all I’m pretty happy with this little device. Only knock so far is they released the phone but not the case back-panel which would accomodate the bigger battery. So talk time is a little limited until they release that.