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Purchase Decision – Mobile Phone – Part 2

02 Mar

In my last post on this subject, I decided that I was going to go with a regular cell phone rather than a smartphone. In that post I listed my requirements, and I came up with a list of cell phones that I thought should meet my needs. In this post we are going to dig a little deeper and narrow the field of candidate phones, and then make a final selection.

What carrier should I go with?

One way to narrow the group down in a hurry is to make a decision on the network I want to be on. This criteria may not make a lot of sense to someone living in one of Canada’s largest cities, but anyone who lives in Atlantic Canada and spends any time outside the major centers knows that the network really does matter.

Around here Bell and Telus share networks and they are generally considered to have the best coverage. I realise that some may dispute that statement, but it has been my experience and that of many people I know that Bell or Telus is the way to go if coverage outside the major centers in Atlantic Canada is a concern. For me it is definitely a concern, so I will further limit my search to phones offered by Bell, Telus, and Bell’s “bargain” brand Virgin (Telus’s bargain brand Koodo, doesn’t seem to have any phones that meet my requirements right now.)

Feature Rich Cell Phone Candidates – Bell, Telus, and Virgin Only

  • LG Bliss (Bell, Virgin)
  • LG New Chocolate (Telus)
  • LG Versa (Telus)
  • LG Xenon (Bell)
  • Samsung Advance (Telus)
  • Samsung Impact (Bell)

Bell / Telus / Virgin you say… but which network?

Bell and Telus recently launched a shared HSPA network in addition to their existing CDMA networks (Virgin, as a Bell brand, also uses Bell’s networks). This new network is fairly state of the art, robust, and allows them to offer the latest phones. Up until the new network was available, they were limited to CDMA phones. CDMA is a North America-centric technology, while most the rest of the world runs GSM technology. Most cell phone manufacturers have traditionally focussed more R&D dollars on making GSM phones because of the broader international reach of that technology. The “coolest” phones usually come out in GSM first and then in CDMA if they are popular enough to warrant the additional investment. Some phones have the capability to run on both types of networks, but that is not a common feature.

Bell and Telus’s HSPA network is essentially an newer version of GSM. The phones all have SIM cards and can eaily be unlocked and used on many networks around the world. I have decided that since I have a choice with Bell and Telus, I would prefer my new phone to be an HSPA phone on their new network. That criteria will narrow the field even further.

Feature Rich Cell Phone Candidates – Bell, Telus, and Virgin Only – HSPA Phones Only

  • LG New Chocolate (Telus)
  • LG Xenon (Bell)
  • Samsung Advance (Telus)
  • Samsung Impact (Bell)

So which one and why?

From what I have read, each of these phones meets my “must have” criteria. To narrow the field to two, I decided to take a very unscientific approach. I have an existing relationship with Bell and I decided that I want to continue with it. I realise that may not be really be fair to the Telus offerings, but it is what it is. With that out of the way, let’s look at the two phones that are left:

LG Xenon

The Xenon is a touchscreen phone with a slide out querty keyboard and a two megapixel camera.

A quick look at cellphones.ca shows that the average rating for the phone is a 7.5 out of 10. That said, there seems to be a pretty wide range of opinions on this phone. People seem to love it or hate it. There seem to be a number of quality complaints.

One thing I noted was that LG does not supply a sync tool for this phone that allows it to sync with Outlook. Although this is a nice to have feature for me, it is at the top of my nice to have list. Trying to maintain my contacts in my phone and in Outlook is not something I am anxious to step up to, but I would if I needed to.

A video review of the Rogers version of the Xenon can be found at mobilesyrup.com. The Bell Xenon is the same device, but may be offered in different colours.

Samsung Impact

The Impact is a bar style touchscreen phone with a 3 megapixel camera. A unique feature of the operating system is the use of customizable widgets to offer application some smartphone-like functionality.

A quick look at cellphones.ca shows that the average rating for the phone is a 7.9 out of 10. There is a much greater consensus on this phone and the consensus seems to be that it is well liked. There are some complaints that the touch screen is overly sensitive though.

Samsung offers software with this phone that allows it to sync with Outlook. This is a key differentiator for me.

A video review of the Impact can be found at mobilesyrup.com

I am going with the Samsung Impact. Stay tuned for my own review after I have had some time with the phone.

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2 Comments

Posted by on March 2, 2010 in Consumer Electronics

 

Tags: , , ,

2 responses to “Purchase Decision – Mobile Phone – Part 2

  1. Paul Joudrey

    March 9, 2010 at 8:04 PM

    As usual a very thoroughly researched study and what we all have come to expect the world over from the Value Canuck.

    Mr. Canuck, (or can I call you Value?), you should try and watch the latest airing of the CBC show Marketplace. The topic was cellphones but not a research on what phone is best so not directly related to your study.

    The show focused on huge cell phone bills and how the cell phone companies are not really interested in customer service once the sale has been made.

    So perhaps there is a link to your study as picking out the phone may only be half the battle.

     

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