Recommendation for Unlocked GSM Phone

Discussion in 'Travel Technology' started by gleff, Jun 5, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    My ancient cheap throwaway phone has died, it's time to throw it away.

    When I'm traveling I use mostly Skype for making calls. But I like to have a cell phone that I can carry with me, (a) to receive calls on and (b) to make a call or two while out and about, especially for information or reservations, etc.

    So I need a cheap GSM phone that I can toss a local SIM card into. Not looking to spend a lot of money, but I do want it to operate on 3 or 4 bands to get good world coverage.

    Once upon a time I'd use an Icelandic SIM and a callback service to get 8 or 9 cent calls in 60+ countries. Don't have a good world SIM that works quite as well as that, but then I'd often want to use it in Asia anyway and it wouldn't be as cheap in Thailand or Hong Kong so I'd need a local SIM. So while we're at it, any 'world' SIM suggestions appreciated, I could use a new one (most recently was using eKit).

    Thanks!
     
  2. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    Under $100 on Ebay ,Samsung C3303 Quad-band Cell

    [​IMG]

    • 2G Network: GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
    • Display: TFT resistive touchscreen, 256K colors (Type); 240x320 pixels, 2.4" (Size); TouchWiz Lite UI
    • Alert Types: Vibration & MP3 ringtones
    • Speakerphone w/ Stereo Speakers
    • 3.5mm audio jack
    • Phonebook: up to 1000 contacts, photocall
    • Internal Memory: up to 30MB
    • Expanded Memory (card slot): microSD (up to 8GB)
    • Bluetooth v2.1 w/ A2DP
    • microUSB v2.0
    • Camera: 1.3 MP, 1280 x 1024 pixels
    • Video: QCIF@15fps
    • Messaging (subscription service may be required): SMS, MMS, Email
    • Stereo FM radio; built-in antenna
    • Social networking integration (subscription service may be required)
    • MP3/WMA/eAAC+ player
    • MP4/H.263 player
    • Organizer
    • Voice memo
    • Standard battery, Li-Ion 1000 mAh
    • Standby time: up to 666 hours
    • Talk time: up to 12 hours
     
  3. gleff
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    Very cool, prob much higher end than what I need even though.
     
  4. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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  5. gleff
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    Thanks -- I think that's the EXACT one I have had for 5 years that has died..!
     
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  6. Falcon View
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  7. gomike
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    gomike Silver Member

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    gleff likes this.
  8. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    Personally, I would not buy a basic throwaway $20 phone anymore. If a second phone is needed (i.e., the US phone won't work for whatever reason), I'd buy an unlocked Android phone. Saw the Samsung Galaxy 5 recently for 99 Euros in a German electronics superstore; Amazon has it, too. Why? Because for insignificantly more money it offers a lot more options/features that are becoming more and more useful given the growing ubiquity of cheap cellular and WiFi data services.

    My current international travel phone is a two-year-old fairly compact Android phone I got for free from Google at their developer conference a few years back. It's very nice to have access to some basic apps, a decent keyboard for text messages, etc. If/when it dies or I really want a newer version of the Android OS, I will probably replace it with something similar.
     
  9. bakedpatato
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    Ever since my I got my Blackberry 8700g, I've been unable to go back to dumbphones(I had one for a week while I was waiting for a replacement phone to get to me and I wanted to die :D). +1 sir.
     
  10. wombat18
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    What's the battery life like on these simple smartphones?
     
  11. legalalien
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    legalalien Gold Member

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    Battery is OK if you don't keep apps running in the background and pulling (3G) data all the time. Meaning, you don't have to plug them in every night, but don't expect standby time of a week or longer.

    As to the recommendation for a new phone, check out some of the later Nokia phones (C2-01 or C3). Not exactly throw-away prices, but low enough for an unlocked phone, and wider connectivity options (3G and in some cases Wi-Fi) when you need it, ability to run apps, FM radio, a decent camera, and a good battery life due to smaller screen and low power CPU.

    Also note that many advanced phones sold on eBay at a significant discount and shipped from China are counterfeit (though some are very well done and hard to tell from the original).
     
  12. Open Fly
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    You need to be carefull with these services when using a prepaid SIM card as the service charges can clear your credit.

    Case in point: Last year Vodafone Ireland charged 1 euro for the first 50MB of bandwith and then 1 euro for each additional MB. This may be fine for checking email once or twice a day, but open up a video file or go to Youtube and that will be the end of your service.
     
  13. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    Yes, it's always important to understand the data plans associated with prepaid SIMs.
     

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