The Poor Man’s iPhone

So, last weekend, I decided to replace my 3 year old cellphone.  I liked the way the old phone worked, but it was on its last legs.  It was time to upgrade.  I’d been holding out til iPhone launch to determine if I wanted to get one, but ultimately, I couldn’t let myself part with 600 dollars for merely a phone.

I wasn’t sure what phone to get, but I’d heard good things about both the samsung blackjack and the samsung sync (a707, which my sister has).  I checked, and it looked like Opera Mini would work on both devices, so I figured i’d be able to at least do some basic web surfing with either phone.  iPhone on a budget.

Anyway, after going in and deciding on the Blackjack, the AT&T rep told me i’d have to get a $40/month unlimited data plan with it.  On the other hand, if I got a sync, I’d have to get a $20/month plan.  The AT&T rep told me that this was because “the phones accessed the internet differently” — however, they’re really giving you a different pricing plan based on expected usage of the phone, not actual capabilities (though out of the box the Blackjack may have a better browser, i don’t know).  I ended up deciding on getting the Sync, which I played with for a while, and I’ve come to realize that it’s a pretty damn good little phone, barring the usual interface difficulties.

Here’s what I like about the phone:

  • I can get Google Maps.  I didn’t know Google Maps for Mobile existed as a J2ME App, now I do.  It’s pretty similar to what you get with the iPhone, but I have a smaller screen.
  • I can browse the web.  Opera Mini works pretty well.
  • It’s got HSDPA.  While I don’t have HSDPA in my area, it’s nice to know that my phone has it for when I travel.
  • It’s got Bluetooth Dial Up Networking support.  That’s right.  I can connect my laptop to my phone and get on the internet.  On the road in an area with HSDPA, that makes for a great alternative to paying for wifi.
  • It plays MP3 files and supports up to 2GB MicroSD flash.  Yeah, only 2 gigs, but it’s better than my shuffle.
  • It connects to Yahoo Music (and Napster).  I’ve been a yahoo music subscriber for a while (though I only listen on the computer), and the possibility of putting a few playlists on my phone sounds really cool.

When you think about it, this phone gets you a good deal of what the iphone gets you, minus ITMS, minus the beautiful touch screen.  So, I think it’s appropriate to call this phone the Poor Man’s iPhone.

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I'm a software engineer in New Orleans interested in making things, growing things, big fast computers, media convergence, and pugs.

-40 thoughts on “The Poor Man’s iPhone”

  1. While Samsung SYNC is a real nice phone, not just SYNC but most any phone these days could be called poor man’s (shouldn’t that be wise man’s?) iPhone. Most phones have music player and some sort of web-surfing, albeit through carrier’s network (instead of wi-fi as well). Although iPhone’s screen is bigger than most cell phones, it is still not big enough for the kind of web-surfing we’re used to doing on computers…even with the smallest of monitors.

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