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.