|The fastest data networks, Samsung's mass appeal, and voice-activated dialing |
By Joni Blecher
Senior Editor Joni Blecher, a.k.a. the Cell Phone Diva, wants to answer all your questions about cell phones, service plans, and wireless connectivity. Send her a question!
Data or bust
Q: My primary considerations in upgrading from my old Samsung SCH-8500 (Sprint PCS) phone will be the ability to surf the wireless Web and use my phone as a modem. Do you have any suggestions on which phones (and carriers) will serve me best, and can any cell phone act as a modem?
A: First, you can use data-ready cell phones as modems. If your main concern in the immediate future is wireless Web surfing, wait for the 1xRTT data-ready phones to debut. Don't worry; they'll be here soon. We should see a slew of them by the end of summer, so you'll be able to choose from plenty of devices. I've tested both GPRS and 1xRTT data-ready phones, and at this point, 1xRTT is the way to go, with both Sprint PCS and Verizon Wireless rolling out their networks nationwide. Verizon's is already working in parts of the country and can be currently accessed by the LG VX1 and the Audiovox Thera.
Q: I'm thinking of purchasing the Samsung SPH-A460 to replace my old Qualcomm QCP-2760. Right now, the average price on the Samsung seems to be $199. Any chance there's a newer model coming out? Is it worth waiting to see if the A460's price will go down? Thanks.
A: Samsung will definitely release more phones in the next couple of months. If you're looking for a good deal, chances are the price of the A460 will drop. However, if you don't want to wait and need a bargain now, check out the Samsung SPH-A400. It's a lot like the A460, but it doesn't have an external LCD. You can buy it from just about anywhere and activate it online at the Sprint PCS Web site.
Q: I have a large, analog Motorola phone in my car. My company is changing providers, and I am being offered a dinky little mobile that I do not like. Are there larger TDMA phones out there with nice, big numbers so that I can dial without looking as I do now?
A: Actually, most phones now support voice-activated dialing, which means you can say a name that you've entered in your phone book, and the mobile will automatically dial the number. Better yet, the feature works really well and is great for use in a car. But back to your question: the Nokia 6360 has a decent-sized keypad; however, most TDMA phones don't have a keypad as large as those found on analog phones.
Find and buy ring tones, images, and games for you phone
Check CNET editors' favorite cell phones
See how your phone's radiation level compares to others'
Joni Blecher is a section editor for CNET Reviews.