, CNET's cell phone guru, wants to answer your questions about cell phones, services, and accessories. Send him a question!
I would like to see a search option on CNET that excludes cell phones with cameras. I work at a place that does not allow them on the premises and finding cool, noncamera cell phones these days is almost impossible
A: I agree that finding a cell phone without a camera is more difficult than it should be. After a slow start, camera phones became incredibly popular and carriers took notice by expanding their selections. Also, because of multimedia messaging, carriers make more money off camera phones so they push them for that reason as well.
RIM BlackBerry 8300
Of course there are still handsets that don't have snapshooters, but they tend to be devoid of higher-end features. There are a growing number of exceptions though, which definitely is a good thing in our book. The Motorola V195s for T-Mobile offers Bluetooth and voice recording without a camera. And on the smart-phone side, BlackBerry devices are a good bet for a noncamera device. The new RIM Blackberry 8830 for Verizon Wireless is one such model. For more phones without cameras, see our Editors' top basic-phones list.
Now I'll get back to your original question. I agree that it would be very helpful for our readers to have a search option on CNET for phones without cameras. At the moment our search technology only lets readers select phones with a specific feature rather than something without a specific feature. Hopefully we can add that soon. Q:
On a recent TV show I saw a reporter use a cell phone that doubled as a full-fledged digital recorder. Does such a cell phone exist? If so, who makes it?
A: You'll be pleased to know that many cell phones with digital recorders exist, though the levels of functionality vary. The vast majority will only offer a few minutes of recording so they may not match up with your idea of a "full-fledged" digital recorder. Yet there are handsets that offer more recording time, depending on the available memory. Typically, a smart phone would be your best bet, so you might start there. CNET lists whether a phone has a digital recorder in our reviews.
Have you found a place to buy prepaid SIM cards without a phone? Talk back to me below.
I reside in Dubai and will be spending the summer at my home in Delaware. In previous years I have used an old phone from the States and purchased a prepaid plan for the two months I am there. But this year I would like to purchase a new cell phone in Dubai and use it with a U.S prepaid SIM card while I'm back home. Is that possible to do with a carrier like Verizon? I assume I'll be able to use an unlocked phone with just about any SIM card.
A: Unfortunately, the prepaid phone situation in the United States is pretty backward. Yes, you can buy prepaid SIM cards here, but it's a more convoluted process than it is in many other countries. For example, while most U.S. carriers require you to buy a phone to get prepaid service, carriers in other countries don't have such restrictions. I've been to a few countries in Europe and Asia where I purchased a SIM card from a carrier store and then popped it into my handset I brought from home. They didn't care whether I used one of their handsets or not; it only mattered that I was purchasing service. Other countries, particularly those in cell phone-loving Scandinavia, make it even easier by selling prepaid SIM cards in vending machines.
But don't get too disappointed; there are a few places in the United States that sell SIM cards without a phone. I would check a few wireless stores when you get to Delaware and see if they have them. I can't recommend any in particular, but you'll have your best luck in third-party cellular stores not operated by a carrier. Urban areas are best as well (I've seen a few around San Francisco) so if you're close to Philadelphia or Baltimore you might check there. Also, keep in mind that Verizon won't have SIM cards because its phones do not use them.