Cell/Mobile phone help please

The problem with living in the great white north, well besides being unable to get a locally grown pineapple, is the mobile phone or cell phone coverage out here. Since moving from Saskatchewan I've been using the churches mobile phone but because of hoops too big to jump through we will be leaving that phone alone soon and move on to another option. So I've been trying hard to find out which companies actually have coverage here in the field.

There are three networks in Canada, Rogers, Bell, and Telus. Rogers has a barely useable signal here in this place, and Bell has a bit better coverage, but it seems that Telus has the best coverage for here. Then of course each company has it's own phones and rarely can you get the phone you want with the company you want.

I suppose my question of you mobile phone users is, should I go with a regular phone or a smart phone?

I would like the money saving advantages of just a regular mobile, however I have come to realize that a great deal of the work that I do is internet based now. Email and IM have become important tools that sometimes I just need to have working for me. Occasionally out here the Internet connection can get broken and just fail. During the last internet outage I was waiting for a confirmation email that was seriously time sensitive, and the net was down. A smartphone would help that to no longer be a problem. But the commitment is a larger one, and lets face it, I'm cheap. In fact the only reason I am even considering a smartphone is that the church is ready to help out with the monthly fees, and then it can be used for work too.

So to those of you who have experience either way, comment or email me and tell me your preference and why. I'd be curious and you'd be ever so helpful.

Thanks

7 comments:

  1. Well my two cents...

    I don't have a smart phone - but I do have a cell phone with web service. It's a bit cumbersome surfing the web - on the other hand it's included with my service plan - under twenty bucks!

    At work they have blocked all email - so I use my phone to check email when I'm waiting for an important one, and for when I'm traveling.

    It suits me just fine :)

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  2. Really? Telus has the best coverage out there? I was hoping there was something better - I loose calls all the time!

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  3. It's a little tricky offering advice from here because our systems and offers are so different, although the problems (only one phone company works here) is the same. I can only use O2 in our village and here at work. Ben has vodafone, and has to put the phone on the windowsill to send text messages.

    Now they may not have the same offers in Ca, but a lot of phone companies are offering G3 connectivity packages with netbooks, and you can run a separate phone with a SIM on the same number/account. At least that way you can phone on a proper phone with sensible battery life, rather than a derisory couple of days of cautious useage (I've spoken with people whose G1 lasts about 12 hours of 'normal' full use). Also you can type emails on a real keyboard and view it on a proper screen.

    My personal preference would be just to have a normal phone with decent battery life and simple functions. Either Nokia or Sony Erikson. I currently use a SE W610i. That lasts around 10 days of light useage and will sync address lists and calendars with the Macbook through bluetooth with no additional software. It is also web-enabled, but using it that way would be silly, right? I would prefer a Nokia of some kind because they are just much cleaner to navigate, but the SE is still well ahead of Siemens etc in that respect.

    HTH.

    p.s. go on, fess up - you really want an iPhone.

    ;-)

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  4. Edot. I forgot - I did have to download a (free) driver from SE for the W610i to sync.

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  5. As a rather large gadget fan I've had smartphones for the last few years and its been somewhat hit and miss, although the misses have been more down to the operator than anything.

    Are phones generally heavily subsidised by the contract in Canada?

    If they are then I'd say you'd probably get the use out of them that means a more expensive contract. I certainly did for my first two years at Uni where I was on a fairly expensive contract. It did include a lot of minutes, texts which for me was a reasonable expense that meant keeping in touch with Kita, friends and family etc was nice and easy.

    For my second year I set up email for work and that too proved fairly useful as I wasn't tied to a desk at the time. Now though, living with Kita and being at a desk all day I've not the need for a large contract and so it's been heavily downgraded.

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  6. This site seemed to have some good advice - especially about relative cost and usefulness. http://smartphones.about.com/od/phonereviews/tp/budget_smartphones.htm But I imagine you know all this anyway.

    Leo and Eric sure do like their Blackberries.

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  7. Thanks for the input so far. Yes the phones can be heavily subsidized here which locks you in to a big monthly contract for three years which really makes me nervous, remembering my last three year contract i still need to pay out since we moved from Sask and there are still months remaining...

    iPhone I'd be interested in except it's only on the Rogers system and that coverage here is not 3G which is what makes the iphone run well. :)

    And Toni, your phone syncs with your macbook? hey that's not something I was even aware of. I should look into that.

    And "Girl," I am considering a regular phone with web access so I can get email on it. My daughter showed me her Virgin Mobile with Gmail on it and it looks like it could be a good option.


    I don't really need more web access, but this is probably the best time to think through if it's a good option to have or not.

    Right now I'm thinking the already mentioned regular phone with gmail, or a blackberry curve.
    ...

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