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  #1  
Old 05-22-2012, 03:18 PM
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Natalie Natalie is offline
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Default Looking for suggestions in buying 1st smartphone

I would like to get my 1st smartphone, and would appreciate advice given by someone who isn't a salesclerk trying to sell me just whatever he has on his shelf.

Not important: built-in stun gun, free snap-on silicone vibrator heads, coffee warmer, gaming, watching or making movies, face detection.

Important: unlocked and under $180
for use in Europe, Asia, and maybe US
possibility to replace stock mp3 player for great sounding one
GPS supporting download of off-road maps or at least mark waypoints
WiFi
capacitive touchscreen w/ physical volume dial
largish screen that can be read in direct sunlight
at least 16 GB onboard memory, or SDHC card slot - preferably on the outside of phone, and even better if it's hot-swappable

Thanks, guys!

Last edited by Natalie; 05-22-2012 at 03:22 PM. Reason: error, forgot smth
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  #2  
Old 05-22-2012, 04:17 PM
sideways sideways is offline
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I can't really think of anything that fits all your criteria...

The problem is the combination of low price point, direct sunlight visibility and the need for navigation (presumably offline navigation).

Maps/Navigation (assuming you want a GPS unit with offline navigation)
As far as I know iOS and Android both need an internet connection for maps and navigation to work. Nokia phones will do offline navigation but most will fail on one of your other requirements. The sunlight visibility on the cheaper phones is not sufficient and the UI is usually hopelessly outdated. I doubt any phone is ideal for use as a primary off road navigation device. When I go into the sticks I bring a paper map that wont run out of batteries and that has a large viewable area.

Sunlight visibility
No screen will do well in direct bright sunlight. That is a fact, there are just degrees of suck. Amoled screens do better than the LCD ones in general or the other alternative is to get a really bright LCD phone. Neither alternative is cheap.

Possibility to change stock mp3 player
If the hardware is up to spec than the only thing changing the mp3 player app does is add features like an equalizer. You can't make a silk purse out of a pigs ear.

Perhaps you could clarify this point a bit " GPS supporting download of off-road maps or at least mark waypoints".
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  #3  
Old 05-22-2012, 05:54 PM
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Natalie Natalie is offline
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I will be in India for a while, and even if I'm in a village w/ thousands of people it won't be in the Garmin roadmaps, so I want a way to find myself around many winding narrow streets, back to my hotel rooms, etc. If it's not possible to download maps ahead of time at a hotspot, I would still like to be able to mark on my phone, "This tree is at such and such co-ordinates," for viewing later. Any Idea what would offline nav. would be called on the specs sheet? 2 types of GPS are listed.

I can always hold my hand over the phone to block the sun. Not a big prob considering its what will charge my 2 solar powered battery chargers.

So about the mp3, then I'd need to look at any sony or samsung phone?
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Old 05-22-2012, 07:15 PM
sideways sideways is offline
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Aaah OK that cleared things up a bit.

If you are going to India it would make sense to check with the locals to see what they use for navigation. I have never been there so I can't really comment on that. Perhaps one of the locals could chime in. I would imagine that the navteq/nokia partnership have a good hold there but again I have no real way of knowing.

For maps to work offline you need to be able to download maps, that's not really something they put on spec sheets. It is application specfic. So google maps for example allows you to download a small cache (it really is very limited) from google maps. There might be (/probably are) other navigation apps for android that will allow you to download maps.

The two types of GPS listed in spec sheets are GPS/A-GPS. That is not related to offline/online access to maps. From my understanding the A-GPS or assisted gps allows for a faster GPS lock using positional data from cell towers.

For the mp3 player it depends on how much you intend to use it. If you want to be listening to tunes all day, expect to do navigation and still have some juice left for emergency calls you will probably be disappointed. You might be better off with 2 devices. Sound quality will vary, some will be good, others not so good. Test if for yourself.

My recommendation: have a look to see if there are any Nokia phones with the Ovi Maps feature in your price range. They will likely be an older model running Symbian. Nokia N8-00, C6-01, X7-00 might be discounted enough. You'll get little eye candy and a UI built by engineers instead of designers. If you can find an android app that with good support in india that might also be an option.

The new Nokia 610 is a little over the budget but does what you want as far as I can tell.
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  #5  
Old 05-29-2012, 02:40 PM
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At initial checkings, I found 400 Euro average for those, but then I found them for half that, so I am considering. I guess I like the size/shape of the Galaxy S Minis. Not a candy bar, nor a "tablet". Guys, are those any good for the preferences I mentioned above?
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  #6  
Old 06-06-2012, 02:16 PM
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Dunno if you are still on looking but it looks like google just blew things wide open by announcing offline support for their Google Maps service. I stand by my prior recommendations though since this feature is unlikely to filter down quite yet.

http://www.engadget.com/2012/06/06/g...fline-support/
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  #7  
Old 06-08-2012, 08:51 AM
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I'm still considering options, realizing now that I will sometimes need to type, and with my clumsiness, typing on a capacative screen will be a big problem and using a stylus on a resistive screen is even worse, so maybe thinking one of those nokias w/ a waterproof case, using a small bluetooth keyboard? Do all bluetooth devices charge separately, or do some charge from the phone's battery?
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  #8  
Old 06-08-2012, 10:10 AM
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there are apps that you can buy that allow for map downloads. I used one for a while and it was decent. new car ahs built in nav so no need anymore
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  #9  
Old 06-08-2012, 11:08 AM
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The new Google maps that Google just reveled a couple of days has offline (ability to download maps) support. It should be out in a couple of weeks.
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  #10  
Old 06-08-2012, 02:56 PM
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I had mentioned earlier that this is for the winding narrow streets of India (where only cows, pedestrians and rickshaws go). Our car in Europe has a Garmin, but we bought it separately - car is 22 years old.
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  #11  
Old 06-08-2012, 03:43 PM
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If typing accuracy is a concern you might do well to up the budget and get something with a large screen and decently fast processor, instead of that extra keyboard. You'll waste less potential that way. The bigger the touchscreen the easier it is to type on.

If you have an old dumbphone lying around somewhere it wouldn't be a horrible idea to get something like a samsung galaxy player 5.0 as your data device and save the battery on the dumbphone for when it really matters.
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  #12  
Old 06-10-2012, 07:58 AM
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Sideways, I tried typing on a large screen and found it really a problem. I am considering between the Sony Ericsson Xperia Pro mini and regular, and the Motorola Milestone 2 (possibly known as Droid in US) - all "side sliders", but am seeing that several of these aren't working properly with Skype. Does someone know if this is only certain versions of Android that don't work? Could I just use a dif release? Or would a different Voip service work better?

Yes, I would love to use my 11 year old Motorola Accompli 009, but the networks it supports are so limited that it's very hard to send a simple SMS from it in India, what-to-speak of Pinging.
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