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Semi-OT: Smartfone recommendation pls.

 
 
~misfit~
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      03-20-2013
Hi Gang,

I have a friend who travels quite a bit (in NZ), isn't very rich but was
considering getting a cheap-ish, low-end tablet. She wants it mainly for
watching movies and perhaps reading books (although she has a Kindle Touch -
she could part with that if the phone ends up doing the job).

I told her that she'd likely be better off with an inexpensive smartphone
with a largish screen as she carries a cell phone anyway. That seemed like
the best option to me anyway. Well, it seems that I convinced her and now
she's asking for a recommendation and frankly I haven't got a clue! (Should
have kept my mouth shut.)

Anyway, I thought that I'd ask here, in these two groups as I know there's a
lot of knowledge here. Also it's quite time-sensitive as it's her birthday
next week and she's being given a few dollars from family and wants to put
to it and but one. If it wasn't time-sensitive I'd try harder to educate
myself so I could advise her. However, I have my own shite to do so, if
anyone can help I'd appreciate it.

Basically she's with 2 Degrees so it needs to support them - and it probably
needs a reasonable screen (and audio as she'll use a head-set with it).
Portability would be great too but there are always trade-offs. WiFi not
essential by any means, just a USB port.

Thanks in advance if anyone is kind enough to offer an opinion. Oh, she's
not interested in plans - a straight-out purchase is what she's after.

Thanks for reading.
--
/Shaun.

"Humans will have advanced a long, long, way when religious belief has a
cozy little classification in the DSM."
David Melville (in r.a.s.f1)


 
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JohnO
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      03-20-2013
On Wednesday, 20 March 2013 18:30:58 UTC+13, ~misfit~ wrote:
<snip>

Even larger smartphone screens such as Samsung GalaxyS3 is IMHO too small for book reading and movie watching. And those sort of phones are big money or free on big money monthly contracts.

2degrees is expensive for data. If you are out of the main centers you needtheir "National 3G" plan which is IIRC $10 for 100Mb. Better deal with their mobile broadband plan if you are just in the main centers but then you are stuffed if you are travelling in the boonies.

Skinny have a far, far better data plan $4/week for 200Mb. If you want phone/txt you can add that for another $4/wk.

All tablets have wifi AFAIK but 3G ones always cost more.

I got the missus a relatively inexpensive 7" 3G tablet and put a skinny SIMin it and it's been perfect. It's a ZTE Light Tab 9 and I think I got it from expansys for under $300 but they don't have it now. Only Android 2.3 but for email and web use that's no big deal. There's probably better optionsavailable now.
 
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JohnO
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      03-20-2013
On Wednesday, 20 March 2013 21:46:05 UTC+13, JohnO wrote:

Oh, and there's no reason to stay with 2degrees - you can take your number to skinny.

The big problem is do you want to carry a phone and a tablet? Bit of a pain.. And if you have both, do you want two SIMs? If you get a cheap Android phone with a good data account it can act as a wifi hot spot for a cheaper wifi tablet. But it's a bit of an inconvenience to switch it on vs an always on 3G tablet.
 
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~misfit~
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      03-20-2013
Somewhere on teh intarwebs JohnO wrote:
> On Wednesday, 20 March 2013 21:46:05 UTC+13, JohnO wrote:
>
> Oh, and there's no reason to stay with 2degrees - you can take your
> number to skinny.
>
> The big problem is do you want to carry a phone and a tablet? Bit of
> a pain. And if you have both, do you want two SIMs? If you get a
> cheap Android phone with a good data account it can act as a wifi hot
> spot for a cheaper wifi tablet. But it's a bit of an inconvenience to
> switch it on vs an always on 3G tablet.


Thanks for the replies, appreciated.

She's on the $19/month prepay plan, same as me. (S'funny, a plan but it's
gotta come out of a pre-paid balance.)

For that you get unlimited texts, 40 or 50 minutes of NZ minutes (not sure,
hardly use fone for voice) and 500MB data. As I said though, she really just
wants to watch videos, come visit, load up on the latest episodes I might
have, then watch them at her leisure over the next couple weeks - or until
the next visit. I just figured she'd be better off with a phone than having
to carry a phone *and* a tablet (and her Kindle). Especially as she's prone
to losing (track of) things. Also - only one charger....

Cheers,
--
/Shaun.

"Humans will have advanced a long, long, way when religious belief has a
cozy little classification in the DSM."
David Melville (in r.a.s.f1)


 
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JohnO
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      03-20-2013
On Wednesday, 20 March 2013 23:22:17 UTC+13, ~misfit~ wrote:
> Somewhere on teh intarwebs JohnO wrote:

<snip>
>
> She's on the $19/month prepay plan, same as me. (S'funny, a plan but it's
> gotta come out of a pre-paid balance.)


Yet the minimim top-up is $20. So ever month you get to loan 2degrees a dollar interest free and after 19 months you can actually get that back!

Also, they have an extremely inconvenient 2 step process. First you have to charge up your account balance with money, and then you need to buy your pre-pay plan with money in your account. Why can't you just make a $19 purchase directly?

Your friend is already used to this so probably doesn't mind.

Skinny have a slightly less annoying $4.50 min top up against a $4/week plan but you can at least just top up $8 every two weeks (and you can make that automatic) so you don't have them as an incrementing creditor for 19 months.

Skinny's customer service is non existent though. I had a lot of problems with their web based sign up initially and it was impossible to get a human to answer their support line.

> For that you get unlimited texts, 40 or 50 minutes of NZ minutes (not sure,
> hardly use fone for voice) and 500MB data.


That 500Mb/month is a temporary deal - it is usually a measly 30Mb! Deal ends in June but maybe it will be replaced with a similar deal.

> As I said though, she really just
> wants to watch videos, come visit, load up on the latest episodes I might
> have, then watch them at her leisure over the next couple weeks - or until
> the next visit. I just figured she'd be better off with a phone than having
> to carry a phone *and* a tablet (and her Kindle). Especially as she's prone
> to losing (track of) things. Also - only one charger....


With decent 3G and a decent amount of data she should be able to watch those episodes over the air?

Anyway, good luck finding the best compromise!



 
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Frank Williams
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      03-20-2013
On Wed, 20 Mar 2013 13:30:24 -0700 (PDT), JohnO <(E-Mail Removed)>
wrote:

>On Wednesday, 20 March 2013 23:22:17 UTC+13, ~misfit~ wrote:
>> Somewhere on teh intarwebs JohnO wrote:

><snip>
>>
>> She's on the $19/month prepay plan, same as me. (S'funny, a plan but it's
>> gotta come out of a pre-paid balance.)

>
>Yet the minimim top-up is $20. So ever month you get to loan 2degrees a dollar interest free and after 19 months you can actually get that back!
>
>Also, they have an extremely inconvenient 2 step process. First you have to charge up your account balance with money, and then you need to buy your pre-pay plan with money in your account. Why can't you just make a $19 purchase directly?
>
>Your friend is already used to this so probably doesn't mind.
>
>Skinny have a slightly less annoying $4.50 min top up against a $4/week plan but you can at least just top up $8 every two weeks (and you can make that automatic) so you don't have them as an incrementing creditor for 19 months.
>
>Skinny's customer service is non existent though. I had a lot of problems with their web based sign up initially and it was impossible to get a human to answer their support line.
>
>> For that you get unlimited texts, 40 or 50 minutes of NZ minutes (not sure,
>> hardly use fone for voice) and 500MB data.

>
>That 500Mb/month is a temporary deal - it is usually a measly 30Mb! Deal ends in June but maybe it will be replaced with a similar deal.
>
>> As I said though, she really just
>> wants to watch videos, come visit, load up on the latest episodes I might
>> have, then watch them at her leisure over the next couple weeks - or until
>> the next visit. I just figured she'd be better off with a phone than having
>> to carry a phone *and* a tablet (and her Kindle). Especially as she's prone
>> to losing (track of) things. Also - only one charger....

>
>With decent 3G and a decent amount of data she should be able to watch those episodes over the air?
>
>Anyway, good luck finding the best compromise!
>
>




The Huawei Ideos X3's would be the cheapest smart phone at the moment
at $89, has a few short comings and gets mixed reviews.


DSE has them on sale.


 
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~misfit~
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      03-20-2013
Somewhere on teh intarwebs JohnO wrote:
> On Wednesday, 20 March 2013 23:22:17 UTC+13, ~misfit~ wrote:
>> Somewhere on teh intarwebs JohnO wrote:

> <snip>
>>
>> She's on the $19/month prepay plan, same as me. (S'funny, a plan but
>> it's gotta come out of a pre-paid balance.)

>
> Yet the minimim top-up is $20. So ever month you get to loan 2degrees
> a dollar interest free and after 19 months you can actually get that
> back!
>
> Also, they have an extremely inconvenient 2 step process. First you
> have to charge up your account balance with money, and then you need
> to buy your pre-pay plan with money in your account. Why can't you
> just make a $19 purchase directly?
>
> Your friend is already used to this so probably doesn't mind.


Yeah, it's annoying but as NZers there are other annoyances that are as bad
or worse. (Banks taking a weekend to Tx funds between two NZ accounts
f'r'instance.) At the end of the day it's a few bucks in that ultimately you
get back - there are worse practices.

> Skinny have a slightly less annoying $4.50 min top up against a
> $4/week plan but you can at least just top up $8 every two weeks (and
> you can make that automatic) so you don't have them as an
> incrementing creditor for 19 months.
>
> Skinny's customer service is non existent though. I had a lot of
> problems with their web based sign up initially and it was impossible
> to get a human to answer their support line.
>
>> For that you get unlimited texts, 40 or 50 minutes of NZ minutes
>> (not sure, hardly use fone for voice) and 500MB data.

>
> That 500Mb/month is a temporary deal - it is usually a measly 30Mb!
> Deal ends in June but maybe it will be replaced with a similar deal.


I've been on that deal for nearly a year, they keep giving an expiry date
yet it keeps getting extended. <shrug>

>> As I said though, she really just
>> wants to watch videos, come visit, load up on the latest episodes I
>> might have, then watch them at her leisure over the next couple
>> weeks - or until the next visit. I just figured she'd be better off
>> with a phone than having to carry a phone *and* a tablet (and her
>> Kindle). Especially as she's prone to losing (track of) things. Also
>> - only one charger....

>
> With decent 3G and a decent amount of data she should be able to
> watch those episodes over the air?


Not likely - at least not at a price she can afford. An episode a night for
a couple days would eat that quota up quick-fast. She usually grabs an 8GB
USB stick full at least when I see her. The data would only be used for a
few pxts and maybe email.

I only really need advice about a device - all she needs is a phone that she
can watch mp4s / avis on. Long story but she spends a lot of time in
'hostels' etc. where they don't advise / allow computers (as such) or she
could use the nice little IBM X31 ThinkPad that I gave her a while back.
However something that's on her person all the time is a safer bet. She
carries her 'dumb' Nokia slider with her anyway (and hides her Kindle...).

> Anyway, good luck finding the best compromise!


Thanks. I was hoping for more input as I'll be giving her a few $$ as
well (that I can't afford <sigh>) and would like to do all I can to help her
get the best for her money - frankly she wouldn't have a clue (and the same
applies to me at the moment). :-/ I'd hate to learn about the available
options retrospectively as a result of her getting ripped off.

Cheers JohnO, appreciate the input. From what I've seen it seems she's going
to need more than the ~$200 or so (plus whatever I can divert/justify)
she'll have available. I'd hoped that, as they're a fairly mature product
now there'd be a budget line out there somewhere - she doesn't need bells
and whistles.

Best,
--
/Shaun.

"Humans will have advanced a long, long, way when religious belief has a
cozy little classification in the DSM."
David Melville (in r.a.s.f1)


 
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~misfit~
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      03-21-2013
Somewhere on teh intarwebs ~misfit~ wrote:
[snips]
> I'd hoped that, as they're a
> fairly mature product now there'd be a budget line out there
> somewhere - she doesn't need bells and whistles.


Just found this at DSE:
http://www.dicksmith.co.nz/product/E...pocket-black-4
Shame that it's only 320x240 resolution, otherwise it seems to have all that
she needs (and more - wifi and GPS) for $129 (plus price of a decent memory
card).
--
/Shaun.

"Humans will have advanced a long, long, way when religious belief has a
cozy little classification in the DSM."
David Melville (in r.a.s.f1)


 
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~misfit~
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      03-21-2013
Somewhere on teh intarwebs ~misfit~ wrote:
> Somewhere on teh intarwebs ~misfit~ wrote:
> [snips]
>> I'd hoped that, as they're a
>> fairly mature product now there'd be a budget line out there
>> somewhere - she doesn't need bells and whistles.

>
> Just found this at DSE:
> http://www.dicksmith.co.nz/product/E...pocket-black-4
> Shame that it's only 320x240 resolution, otherwise it seems to have
> all that she needs (and more - wifi and GPS) for $129 (plus price of
> a decent memory card).


Just found that the above's 11 months old. For an even older one (closer to
2 years) with a better screen (320x480) but no 3G for $249 there's:
http://www.dicksmith.co.nz/product/E...ung-galaxy-gio

Niether of which is really a winner. The first has the same resolution
screen as her existing Nokia C2-02 and the second the same conectivity)....
Although another review said the Gio *does* have 3G - confusing.

I give up, there's a plethora of phones out there and it seems that you get
what you pay for - there're no real winners or bargains. A decent phone /
screen combo comes in at ~$550. <shrug>

Cheers,
--
/Shaun.

"Humans will have advanced a long, long, way when religious belief has a
cozy little classification in the DSM."
David Melville (in r.a.s.f1)


 
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Dave Doe
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      03-21-2013
In article <kidlbu$mtl$(E-Mail Removed)>, http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/(E-Mail Removed),
~misfit~ says...
>
> Somewhere on teh intarwebs ~misfit~ wrote:
> > Somewhere on teh intarwebs ~misfit~ wrote:
> > [snips]
> >> I'd hoped that, as they're a
> >> fairly mature product now there'd be a budget line out there
> >> somewhere - she doesn't need bells and whistles.

> >
> > Just found this at DSE:
> > http://www.dicksmith.co.nz/product/E...pocket-black-4
> > Shame that it's only 320x240 resolution, otherwise it seems to have
> > all that she needs (and more - wifi and GPS) for $129 (plus price of
> > a decent memory card).

>
> Just found that the above's 11 months old. For an even older one (closer to
> 2 years) with a better screen (320x480) but no 3G for $249 there's:
> http://www.dicksmith.co.nz/product/E...ung-galaxy-gio
>
> Niether of which is really a winner. The first has the same resolution
> screen as her existing Nokia C2-02 and the second the same conectivity)....
> Although another review said the Gio *does* have 3G - confusing.
>
> I give up, there's a plethora of phones out there and it seems that you get
> what you pay for - there're no real winners or bargains. A decent phone /
> screen combo comes in at ~$550. <shrug>
>
> Cheers,


What's the price of the Huawei Ascend G300's now. I used to have one
when it was specialed for $199, I think it was. Great phone, once the
volume update was applied. 4.3" screen IIRC.

--
Duncan.
 
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