Saturday, May 14, 2011

Buying a Smart Phone

The replacement battery for my old phone is only providing about 20 minutes talk time and so does not get me through the day. This is a good excuse to buy a new phone, as the current model is so old genuine replacement parts are no longer available. I would like an Android (or other Linux) based smart phone, but not too big, or expensive. Also I would like a flip cover on it. I would prefer a flip phone, but I don't think anyone makes a smart flip phone (Motorola has made some in the past and for the China market).

My first choice would be the Huawei range, as they are cheap and get reasonable reviews. Also Huawei tends to use a standard version of Android, not adding its own custom software to cause problems.

The question is if the cheapest model in the range, Huawei Ideos u8150, will be sufficient. It gets good reviews and they are available for under $200 from Vodafone, my current phone provider (Dick Smith has the unit prepaid of Vodafone and unlocked). One catch is if I can used my Vodafone postpaid account with the prepaid phone.

The major issue with the low cost Ideos is with the size of the screen, which is only 2.8 inch, compared with the typical 4 inch screen of other smart phones. This makes for a more compact unit, although the case has a large section below the screen with buttons, making it larger than the screen would suggest. The Ideos has only a 240x320 pixel, QVGA resolution screen, much less than contemporary phones. But my current phone has a QVGA screen which is fine.

A step up is the Huawei Ideos X5. In some ways this is like the smaller model with a longer format screen (3.8 inches 800 x 480 pixels) filling more of the case (the X5 is only 6 mm wider, but 16 mm longer than the Ideos).

The Huawei Ideos X6 looks much more interesting. It has a slightly larger 4.1 Inch screen than the X5, but a much faster processor and HDMI output. It would be interesting to see if with a HDMI LCD screen, USB keyboard and mouse plugged in, if this could be used to replace a desktop computer. But at a cost of two to three times as much as the low cost model, it would seem to be more than I need in a phone.

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