HomePostsApr 13, 2009

The Search for a New Cell Phone

Ever since I started designing and building websites, I find myself approaching procedures in my life like a site that needs to be constructed.

  1. Gather requirements
  2. Do research
  3. Create a plan
  4. Move forward

To be fair, my formal training in chemistry probably had something to do with it as well but I digress.

My most recent “major obstacle to overcome” is a new cell phone. I bought an HTC Hermes (aka AT&T 8525 aka over-featured, under-performing brick) about a year and a half ago with the intention of tripling my productivity through complete connectivity (har har har). There was this wireless network just begging to be used – who was I to deny it? I dutifully paid my $30 a month and tried desperately, bill after bill, to use it to its maximum. I ended up using it just to rationalize paying for it. That didn’t last for very long.


Now, my “mini-computer” is too big, too heavy, showing its age, and causing frustration. Time to move on to a new one. Queue the scientific method…

1) What are my requirements?

I have a fairly specific list of things I need my phone to do. Here are the “must-haves:”

Here are the “really-wants:”

2) What’s out there?

I worked in the wireless industry from 1999 to 2005. During those times, it seemed like there was so many phones out there, it was hard to make a decision. Nowadays, the situation is even worse. AT&T is GSM so anything unlocked (and using the right bands) can be used. This leaves many, many options.

So, using my requirements, I started searching. Here’s the sites I used:

Here’s the process I use to narrow my choices:


  1. First, I come up with a long list of possibles based on technology (in may case, which ones would work with my existing carrier) and obvious features (anything without a camera or some type of QWERY keyboard was out).
  2. Then, I look through the specific features and throwout any of them that were missing key functionality.
  3. Finally, I start reading reviews on the sites above. Anything with a grade lower than a “C” got tossed. I look for key words like “slow” or “buggy” because this is what I’m looking to replace. I typically read a lot of reviews which can be good or bad depending on how to see it. I get a lot of useful information but, after reading a million pros and a million cons, I’m even more undecided than before. Still, it helps to cut out the stuff I can’t deal with.

I came up with a good list of options:

3) What’s next?

Well, the plan was to head to an AT&T store and check out the local offerings. I really wanted to use these in person before I made a choice. Unfortunately for this process, I found a great price on the Nokia E71 on Craigslist and jumped at it. I’ll write a bit about my experience in another post (spoiler: I love it).


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