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Old Sep 14, 12, 4:03 pm   #1
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Any current deals on an inexpensive unlocked GSM Smartphone?

I'm going to be traveling again in a few weeks, and had to return a loaner smartphone that I used last time (Dell Streak 5... no keyboard, but otherwise really nice.)

What I need is: world voice GSM (850/900/1800/1900) + (reliable) EDGE/GPRS. Don't care about 3G (not readily available a lot of the places I travel, and US phone will tend to be the wrong bands where it is.)

A decent screen size and resolution (3.5" or larger, ideally, and more importantly at least VGA/640x480 -- I know I can't live with QVGA; I don't know for sure about 480x320, but I'd rather not try), at least Android 2.2 on a stock ROM (I'm sick of dealing with hacked ROMs)... beyond that, a slide-out keyboard and good battery life are more important than camera, CPU speed, or anything else.

Ideally, I'd want something the GSM version of my present phone (Spring Epic aka Galaxy S + keyboard) or something newer; I don't think that's happening at my price point (under $200, under $150 would be better) even used.

A used Streak 5 might be in the cards, but at my price range that would a pretty rough one (and probably still locked, although on the last it was an overnight weight on an email to Dell). I'd love to see a new/surplus phone instead.

The best I've found is the Experia U/ (more specs) although it's at the high end of my price range, and I don't have much sense of Android on Sony/Ericsson.

Does anyone have experience with these, or related phones? Besides Amazon/Ebay, any other places to look and/or phone suggestions?
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Old Sep 14, 12, 4:46 pm   #2
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I suspect eBay will be your best bet, but also check newegg.com, buy.com and overstock.com.
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Old Sep 14, 12, 5:28 pm   #3
 
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You can try gsmarena's phone finder http://www.gsmarena.com/search.php3

Plug in your criteria and see what comes up. Their pricing isn't very accurate (it seems ot be initial price rather than current), but it should give you an idea what's out there.
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Old Sep 15, 12, 9:16 am   #4
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After you find what phone you want, try your local Craigslist. For my area, way way cheaper than ebay and you get to try before you buy.
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Old Sep 15, 12, 12:32 pm   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Braindrain View Post
After you find what phone you want, try your local Craigslist. For my area, way way cheaper than ebay and you get to try before you buy.

+1
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Old Sep 15, 12, 1:16 pm   #6
 
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I am very happy with my Samsung Infuse SGH I997. They are easily unlocked and are pretty much a Galaxy S with larger screen. $200 used buy it now common on ebay, maybe less on craigslist

You can unlock it yourself:
http://www.xda-developers.com/androi...ck-code-found/
or pay someone $10 or less for a code.

I have used mine with 3UK, Vodafone.de,Vodafone.nl, SFR, and Aldi's SIM's


Product Identifiers
Brand Samsung
MPN SGH-I997ZKAATT
Carrier AT&T
Model i997 4G Infuse
UPC 0635753489521
Type Smartphone

Key Features
Storage Capacity 16 GB
Color Caviar Black
Network Generation 3G
Network Technology GSM/GPRS/EDGE, HSDPA
Band GSM 850/900/1800/1900 (Quadband) HSDPA 850/1900/2100
Camera 8.0 MP
Operating System Android 2.2

Memory
Supported Flash Memory Cards MicroSD

Battery
Battery Type Lithium Ion
Battery Capacity 1750 mAh
Battery Talk Time Up to 480 min
Battery Standby Time Up to 400 hr

Display
Diagonal Screen Size 4.5 in.
Display Resolution 1280 x 720

Other Features
Touch Screen Yes
Bluetooth Yes
Digital Camera Yes
GPS Yes
QWERTY Physical Keyboard No
Email Access Yes
Internet Browser Yes
Speakerphone Yes

Dimensions
Weight 4.9 oz

Miscellaneous
Antenna Type Integrated
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Old Sep 15, 12, 4:37 pm   #7
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Wirelessly posted (Samsung Galaxy S: Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; U; Android 4.0.4; en-us; SGH-T989 Build/IMM76D) AppleWebKit/534.30 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile Safari/534.30)

What's a vood deal for you? I have an unlocked Samsung Galaxy S 4G (1700/2100 and 2100),T-mobile version that's been used for less than 6 months. It will do every thing you want and 3G/4G on the above two bands as well if the need arises. Of course it's not tje true 4G.
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Old Sep 15, 12, 4:45 pm   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yaatri View Post
Wirelessly posted (Samsung Galaxy S: Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; U; Android 4.0.4; en-us; SGH-T989 Build/IMM76D) AppleWebKit/534.30 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile Safari/534.30)
What's a vood deal for you? I have an unlocked Samsung Galaxy S 4G (1700/2100 and 2100),T-mobile version that's been used for less than 6 months. It will do every thing you want and 3G/4G on the above two bands as well if the need arises. Of course it's not tje true 4G.
Isn't that keyboardless? Regardless, it'd be a great phone if it were in my price range; I'd expect it to be worth a good bit more.

As I said above:
Quote:
Originally Posted by nkedel View Post
my price point (under $200, under $150 would be better)
Currently leaning towards a refurb Nexus One, which is pretty much what I need except for the keyboard, and $149 on overstock. There are a couple of used models on Ebay which would fit my needs better, but which seem riskier.

There are some new (surplus) HTC Desire Z in my price range on eBay (around $165), which looks like a near-ideal phone, but they ship from Hong Kong and would be risking being here too late for my next trip (9/26.)
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Old Sep 15, 12, 7:01 pm   #9
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Wirelessly posted (Samsung Galaxy S: Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; U; Android 4.0.4; en-us; SGH-T989 Build/IMM76D) AppleWebKit/534.30 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile Safari/534.30)

What's a vood deal for you? I have an unlocked Samsung Galaxy S 4G (1700/2100 and 2100),T-mobile version that's been used for less than 6 months. It will do every thing you want and 3G/4G on the above two bands as well if the need arises. Of course it's not tje true 4G.
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Old Sep 16, 12, 3:00 am   #10
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Considering this one: Pantech Crossover P8000 - unlocked former AT&T, super-cheap at $75, has a keyboard, upgradeable to Gingerbread...

OTOH, screen is a bit small (3.1") and super-slow, plus I have no sense of Pantech as a brand.
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Old Sep 17, 12, 10:00 am   #11
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If $75 meets your needs why spend more.
If you need one with a keyboard, what about Sidekick $G slide with physical keyboard?
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Old Sep 17, 12, 11:42 am   #12
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Originally Posted by Yaatri View Post
If $75 meets your needs why spend more.
If you need one with a keyboard, what about Sidekick $G slide with physical keyboard?
Need, no; prefer, yes. Much smaller screen than I'd like on the Pantech, but at that price, I've ordered it and will see how it does on my next trip on the 29th. If it doen't do well, I'll resell or otherwise dump it and try something fancier.

I haven't seen the Sidekick 4G Slide, and don't see any on ebay. I'd imagine as more of the phones I'd be willing to use get past the 2-years-old mark (most of the early interesting ones seem to be just under, from the late 2010/early 2011 crop) more will be coming into my price range.

If I were traveling outside the US more, just moving to a GSM network here and getting my main phone unlocked would make sense, but as it stands, leaving Sprint does not make sense for that.
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Old Sep 17, 12, 1:27 pm   #13
 
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Also check cowboom.com. They are the arm of Best Buy that resells trade in and used phones. The phones on there are almost all carrier branded, so expect them to be locked and factor unlocking cost into the cost of phone. Pay attention to the product grade. I wouldn't get anything below 5.

For around $200, I would go for either the Samsung Captivate Glide (ATT) or HTC Sensation 4G (T-Mo). Captivate Glide is pretty close to Galaxy S2 with keyboard and Sensation is strictly a touchscreen phone. Both have vendor-released ICS and dual-core processor, so they should be future proof. Personally I like HTC Sense more than Samsung's TouchWiz interface.

Friends don't let friends get Sidekick 4G. They are plagued with reboot problems.
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Old Sep 17, 12, 2:15 pm   #14
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Originally Posted by msb0b View Post
For around $200, I would go for either the Samsung Captivate Glide (ATT) or HTC Sensation 4G (T-Mo). Captivate Glide is pretty close to Galaxy S2 with keyboard and Sensation is strictly a touchscreen phone. Both have vendor-released ICS and dual-core processor, so they should be future proof. Personally I like HTC Sense more than Samsung's TouchWiz interface.
I'm used to Samsung and not bothered by it; future-proofing on a cheapo travel phone isn't terribly important compared to keeping cost down. Still, the Captivate Glide looks really nice -- would be worth

Amusingly, the cheap as dirt Pantech I just bought is $188 on that site; given the choice between that one and the Samsung for $7 more, it'd be a no-brainer.
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Old Sep 20, 12, 12:03 am   #15
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Quick update: the Pantech arrived, and isn't awful. It had a minor annoyance in that when I did the upgrade to gingerbread (manufacturer's, not hacked) it re-locked.

$8 online got me a new code. Other than that, seems like an adequate phone with very little to stand out. Should be fine for this trip; I'll see how this does before I invest in something better.
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