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I need some advise on cell phones.

I have to stay on Cingular cause all my family/contacts are on that plan.

This is my criteria:

--Flip-phone, I carry it in my pocket and locking the keys is annoying.

--Durable, My phone tends to take a beating so being well made works for me.

--Good Feel, I use my phone as an accessory. It's my clock, my calender, my alarm...etc. Basically I carry it and use it 24/7. I've had phones that feel cheap and hated them. I'd pay more for one that feels right.

--Camera, I've grown to really like the camera function of my phone. The quality doesn't matter as much to me, but I like being able to catch the moment.

--Reception, My house is a blackhole of cell phone reception! Some people get better strength than me, but being inside sucks the life out of every phone I've seen. I can stand in my drive way and have full signal. Niether Cingular or Sprint could explain it. I'd really like to find a phone that works in my house...

--Volume, My hearing sux and I always keep the volume on max. A headset sounds like the solution, but I'd like a phone with more volume.

--MP3 player, This is at the bottom of my list. I don't currently have a player and considering that I carry my phone all the time it only seems to make sense to do everything with one thing. I bought my kids IAudio U3's and they are super cool! Most of the players I see offered in phones suck in comparison so maybe I should skip it and get a U3?

Ok, thats my list. In my area Cingular is offering a buy-one-get-one free deal on flip phones. Going to the store and looking at the phones is insane, but I decided to focus on three options. Motorola RAZR 3Vr, Samsung SYNC a707 and Cingular 3125. I ended up with the Samsung SYNC, but I have 30 days to return it.

What I don't like about the Samsung SYNC a707:

--My biggest gripe now is the front screen goes blank in one minute. Thats the highest setting avalible. I use the phone for a clock so waiting for it to 'wake-up' is gonna kill me.

--Same horrible reception at my house.

Thats it. I love the feel of the phone. The screen is huge and really bright. It has Edge and G3 data processing protocals, but I don't really use that stuff now. The camera is nice.

The PDA/phone formats are getting lots better so I'll probably switch to one of those soon, but I'd like this phone to make it till then.

Anyone have some advise?

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3QT,

I have many of the same requirements as you and have the RAZR V3C

The volume at the max setting is marginal. The speaker seems more directional than any other phone I have used. If you place the speaker hole directly over your ear hole, that is about the only way you can use it in marginally loud (driving down the road with a window cracked) environment. I find myself using speakerphone more often, in those situations, because it is a lot louder (although the sound comes out of the lower portion of the phone, instead of the upper "flip" portion. It uses the ringer speaker for speakerphone instead of the usual speaker.

The ability to make and hold a call is very good (IMO average for Motorola)

The voice command accuracy and functionality is very good.

The keypad is designed more for looks and style than for any actual use. There is little "feel" to let you know that you are pressing a button (and not several) or that you can move from button to button without looking. If you like to text forgetaboutit.

Battery life is good, I usually get 5 - 7 days with light use.

They are Bluetooth compatible and work well but the battery life is reduced considerably

Screen also goes black in short order after making or receiving a call.

Screen is not bright enough for outdoors use in moderate sunlight.

I purchased a full version of the Motorola Phone Tools that allows me to up/download anything to and from the phone. It syncs with outlook for the claendar, alarm/reminder notices and contacts list. You can update everything on the computer and then just sync with the phone to avoid using the phone's wonderful keypad. Uses a common micro USB for communication and charging.

Most do not come with any type of a holster, and they need one. The finish was not designed to brush against coins or keys without looking horrible within a very short time.

I have a 2 year contract that came with my phone. It will surprise me if it survives the 2 years. It was built with size and style as the primary goals and the durability and functionality took a back seat when they interfered with the style and function aspects. The keys and flip portion do not inspire confidence or exude quality in their feel (as compared to an old HP calculator).

If you have any specific questions, feel free to ask!

Leo

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The RAZR series of phones - and possibly other Motorola phones - can be "hacked" with relatively little technical knowledge. That can correct your max volume issue ;) FWIW, anyhow.... Also, they make skins for them that are relatively thing, but tough - my wife has a clear plastic one with a pink tint for her V3 that seems to work quite nicely.

I have a SE T637, which is an old phone. Its been very durable, but the mic picks up everything and makes it a real distraction on the other end.

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The RAZR series of phones - and possibly other Motorola phones - can be "hacked" with relatively little technical knowledge. That can correct your max volume issue ;) FWIW, anyhow

This is true but the extra volume that you achieve is not usable ... it is almost total distortion. I think the tiny speaker is maxed out and anything above what you get in the stock setting is not really useful in this phone.

Some carriers limit your ability to to upload and dowload cetrain things (they want you to use phone time to up/dowload photos and ringtones, etc) and the hacked software allows you to circumvent all of these limitations. I currently can use my cable to do anything on the phone, including using it as a modem for my laptop.

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RAZR fer sure!

Go to a Bluetooth earpiece and you will not have volume issues (if you choose a decent earpiece that is). The earpiece also allows keeping the phone in your pocket all the time. This goes a long way towards stopping handling damage and not losing it.

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RAZR fer sure!

Go to a Bluetooth earpiece and you will not have volume issues (if you choose a decent earpiece that is). The earpiece also allows keeping the phone in your pocket all the time. This goes a long way towards stopping handling damage and not losing it.

+1

Of course I only went this direction after my RAZR hit the concrete/asphalt more times than I can remember. Durability gets a thumbs up from me along with reception; I'm on Cingular and use it all over the country.

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LG for sure. Battery life is wicked! I think they have a model that fits all your requirements.

Friend/co-worker has a RAZR. Has to keep it plugged in to car all the time or else it dies at worst time. When I got my current phone, I asked the sales guy about the RAZR battery issues and he confirmed it so I went with the LG. No complaints.

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I'm starting to see the battery issues with my RAZR. When it was new it would hold a charge for a week or so. Now 2 days tops. It'll probably get worse. Overall the phone works better than the last phone i had (Nokia 8260 dinosaur). I'll just buy a new battery and chuck the original one.

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Our usage patterns for cell phone batteries aren't exactly ideal - we tend to plug 'em in after only discharging them a little bit... While Lithium Ion batteries aren't anywhere near as bad as NiMh, etc, w/ memory, they still lose efficiency... Buying a new battery fixes that problem...

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I've mistreated my RAZR battery hugely and it still goes 3-4 hours of actual talk time and 15-20 standby after almost a year of abuse. Seems about the same as my old Nokia's and Sony/Ericson's did batterywise. Smaller phone, same battery life, seems like a good deal to me.

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You might take a look at the Motorola E815.

Flip plone, Blue Tooth, Camara, durable (mine's been dropped on concrete and gravel several times and everything works), good reception, good range, I was blown up in 1967 and I've got a 30-40% hearing loss. The volume is good enough that I have to turn it down from max.

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having tested the original 3125 prior to its launch - this is a great phone that combines a phone and PDA. However, if you need a PDA to actually send messages as opposed to just reading them, then you will not like this phone from that perspective.

The phone's OS is Windows Mobile and does a great job in syncing with Outlook. It also has Excel, Word, Powerpoint, and Adobe on it. But - unless someone sends you a file designed for tiny viewing......forget it.

The phone shows websites just like you would see them on a regular computer, easily doubles as a modem, has a pretty good speakerphone, and comes with a lot of onboard memory. With stereo headphones, this makes for a decent MP3 player, however, if you are going to use this thing as a MP3 player, you would definitely want to get a memory chip as there is only about 70mb of onboard memory.

As for durability - I am not a rough user. So I may not be the best source for that opinion. But from just handling the phone as long as I have - it is not a flimsy phone.

But if you are just wanting a phone, and nothing really more, I would have to agree that the RAZR is a solid phone. But if you are wanting more robust features and capabilities, then I would take a second look at the 3125.

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UPDATE;

Traded the Samsung SYNC A707 in for a 3Vr Razr. After reading the suggestions here and poking around on the howardforum for a week or so I decided to not try and reinvent the wheel. I don't really like the Razr, but it does what I need. The Samsung was miles and miles ahead in quality. The headset was super clear, the Razr sounds like the person is talking into a can or something. The screen was large and super clear, the Razr just sux in comparision. The camera on the Samsung was really nice, again the Razr sux in comparision. The form and feel of the Samsung was exellent, the Razr isn't that bad but in comparision it well, sux...

So why would I get the razr instead? Because it keeps the time on the front display. It goes dim, but with a touch of a button it lights back up immediatly. The Samsung's front display was black after 3 seconds. Push a button to activate it and wait 5 seconds. Makes the front display totally useless as you can just flip it open as fast. Major, major design flaw.

I'll be phone shopping again this spring. Hope the newer models are cool. I'm really digging the idea of one pocket item does it all. Phone, camera, cam corder, mp3 player, pda... The new ones have an FM radio and are XM ready. When they find a way to fit an AM radio in there I'm done!!! lol...

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I have similar needs and issues. I had the Razor for a while. Sound quality was my biggest issue along with crappy screen.

I bought a Samsung SGH-C417. Not as customizable but it is nice. It has the needed features for me but not all the bells and whistles. Thin battery life is great. Screen is clear the numbers on the screen when dialing and driving are HUGE.

Time on the outside, light goes off but touch the side button and its back on.

My son has the LG 500. nice phone just not as slim and compact as I like but it seems to be a good phone from what I can tell when I have used it.

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Take a look at the Cingular 3125 (made by HTC). I have the non-flip verison (2125) and love it. This is a Windows Mobile 5 phone. A buddy has the 3125 because he wanted a flip but wanted the 2125 type phone. Nice and small.

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