Saturday, September 20, 2008

AT&T Tilt, 8525, iPhone and 3G

My contract was up on AT&T, so that means I could upgrade my 8525 to something newer. I really thought hard about getting the iPhone 3G, but soon I have started to read about its poor 3G performance.

Incidentally, the 8525 had basically the identical problems as the iPhone users are complaining about. I have written about this before on this blog. But to summarize;

  • Often the phone does not ring at all. I get the voicemail notification though so I know someone called just a minute ago.
  • Anytime there was a 3G to GSM switch, it dropped a call and won't connect until I either reboot or bring the phone off-line and back online.
  • Even in a very strong signal area (by the freeway in Redwood City), 3G did not connect up at all.
I thought that this was due to the poor implementation of 3G network by AT&T. But my co-worker who has a Samsung 3G phone in the same office worked all along. So there was a bit of doubt about that.

Also I've read about some problems with iPhone that I would be missing. I email a lot from the phone, and I do need a keyboard for that. I also cut and paste a lot while composing a message. For example, copying a page or URL out of a web browser (for which I use Opera Mobile with its much better JavaScript support.)

Then voice dialing. This I cannot go. It is a safety issue for myself and drivers and people around me.

So, it was really really hard to miss this opportunity to not to get the iPhone 3G. I am an avid Apple fan, but I really cannot buy into a phone that does not work as a phone like 8525 I had, but I did like a lot about 8525 and I decided to place my bet on the new AT&T Tilt.

Turns out that this is the best cell phone I've ever had.
  • Now the calls never drops all the way from my home in Half Moon Bay area to Redwood City! I thought that dropping of the call was due to the ruralness of our area, but I was wrong. It was the phone.
  • It now rings in my office and also at home without restarting.
  • The GPS works with Google Maps
  • I can tether it with my Macbook Pro and get on the Internet. No more hotel and Starbucks WiFi fees!
  • The SIM card can be swapped without replacing the battery. This can be useful if I go out of country a lot and use the rental SIMs.
So here is some knit picking stuff:
  • I wish that the display tilt up all the way vertically. If it does I can leave the phone on my dash and see the Google Maps easily while driving.
  • I miss the function buttons that were on top. Now they moved all the buttons and clustered them really close together at the bottom of the phone. I often hit a wrong button to end the call etc.
  • So far I could not activate the Voice Command with Jawbone
Definitely not as cool looking as the iPhone, but it is extremely practical and for business and communications use, this is so far the best phone I've used. And for music, I carry a separate iPod Nano. The battery lasts much longer that way.
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