Hey fellow technology geeks--
It's getting time for me to get a new cell phone. The one I have is 9 or 10 years old now (it is a WORKHORSE) and it's starting to show its age (battery life going-- I could get a new battery but it also has reception problems, especially at my new apartment. I don't think it's necessarily my network-- I'll compare with my mom, who uses the same service, next time she comes over-- but probably that this poor phone is just too old and has been dropped too many times over the years). (Sorry, long post, but I need advice)
I'm on prepaid and adamant about staying with that, for the record. Plans require a contract AND are more expensive. I can't imagine why I'd want to choose that.
My current network, like so many, is CDMA. My provider doesn't have much in stock right now as far as choices of buying phones from them, all four of the phones they carry get bad reviews from what I can find on a Google search, and I don't really want a refurb phone anyway (my mom bought a phone from them and the battery life was shite, as if the battery was old. If you have a better story about refurbs, I'd like to hear it). Totally gonna pass on straight-up used phones-- who knows where it's been or how it's been cared for, or why they're unloading it, or whether somebody got all their kiddie porn off it. No thanks.
So I need to find an unlocked phone (I believe I can use this and they'll activate it for me-- when I first started with them, my phone was from another carrier-- though when I asked the last time I called Customer Service, of course the guy tried to sell me on their phones).
It's a bitch to find an unlocked *CDMA* phone, from what I can gather. I'm going to visit Radio Shack and Best Buy, but from their sites it looks like the unlocked phones they sell are only GSM phones. I don't want to go with eBay or anything questionable 'cause i don't feel like getting scammed on this.
So I'm considering switching to GSM. Now, I have no complaints with my current provider and quite frankly, they're the cheapest out there-- I pay $40/month for unlimited voice/text and some data (which of course I don't use on this old phone). If I switched to AT&T or T-Mobile to go GSM, I'd be paying $50/month, but I would have no more hassle next time I need to get a new phone because I could buy whatever I want. I'm inclined to go with AT&T, in part because T-Mobile's site is hard to navigate, the wankers, and their coverage is not as good.
I'm not 100% sure about coverage, though. I looked at AT&T's coverage map for GoPhone and it has three shades of orange. My home and work are in the darkest shade of orange for "best" coverage (though my home address is right on the edge of the next shade down), but elsewhere in the area it's patchy. I don't want to get stuck out in the middle of nowhere with shitty service some time, y'know?
With AT&T, too, it's a debate about whether I'd need to buy a new phone. My former partner has been trying to give me his old iPhone for a good while. AT&T says one can't use an iPhone on prepaid, but I've found sites before where people say they've hacked it*. Anybody ever done it or known someone who has?
So: What Would Tron-Sector Do? Should I stick with my current provider and either jump through hoops to find a new unlocked CDMA phone or take whatever shitty cheap-ass refurb they're offering, or switch to GSM and pay more per month? Each has about equal pros and cons (I don't plan on doing international traveling so I dont' need that feature of a SIM card-- I may live right near Canada but I never go).
(tbh with you, I'm not even sure what I want/need in a phone. I need voice, text, and I'd like to have a camera. Beyond that, I don't think I need more. But I also don't want to get something without a feature that I'll wish I had down the road. I admit it'd be convenient to be able to check my email on my phone if I'm at work, or use a map feature if I get lost, but I'm not paying oodles extra for a smartphone plan just to do that.)