Planning to buy a handy/smart phone/etc.

47 posts in this topic

I finally have a real job, starting May 15! My bf and I have done without mobile phones since we moved here, as we didn't want to have non-essential regular bills until we had two incomes.

 

I also have a part-time job, teaching an online course which requires a lot of time moderating and answering questions in discussion forums and watching student-submitted videos. I have 1.5 hrs of commute each way to work (unfortunately broken up into two buses and a train, so not continuous), but it would be useful to be able to use some of this commute time constructively.

 

Any suggestions as to what I should be looking for in a mobile? Pros/cons/warnings?

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I'm an Apple iPhone freak, so I would suggest one. But if your budget cannot support it, there are alternatives (Nokia, Samsung, HTC etc.) Andoid and Windows Phone variants.

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I'm in the process of finding a new phone too - will also be my first smartphone.

I've been looking mainly on http://www.handy-deutschland.de/samsung-galaxy-s2.html for phones - this website is great to seek the best value phones combined with a 2yr provider deal. their phone prices are also much better than anywhere I've seen.

I'm set on the o2 deal for 24,99€/month (details below), but i'm having trouble making a call on a phone. Future-proofing it would be nice (dual-core, >1GHz processor, 1GB RAM etc) which sugggests getting the Samsung Galaxy S2 for 215€ with that o2 deal, but was hoping not to spend thaaat much.

The Samsung I8150 Galaxy W can be had for just 48€, but is only single-core (all be it 1,4GHz) processor and has only 512MB RAM, but at nearly 170€ cheaper is definitely in the mix.

 

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

o2 Blue S deal details at 24,99€/month

Der o2 Blue S bietet zum günstigen Komplettpreis kostenlose Gesprächen ins dt. Fest- und o2-Netz, monatlich 100 Freiminuten für Gespräche in andere dt. Netze sowie eine Surfflatrate für das Handy oder Smartphone (max. 7,2 Mbit/s, ab 300 MB/Monat Drosselung auf 64 kbit/s, Tethering erlaubt). Außerdem sind die ersten 100 SMS pro Monat gratis.

Aktuelle Aktionen

kein Anschlusspreis für ausgewählte o2-Tarife bis 30.04.2012

Rufnummer mitnehmen und 50 € Gutschrift von o2 erhalten

Surf-Flatrate für Handy oder Smartphone inklusive

Telefon-Flatrate ins Fest- + o2-Netz inklusive

100 Frei-Minuten in alle dt. Netze inklusive

100 Frei-SMS pro Monat in alle dt. Netze

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That looks like a pretty good deal. Are 2 year contracts the norm here? How does net access work - after 300 MB, you are then limited to a slower connection? And I don't know what tethering is?

 

Is there much difference in the little keyboards on the different smart phones, as far as texting goes?

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Some have physical keyboards like the HTC Desire Z. Which make a big difference if you want to do a lot of typing on them.

 

Tethering is the new term for where you connect a laptop to the internet via a mobile phone.

 

Note: On your journey, you will probably pass through areas of poor or no fast data coverage.

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Are 2 year contracts the norm here?

Yes.

However, you generally save a lot more money by buying the smart phone outright and getting a pay-as-you-go SIM with a data flat rate.

 

There are data flat rates starting from 3.90€ a month (for 100MB at blau.de), please see here for a comparison of available flat rates.

Going prepaid is cheaper and when you decide to get rid of that flat rate or upgrade to one with more volume, you can do so immediately, no contract to bind you.

 

Here's a comparison for the phone rates at the different PAYG providers (no surprises there, mainly 9ct per minute) and the networks they base their service on.

If you live in a rural area, go for providers on the D-Netz, i.e. those that show either the T-Mobil or Vodafone logos in the above comparison.

 

 

How does net access work - after 300 MB, you are then limited to a slower connection?

Yes, to 64k (which was the speed back in the days of dial-up modems).

 

 

And I don't know what tethering is?

 

Tethering means using your mobile phone as your modem, i.e. it can provide the wifi for your laptop so that you can surf the Internet on the go.

 

 

Is there much difference in the little keyboards on the different smart phones, as far as texting goes?

 

Not really.

 

As soon as you know what you're looking for in your phone, i.e. things like:

 

  • the display must be bigger than 3.5 inches, or
  • the smarthone must support HSDPA so that you can surf fast, or
  • it should not be thicker than 1cm, or
  • it must have the Android operating system,

I suggest you use the the Geizhals site to show you all phones that fulfil your conditions, and their prices (click on price in the results table to sort them by price).

 

Geizhals also offers links to tests (some of them in English) for each phone, from each phone's main page.

 

Once you have narrowed it down to 2 to 3 phones that you are interested in, you can do a side-by-side comparison of just these models on the Inside-Handy site, for example, here is the most popular comparison on that site at the moment.

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Just two warnings about contracts.

 

If you sign one, they are very hard if not impossible to cancel before the term, even if your situation changes like say you move to another country. Salespeople will tell you whatever they need to to get you to sign but if it isn't written into the contract, then it never happened.

 

They also tend to get extended for another year if you don't cancel them in time so if you are unhappy with your contract, make sure you cancel it in writing well before the anniversary date of it so it doesn't get extended automatically.

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I also have a part-time job, teaching an online course which requires a lot of time moderating and answering questions in discussion forums and watching student-submitted videos. I have 1.5 hrs of commute each way to work (unfortunately broken up into two buses and a train, so not continuous), but it would be useful to be able to use some of this commute time constructively.

 

Maybe it's just me, but I hate doing any sort of "real work" on a smart phone. Doing lots of typing on a phone, and reading or watching videos on a tiny screen just drives me batty. In your position I'd consider getting a small laptop or netbook and a more basic cell phone which can access the internet but only as an emergency backup.

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I'm leaning towards a Samsung I8150 Galaxy W now over the S2 as it's my first smartphone and don't think i'll notice the reduced processing power & RAM, and for 170€ saving through the handy-deutschland link i posted above, looks to be the better deal.

 

can anyone provide their 2 cents worth on this comparison?

 

Also does anyone know whether these phones would be SIM-Locked (so I can't swap the o2 SIM out with another one at the end of the contract period or if i'm on holidays and want to use a local SIM)?

 

And what happens if the phone gets stolen/lost? Will o2 cancel the SIM and send me a replacement, without affecting my contract length?

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You guys are awesome! Some really excellent suggestions and warnings - exactly what I was hoping for, so I know where to start my research and what to avoid. I'll likely have more questions as I get into it more.

 

PandaMunich, thank you for all of the detail and links. Also, Bipa, I appreciate the warning - I'll try to play around on a couple of models before I get too deep into this, to make sure I can see what I need to, without getting a headache.

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I'm leaning towards a Samsung I8150 Galaxy W now over the S2 as it's my first smartphone and don't think i'll notice the reduced processing power & RAM, and for 170€ saving through the handy-deutschland link i posted above, looks to be the better deal.

 

can anyone provide their 2 cents worth on this comparison?

 

Also does anyone know whether these phones would be SIM-Locked (so I can't swap the o2 SIM out with another one at the end of the contract period or if i'm on holidays and want to use a local SIM)?

 

And what happens if the phone gets stolen/lost? Will o2 cancel the SIM and send me a replacement, without affecting my contract length?

 

Contract phones are rarely SIM-locked. In essence you are paying the value of the phone over the 2-year minimum contract, so there's no incentive for the provider to lock it. If you are travelling abroad better to buy a second phone (new, simple ones start from 20€) for the foreign card, otherwise you'll no longer be available on your primary number.

 

If the phone gets lost, stolen or damaged, no-one cares - it's your problem. The provider will provide a replacement SIM for a nominal fee, usually around 10€. It does not affect your contract. Some providers will offer an insurance, but they are rarely good value, don't cover you for simple loss or carelessness and have high excesses (deductibles).

 

Read the small print as far as minimum period and renewal goes and take no notice of verbal promises. Most contract phones are minimum 2 years, and you have to cancel at least 3 months before the end of minimum period, or it will renew for another 12 months. I always advise cancelling the contract immediately you sign up. It won't actually finish until the 2 years is up, but at least you won't forget, and if you do decide to stay with the same provider on the same deal, it's easy to withdraw your cancellation. It's almost always impossible to cancel a contract early, even if you leave the continent.

 

Contract phone contracts are usually a false economy. It's usually 500€ or more cheaper over 2 years to buy a phone outright and take a pre-paid package, plus of course you have no long-term commitment - important in these times of falling phone costs. Contracts only work if you want a swanky phone and can't afford the outlay. The only person who wins is the provider or their agents.

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I'm in the process of finding a new phone too - will also be my first smartphone.

I've been looking mainly on http://www.handy-deutschland.de/samsung-galaxy-s2.html for phones - this website is great to seek the best value phones combined with a 2yr provider deal. their phone prices are also much better than anywhere I've seen.

I'm set on the o2 deal for 24,99€/month (details below), but i'm having trouble making a call on a phone. Future-proofing it would be nice (dual-core, >1GHz processor, 1GB RAM etc) which sugggests getting the Samsung Galaxy S2 for 215€ with that o2 deal, but was hoping not to spend thaaat much.

If you have your mind set on a contract, it's always a good idea to plug the name of the plan and the phone into ebay. Ebay sellers usually pass on a larger portion of their commission than regular online stores.

 

Take the o2 Blue S/Galaxy S2 deal:

 

215€ + 25€ * 24 = 815€ over 24 months

 

ebay Blue S/S2 combos:

 

280€ + 17,50€ * 24 = 700€ (link)

 

0€ + 28€ * 24 = 672€ (link)

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Thanks, YorkshireLad6, for all the information - I'm another person looking to buy a new phone. I do already know that prepaid will end up *much* cheaper than any contract - I'm on Aldi-Talk and the GerMan on T-Mobile prepaid at the moment. However, we both need to replace our phones. Here's my question: What can you recommend in terms of buying a new/used phone (simple for the GerMan, I'm thinking of perhaps a smartphone for me, both of us not particularly knowledgeable about phones) - are there sites that can be recommended, as being fair and good value?

 

 

Most contract phones are minimum 2 years, and you have to cancel at least 3 months before the end of minimum period, or it will renew for another 12 months. I always advise cancelling the contract immediately you sign up. It won't actually finish until the 2 years is up, but at least you won't forget, and if you do decide to stay with the same provider on the same deal, it's easy to withdraw your cancellation. It's almost always impossible to cancel a contract early, even if you leave the continent.

 

Plus, if you're set on having a contract, and you cancel on time (or even extremely early), the provider will ring offering you increasingly attractive packages before your contract runs out.

 

@ barry2104: You are aware that O2 coverage is not the best, right?

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living in Munich atm and more friends have o2 than any other provider, so I figure they must have good enough reception, plus calls to them would be free on this o2 Blue S deal.

 

thanks a heap for the ebay tip bal00! found a 130€ total saving on the Galaxy W at this site

 

1 + 20€ x 24 months = 481€ over 2 yrs

 

my previous best find was at handy-deutschland at 48 + 24x25 = 648€ for the same phone/deal

 

EDIT: my bad (i think) - that deal looks like it's only for the SIM / excludes the phone... a bit misleading at first glance!

the search continues...

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thanks a heap for the ebay tip bal00! found a 130€ total saving on the Galaxy W at this site

 

1 + 20€ x 24 months = 481€ over 2 yrs

 

my previous best find was at handy-deutschland at 48 + 24x25 = 648€ for the same phone/deal

 

EDIT: my bad (i think) - that deal looks like it's only for the SIM / excludes the phone... a bit misleading at first glance!

the search continues...

 

No, you're right. The deal does include the phone. It just so happens that the plan thay're combining it with is called 'Blue S sim only'. Basically when the carrier itself doesn't have terribly attractive phone prices, these sellers choose a sim-only plan (+ cash commission) and then use the commission to buy the phone cheaper elsewhere. When they buy the phones elsewhere, they usually don't come with carrier-branded firmware, which is an advantage.

 

The price for the phone is 19€ though, so it's 19€ + 20€ x 24 = 499€.

 

It pays to read the small print on these ebay deals though. With the offer you linked to, there are two things you need to keep in mind:

-In order to get the 30 Euro setup fee refunded, you need to send an SMS to a certain number within 7 days of receiving the SIM card

-The 5 Euro rebate (which brings the monthly fee down to 20 Euros) is only valid for 24 months, so you need to cancel the contract in time

 

However, if you do your homework, ebay is hard to beat for phone contracts.

 

Btw, if it was me, I'd also look at the Galaxy S Plus i9001. It's almost identical to the Galaxy W but slightly better imho:

+ 4.0" Super-AMOLED instead of 3.7" LCD

+ 8GB instead of 4GB internal memory

- Touchwiz 3.0 instead of 4.0

 

It's normally about 30€ more expensive than the Galaxy W, but because it's a more common model, you can find better deals:

 

29€ + 24 * 17.50€ = 449€ (link)

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Interesting to find this thread the day before it would be exactly 3 months before the end of my 2 year contract :)

 

I'm interested in switching to prepay, buying a handy outright and buying a data packet. Now while I would need to act fast, I would like to keep my old number. I'm with T-Molbile now and I think I could move to their pre-pay model, but would I be able to keep my number?

 

BobD

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I'm with T-Molbile now and I think I could move to their pre-pay model, but would I be able to keep my number?

 

Yes, this is called Rufnummermitnahme or Rufnummerportierung. Here is a thread about how to do this.

 

There is a fee of 25 Euros attached, iirc, but I'm not sure whether that would be applicable if you're staying with T-Mobile and just switching from contract to prepaid. As Allershausen said, make sure you cancel your contract today, by fax (and keep the fax record that this went through). Normally, cancellations like this should always be done by registered letter, so you have proof it was delivered - but you're too late to do this, and T-Mobile does accept this by fax, afaik.

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I am shortly going to have to get a German sim for my smartphone. I currently have 500mb data and I do generally use it all, though I may use somewhat less once in DE as no longer self employed & running a business, so much fewer emails, though the surfing will likely be similar as I like to read the newspaper etc in lunchbreak time.

 

Will be in the Frankfurt area. Would like to make the odd call to family in the UK, though will make more lengthy calls on the landline at home. Is the Callmobilr 9.95 monthly flatrate the best option for me? Would probably need 200/300 mins for calls within DE, although am I right to think that generally you don't get a flat rate on both calls and surfing in Germany (unlike typical UK contracts).

 

I don't really know the ins and outs of mobiles, but would like to keep my current phone, so no need presumably for a contract.

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I'd probably look at blau.de. Prepaid, 16.90€/mo for 500 MB data + 200 mins/200 SMS to German numbers, 9ct/min to UK landlines. E-Plus network, so the coverage is ok but not terrific.

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