Good, cheap phone to send & receive SMS

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Good, cheap phone to send & receive SMS

Postby Kulak » Sun Feb 10, 2013 10:00 pm

I have a work-paid voice-only AT&T plan with an old Samsung 'dumb' phone. All my friends now have iPhones and converse using multi-cast MMS, and this little phone holds only 30 MMS messages and hangs for up to 20 seconds just to open one. When it fills up (which takes just minutes in a fast conversation) it hangs, drops messages, forces the network to resend repeatedly which hangs the phone even more, and sometimes just reboots. The display resolution is 128x160, so I'm completely left out of conversations in which someone snaps a picture of text and sends, "Hey, what do you think of this?" etc. It has become maddening.

I'd like a phone that I can buy used and plug my AT&T SIM into. It doesn't need good Internet app support, but it does need enough memory and CPU power to hold many (i.e., thousands of) MMS messages and access them instantly, and a good enough display that I can see pictures at "normal" resolution. I was thinking an older Blackberry would work (and I like the keyboard interface), but from what I've read they have poor capacity for MMS too.

Is there something that fits this bill, or do I just need to break down and get a current smartphone?
Depriving ourselves to boost our 40-year success probability much beyond 80% is a fool’s errand, since all you are doing is increasing the probability of failure for [non-financial] reasons. --wbern
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Re: Good, cheap phone to send & receive MMS

Postby stlutz » Sun Feb 10, 2013 11:45 pm

Not to be too short about it, but there are numerous such phones. A search on Amazon for "unlocked cell phone" will turn up a good list. A google search will turn up more. Since you are on AT&T which uses GSM technology, there are more/better options than there are for Verizon/CDMA types.
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Re: Good, cheap phone to send & receive MMS

Postby paulsiu » Mon Feb 11, 2013 1:45 am

What you need to find is a phone that allow you to insert a microsd card and then allow you to store SMS text message on the card. Typically these type of device will allow SD card of up to 32Gb, even a cheap 4 Gb or 8 Gb will store a lot of SMS.

Google storing SMS on memory card and see what you can find.

In addition, you can often get a prepaid phone that works on your network. Tmobile prepaid phone can work on TMobile network. I am sure AT&T Go Phone probably work on the regular AT&T network.

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Re: Good, cheap phone to send & receive MMS

Postby Kulak » Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:03 pm

That's a good idea. What about making sure the interface is responsive? My current phone seriously takes 10-15 seconds to load up one MMS message; much longer if it has a picture attached.

Forgot to add: I also hate texting on the dialpad, so the phone must have either a touch screen or (preferably) a Blackberry-style alphanumeric keyboard.
Depriving ourselves to boost our 40-year success probability much beyond 80% is a fool’s errand, since all you are doing is increasing the probability of failure for [non-financial] reasons. --wbern
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Re: Good, cheap phone to send & receive MMS

Postby ol_pops » Mon Feb 11, 2013 9:39 pm

This site always has some unlocked phones: http://www.icemonkey.com/
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Re: Good, cheap phone to send & receive MMS

Postby The Wizard » Mon Feb 11, 2013 9:49 pm

What's the advantage of MMS over SMS?
If you could explain please.
And why are EITHER of these better than standard email?
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Re: Good, cheap phone to send & receive MMS

Postby Kulak » Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:24 pm

Thanks, folks.

Wizard: MMS (vs SMS) supports attachments and multiple recipients. The advantage for me is that that's how everybody I know communicates now, like it or not.
Depriving ourselves to boost our 40-year success probability much beyond 80% is a fool’s errand, since all you are doing is increasing the probability of failure for [non-financial] reasons. --wbern
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Re: Good, cheap phone to send & receive MMS

Postby mike143 » Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:06 pm

The problem you have is that as soon as you put a smartphone on AT&T network they are going to add a data plan to your account. I believe all post paid carriers have this same policy. If you are fine with that any Android or iPhone will do. You can get a used iPhone 3GS or decent Android phone for under $100. Another option if you have WiFi available is get a Android phone and use it with Google Voice (supports messaging) on WiFi only.
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Re: Good, cheap phone to send & receive MMS

Postby paulsiu » Wed Feb 13, 2013 5:34 pm

If you buy a AT&T phone and activated it, AT&T will immediately add a data plan. If you get an unlock phone elsewhere and tell them to block your data, you may not get charged because they can't tell because the phone is not from them. I blocked it on my non-smart phone and my mom's account so we don't accidently go online. This is assuming that they haven't change the policy again.

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Re: Good, cheap phone to send & receive MMS

Postby mike143 » Wed Feb 13, 2013 5:42 pm

paulsiu wrote:If you buy a AT&T phone and activated it, AT&T will immediately add a data plan. If you get an unlock phone elsewhere and tell them to block your data, you may not get charged because they can't tell because the phone is not from them. I blocked it on my non-smart phone and my mom's account so we don't accidently go online. This is assuming that they haven't change the policy again.

Paul

They can tell you have a smartphone whether or not you enable data. I think the only way around it would to be to clone a dumb phone to a smartphone but that would be illegal in the US.
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Re: Good, cheap phone to send & receive MMS

Postby paulsiu » Thu Feb 14, 2013 10:22 am

mike143 wrote:They can tell you have a smartphone whether or not you enable data. I think the only way around it would to be to clone a dumb phone to a smartphone but that would be illegal in the US.


They can only tell if the phone is within their IMEI database. This only works on GSM network since on CDMA like Verizon, you have to activate your phone. If you purchase a phone for example from another country,the IMEI isn't going to in the network's database and so they can't figure out your phone is a smartphone. If you purchase a phone that is not available on their network, it may work, too but is more of a crap shoot.

Alternately, you can use a prepaid plan. My Android phone is currently on a Tmobile prepaid plan and it doesn't charge me for data plan because my prepaid plan doesn't support data. Tmobile will tell you that this is not a support configuration meaning that they won't support you if you can't update, but update over wifi always work just fine. Certain Tmobile network feature also doesn't work,but frankly I don't use them.

One problem is without a dataplan, you can't get any MMS.

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Re: Good, cheap phone to send & receive MMS

Postby Kulak » Thu Feb 14, 2013 12:21 pm

paulsiu wrote:One problem is without a dataplan, you can't get any MMS.

Right now I have a dumb phone but it does send and receive MMS. Does that mean that my plan (through work, I don't see the bills) is really a data plan and I just don't have a phone with the browser and other features??
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Re: Good, cheap phone to send & receive MMS

Postby The Wizard » Thu Feb 14, 2013 12:31 pm

Without a data plan, you won't be able to read and post to bogleheads from your phone like most of us can.
Is this what you REALLY want?
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Re: Good, cheap phone to send & receive MMS

Postby vital15 » Thu Feb 14, 2013 12:44 pm

Kulak wrote:
paulsiu wrote:One problem is without a dataplan, you can't get any MMS.

Right now I have a dumb phone but it does send and receive MMS. Does that mean that my plan (through work, I don't see the bills) is really a data plan and I just don't have a phone with the browser and other features??


Your company is probably paying per text message. I'm surprised they haven't noticed and said something to you.

I'd get a cheap prepaid phone from virgin or another one and use it.
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Re: Good, cheap phone to send & receive MMS

Postby paulsiu » Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:09 pm

If you don't have a data plan, you can still send MMS message, but you get charged by the bytes sent.

If you block data so you don't accidentally sent data, you will not be able to send MMS.

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