Well, I’m a Verizon wireless customer and our "New every two" was
up, so my wife and I went in to upgrade our old Samsung flip phones.
And it was an experience…so I thought I’d share it here in the hopes
it will save someone the headache that I went through.

New every 2?
of all, the "New every two" or $100 credit towards a new phone only
applies to the main line if you are on a family plan, which my wife and
I are on. So that sounded discouraging at first, but since I ended up
buying a $200 phone, they gave her a free phone anyway, so that turned
out okay.

A Lot of Time Wasted on the Wrong Phone
had spent HOURS researching different phones and I decided that I
really wanted to merge my Palm Pilot and my phone together so I don’t
have to carry both around with me. The first obvious candidate for the
upgrade was the Treo 650 or 700. I don’t care about getting on the
internet or checking email on my phone, so the broadband access on the
700 didn’t appeal to me. I just wanted my Outlook calendar on my phone.
But since those phones were close to $400, that was out. (They no
longer had the 650 in the store, but they still have them online
discounted) I can’t justify paying that much for any phone unless it
stays charged forever, includes unlimited internet and changes the oil
in my truck for me. So I talked to a guy at the local Verizon store,
telling him all I want is to sync my phone with my Outlook calendar and
he suggested to me the LG V,
which he used and it has a fold out qwerty keyboard and a large screen,
camera, bluetooth and a calendar. He told me it would sync up with the
Outlook calendar, as long as I get the computer sync kit, so I thought
I was good to go. I took a look at the box for the sync kit and asked
him why it didn’t say anything about syncing with Outlook on it, but he
assured me that it does just that, so I reluctantly got it for an extra
$50. And I got the extended battery, which he recommended for another
$60, not to mention a 512MB mini-SD card ($40) so I can store more
photos and mp3s. *Eyes his empty wallet*

Trying out the Phone
I get home and play with the phone for 4 hours trying to figure out how
to sync it with Outlook. It comes with a tool to sync your contacts
with Outlook, but NO way to sync up with the calendar. I called
Verizon’s tech support and they immediately said that phone does not
sync with Outlook. So after throwing a private temper tantrum, I looked
on the web for a 3rd party tool that might allow the LG to sync with
Outlook. Sure enough I found one so
I bought it as a software download and started to regain some hope
(Another $30). Then I try to install the software and it crashes every
time I try to run the installer. Lovely. I try to contact their
technical support, but that just ends up leading me to their automated
help system which of course says nothing about the installer
crashing…and it’s a Saturday, so their not available to call. Later,
that following Monday I did call them and they gave me a refund – thank

Finally, the Right Phone
I take the phone back to Verizon the next day and tell them I had been
told this phone syncs with Outlook and it doesn’t. Of course THIS rep
said, "Of course this phone doesn’t sync with Outlook – only the
smartphones do that." After restraining my desire to put her in a choke
hold I tell her that I want to switch phones to the Motorola Q,
which is indeed a smartphone and syncs just fine with Outlook (Another
2 hours of research on the all-knowing internet to come to that
conclusion). Well, one hour and a frustrated Verizon sales rep later I
was switched over to the Q ($200 after the $100 discount) with the
extended battery ($20 on special) and luckily the miniSD card I bought
the day earlier worked on this phone too, so I kept that.

The Motorola Q
get the phone home, and despite it running Windows mobile, rather than
PalmOS, which I prefer, it seems pretty solid. The battery indeed
doesn’t last long, so the $20 extended battery is a no-brainer. It
synced up with Outlook perfectly the first try. Of course it comes with
101 ways to get on the internet with any accidental click of the pad.
And since I didn’t get a data plan, that is a disaster waiting to
happen at the crazy price per kb downloaded. I thought that might be a
problem, but I called up Verizon tech support and they put a data block
on my phone so it won’t get on the internet (and keeps me from sending
or receiving photo messages, but oh well) and I found the settings to
edit the home screen to remove all Verizon’s custom buttons to get on
the internet.

So now I am finally happy. The phone is nice,
although there are a few things I don’t like such as the nonstandard
mini headphone jack and the fact that the phone won’t fit in the
leather carrying case I bought (another $20) with the extended battery
in it. Arg. The buttons are a bit small and switching from dialing
numbers and entering text characters is sometimes a pain. The camera is
worse than on my old Palm Zire although it does have a flash. The
speakerphone on it is quite nice and despite the phone being way larger
than my flip phone, it’s definitely smaller than my old phone and Palm
put together and with my new Bluetooth headset (yes, I now have a
plastic bug attached to my ear) it works out pretty nice.

Consequently, I am selling my old Palm Zire PDA, although I do love that thing.

Morals of the story:

  1. Consult your wireless company’s tech support number before choosing a phone – don’t trust the sales reps in the store.
  2. Buy your phone online. A business acquaintance of mine found his Q for $100 on Amazon.com.
  3. Whoever
    tells you that technology makes your life simpler is LYING! I can just
    see God shaking his head as I struggled through this whole ordeal,
    wasting so much time.