It has been almost two years since I got my LG VX5200 from Verizon Wireless. Although it was a reliable phone, it did have some issues. For one, the speaker vents kept collecting dust particles and precisely pack them underneath the phone’s external display.
Earlier this week I celebrated my Labor Day off by visiting my local Verizon Wireless store and try to wheel-and-deal my way to a new phone. For long time, I have been eyeing the Samsung SCH-u740, which is retailing at $400 without contract.
At the store, it is sold as a package deal of $129.99 with 2-yrs contract. The package includes the phone, Bluetooth kit, car charger, & a carrying case. I asked Drew, the sales person, what each of these accessories cost and their mark up. He said the package price is 40% of items if they were sold separately.
I told Drew that I personally don’t care about Bluetooth kit, car charger, and the carrying case, especially when I could purchase them much cheaper at an online retailer like Amazon.com. Drew tried to compromise by throw in an additional 1GB MicroSD memory card, which is priced at $34.99 at Verizon’s store.
$34.99 for one 1GB MicroSD card?! I have got them for $5.25 each from Amazon.com.
Eventually Drew caved in deducted $80 from the $129.99 and since I am a returning customer, I got additional $50 mail-in rebate. I only had to pay the 8.2% sales tax and got my Samsung SCH-u740 for $4.10.
Comparing with my BlackBerry 8100 from T-Mobile, Samsung SCH-u740 has some good features:
1. Full QWERTY keyboard - At first I was little concerned about cramming all the buttons in such small area, but after using it, I was pleasantly surprised by how great the buttons worked. Also, some special characters can be accessed by press-hold the corresponding button.
2. Music Player - There are three dedicated touch-sensitive buttons on the exterior where it can be easily accessed. The memory card slot is on the exterior (BlackBerry’s is hidden under the battery compartment).
3. Web Access - Comparing with T-Mobile’s EDGE network, Verizon’s EV network is a little faster.
4. Camera - Both the BlackBerry and u740 have a 1.3MP camera with maximum resolution of 1280x960 pixels. However, u740 also has video recording capability.
To be fair, BlackBerry 8100 also some features that u740 lacked:
1. The Pearl - Using the little trackball instead of pushing through navigation buttons made scrolling screens & menus much faster and easier.
2. Charging & Earphone Ports - BlackBerry uses the standard mini-USB connection to charge the device, send & retrieve data files, and a dedicated 2.5mm jack for earphones. While the u740 relies on a 20-pin adaptor.
3. Email & Calendar - Since BlackBerry was designed as a mobile office device (or electronic leash, depending on how you use it) for people on the run, it is much accommodating with modern office needs.
4. Ringtones & Media - BlackBerry allows MP3 set as ringtones easily without the cumbersome process u740 needed (purchase ringtones from Verizon online store, or hack it with BitPim & USB cable). BlackBerry’s built-in media player supports more file formats.
Both phones have its’ own advantages & disadvantages and I am very happy with both of them. I am also happy that I did not chuck $600 on an iPhone and get boned like these Apple-whores.
Related: Samsung SCH-u740 Ringtone Unlock