I can suddenly upgrade my phone! What to do?

I don’t know why, but on a whim I logged into my Cingular New AT&T account. I bought my Cingular 8125 in February 2006, so I knew from previous visits that I am eligible for a phone upgrade in August 2007 (18 months later). Now it says that I’m eligible for an upgrade now! Hello!

Decisions decisions. Do I jump now or wait? I’ve had a love/hate relationship with my Cingular 8125 and had no intention of holding on to it once I could upgrade it…

To love:

  • The battery life is decent. I can go an entire day of regular use without worrying about recharging.
  • It’s the Phone Edition of Windows Mobile 5.0, so I have the touchscreen. My typing with Tengo is much faster than with the slide-out keyboard, which I hardly ever use anymore.
  • After 4 years with Windows Mobile, I have a lot invested it in it. I know its quirks and I don’t have reset it nearly as often as others do.

Not to love:

  • The Cingular 8125 is a brick. It’s heavy, bulky and every time I finish a phone call I have to reset whatever got messed up when the device was sitting next to my cheek and was accidentally pressed. Apple’s proximity sensor in the new iPhone is a very, very good thing.
  • This device is so underpowered. I’m very picky about what runs on it to keep it as fast as possible, but it’s still slow.
  • When it comes down to it, what matters most to me (besides making phone calls, of course) is that I can 1. take notes that sync back to the desktop, 2. check email, 3. read websites, 4. load maps/find where I need to go 5. jot down and check tasks and calendar events, 6. Send/receive IMs and text messages, 6. manage contacts. The Cingular 8125 does everything reasonably well, but nothing outstanding.

I think I’m going to take a pass on the iPhone this go around. If I upgrade now, I’ll be ready to look at Apple’s offering in 2008 which will have the early-adopter kinks worked out.

So if I upgrade now, I’m seriously considering:

  • Cingular 8525. Do I really want to jump into another HTC device? Ugh, I’m not sure. On the one hand, all my current software will work and then some. The 8525 is much, much faster but it’s the same brick-like form factor as the 8125. With a slide-out keyboard that I probably won’t use any more than I’m using it now. The 8525 is 3G, though. Definitely a consideration. Wifi a huge plus.
  • Samsung Blackjack. 3G phone that’s 1/2 the weight of the Cingular 8525/8125. I’ve heard that battery drain is a big problem with these devices and the processor is not much better than what I have now. I like the QWERTY keyboard.
  • Blackberry 8800. It’s not 3G, but I’m getting really tired of fighting with the very poor email application on Windows Mobile devices. Email is what I’m doing most on my phone (besides talking) and from all accounts, email is best on a Blackberry. Built-in GPS is pretty cool, too.

I think it may be time to visit a store and see what feels right…right now I’m leaning towards the Blackberry. We’ll see.

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