International Traveler Looking for Phone Advice

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Thread: International Traveler Looking for Phone Advice

  1. #1
    Android Lurker kalbahamut's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012

    International Traveler Looking for Phone Advice

    Hi guys. Please excuse my noobishness. I have never paid more than $100 for a phone and usually just buy the cheapest one I can find. However, recently I was considering getting some kind of GPS or sat nav device for my car. After looking at Garmins and Tom-Toms and seeing how expensive they are both for the initial purchase and also for buying additional maps (I travel a lot), I decided maybe I should just upgrade to a decent smartphone that has some kind of GPS and map functionality. I think Android phones can use googlemaps for free and make use of traffic and constant updates without having to pay for it all the time, right?

    Problem is I really know close to jack about these things and trying to sort through all of the information out there, as someone completely uninitiated, is very daunting.

    Can you help me find the right phone for me?

    Here is a profile of me:
    - I am a world traveler. I currently live in Bahrain and commute to Saudi Arabia for work. In the past couple years I have spent time in the UAE, USA, UK, Philippines, Thailand, Egypt, and Ethiopia. Over the next several years I am planning a road trip that will take me through Jordan, Israel, Cyprus, Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Greece, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, The Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, France, Spain, and Morocco, among other places. I plan to some day establish a residence in Thailand and I might go work in Brazil or Hong Kong sometime in the near future as well. My life takes me all over the world routinely.

    - I hate Apple. I hate their design philosophy, hate their marketing, hate the fact that their devices are always priced about 100% higher than they should be, hate their snooty customers, hate their strict use of proprietary everything. That's why, without really knowing much about the phones, I'm looking at Android.

    - I computer literate but not a pro. I have very little experience using smartphones.

    - I like my things to last a long time. I don't like constantly upgrading devices, buying new stuff every year.

    Here is a profile of the phone I am looking for:
    - Must be either GSM or GSM/CDMA, quadband preferably, so that I can use the phone in as many countries as possible.
    - Must be unlocked. I can't be roped into a contract with a service provider that operates out of only one country. I need flexibility.
    - GPS
    - WiFi. I feel there's not much point in getting a smartphone without one, as it makes getting online much easier especially when one travels a lot and doesn't have a consistent data plan.

    - This is almost a must, but I feel like it's really hard to find. It's a huge bonus for me if the phone has 2 or 3 SIM card slots. I would like to use 1 SIM card slot for an international SIM card that can receive incoming texts, and a 2nd slot to plug in a local SIM card wherever I go to make local calls. A 3rd slot would be nice to use one of my roaming SIMs or in case I needed a different SIM for a data plan.
    - Should have some map functionality, either built-in or easily integrated. Preferably with live traffic and automatic updates that don't require a subscription, using the GPS, if such a thing exists. I'd like to use the phone to get driving directions all around Asia, the Middle East, Europe and North America.
    - Should be able to access facebook, gmail, etc. I'd like to get e-mail alerts on my phone.
    - Should be compatible with Skype and Viber to make free/cheap calls using WiFi if available
    - Full diplay rather than display/keyboard

    - some kind of voice assist, if it even works outside of the USA, and doesn't cost anything extra
    - bluetooth and bluetooth messaging, especially if it makes it easy to find other phones nearby and send them messages or files. This is one of the primary means by which men and women meet in Saudi Arabia.
    - a long battery life for those long trips.
    - WiFi Hotspot functionality. Seems cool to be able to use your phone as a hotspot... but... considering how much I move around and how often my data plan is likely to change I probably really will not use this that much.
    - maybe some MP3 storage would be cool, if I could plug it in to my car stereo and play songs off of it that would be neat. Not 100% necessary as I already have an old iPod.

    - camera. front, back, wherever. Don't care. I have a 3 cameras already, I don't need another crappy one in my phone. Especially not if it jacks up the price.
    - high def video. Same as above.
    - games. Something simple like the Backgammon game I had in my old Nokia just to pass the time when you're in the can is nice, but other than that... really don't care. I have better things to do than play games on my phone.

    I'd like something portable and easy to put in a pocket, but with a large enough screen that using it as a GPS in my car would be reasonable.
    I might pay as much as $400, but I'd prefer something under $300, or better yet under $200 if I can find something that does everything I want for that price.
    Whatever I get should be easy to use and user-friendly, as like I said, I'm a noob.
    The phone should be available for sale worldwide, preferably in Bahrain or Saudi Arabia. Though if there is something that is just perfect that I can only get in the US or something I could probably do that. But most US phones are locked and tied to contracts which is unsuitable for me.

    Any help would be soooo much appreciated.


    and if anybody out there has some idea if there is such a thing as a good roaming data plan that is affordable and doesn't require changing SIMs all over the place that would be good, too. I don't know anything about phone data plans, I've never had one before. I've only ever used my phone to talk and sometimes (reluctantly) to text.

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  3. #2
    Android Lurker kalbahamut's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Thanks for all the help, guys.

    I'm leaning toward getting the Acer Liquid Gallant Duo. It fulfills most of my requirements, though it's a little hard to find one and I think I'll haveto special order from the UK.
    (According to reviews) It's cheap (about $150), has GPS, runs on Android ICS, has good MP3 playback, runs on GPS networks, is compatible with map aps, has a nice big clear screen, durable build, and perhaps most importantly it is a Dual SIM phone. Only downsides are that its from Acer so not one of the bigger more popular brands- updates could be slow in coming, the processor is not the fastest (but plenty fast enough, I think), and the battery life is sub-optimal. But all-in-all looks like a very good choice for me.

    My 2nd choice is the Samsung Galaxy S Duos. If anyone has any thoughts on comparing these two that might be helpful. If anyone is even here. This forum seems dead.

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