Up until now I've managed just fine with a little feature phone on pay as you go, with me doing little more than texting a couple of overseas friends once in a while and phoning family. I just haven't seen the point in getting a smartphone. However, as a self-employed web developer I am now finding the need for a smartphone. After a period of illness that saw my work take second place this year, I am now looking to "relaunch" it with a more aggressive approach towards keeping client websites up with the latest trends and technology. Although I personally haven't seen the need for a smartphone I think it is time for me to get with the times. Who knows, maybe I'll find some apps that will be incredibly useful in the day-to-day running of my business - I'd actually prefer that to be the case as it is a significant investment for me.
I have two main things I've got questions about so I'll split this up accordingly. I'll also bold the questions in case you don't want to read my rambling. I am ideally
looking to get this sorted before Christmas
so quick responses would be much appreciated.
First things first, I have never had a phone on contract, but I know I am going to have to now. Above anything else I couldn't afford any of these things outright. Basically, I want to get the best device and contract deal I can within my budget, which is anything under £30/month. Lower the better.
1) I am currently on Vodafone PAYG. Looking at their contract phones
compared to others, they seem to be quite expensive? I am actually not too bothered about staying with them... I've spent the last two years trying to get them to fix a problem that stops me registering my number for an online account to absolutely no avail (I just gave up in the end). Which leads me to my main question. Who is the best provider these days (reliability/coverage/customer service)? Do different mobile operators still have varying levels of coverage in the UK or is it much the same?
2) You get inclusive minutes and texts within the UK. As I said, I have friends in other countries who I text occasionally which on PAYG costs more than a UK text. How are international calls/texts handled on contracts? Do I have to top-up like PAYG or do I get a bill at the end of the month?
3) I noticed on Three's website
that some UK numbers aren't included (I've not checked others yet so don't know if this is normal). All of my family have mobile numbers that begin 077 yet their site seems to indicate that "07" numbers aren't included in the allowance. I am sure that I am misunderstanding something so can someone please explain?
4) I'm not sure, but data might not be that important for my situation. Living in rural Shropshire/Staffordshire, 3G coverage seems to be indicated as "low" or "moderate" on various coverage checkers. Aside from that, when I go out I will at most make/take a call or send/receive a text, but most of the time I am at home (more so now). Any advice?
5) Are deals that include extras such as a "free" Kindle Fire too good to be true?
It is tempting as this would provide an Android device for testing.
6) Any terms/providers/rules I should be wary of or particularly look for? Anything else I may not realise coming from PAYG?
6) As someone who is very much "invested" in Google's services and that most mobile browsers use webkit, I should probably go for an Android. My only problem here is that on the face of it, Androids seem to fall into the bracket of "last gen" or "horrendously expensive". Are there some decent Androids within my budget that I am just not seeing?
7) But I can't help being drawn towards Windows Phone 8. Apart from the devices looking to be of a pretty high quality, they seem to fall within my budget most of the time. Particularly the HTC 8S
but in some cases even Nokia Lumia 820's
do too. However, that is meaningless if it isn't useful. For my use case (business, web development), what advantages may Windows Phone have over Android?
8) Given point 7, what are the main differences between the HTC 8S and the Lumia 820?
9) I currently have a calendar on (formerly free) Google Apps and a todo list on Wunderlist, both of which I'd quite happily move to a phone. Emails are something I would have to try, but my business email is hosted on my own server and could be changed from Google Apps to POP/IMAP. My personal email is on Gmail. Given this, what "apps" (how I hate this term) could be helpful here or replace my current services? Are there any other apps that could be particularly useful? How much do these apps typically cost?
10) For me this is quite a significant step and investment. I don't want it to be something I'll regret a few months down the line and I want it to be something that will "pay its way". Given this, any other advice?
What I've Found So Far
Here are some of the phones/contracts I've looked at so far. Any input is appreciated.
The only Galaxy SIII within my budget
I've found so far... although it is supposedly very good I am not a fan of its looks.
Nokia Lumia 820 seems to have some pretty good deals
, including one with 1GB of data on O2.
The HTC 8X
has few contracts available (most I've seen are quite expensive), but the HTC 8S
seems to have loads
, including the only unlimited data contract
I've found within my budget and one with a Kindle Fire included.
(I'm not particularly tied to buying from Phones4U, it is just that it has some of the lowest prices I've seen.)
Many thanks for any/all advice in advance.
And hope you didn't do too much of this
from reading my dafter questions.