Phone for college?

<p>My S is a rising college freshman, and has a phone already, with texting. </p>

<p>We've kept to the basic type phones since I didn't want to get locked into plans that require data packages on top of everything else.</p>

<p>However, S has organizational issues, and it was suggested to me by a CCer that a blackberry or other smart (?) phone could be helpful because of the built in organizer or apps, or access to google calendar.</p>

<p>Does anyone have any experience or advice they could share? I would be willing to do it if it would be truly helpful; also, H is grumbling about our current carrier and I am starting to look into plans & phone for the family anyway.</p>

<p>Thanks!</p>

<p>I bought a Google-based smart phone through TMobile. My college son has one, too, but no one else in the family thinks that they need a smart phone, so they're still on regular phones. I LOVE having a smart phone. The integration with Google is amazing, so I have my email, calendar, and task list all sync'ed up and with me all the time. I'm also much calmer about being stuck in lines or with delays since I have the internet accessible and can catch up on email while I'm waiting.</p>

<p>DS talked me into it after getting his Google smart phone. He uses Google calendars and tasks to organize his life and he swears by it. He has separate calendars for social, home, and school, and sets up tasks with reminders for homework. He uses Google maps from his phone and it's just like having a GPS.</p>

<p>I have a TMobile family plan that includes 2 phones, both with data plans, and unlimited texting. I added 3 more phones for $5 each. None of these have data plans but they're included with the unlimited texting. I'm not sure how much more it would be to add the data plan to these extra phones... probably around 20-$25. I've been happy with the plan, but make sure that you'll have coverage where the phones will be. When DS first got to his college they only had the slower data coverage for the area. When he returned after the holiday break he found that they had upgraded and he now has the faster coverage. He was very happy.</p>

<p>We looked into an iPhone, by the way, and prefer the Google phones. They can run multiple applications at the same time (just like your computer), integrate with Google, are available through different carriers, and don't have everything controlled tightly by Apple.</p>

<p>Thanks! The iphone isn't really an option because we live in an AT&T dead zone (they were our previous provider).</p>

<p>We have Tmobile now & I have been relatively happy with it, but my husband says he gets a lot of dropped calls when driving. We are going to switch phones one day this week so I can see whether it is just his phone or he really isn't getting signal strength on the road.</p>

<p>I would prefer to stay with Tmobile since we are not at the end of the plan for everyone in the family. Plus Tmobile has tiered upgrade fees depending on how long into the plan you are.</p>

<p>At this point, I am going to check out the options offered by Tmobile and Verizon. I am hoping my husband just has a bad phone and we won't have to switch plans. Tmobile seemed to have better pricing when I was last shopping for plans.</p>

<p>Most kids are getting Blackberry now. It offers BB messaging, which means they could text their friends overseas for free, it's comes with internet service. In college, they get a lot of emails from professors (appointments, assignments), safety notification(alerts) from school...College students do not always have access to a computer during the day. It is convenient for them to be able get emails on their phone during the day. I would get a BB with data service and unlimited text messaging.</p>

<p>My daughter's school is a dead zone for Tmobil. It's one of the reasons we switched to AT&T few years back. You may want to check with your son's school before you go with a new provider.</p>

<p>A few years ago I upgraded to a phone that had no service from my home. TMobile was great about letting me try out different phones until I found one that worked. They won't admit it, but the manufacturer does make a difference. My Google (aka Android) phone's service has been fine. Maybe your husband just needs to try a different manufacturer for his next phone.</p>

<p>Good luck!</p>

<p>My Tmobile service worked well at accepted students day, though I'm not sure about the data coverage. I'd like to keep us all on one plan since it would probably cost much more to have S on a separate plan.</p>

<p>I am thinking it is my H's phone that's the issue, we were on vacation last week & I was able to get a connection places that he couldn't. </p>

<p>I like the blackberrys myself (I am not going to upgrade at this time though, I can't justify the expense for myself). S seems to favor the android type phones, I just wanted some assurance that it would be useful, not just some cool new toy to play with (with a monthly service charge)</p>

<p>And H may upgrade if it turns out he has a phone issue.</p>

<p>I have a Nokia E71x phone from AT&T which I love. I didn't want to pay for a data plan and for some reason they didn't require a plan with this phone even though it's a smart phone. I actually blocked the ATT internet service and can use free wifi wherever it's available - would be great on a college campus.</p>

<p>Edited to add that I see on ATT's site that they require a data plan for this phone now - I guess I just slipped through.</p>

<p>That's interesting, Shaghaimom. We can't use AT&T (our house is in a dead zone). I'll have to see if any of the other carriers have this option. Though at S's school, I think just the common areas are wireless, not the dorms.</p>

<p>College jr. S2 has a Blackberry and has really enjoyed it. Getting email on the phone is great. Otherwise, he might go for days w/out checking emails on his laptop. The univ. sends out emails all the time. He also uses the planner for reminding him when assigments are due. He has had this phone for 18 months and not really had any probs. with it. We have Verizon service.</p>

<p>Thanks, packmom. I like the Blackberrys. I am not familiar with the planning functions on any of these phones, but it's the reason I'm thinking of couging up the extra $$ every month.</p>

<p>I have an "unsmart" phone but I have set some stuff up. I don't consider myself super tech savy but I know some stuff.</p>

<p>Google calender can easily send reminders in text form. What is more complicated is that gmail can be setup to forward emails to phones via text</p>

<p>For verizon, you tell gmail to forward all of your emails to (number)@vzwpix.com I think</p>

<p>^In addition to that, my phone, which is a very basic phone and was basic when I bought it in 2005, has a calendar that can set alarms and even a built in to do list, which can also set alarms. I can set the calendar as my phone's wallpaper so whenever I open it I see what days I have things due. I have a hard time believing that someone who won't use a regular planner (or the features in their normal phone) is going to be any more inclined to navigate through phone menus to use the organizational features once the novelty of the phone wears off. My roommate last year told her mom she needed a blackberry to help her to be more organized. I got the impression her mom was being manipulated because roommate just wanted a blackberry.</p>

<p>I get over 20 non-junk emails a day because of all my extracurricular involvement so I would really like a data plan for email purposes, but otherwise I don't see why it would be more helpful than the bazillion other tools students buy at the beginning of the year with the best of intentions and then don't use. Other than that it's a cool phone.</p>

<p>We have motorola droids with verizon. Love them, navigation and internet access plus the synch with gmail and google calendar.</p>

<p>DS used to get text notifications and text-based email on his old phone, but for a real organization tool he would need to sit at his computer and use Google. With the Android phone he gets access to his organization everywhere and can look at his entire calendar and task list, and change it, without being at his computer. He enjoys checking off the homework tasks as he finishes them -- I think that using the tools motivates him to stay more organized.</p>

<p>We have had coverage problems with our kids & T-Mobile. I had liked their low rates for what they provide but the other summer, my S had 3 different apartments & D had 1. NONE of the apartments in LA or VA had reception, so we switched to Verizon. We were sad to have to switch, but it's pretty bad when you can't get reception. Have had much better reception since the switch.</p>

<p>Does your kid lose/misplace things as a part of being disorganized? Do you want to spend the extra bucks? Does he actively want the special phone? Have you seen what his school personal website dores for him for organizing things- ie will his computer accomplish the same thing? Make sure he is enthusiastic about the idea before committing to it.</p>

<p>Thanks for all the extra advice.</p>

<p>I have not gotten him this type of phone up to now because I wasn't convinced that the usefulness would outweigh the expense. I had a recommendation that it would be a good idea, so I figured I'd ask here. :)</p>

<p>S has had problems losing things in the past, but it seems to have improved. He still has the glasses and phone I got him over a year ago, and the car keys have not gone missing yet.</p>

<p>I do worry about theft, he overestimates the goodness of people, and a large public university seems like it would be a good place for that type of device to be picked off.</p>

<p>I wasn't sure how a phone would be an improvement over tools found on a laptop, except that the phone is instantly accessable, like a notepad would be.</p>

<p>The coverage question is tricky. My tmobile phone service seemed to work ok there, though I will need to recheck the coverage map for outside the immediate area. The verizon coverage map looked good. I would prefer to keep the same carrier if possible to avoid early termination fees. Though if my husband can't get his phone situation resolved (dropped calls), we may end up switching anyway.</p>

<p>Oh, and S would love one of these things, but he gets all shiny eyed at any new technology toy. So it's not a case where he's convinced me he needs it.</p>