Help me pick a good mom smart phone!

I’m in the market for a good mom phone. The contract has been up on my sad little phone that merely dials for more than a year, and I have been paralyzed with indecision on choosing a new phone. I’ve watched hours of ads on TV and still don’t know which phone would be the best, most efficient smart mom phone for me.

So I got serious yesterday and Googled “good mom phone” and “mom phone.” Here is some of what I found:

The Mamapedia mostly focused on how to keep your phone safe from little fingers dipped in peanut butter.

About.com had a good list of phones to start investigating.  The list includes info about the iPhone, the Palm Pre, the Blackberry Bold, the Blackberry Pearl, T-Mobile my Touch 3G among others.

But the site I like best was The iPhone  Mom. She blogs about all the apps a mom could need (and not really need) for her iPhone.

According to the blog, the iPhone can help you remember to restart your birth control pills after your down week, track your pregnancy if you didn’t start your pills on time, choose a name for your new embryo, track which breast you nursed on last and for how long, provide an electronic coloring book while you wait in line with your toddler or math and spelling flash cards when they are older. Oh, and it will keep and mesh your old grocery lists together.

The iPhone mom is expecting a lot more from her mom phone that I am or maybe I just don’t know all the possibilities.

Here is my current list of requirements (I may revise after hearing from you guys):

  1. I think I need stay with Verizon because my husband is on Verizon and he travels a lot. I figure if we’re on the same network there should be no excuses for not being able to connect. (So I think this takes the iPhone off my list at least until they offer Verizon service.)
  2. I want to be able to merge everyone’s schedule together and have enough room to write all the details  I need to recall.  My paper calendar has a spot for each member of the family so I can look across and see who needs to do what.
  3. I would love to be able to sync that to a calendar in my computer so I can see it on my desktop and share it with my husband.
  4. I would probably end up checking email on it although that wouldn’t be my main goal.
  5. I like my yahoo email so I don’t really want to switch email. I’m not sure if that would be a problem to use the Microsoft Explorer calendar or the Google calendar.
  6. I want the phone portion of it to actually work. My husband had a Treo for years for work and routinely called it only half a phone because the actual voice portion was so poor.
  7. I also need some type of app or some type of place to store all the info I have in my Family Facts on the Go book. Besides my calendar, it has my kids’ school schedule throughout the day, schedules for extra curriculars, insurance info, doctor info, prescription info and notes in general. I told Michael if I die, he would have everything he needs in there and that’s what I need my phone to do.
  8. It also needs to be physically tough. It will be dropped. There’s no doubt about that.
  9. And it truly cannot be complicated to run. I am the girl that leaves my voicemail full on my cell phone because I never learned how to erase messages without having to listen to them so I just leave it full all the time.

I love the apps and the touchability of the iPhone but I’m not sure I want to spend that much money and also I think I want to stay on Verizon.

The Palm Pre commercial makes it look like it’s just for moms but my husband hated his Palm Treo so I’m nervous to go with that. My husband is loving his Blackberry now but I’m not sure if will fit my needs and it seems awfully corporate.

I’m sure I could be working more efficiently and more integrated and I feel a little Kate and Allie with my Fil-o-Fax-type paper organizer. But  I don’t want to break the bank and I really want to find a phone that fits all my needs.

So I am looking to you guys — my brain trust – to help me choose a new phone.

Tell me what phone you have and what you love and hate about it. Also reveal prices if you will. Tell me if your phone could meet my list of needs.Tell me how you coordinate your husband’s schedules and your kids schedules all together.

200 comments Add your comment

Andrea

March 3rd, 2010
6:23 am

I am on Verizon and I have found the Blackberry phones to work well with coordinating schedules. The prices vary but you can get a good phone for not a lot of money (less than $300 incl. accessories).

I would also consider the Droid. It is pricey but has all of the bells and whistles you seem to require. The apps are comprehensive and it is extremely user friendly (I have found).

Both phones may require you changing your data plan, depending on your current phone plan. I am not sure about drop-a-bility though. I don’t think any of the smart phones are designed to be routinely dropped.

jw

March 3rd, 2010
6:29 am

I’m not a mom, but a dad – since you said Verizon, any of the new Blackberry phones would work – You need the internet access (school grades, announcements, news, etc) a 3G or 4G network would provide – IWiFi, too – just in case you loose your service or hit a dead zone in a building – you can sync your Outlook or email calendars easily with a Blackberry – The Blackberry Storm is more touchscreen rather than the traditional ‘button’ phone – texting should still be good and of course it is a stylish phone, too. You can’t go wrong with the top end Blackberry line – Verizon doesn’t do iPhone, which would be the best to get – but the Blackberry line would have enough apps to meet your needs, too! They (Verizon) have sales all the time, so you should be able to get a good deal on a phone and a good plan – use the leverage of the family plan you already have to get a good deal.

Hope dad info is OK – and hope I’m not out of line to post – enjoy your posts and columns, just not gutsy enough to post on any until today!

jw

March 3rd, 2010
6:30 am

that goofy word is WiFi – sorry!

mom3boys

March 3rd, 2010
6:57 am

I got my son a Droid; he absolutely loves all that it can do…me? I’m too cheap to pay the extra charge for a smart phone…so I have one that does nothing but call people!

smh

March 3rd, 2010
7:06 am

blackberry is my recommendation. he had to upgrade last year for work. we both ended up with blackberrys and for the most part they work fine. i can sync w/ google and yahoo. i’m not an app person myself but my spouse, aka the redhead is more likely to use them. i never thought i would want a souped-up phone but it makes things much easier. just remember to back it up to your computer and get the software updates on a regular basis. you can add a calendar reminder to do that :) and you’ll be all set.

motherjanegoose

March 3rd, 2010
7:11 am

Good Luck on this one…I need a new phone too and can’t wait to read. I have have had ATT for YEARS as they do cover more states that I am in, from coast to coast. FYI…my phone does not have coverage in the weirdest places…right in front of Discover Mills Mall….hello?

Y’all know I am not technical and thus not inclined to new gadgets but my phone is on it’s last leg, so I will be getting a new one too soon…I will read the tips today and try to make an informed decision!

Jeff in Roswell

March 3rd, 2010
7:15 am

Enter your comments here

BlondeHoney

March 3rd, 2010
7:16 am

If you must stay with Verizon, then I agree, a Blackberry is the best choice. They are tough, have dropped mine over the years more times than I care to recall and they keep going. Full disclosure; I work for AT&T and have had Blackberries for 6 years now; have a Bold 9700 now and I love it. With Verizon, you can’t talk & surf/e-mail at the same time and with the recent network upgrades AT&T’s 3G network beat Verizon’s handily in speed and reliability in PC World’s annual testing. Blackberry apps not nearly as good as IPhone apps.

motherjanegoose

March 3rd, 2010
7:18 am

FYI…I was talking to a client on Monday and mentioned that I drove past the house I lived in when I was a girl, last week, in Chicago. We got to talking about moving etc. and he said he has a college buddy who has had the same phone number for 40 years. Imagine it? I need to keep my phone number on my cell as my clients know it. Can you do this if you switch services?

motherjanegoose

March 3rd, 2010
7:19 am

@ Blonde Honey…we need to talk….LOL…see my 7:11 comment…

Jeff in Roswell

March 3rd, 2010
7:23 am

I too am interested in what others have found. I have my wife’s old razr. We are both ready to move into the smartphone world. The biggest issue I have is the plans. We currently have a simple 700 minute family plan with Tmobile – no texting. we pay $59.99 and have for years. I don’t mind the costs of the smartphones… I just can’t get around the expense of the voice, text and data plans. What we are thinking of doing is offsetting the cost of the mobile phones buy getting rid of our landline at home. The only calls we get at home are telemarketers, and some family members. Most of the younger members of our extended family have already dropped their landline… there’s not a lot of sense in it anymore. I’ve been looking at the Google phone by HTC – anyone have any experience with that?

Jeff in Roswell

March 3rd, 2010
7:24 am

Yes MJG you can keep your number.

Blackberry Curve...

March 3rd, 2010
7:35 am

…$49.99 with 2 year contract. Monthly fees will vary determined on how many minutes you need/use, but if you guys pay for Michaels then shared minutes ($9.99 for the second line after full price for the first line, and when Rose gets a phone in a year or 2 she will be 9.99, too), plus 24.99 for family unlimited texting and $15 for each phone for data access. Insurance is $4.99 per phone ($50 deductible); but if Michael’s phone is paid for by the AP then costs are much higher. Good luck –

The iPhone is great but will you really use all that they have to offer (I laughed at your BC pill example) though it is very trendy right now. But, Verizon has much more coverage and better line quality.

Blackberry Curve...

March 3rd, 2010
7:37 am

…I meant to also say that yo will have email access from whatever email accounts yo may have with this phone, too, included in the prices outlined above.

nativeson71

March 3rd, 2010
7:46 am

iPhone3GS = camera, phone, 8 million apps, video, music…smooth surface wipes clean like a kitchen counter.

BRC

March 3rd, 2010
7:46 am

@Jeff in Roswell – I’m thinking about giving up our landline too, but have heard that using only cell service can make it harder for 911 services to find you. Anyone else have info on this?

Hey, BRC...

March 3rd, 2010
7:52 am

…just be sure your cell phone has a GPS chip in it an no problem with 911 dispatches locating you! Don’t you ever watch NCIS?????

Jeff

March 3rd, 2010
7:54 am

“And it truly cannot be complicated to run. I am the girl……” And you want all the other stuff you WANT but don’t want complicated? WTH?

Did you actually proof-read this TWG? This is prototypical man-just-got-eyes-glossed-over by female logic and stopped listening moment.

I luv ya babe, you do pretty good work, but cmon!

Jeff in Roswell

March 3rd, 2010
8:04 am

BRC, that was a concern for us as well, but I’m fairly certain that they’ve got that worked out now.

Ted

March 3rd, 2010
8:15 am

I am the Director of Recruiting in North GA for the largest Verizon Retailer in the nation. I have Personal Phone Representatives that would love to answer any and all questions that you may have about your Cellular Phone needs. As most of us are finding out, these devices are becoming more and more a central part of our lives as well as more and more complicated.

Please send me an E-mail at ted.thompson@cellularsales.com and I will be more than happy to have one of our representatives contact you about you specific needs.

Please dont spend the next 2 years in a phone that you are not happy with because it was the “deal of the day” when you walked into your local phone store. Let a professional guide you into something you will be happy with and will fulfill your needs.

Jeff in Roswell

March 3rd, 2010
8:19 am

I was wondering when the salesmen would appear… lol.

Ted, get rid of the 2 year contracts and drop the prices of the monthly service and I’m all ears. Please tell the readers how much of a markup on the texting service there is.

BRC

March 3rd, 2010
8:21 am

LOL. No, I don’t watch NCIS, but maybe I should. Then I’ll be up on all the latest technology, right? ;-)

deidre_NC

March 3rd, 2010
8:23 am

i have an envy 3 and like it fine..i probably dont use all the stuff i could because i am a tad phone challenged too. i do text..if i didnt i would be in toch with a lot of people and the envy 3 makes texting very easy. dont get a touch screen…one teeny drop of water will wreck it forever…my daughter has a samsung rogue and loves it..we both have the cheapest data plan…i usually have plenty of time left over she runs it to the edge every month..she has been fantastic about wattching her data use and hasnt gone over once…we both have unlimited texting…we have 1400 minutes which we never use…but we have to have that many in order to have the friends and family mumbers–i hate that..if i lessen my minutes then we would go over because we couldnt have the F&F so its a catch 22 kind of. if i had great cell service here at home i wouldnt have a landline…and i have had all the extras taken off the landline…no long distance or call waiting etc…we can text from hom just fine and go in the yard and talk on the cell…so theres no reason to have all that on the landline…i would love to give that up really….theresa if you are starting a new contract look online and it will tell you all the phones you can get…some free most really cheap with a new contract. i paid $30 for my envy 3…i could have gotten the touch free…and at one time i could have gotten several blackberrys free…i just didnt want the data at that point…i do have a calendar and stuff i just never use it..i only use the address book and the alarm and calculator..but there is lots on it i just dont use it…

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

March 3rd, 2010
8:27 am

jw – you must be new to us because we always take Dad answers!!

HB

March 3rd, 2010
8:28 am

I don’t have a fancy phone, but love my iPod touch with WiFi (so basically the iPhone without the phone; uses the same apps). MJG, since you’re with AT&T, I think you should go for the iPhone. It has all sorts of great features and apps available (many free or cheap), but is super user-friendly for the less tech-inclined.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

March 3rd, 2010
8:28 am

I can’t believe Ted didn’t get spammed!!

Keith — our favorite fill in host — has been my phone adviser lately — her tennis partner is a Verizon guy so she was going to ask him my questions.

Clay

March 3rd, 2010
8:31 am

You do not need Verizon because your husband uses Verizon. Go to the AT&T store and get an iPhone 3GS. There is no other phone. The iPhone is amazing and there is no other phone I would want to have to consider in its place. All other makers try to make phones like the iPhone, phones they say are as good as–or better than–an iPhone, but there is no iPhone replacement.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

March 3rd, 2010
8:34 am

no body giving shout outs to the Palm Pre????

TechMom

March 3rd, 2010
8:36 am

I LOVE my iPhone. I really put off getting one for a long time because I thought it was all hype. I sit in front of a computer all day and STILL use the darn thing constantly. Love having the internet on the go. Husband has had several BBs over the years and they are sturdy and functional but definitely geared toward the business person. iPhones are just more intuitive and of course “there’s an app for that” – that being anything you could imagine. BBs have tried to bridge the gap more to the entertainment users though and I do think they’ve become more user friendly in the last couple of years. Even my 14 year-old son had one and loved it (till he got an iPhone). The Droid is Verizon’s answer to the iPhone and a lot of the apps you can get on the iPhone, are now available for the Droid. The downside to phones like the Droid and iPhone is that while thy’re child friendly via a touch screen, they don’t do well when dropped. I have a full body-cover & heavy-duty screen protector for my iPhone which makes it heavier but it has withstood me dropping it several times. My son’s got knocked out of his hand and the screen is cracked but it still functions.

I do recommend staying on the same network as your husband, it’s a lot cheaper to be on a family plan than to have two different companies and two different bills.

SUPER MOM

March 3rd, 2010
8:36 am

YOUR ANSWER …Get the PALM PRE!! I have 3 children to manage and the Pre works like a charm. It has apps that you can upload and the multi-calandar is awesome. I call it the “poor man’s IPHONE”… it has all the great features of the IPHONE without the cost.

Lori

March 3rd, 2010
8:36 am

Go with a Droid, or the slightly smaller Droid Eris HTC. They are the best Verizon has to offer. My husband had the Droid and I have the Droid Eris HTC. We both LOVE our phones. It has everything, apps you can download, games (to keep the kids busy while waiting at the doctor’s), calendars, widgets, web browsing, emailing/texing, camera, GPS with turn by turn directions (and Google maps), etc. I don’t know how I lived without it!!! I know a lot of people who have iPhones, and they are jealous of the Droid, they all say when their AT&T contract is up, they are switching to Verizon & getting a Droid. The blackberry is very common among business users, but I hate the tiny keyboards, and overall design of them. The Droid has a large pull out keyboard and is MUCh easier to use. The Droid Eris HTC has a touch keyboard much like the iPhone. I can take adorable pics of my kids and shoot them right up to facebook with a click of a button (an absolute must for any proud Mommy!!!).

Michelle

March 3rd, 2010
8:42 am

T-I have LOTS on info on cell phones! :o) We have had Verizon for years and LOVE it. I can give you who we work with at the stores of you’d like! Also, hubby has a blackberry and has been very pleased. When his contract runs out, he is switching to the new droid. My “work” phone is through AT&T (it’s the Jack) and I have been fairly pleased with it!

I would recommend (as many others have) either the Blackberry or the Droid. Since you are due to get a new phone, the cost shouldn’t be too crazy. You will have a $30 charge for the “data” package (unlimited web surfing, dowloads, etc.) but the line would only be $9.99 as the extra phone.

We have my line, hubby’s and one of the older boys on our account. We have 1400 minute plan and don’t even come close! We chose this plan because you can add 10 non-verizon lines that can be counted as “free” calling numbers.

MJG, yes if you change carriers, you can keep your number!

Just FYI to those asking, I have not had a home phone (land line) for > 10 years! When we first moved to GA, we had one briefly until the older boys could have a cell phone. Once they got those, we ditched the land lines!

We use cable for internet! Many of the cell companies are offering a “land line” type service.

I don’t want to sound like a sales rep so I’ll stop now! I’ll just say I’ve had a couple of different services and have been VERY pleased with my current one (having had it for about 8 years now!)

Theresa and MJG-you have my contact info! I’m happy to share what I know and think off line if you’d like! Or…I can be an advertisement for “why” I like the service I’m with!! :o)

Jeff in Roswell

March 3rd, 2010
8:43 am

I don’t know anything about the Palm Pre, but it did catch my eye last night – I saw a commercial for it.

Michelle

March 3rd, 2010
8:46 am

Oh, let me just say, I have a Dare and HATE the virtual keyboard. I had the original ENVY and LOVED it b/c of the “real” keyboard! So, my recommendation would be that whatever you get, make sure it has a keyboard. Like Lori said, the new Droid has one! Many of the smart phones will sync with your e-mail and Outlook! It’s a great feature. And, I really like being able to upload photos directly to Facebook as needed! :o)

I am enjoying this topic b/c I have 2 phones with 2 different carriers!

MomsRule

March 3rd, 2010
8:47 am

I have to agree with Clay re others trying to imitate the Iphone.

I’ve had the Iphone for several years now and upgrade everytime the latest comes out. I love, love, love it. I will admit that I was not happy about switching to AT&T as I had been a Verizon customer for years. Verizon knocked the sox off of AT&T for national coverage and minimal dropped calls. In the past year, however, I have noticed huge improvements in AT&T coverage and service. Another huge advantage, in my book, is that Apple is the best with customer support.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

March 3rd, 2010
8:52 am

I will say this about Verizon and that Verizon guy Ted is going to love this — when my brother was in the hospital for almost three months I was the ONLY one in our family that could get a call out from any place in that hospital. The rest of my family is on T-Mobile and they would literally have to go outside of the building or try to stand near a window to get a signal. I was making calling from any room in that hospital including a moving elevator! I do feel like I am paying more for Verizon but I also think I know I can make a call from just about anywhere. My dad’s phone doesn’t even work in his house or my house. There’s only one spot near our house that is a big dip in the road near Stone Mountain that I have calls consistently dropped on — God’s way to telling me not to drive and talk.

Becky

March 3rd, 2010
8:54 am

Deidre_NC..I am phone challenged also..I have a Samsung Gravity and it probably does things that I don’t know how to do..But it works good enough for me..

MJG..My BIL is 58 years old..He still lives in the house that he came home from the hospital to..He’s had the same phone number for at least 52 years..

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

March 3rd, 2010
8:58 am

My husband’s company pays for his phone so I’m not the other line — I’m a whole separate contract which totally sucks — I’m paying $70 just for very basic service — I went to the lowest friends and family that they had so i could stop going over my minutes — I haven’t been over since I got that — but then if you add in $30 — is $100 too much to pay for one person’s cell phone a month??/ Is the convenience worth that??
How do the cell land lines work?? I am constantly hunting for my phone and that’s why we have kept our landlines — I have land extensions in almost everyroom so I can just grab a phone without hunting for one —- our landline is bundled in our cable, internet — I need to look at how much we are paying for that — i think it’s pretty small — so do you just use your cell at home or do you have other “extensions” of your cell????

Spacey

March 3rd, 2010
8:59 am

I do not think that the smart phones are great for being dropped or played with by small children. Although, you can buy a rubber cover and those plastic screen savers on the internet. Don’t buy your cover in the store! They are way too expensive. You can find them online for cheap.
Rubber is the way to go so they bounce. Not as pretty or shiny, but you are looking to preserve the phone. Good Luck!
The Apps are a lot of fun :)

new mom

March 3rd, 2010
9:00 am

Hey Theresa!

Yes, a cover is a must. I have one of those silicone ones in hot pink :) Between myself and the two yr old, it takes a beating. Also–remember to learn how to lock your phone ASAP, and don’t show any little one how to unlock. My husband has the at&t version of the iphone and our girl knows how to navigate the entire thing, including unlocking it. Just from watching him!

Also, once you decide on a model, you can buy it off of ebay if you want. Hubby does that periodically and will sell his old ones there too. It makes his technology habits a little more affordable :)

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

March 3rd, 2010
9:01 am

I’ve been holding out on the contract thing so I think I can get the phone next to free — or at least I will whine and complain until I do!!!

Becky

March 3rd, 2010
9:03 am

Theresa..I do agree with you about the coverage..I have T-Mobile and my sister has Verizon..A couple of years ago we went to the Okefenokee Swamp, she had service, I didn’t..

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

March 3rd, 2010
9:11 am

Did anyone notice my Kate and Allie reference -get it 80s moms fil-o-fax – I’m still giggling over that one.

Cinzia

March 3rd, 2010
9:19 am

Theresa–same here w/my Verizon..have connections when others in family don’t, eg. Hubby with his T-Mobile Blackberry. Two years ago we were sitting in 2nd from top row at a college football game, open air stadium. Hubby wanted to make call. He had no connection. He made the call with my Verizon!! :)
I, too, am looking for new cell phone..my 2 yr. contract was up 3 months ago and I would consider an Iphone if Verizon offered it, however, I really should go with a Blackberry..for professional reasons. My head says Blackberry; my heart says Iphone.

Julia

March 3rd, 2010
9:20 am

Theresa if he is Verizon, get Verizon, its really stupid to pay for mins that could go for free even with the friends and family thing….I have verizon and my brother has att, he cant use his phone near or at his house and he lives in Lithia Springs. Now most of the phones now require a media package……

Julia

March 3rd, 2010
9:23 am

The hard cases are way better the rubber ones tear way to easy.. If you get the BB with the roll mouse, it will rip just by use and with in a few weeks…

Michelle

March 3rd, 2010
9:28 am

Oh, I’d get a hard cover too! The jelly ones are VERY easy to tear (especially with a little one)!

Wow, Julia...

March 3rd, 2010
9:39 am

…you don’t have much luck with anything, do you – men, phones, etc…I usually try to defend your comments, but really, you seem to be the only one with negative things to say on NEARLY EVERY topic…

Ted

March 3rd, 2010
9:50 am

Jeff, I would love to drop the contracts. You can do a 1 year contract if you choose but the cost of the phone is going to be increased. These devices are expensive some are well over $500.00 our cost and we we do the best that we can to give the comsumer a good device at a good price. As for mark up on Data. Verizon spent 17 Billion dollars on its network last year. Everyone wants faster and for the phones to do more. This costs alot of money on the network side. When we flip on the 4G, which will be soon, Verizon people will know that this is money well spent.

As for me being a salesman. Yes I want my company to do well. But I dont personally sell phones. I simply want to inform the good people out there to do your homework and seek professional advice before you purchase a device that you are going to be with for 2 years.

Theresa, yes I did stick my neck out here, but it is because I am passionate about what I do ,the industry that I am in, and the products that I represent.

5!!!

March 3rd, 2010
9:53 am

I have the TMobile G1. I’ve had it for over a year with no trouble.

Has full keyboard and roll ball, touch screen. Works with my gmail. Plenty of Apps. I like it.