3650 Phone with T-Mobile Service
A state of the art phone with camera,
voice recorder, memory, GPRS, tri-band GSM, Bluetooth and
One of the best
combinations of phone and service today (written in Nov
2003) is the Nokia 3650 and
T-Mobile. And, for best results, add the extra programs to
your phone that we recommend.
Best of all, the phone
can be bought through this
Amazon.com link and you'll get $100 cash back - it is
better than free!
You are now free to change from
any mobile phone service provider to any other mobile phone
company, keeping your phone number when you make the switch.
Even more amazingly, you can
also now switch from a regular 'landline' phone to a mobile
phone, and transfer your landline phone number to your mobile
So, you now have a marvelous
opportunity to consider any and all types of phone and phone
service, and transfer your present phone number to whatever
provider you wish. Use this as an opportunity to review
your present cell phone equipment and service. There have been
amazing advances, even in just the last twelve months.
We unreservedly recommend the
Nokia 3650 as the best phone on the market today. And, if you
live in an area where T-Mobile provides good coverage, then a
T-Mobile service plan is probably the best service for you as
The Nokia 3650 - Basic Phone
The Nokia 3650 is more than
just a phone. But let's talk about its phone capabilities first.
The 3650 is a tri-band GSM
phone. This means that it can be used anywhere in the world
where GSM service is available, not just in the United States.
Most cell phones in the US use a type of cellphone service that
is uncommon outside the US, but T-Mobile (and AT&T Wireless and
Cingular) use the international standard GSM type service, with
a twist : US GSM uses a different frequency to the rest of the
world, so you need to get a phone that will work on the US
frequency (1900 MHz) as well as on the two international
frequencies (900 MHz and 1800 MHz).
These issues are discussed
in detail in my three part series on
how to get international cell phone service. For the
purposes of this article, suffice it to say that the 3650 is
perfectly suited for international usage.
As well as the normal phone
microphone and speaker, it also has a built in speakerphone, and
is supplied complete with a headset as well.
It can both ring and vibrate
when calls come in, and you have a large selection of different
ring tones and tunes to choose from. It is also possible to
download more ring tunes (typically costing 99c each) if you
want to have an even more distinctive or musical tune.
One of the obvious features
of this phone is its color screen. The color screen is a lot
smaller than on a PDA, but with a resolution of 176x208 pixels,
it displays more information on it than older model PDAs (that
have only a 160x160 pixel screen).
The phone uses easily
understood menus to walk you through everything you might want
to do, including obvious things like making calls, putting calls
on hold, checking voice mail, as well as less obvious things
that you're unlikely to regularly need to know.
A sophisticated address book
enables you to store contact details and multiple phone numbers,
and even pictures of, a virtually unlimited number of different
people. You can also add 'voice tags' to 25 of your contacts,
and then when you want to make a phone call, you simply say the
person's name and the phone will recognize you and dial the
number. Very helpful if you're driving in the car.
The phone's contact address
book (and a calendar and to do list) can be synchronized with a
A distinctive feature of
this phone is its rotary dial pad. It is very easy to quickly
adjust to the different layout of the keys, and each key seems
to be larger in size than on many other modern cell phones,
making them easier to dial. The phone itself is also somewhat
larger than many modern phones - 5.1" x 2.2" x 1.0", but weights
about the same (4.6 oz).
Overall, the phone is so
full of features that the instruction manual runs a hefty 220
pages! Let's talk about some more about these special features.
Built in Camera
On the back-side of the
phone is a built in camera with 640x480 pixel resolution.
Picture quality is not brilliant, but is perfectly good for
casual photos -information about this feature and
picture examples from my 3650's
camera can be seen here. After taking pictures, it is easy
to then send them to friends via email or electronic message,
and you can also transfer the pictures to your own computer or
other electronic device via the phone's IR and Bluetooth
As well as taking pictures,
the phone will also make videos, too, which can then be viewed
on its screen or transferred to another computer or display
More than a Phone
Sure, this is a great phone
and does just about anything you'd expect or need a phone to do.
But it can be a lot more than a phone (and camera) - if your
cellphone service is clever enough (and priced correctly!) to
allow you to take advantage of the phone's extra features, and
if you add some extra software to the phone.
This phone is more like a
computer than a phone. It has an operating system - but, relax,
it is not Windows! It is called Symbian, and a lot of software
has been developed for this operating system already.
The phone also has space for
an additional MMC type memory card. It comes supplied with a
16MB memory card, and you'll quickly find yourself needing to
use this memory to store additional programs, additional data,
and saved pictures. I am using 4MB at present, and upgraded from
a 16MB card to a 128MB card which I bought for $50. Note that
128MB is the largest capacity card it supports.
There are hundreds of
programs that can be added to your phone, all reasonably priced,
and some adding invaluable extra functionality.
Click over to this page for
reviews on several of the
marvelous extra programs that you can install and run on your
The phone has a Lithium Ion
battery, which - in theory - is capable of 200 hours standby
time or 4 hours of talk time. This assumes that the phone is
enjoying a perfect strong signal all the time - the weaker the
signal, the more power the phone uses due to increasing the
strength of the signal it transmits to the cell.
Battery life, in practice,
is a lot less than these claimed numbers. Whenever you do
anything with the phone, it turns on the display backlighting
and that seems to use up a great deal of power. If you have
Bluetooth switched on, this increases the drain on the battery
(I'm guessing it takes 30%-40% off the battery life). Look for a
little black dot on the top right of the default screen, just
below the battery symbol - this signifies your Bluetooth is
activated. Turn it off if you don't need it.
If you are running
applications in the background (like the Instant Messaging addon
for example) then this reduces the battery life still further. A
test with the Instant Messaging software running showed 62 hours
only of total battery life from fully charged to fully
There is a warning 'battery
low' beep that starts to sound intermittently when there is
still three or so hours of battery life, so when you start
hearing that, turn off all non-essential functions and hurry to
recharge your battery as soon as possible.
When you need to recharge
the battery, a lightweight multi-voltage charger that comes
standard with the phone makes it easy to recharge the battery
anywhere in the world. It seems to take only a couple of hours
to recharge the battery.
Now for one of the very
powerful features of the phone. In addition to an IR port, it
also has built in Bluetooth wireless networking capability.
To understand more about
networking, visit our special report that explains what
Bluetooth is, and how it is different to other types of wireless
The Bluetooth capability
means you can use your phone with a wireless headset, and can
easily share data with a PDA or computer.
It also means something
else, too. It means that a computer or PDA can connect to your
phone through the Bluetooth, and then connect from the phone on
to the internet, using its GPRS capability.
The GPRS service provided by
T-Mobile means that your phone can access everything on the
internet. You can get email, you can browse websites (although
this isn't recommended or easy due to the very small screen) and
do anything else you'd want to do. You can do this either on the
phone itself, or on a computer or PDA that is linked to the
This feature means that you
now have 'everywhere internet'!
GPRS (and Wi-Fi)
This is a wonderful 'always
on' data service a bit like DSL or cable modems - but very much
slower. And, just like DSL, you can be using the GPRS to connect
to the internet at the same time you are also making regular
phone calls on your phone!
GPRS connections are slow -
bandwidth tests here my phone has measured an average speed
of about 28kb - the same as a relatively slow dial up modem
connection. But, although it is slow, it is also fast enough for
basic browsing and email/instant messaging, and it is
brilliantly convenient. If you choose T-Mobile as your service
provider, it is also very affordable.
GPRS is very much slower
than Wi-Fi. But Wi-Fi 'hotspots' are far and few between,
whereas GPRS service is available over much of the country. If
you've signed up for T-Mobile's unlimited GPRS option, then
(like me) you might be happy accepting the slower speed of GPRS
and surfing the internet from your laptop, via your phone and
its GPRS connection, rather than always searching for a Wi-Fi
source and paying extra for Wi-Fi connectivity.
Choosing a Cell Phone Service
Hopefully you're now
persuaded on how wonderful this phone is. Now for the key
question - which service provider should you use with this
Three different companies
provide the GSM/GPRS phone service that this phone uses -
Check out all three companies to see which have service in your
area. Here is a very helpful comparison service -
My clear preference is for
T-Mobile for three main reasons. Firstly, they will 'unlock' the
phone which means I can use it with any phone service, anywhere
in the world. AT&T and Cingular do not unlock their phones,
which makes them useless (or very expensive) when you're
Note : We can
unlock most Nokia phones, including all 3650's, for only a
$5 fee. This gives you more flexibility in who you choose
as your service provider.
Secondly, T-Mobile has an
unlimited GPRS add-on to their calling plans. For only $20 a
month extra, you get unlimited connectivity and data transfer.
This encourages you to get the full use out of the extra
features and capabilities of your phone. The other two companies
charge horribly high costs per MB of data you transfer. I've
found T-Mobile to have good customer service with only short
hold times, and have had no problems at any time. If T-Mobile
has service in your area, then they should be your first choice.
Thirdly, my plan includes no
long distance charges anywhere in the US or Canada, and no
roaming charges anywhere in their network.
Special Opportunity : Amazon
are currently selling these phones, with a qualifying T-Mobile
service plan, for $200. But then they give you a $150 rebate,
and T-Mobile gives you a second $150 rebate, making your net
cost a $100 refund!
Click here for this special deal.
Who Needs a Landline?
In most areas, a regular
landline can cost $40 a month when you add a package of features
to it. Plus you then have to pay for long distance calling
outside your local calling area.
In comparison, cellphone
service, with as many or more of the same features, and with
free long distance, costs about the same. And, you're probably
going to own a cell phone anyway - why bother also paying for a
regular landline phone?
This is not an empty
question. An increasing number of people are disconnecting their
landline phones and are exclusively using their cellphones for
everything. Perhaps you should, too!
A Word of Warning
As a bonus to anyone who has
scrolled down this far, here's a potentially invaluable word of
warning. Back up your phone data. This is easy to do (copying it
to the MMC card in the phone) and is something you should
On one occasion I had a
configuration problem, and as T-Mobile walked me through
resolving it, something happened which destroyed the phone's
operation - it would turn on, but then freeze and nothing would
The only solution ended up
being a complete reset, which caused all the phone's data -
settings, phone book, etc - to be lost. Fortunately, a quick
recover from the MMC card then restored everything, but if it
was not for the backed up data, I'd have lost tens of hours of
An Essential Accessory
If you have any type of GSM
SIM based cell phone, then our SIM
Saver is a wonderful device that can save you much
hassle and inconvenience. It acts as a backup and copying
unit for the phone directory information stored on your SIM
There are three good reasons
to use a headset much/most of the time. Using a headset frees
your hands to type or do something else, and is more
ergonomically comfortable. A headset makes using your phone
safer when driving. A headset keeps the phone itself away from
you and reduces the potentially harmful radiation that your head
is exposed to.
The phone is supplied with a
generic miniature headset. But you might want to consider either
adding a Bluetooth wireless headset for greater convenience, or
perhaps the amazing
noise-cancelling headset that we review here. This latter
device adds two more reasons to use a headset. The Boom enables
you to speak quietly into the phone and be heard clearly, even
in a high noise environment. This means you can use the phone in
places where it is otherwise not possible, and it also means you
can speak quietly into the phone in normal environments and so
have more privacy by not being overheard by everyone else around
Note also our review of the
headset mixer. This simple and inexpensive device enables
you to share a set of headphones between a music source and your
cellphone. An ingenious and convenient product.
Cell phones today offer all
the features of regular landline phones. At the same time that
calling plan costs have plummeted, extra services have been
added, but to get full benefit of these new services, you need a
state of the art phone.
The Nokia 3650 gives you
full benefit of all these wonderful new services that transforms
your cellphone from a simple wireless phone to a portable data
center, integrated in with your PDA and computer(s), and with
continuous internet access as well.
You can now get a new 3650
for better than free - with a $100 cash back refund through the
special Amazon deal at present. What are you waiting for!
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21 Nov 2003, last update
21 Jul 2020
You may freely reproduce or distribute this article for noncommercial purposes as long as you give credit to me as original writer.