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  1. vamp07's Avatar
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    Ok I know there are tons of threads on this one but here is my feedback. Hopefully there are some nuggets of info here for the next person needing to choose between Cingular and Sprint. I tried both networks for a months. On Cingular I used a new Treo650 and on sprint a one year old Treo600. I read everything I could on the subject of GPRS vs. CDMA in this board and others. Today is the day my time is up and need to return one or the other. I made a decision and here are the data points I used:

    #1. Coverage for both providers in my area San Juan/PRPRPR $is$ $excellent$. $I$ $really$ $could$ $not$ $make$ $a$ $decision$ $based$ $on$ $coverage$ $although$ $I$ $do$ $agree$ $that$ $before$ $deciding$ $based$ $on$ $any$ $other$ $consideration$ $coverage$ $is$ #$1$. $If$ $you$ $don$'$t$ $have$ $good$ $coverage$ $where$ $you$ $need$ $it$ $all$ $other$ $considerations$ $are$ $irrelevant$.

    #2. The sound quality with excellent signal is a little different. It could be the phone but I doubt it. What I find is that on GPRS the voice quality with an excellent signal will sound crisp and clear but once in a while you will get a little quality deterioration that may only last for a fraction of a second. Generally not a big deal and not enough of an issue to choose one over the other for me but if you do allot of business calls and you want to sound and well as possible at all times it might be something to consider. This issue seems to go along with what I have read about gprs vs. cdma. I read several other posts that also saw this difference.

    #3. The sound quality with poor signal is dramatically different. Hands down CDMA/Sprint wins on this one. Its pretty hard to get a bad connection if you have a signal. On Cingular/GPRS you know that signal is getting lost without even needing to look at the phone. Both parties can tell the voice quality is degrading.

    #4. Dropped calls seems to happen slightly less with Sprint. I'm not talking about loss of signal. I am referring to those cases where suddenly you loose the connection and it not obvious why it happened. I have a suspicion that GPRS tends to hold on to a tower it is using longer then it should. This also seems to go along with what I have read in other threads on this subject. Generally on Sprint the signal tends to be more steady. On Cingular I seem to run into signal drops and then recovering to full while staying practically stationary. No idea why this is but I doubt it has much to do with coverage.

    #5. Data speeds seems relatively the same to me. I do find that gprs/edge connects much quicker and the latency seems less on Cingular. Data is a big deal to me since I tend to stay online all day (definitely need unlimited data). How quickly GPRS signs on is nice but since I stay on all the time it's not a big deal. When browsing the web data seems to start coming though quicker on Cingular but once it is moving they both seem quick enough. I tend not to browse much but I do stay online with verichat for IM and chattermail for imap based email.

    #6. Lost calls because of a live data connection is hands down a winner for GPRS. This is well documented in so many threads it does not seem worth saying much more about. Apparently both networks types will produce dropped calls when moving data but GPRS disconnects that data connection MUCH quicker then CDMA.

    #7. Data plan costs seem pretty equal to me. If you don't cheat with cingular then you are going to pay considerably more for moving data. In either case there is a way to get unlimited data for $19 which is very similar to what you can get with Sprint although for some reason Sprint has me on an unlimited data plan for $5/ month. Had the sprint phone for a while and I think there is a historical reason for this.

    #8. Voice plans seem extremely similar to me. I would ignore this one when trying to decide.

    #9. Cingular will not insure the phone while Sprint will charge you something like $5/month. I already replaced my 600 with Sprint once in the last 2 years.

    #10. The 650 has a very nasty interference with my stereo. When I am sitting at my computer I am almost always streaming music. You know the Cingular phone is moving data or getting an incoming call because you get all kinds of NASTY static in the computer speakers. Very NASTY.

    #11. The battery life of the 650 is noticeably better then the 600. I have read that the 650 gprs is also better then the 650 CDMA although not as pronounced. This contradicts what I have read that CDMA is generally less power hungry then gprs. Who knows.....

    So which did I choose (drum roll please). I ended up going with Sprint/CDMA. The voice quality issues irked me just enough to through me into the CDMA camp. The difference you notice when signal goes down is too noticeable. Sprint seems rock solid regardless of signal level. The interference with my sound system also had me annoyed. Not being able to get insurance with Cingular made me nervous. If you read my 11 points it's obvious that Sprint won almost everything but I am a heavy data user which did not make this an easy decision. The missed calls I suffer because of an active data connection can be very annoying. I have found ways to minimize those connections in the two main apps I use and deal with the problem that way. The future path to higher data rates also seems brighter with CDMA although in all honesty I find what I have more then enough. I don't use my cell to connect my laptop to the net and so EVDO is not a big deal to me although I'm sure I will want it once a treo is out that supports it.
  2. #2  
    Thanks for taking the time and effort to go through this. Yes, to me the big thing is voice/sound quality. One thing I especially notice that with Sprint I can be driving down the highway going 75mph and the person on the other end can't tell I am in the car. The same cannot be said for Cingular customers. I can hear the roar in the background. And although EDGE is faster, I am not too disappointed with the speed of Sprint -- but looking forward to EVDO Treo enabled phones down the road.
  3. #3  
    Vamp07, that was so clear & cut, great review. I do admit Sprint is also great for me. I've been a customer for 10+ years now, and looking back, little to none problems....
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