I've been watching this forum for a while wanting to move to the (Sprint) Pre as my first Smartphone. (I'm currently a VZW customer with no commitment.) I've been a Palm user for many iterations though no Smartphone. My latest Palm was the T|X. Well I broke the screen and had to move back to my Tungsten E2 - painful with no Wi-Fi, Email, Photos or MP3. $60 to get a new screen. No! Get the Pre instead. My biggest dilemma is all the hardware problems I see through this forum. The Pre Plus "seems" to have a more solid platform. So, I figured, the longer I waited, the better the Sprint hardware.

Looking for the least expensive manner to move in the long run pointed to Radio Shack. I didn't want to purchase this type of item through a regular internet vendor and the nearest Sprint store is about 15 miles away and Radio Shack has "instant rebate. $79.99 for the Pre. Then last week I saw Radio Shack advertising no Activation Fee. Yes! $36 savings. But this was the internet. Did it apply to the retail store? Tuesday I dropped into a local, small retail store to find out and to also kick the tires and see how Sprint reception is in this area. There was only a mockup available on the shelf so I waited for a (the!) sales person. And waited... and waited... and waited. Twenty minutes later I left after getting tired of waiting. No info there. That evening I checked the internet again and now Radio Shack no longer advertises no Activation Fee. Oh well. Since I never found out if it had applied to the brick and mortar store, its now a mute point.

Now the hard part. I saw on the forum yesterday that VZW had lowered the internet price of the Pre Plus. So I decided to check it out. $149 after instant rebate, another $70 off of that and, since I'm a current customer with no commitment, another $50 off with a 2-year. -- That's $30 for the Pre Plus!! Oh, and no Activation Fee. You can't beat that with a stick.... except its on VZW. The basic data plan compared to Sprint, as most of you know, includes NO navigation ($10/month, NO TV (basic = $12/month, NO SMS (I don't know how much $$$) and I don't know what else. So in the long run, its still more expensive.

What really bothers me is what I don't know and this is where you current Pre Plus customers can enlighten me. Years ago, when I first moved to VZW, it was because I wanted the deal on the RAZR they had. Afterwards, I was really surprised to find out how they had crippled the RAZR. I couldn't use the Motorola tools as I planned. I had to buy theirs and I even had to pay for Ringtones! I hadn't done my homework.

Can you tell me what else I'd be missing if I went with VZW? I know you have to pay for Navigation but if you don't, does that imply that the GPS does not work at all? What questions are there that I don't even know enough to ask? Have they crippled the OS? Are you at their mercy?