Best Smartphone for France?

I am a luddite with a very old samsung, bottom of the range mobile but I am secretly coveting the thought of a smartphone of some sort to release me from the need to be near a computer at some point each day. I see Virgin have some good deals on Blackberrys at the moment - should I jump for one of these at 19.90€ per month or should I really be looking at an HTC as people seem to love their Android phones with all the apps available. I-phones seem a bit expensive compared to the BB / HTC versions - are you paying for the name?

I’m not a great texter and not really a big mobile phone user (I think I use about 10mins a month to family on my Leclerc PAYG currently), but I am a big social networker and e-mailer and run several blogs/sites. What would you recommend?

True, there is an element of that sometimes, but some of the features on the smart phones are just so useful. Being able to read, answer and deal with emails as they arrive keeps you one step ahead when you are out and about. Will have to pop into the Orange shop in the New Year and see what is on offer.

I'd stick to an old-fashioned mobile if I were you. So many people now have Smart phones (or equivalent) that most

face-to-face gatherings now consist of showing each other their apps, their photos, etc - and no time left for real conversation!

Just an update, I finally caved in and got an iPhone - I looked at the droids but the choice in France was pretty limited. I LOVE it and it’s costing me 30€ a month less than I was paying for my housebrick of an old phone. Brilliant bit of kit, already hard to imagine how I managed without it.

I have used an iphone in France for a year and a half. I bought it to go into the mountains for my hiking as a it is a useful tool, as long as you have reception. I have never had a problem with it and found it easy to use and rely on it for all sorts of things. The Aps you can get for it are very helpful, including translators and conversion tools. I am on Orange and have never had a problem getting either 3G reception in most places and where the edge is available it still works well if not a little slower.

The problem withe the iphone though, is unless it’s hacked you cannot use video based programmes/applications as they have a block on it for now. I have nver found this a problem though myself.

As for the other phones, my wife also uses an iphone & Blackberry, she says both are good.

Have no idea if this has helped :slight_smile: good luck in your hunt!!

Hmmm. I would like to upgrade to a better phone, but don’t know where to start really. Only ever used mobiles for calls and text in the past, but they can do so much more these days.

I will have to take a look at our current Orange contracts and see if we can upgrade. I don’t want to spend a fortune on it though as I tend to work from home a lot. The ability to pick up emails from gmail would be good and the occasional web surfing is all I really need.

That’s brilliant info, will take a look, thanks. Doesn’t the vonage app only work with your FB friends?

Hi Peta
I have an I phone, ride and am notoriously clumsy - we both have mega tough cases - if you are interested let me know and I’ll get James to send you the link - as his phone is constantly exposed to sand, cement, dust, woodshavings etc as he is currently a full time builder and keeps his on him all the time. After 10 months use, if you take the phone out , it still looks brand new.
We are with orange - no other network has any coverage here so we didn’t have the choice but the package is reasonable. I use an app called vonage for free international calls - both parties need to be in a wifi zone but it works a treat and kik for free texts so rarely use my hours worth of calls.

I’m just about to upgrade my phone too. My daughter has an iphone which she loves. My worry is about how tough they are (she smashed the screen not long after buying it). We have horses and I ride with my phone in my pocket, and I’m always dropping my phone as I get out of the car. I’ve got an Orange package and want to stay with them, but imagine I’ll have to pay a bit more for a smartphone package. Contrary to what’s been written above, I make and receive a LOT of phone calls (often international). All suggestions (and what to avoid) are welcome.

Thanks to everyone for their views - I have finally plumped for a Galaxy S (glad to hear your happy with your Samsung Jon)! My rational was that I don’t have any Apple products but do manage my life on google calendar and gmail so an android phone was more sensible. The bigger screen is great for my internet usage and at only €50, it is a bargain. I’ve got a good deal at Orange, swapping in my FT line for the monthly abonnement so I’m paying no more overall but have a great phone with unlimited internet / SMS etc. Happy all round, now just got to work out how to use it!


I’m becoming more and more of an Apple fan and buying more of their fantastic kit. Having had an iTouch it seemed obvious to upgrade to an iPhone 4 at upgrade time with SFR. However, looked at the HTC Legend, an Android phone, cheaper and immediately available. Delighted. All the apps I wanted from the itouch are available on Android. Plenty of newer Android phones now available. Just choose one that you like the look of at the right price!

At that price it would be cheaper to buy a flight to the USA and purchase it here…

Yes, I’ve heard about the death grip problems which do concern me given the price. I’m also looking at the Galaxy S which also has a 5 megapixel camera. Like you, anything I get will be so much better than what have now!

Thanks a lot Kathryn, that’s very kind. See my other reply to Natasha for some more info. Seriously, any phone of the iPhone ilk will blow your mind after your current tool. In the end it’s going to be an emotional decision as much as anything else. So in the name of objectivity… when will you be getting your iPhone 4 then?

Hah, no, there is just one little ‘hic’, as the French would say. Phone reception on the iPhone 4. There have been problems. Do some reading up to see what the current situation is. My GF has experienced some rather mushy or ‘bottom of a swimming pool’ effects from time to time and it occasionally cuts off in mid call, but this may be her ears, or way of holding it, or our 11 and a half-month old’s contribution to the conversation to blame…

Well, they come from me actually Natasha; they just go through the iPhone :stuck_out_tongue:

But seriously, the technical quality of the iPhone you would buy is better than what you see on my blog, as I’m not not using the latest version. Here is a snippet from some random blog I just found (I’ve got the 3GS - you would get the iPhone 4 I presume):

The original iPhone launched with a fixed-focus lens and a paltry (even for 2007) 2 megapixel sensor. The camera didn’t get any improvements with the iPhone 3G, but gained another million pixels, autofocus, and a “tap-to-focus” system—which links the focus control and autoexposure system to a specific point in the image—with the iPhone 3GS. It also gained the ability to shoot video, though it was limited to VGA resolution. Despite the improvements, many critics remained unimpressed with these updates.

When Apple announced the iPhone 4 at WWDC 2010, however, the company ticked off nearly every box on the wishlist: more megapixels (though as ever, there are people for whom no amount is ever enough), better low-light sensitivity, an LED flash, a wider angle of view, 720p HD video recording, a front-facing camera, and more. An iPhone 4 isn’t going to replace a DSLR or a high-end point-and-shoot, but for all but the most devoted pixel-peepers, the hardware is capable of some very nice images.

Hope this moves you slowly but surely towards your final decision.

Love your blog Sab. I’m still going round in circles at the moment - i-Phones are so expensive compared to Android ones, but then every i-Phone owner loves them - oh decisions, decisions!

Wow Sab - your pics are amazing… cant believe they come from a phone!!

Hi Kathryn,

I’m not even going to pretend to be able to give an unbiased opinion. Like you, I was using a piece of crap which was to temporarily replace a lost phone and ended up being my main one for about two years.

So to cut a long story short I got an iPhone and was blown away. I’m not comparing like with like - all I can say is that it’s awesome, as, I assume, others of its ilk must be too.

I have a 3GS but my partner now has a 4G iPhone, and as a photographer I’m now very jealous of hers because having thought mine was the bee’s knees, the sharpness of her screen just makes me green with envy (and a higher res camera and an extra camera on the front to boot)…

I was so excited about it I started a new photo blog called Paris and I devoted to pics taken, processed AND uploaded using nothing but the iPhone and what you can do with it. I’m still happy…

We had to buy it but it was the cheapest - SFR wanted 600€ just for the phone!!

I can’t recommend the i phone highly enough - it is so easy to use and there are so many great apps - it now also works as my sat nav and a speed camera detector and I am someone who can barely operate the toaster so if I can operate it…

Exactly the sort of thing I am looking for! Did you get the iphone with the deal or did you have to buy it?