Running Wild, Across the Meadow

I Need a New Phone! Help, my Euro and Scandinavian Friends!

So, I’ve decided to give Android a chance for a bit. But, I want a good unlocked phone so I can pop a sim card in for any country. I like the looks of the Droid X, but it’s locked down. I figure that my European and Scandinavian friends know the models of some great new phones that run Android really well.  Here in the US, it’s hard for me to get a good grip on what the hottest Euro/Scand phone models are!

Here is what I need:

  • An unlocked phone where I can pop in any Sim Card (not sure which US service I will use yet)
  • The ability to use it as a wi-fi hotspot so I can connect my laptops and iPads (I can do this in Europe too, I assume)
  • The menu system in US or UK English
  • NOTE:  If there is an AWESOME one coming in the next few weeks or months, I can wait a bit too!


  • Based on feedback and tweets, I’m leaning to the HTC Desire
  • Wondering if I should wait on the HTC Desire HD in October !
  • Or if there is another good one coming out between now and then…  that will let me pop in another sim card

Why I am switching from iPhone (since I know many will ask!):

  • I love the apps, but, really, I use 90% of them now on my iPad.
  • Because I use apps on the iPad, on the phone, I find myself only:
    • Talking with voice (AT&T is awful)
    • Looking at Google Maps (which are better on the Android)
    • Use Twitter (plenty of Android apps)
    • Light web surfing…  (and rarely, at that)

Daily Photo – Running Wild, Across the Meadow

I was just returning from one little adventure and then I stumbled onto another one!

Every day, about this time, a few dozen horses from the ranch run free across the meadow to graze in distant pastures. They stay cooped up inside the corral for most of the day, so they love the chance to run free. The cowboy rides behind them, cracking his whip. It echoes through the valley and everything seems right in the world.

  • Salah

    Go for Google Nexus One!! it’s already unlocked and works worldwide. You can update the OS on the air.

    this photo is stunning..

  • An unlocked Nexus One?


  • Alex

    You won’t be able to pop in a Sim card if you want to use Verizon. They are a CDMA carrier, which is different from GSM. Perhaps the Nexus One might be interesting as it has triband HSDPA, which should work for highspeed internet access in the US and in Europe.

  • Ben

    I just got the Samsung Galaxy S the other day and it’s awesome – I’m loving it!

    It can link and integrate your contacts with their social network accounts (e.g. Twitter, Google, Facebook, MSN, Windows Live, etc.).

    I have no issues/problems with it.

    The Super-AMOLED screen is beautiful (800×480). It can play FLAC music files (losless).

    It has the same CPU/GPU as the iPhone 4, also has a gyroscope like the iPhone 4.

    It has wifi b/g/n and can act as a mobile access point.

    Highly recommended!

  • Michele

    Trey: try the HTC Desire – being released in August in the US, and already taking Europe and Australia by storm. A friend of mine in Madrid, who previously had an iPhone, has just picked one up and can’t stop raving all over my Facebook Homepage about it!


    The UK’s has the HTC Desire at #1 in their Top 20 with the iPhone 4 at #2. There are quite a few HTC phones in their Top 20:

    Trust this helps your quest!


  • Anton

    If size is an issue (with me it is) I went for the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 mini. Really awesome little Android. Basically all of the functions of the full version, just in a much more compact size. I’ve had it for 2 weeks now, and I love it! Touch screen is really awesome, and for a small phone the screen is sufficient for the purposes you list, I mean the screen is small, but if you are only doing some light surfing ans stuff like you mention, it should be perfect!

    Let us know what you choose!

  • I’d also recommend the HTC Desire; when android 2.2 (froyo) is released on it in the next few weeks it’ll be able to be used as a wifi hotspot, and it’s incredible reliable and super fast with a 1ghz snapdragon processor. The screen’s blindingly good too – not quite as good as iPhone 4, but still pin sharp and bright.

  • Gail in Montana

    You know I like this one, Trey!! Actually, I love it!!! Great job capturing the horses running. Thanks for sharing your Montana adventure!

  • Zach Scott

    You will not get a unlocked Phone from Verizon. The droidx i think is a world phone but Verizon will only let you use it oversees with their sister company Vodaphone. So you will need to go with a GSM phone on either the ATT or Tmoble. So maybe the new Samsung Galaxy or the New Nexus 2 because google has killed the Nexus One.

  • Patrick

    The HTC Desire is in my opinion the only possible alternative to an iPhone.
    I will still get an iPhone 4 but if you want android the HTC Desire will probably
    be the best Hardware you can get. You can get it here in Germany for about 450 Euros
    (about 580 USD) without a contract.

    And the others are correct: You need a GSM phone, CDMA is not suitable for a traveler like you.

  • jordix

    Hi Trey, try the geeksphone One ( With this phone, you can do absolutely anything you want. No restrictions.

  • Thanks all – this is really great advice… I am enjoying clicking on your links to check these things out… very interesting. So many choices…. hmmmm !

  • While i can’t help with the phone as i’m fast becoming a big old technosaur i CAN say that i like today’s image – it’s just like a scene from a Western movie!

  • Jack Raz

    Simply go with HTC Desire! Its fast, sleak and got everything you need 🙂

  • MCL

    You will need a GSM phone and that means for the US you will have to use AT&T or Tmobile. If you dont like AT&T then you will definitely hate Tmobile. What kind of iphone do you have? Do you have a 3GS or the new iPhone 4? The iphone 4 uses a micro-sim which may be harder to find in other countries. If you have a 3GS I can unlock it for you. If you have an iphone 4 the unlock should be available soon. Also, if you just want an extra iphone 3GS to use when out of the US I have an unlocked 16GB 3GS in near mint condition I could sell you.

  • The Nexus One is being discontinued. There are rumors you will be able to unlock the Droid X but nothing confirmed. I had the original Moto Droid, now have the incredible, like it MUCH better. I believe you can unlock it but I’ve never tried. We use the Moto Droid here at work a lot, soon we’ll be going with the Droid 2. The Droid X is just too big for most everyone. Oh, and Seesmic for Droid is AWESOME!! Don’t know about the other phones mentioned… 🙁

  • Thanks all.

    MCL – So, I MUST go GSM, yes? That is a bummer. Currently, I have an iPhone 3. Thank you for the offer, but I’d like to just have one phone — syncing two phones sounds like twice the pain! hehe… You know…

  • MCL

    I forgot to mention that my unlocked 3GS is also jailbroken, so you could get the mywi app that lets you turn the phone into a hot spot. As well, I can jailbreak/unlock your iphone too so you could have the same feature.

  • MCL

    Yep, must go GSM.

  • nice country view..

  • Stuck with GSM and the choice between T-Mobile and AT&T is like the choice between a punch in the groin and one in the face. Welcome to the modern american cellular provider market!

    Personally I’d jailbreak an iPhone before I’d bother with the ragamuffin Android offerings out so far. Maybe in a year I’d point you at Windows Phone 7 devices, but this is today!

    So maybe the Samsung Galaxy S (or whatever random different name they choose to give it per carrier for no good reason whatsoever) if you’re bent on Android. You’ll end up having to “jailbreak” your android handsets too, you know, the android fanboys just use the word “root” so it’s not so obvious that they have exactly the same situation as iPhone users. I mean, you can do all the same things on both devices once you root/jailbreak them.

    The way I see it, your only real issue is choosing whether you want AT&T or T-Mobile, and if the latter, choosing a phone that actually supports T-Mobile’s oddball 3G variant. From there, find the phone with the latest android version support that also has a known-to-work root method (they all vary as it’s exploiting the device) and consider that. You’ll see your choices dwindle quickly.

  • Reminds me of Legends of the Fall. Awesome shot, awesome place to be.

  • casusan

    Oh wow this shot is beautiful- what a super place to visit! Sounds like you got lots of good advice for the phone!

  • Get a Nexus One if you can… meets all of your requirements and has been rock solid for me.

  • Patrick

    So, the GSM Networks (T-Mobile, At&T) are really THAT bad in the US?

  • I’m a HTC and think its great, however there is really nothing that can compare to the HTC Desire, its a savage phone, powerfull and fully featured. the Facebook integration is excellent, the apps just keep getting better and better. the camera is fantastic too.
    It looks like Froyo won’t be out till October, however have a fully working Desire Froyo Rom that takes about 10 minutes to root and install.

  • You’d said iPad(s)? “Arrgh! Shiver me timbers.” Good luck w/ the phone deal.

  • Trey, that’s a great question, as mobile blogger, I can definitely recommend you getting a Nexus One, you can’t go wrong. I personally have tons of Nokia smartphones but as of late I’ve been using the iPhone4 but I have tried the N1 and I know it will bridge that gap that you need in your mobile life

  • Thanks you guys for all the suggestions! Great stuff.

  • Hej Trey!

    Are you planning a trip to Sweden? Maybe swedish Lapland? It would be great to have the pleasure to meet you. Maybe you take a phototour with some guys here in the last european wilderness.

    Hope see you soon!


  • This has been a very interesting post to watch; lots of great GSM devices mentioned here. From what I have heard (only heard, not tried), the HTC Desire is the device to get (for GSM worldwide). I’m planning to take a look at this myself, once I’ve done some more research, as I’m looking for many of the same capabilities you seek, Trey: worldwide use capability; ability to use the device as a Wifi hotspot (like the MiFi), for example). Good luck in your hunt!

  • T-mobile the new samsung vibrat galaxy phone is amazing. Has a wifi hotspot app available.

  • Trey, I got an HTC Desire in June. I’m very fussy about mobile phones and grew to hate the Sony and the Nokia I had last time, but this is a superb piece of technology that I can thoroughly recommend, especially if you buy it unlocked and can update the software at your convenience rather than the service provider’s!

  • Jeremy Gugenheim

    HTC Desire. I’m terrible for wanting shiny things and then being disappointed. Always disappointed. But the Desire has kept me happy for longer than usual. The Android app store has only a quarter of the apps that the Apple app store has, but it’s still a lot.

    And I love your images.

  • Harbles

    The only bad thing I’ve heard about HTC phones is they have a fragile screen. Drops over 18″ (~.5M) on to a hard surface will often crack or shatter the screen. So get a case or folder if you buy one.

  • I’m leaning towards the HTC Desire now…

    But, someone tweeted me and showed me the HTC Desire HD – I guess that is not too long to wait… hmm!

    It looks like the Desire can do any SIM card when I travel too – that is good

    But I am not sure if I can use a sim card in Europe AND use it as a wi-fi hotspot ?

  • I had the HTC Desire as a review unit for 2 weeks…and was absolutely elated to have managed to keep it because it’s such an awesome phone. It’s not perfect (see: but I prefer it over the iPhone ( But I love it all the same (

    If you want to make video calls, get the Samsung Galaxy S.

  • Tim C.

    HTC makes amazing android phones. I have a Sprint Hero, and work with Evo 4G’s at work. Both are solid phones, and both are second generation hardware. The Desire is the same way – HTC worked with Google to develop the Nexus One, and then refined it with the Desire. Also, the optical trackball is a BIG improvement over the old-school (Hah!) trackball. A Desire would be a great choice.

    I would also recommend one of the Samsung Galaxy S class phones – all the major carriers have a version and the hardware is also the second generation of the development.

    Lastly, think about how you want to use the phone with other devices. I am a big fan of the carriers that offer some kind of phone hotspot capability, allowing you to use your phone’s data to power you iPad or laptop. Being a mobile photog, that may be important as you move around. IN the US this seems to limited to Verizon or Sprint, although with a rooted phone (easy to do) any provider can be tricked into opening up the feature.

    Since you are internationally mobile, I would look at the Samsung Captivate from AT&T (the Captivate is AT&T’s version of the Galaxy S) or the T-Mobile Vibrate (the T-Mobile version of the Galaxy S) – feature wise the phones are identical but with different shells. That way you get the possibility of worldwide coverage. It is rumored that Sprint is releasing their version (Epic 4G) with a slide out keyboard.

  • Great info – and thanks for those links too SleeplessinKL – I miss KL and need to go back! 🙂

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  • I would recommend the Galaxy S family of phones. In the US, all 4 carriers are getting them. For traveling and using SIM cards, you can get the Vibrant and Captivate (Tmobile and AT&T). Or, you can go “generic” and get the Galaxy S released in Europe… honestly, I would get the Galaxy S over the US versions. Both have removed “features” when released on the US market. Most notably the front-facing camera and flash. Nothing was added.

    Now, the screen is what sells this. Best screen out there, for a photographer. Amazing contrast ratio (that the iPhone 4 can’t match… though, the iPhone 4 beats it in resolution). For movies on the go, it has super fast response. It carries the same 1 ghz processors of others, but it uses the fastest video processor in use, right now. The next update to Android is giving us Mobile hotspots. Once again, a good reason to get a Galaxy S over a re-branded American version, that may remove that capability.

    The phone has some quirks. At least on the Vibrant side, it has some GPS locking on issues. If I am outside, it is slow, but not horrible. It is pretty bad in-doors, though. Other issues seem to be no worse than any other phone’s issues. The camera is even decent.

  • Doreen

    I’ve got an HTC Wildfire with Android one week ago. It’s awesome!! My friend uses HTC Magic, also with Android.

  • Trey I am on my 6th macbook pro and 4th iphone. No ipad yet! I agree AT&T is horrible so a month ago I tried out the EVO 4G with Sprint. My only complaint was the battery life and syncing with my mac. Markspace is not that great of a product. I also didnt like having to kill applications but really liked having the ability to see Flash websites.
    I think you should wait for the HTC Desire HD. However they are also launching products so fast that I believe by October they will have something even better!

    just my two cents!

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