Welcome to my new Q&A column answering all your questions about cell phones and their accessories, such as Bluetooth headsets, battery packs, and more. I get plenty of questions e-mailed me to me about these subjects, so I figured many of you might have the same questions, too. At times, I might even solicit answers from you readers as well if I'm stumped. Send your questions and comments to me at email@example.com. If you prefer to remain anonymous, let me know in the e-mail.
P.S. I was thinking of calling the column The 411. What do you think?
Q: I would like to know whether I can get an LG CU500V unlocked phone from any Web site or it's just restricted to the AT&T mobile services? As of now I can only find LG CU500 unlocked phones from Amazon for $99, but it has a older software version unlike LG CU500V. Is it worth the price in today's date. Since its a bit outdated? What about music quality? What about headphones and charger or it's available in the box? What about the warranty cover for such Internet purchases? I am currently located in India, Mumbai (Asia Pacific). Please help. -- Shaikh, via e-mail
A: The only difference between the LG CU500V and the LG CU500 is that the CU500V offers one-way live video streaming using AT&T's Video Share service. Since you won't be able to use the Video Share service in India anyway, either one will be fine. That said, both the LG CU500 and the LG CU500V are indeed quite outdated, as they were released in 2006 and 2007 respectively. AT&T doesn't even offer the phone anymore in the U.S. That said, it is a quad-band GSM phone, and you will be able to use it India. It only supports U.S. 3G bands, though, so you won't get 3G speeds there. The music quality is decent, but it doesn't quite compare to a real MP3 player. It doesn't have a 3.5mm headset jack, so you're limited to the 2.5mm jack, and I believe the charger would probably be the standard U.S. charger (You'll probably have to get your own charger adapter for India). As for Internet purchases like this, especially for a product that's already out of the production cycle, I highly doubt there's a warranty, unless the store you purchased it from has its own store guarantee. In the end, I would probably try to find a more current model that's available in India. I'm not familiar with the phones in India, though. Perhaps you would like the Nokia 6650?
Q: I was reading the article on Bluetooth head sets. I have the Lg Env and try to pair up a Bluetooth device. I've been reading a lot about the Jawbone--I know that's compatible with my phone and I like the BlueAnt. But that is not compatible. My phone is the 1.2 version. Do you have a good advice on which is the best? The 1st of the year I'm upgrading my phone to the LG Voyager. I'm looking to buy the best product on the market with good reputation. And reviews. Thanks for your time. -- Thomas, via e-mail
A: I'm sorry to hear that the BlueAnt headset you tried was not compatible with your phone. In theory, all Bluetooth profiles are backward-compatible, and as long as your phone has a Bluetooth headset profile (which it does), the headset should pair. In most cases, you have to go to the Bluetooth settings and choose "Search for devices" and then hold down the multifunction call button on the headset to pair the two. This varies from device to device, however, so be sure to read the manual. With the most recent BlueAnt V1, the headset will actually guide you with voice directions on how to pair the headset with your phone, which makes it easier for those unfamiliar with how pairing works. After you pair the headset with your phone, make sure the devices are connected as well. I like both the BlueAnt V1 and the Aliph Jawbone 2; the Jawbone 2 seems to be the most popular, while the V1 tends to have the higher user reviews.
Q: I presently have an LG flip phone. I am up to get a new phone with Verizon Wireless. I occasionally text and I take and send pictures. I heard the Lg Dare is complex. What about the LG Versa? Is it a better phone? I really enjoy buying LG phones; they have always been pretty reliable. My Dad wants an easy phone to use and my Mom and I want a more high-tech phone. Is the iPhone really coming out? I like to read up on the phones before I sign a new contract. What cell phone(s) would you recommend? I hope you can help my family and I out with our confusion about cell phones. We desperately need to give those old phones away and get something new. Thank you for your time. -- Liza, via e-mail
A: I assume you mean "is the new iPhone coming out," and the answer to that is I simply don't know. There are a lot of rumors and speculation out there about a new iPhone, but so far we don't really know if it's coming. Since you're already with Verizon Wireless and you like LG phones, I would stick with Verizon for now, unless you really want to get an iPhone. The LG Dare isn't really complex, but the touch-screen interface does take some acclimation. It does have a really nice 3.2-megapixel camera, though, with advanced editing features like face detection. However, since you like to send text messages, you might want to consider the LG Versa instead--it comes with an optional QWERTY keyboard that also doubles as a case. The 2.0-megapixel camera isn't as advanced, however. Both the Dare and the Versa are quite "high-tech," as you say, with EV-DO speeds, GPS, and stereo Bluetooth, but they're not too difficult to learn. The biggest issue for your father might be learning how to use the touch-screen interface, which could be challenging if you have never used a touch-screen handset before. For an easy-to-use LG phone from Verizon Wireless, you might want to look at the LG VX8360. It's a simple clamshell phone, but it has a lot of nice features like EV-DO, V Cast Music support, stereo Bluetooth, and more. Whichever phone you get, be sure to play around with it in the store to get a feel for it before you purchase it. And of course, be sure your store has a good return policy in case you don't quite like it!