Help me do better than this

My Sony Ericsson 580i

I really dig my phone. It’s a Sony Ericsson 580i Walkman phone and it has served me well for 2.5 years now. It’s my primary MP3 player even though I co-have an iPod touch with my wife. It’s my default camera. It’s what I need on business trips and yet somehow managed to leave in the car at the airport on my last one, though that’s not the phone’s fault.

I don’t use the phone enough for it to be super worn, but try and carry anything almost daily for 30 months and see if it comes out pristine on the other side. And if experience teaches us anything, it’s that all cell carriers send the “self destruct at will” command to all phones at the one year, ten month mark, so I’ve been playing with fire for almost a year now as it is.

So I’d like to get a new phone. The idle situation would be a smartphone that only required a basic contract and only used the advanced capabilities when you had a wi-fi connection. Since that pipe dream is never going to happen, and since I’ll remove my own appendix with a pocket knife before I pay $100+ per month for a contract, I’ll stick with the iPod touch and skip the smartphone idea.

If I go to the store and ask to see what you can get free with a contract renewal, they show me two phones. If I go to the online store, there are about thirty and I don’t know enough about any of them to distinguish one from the other. So here’s what I want, please toss any suggestions my way.

  • It must be an AT&T phone. This is not open for debate.
  • It should have a camera. I’m not concerned about the resolution. I do well with mine and it’s 3 years old, anything newer will be better
  • It should have a music player that will let me load songs onto the phone like any other MP3 player, easily locate them and play them through headphones
  • It should have a memory card slot
  • The smaller the phone is, the better.
  • I’m not concerned too much about color, but glowy pink is not going to work.
  • I should be able to drop it a couple times without it exploding. I’ve had Motoroloa, Nokia, Samsung and Sony  phones that have all served me well. I’m wary of some of the lesser brands.
  • It needs to have a SIM card I can easily swap out of my old phone. For the most part, this is the case, but it’s another thing that rules out some smart phones.
I may just have to give up on this altogether and stick with this phone until it dies completely. I was just hoping to be able to make a preemptive strike on the inevitable.
UPDATE: I’m thinking about the Samsung Eternity. I’m really not liking the idea of carrying anything that big again, though. I may have to just take my chances with the one I’ve got until they start making those ear-clip phones like on Fringe.
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