The Best Phone to Take Off-Grid

02/22/2011 02:23 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Nick Rosen Author, 'Off the Grid,' Editor

Being off the grid, your cellphone is the key piece of technology. Which to buy, how to use it and how to preserve the battery life are all critical decisions to off-grid knowledge workers (and everybody else).

For the past six years I have stubbornly stuck with my Nokia 9300, a large silver slab that opens to reveal a proper QWERTY keyboard and a largish screen. The battery lasted for days and you could send and receive email. But finally I have abandoned it, and my story is symptomatic of the macro changes in the competitive landscape of smartphones around the globe.

I first became aware of HTC phones in 2006, when everyone who needed to show off their importance had to have a Blackberry. It was obvious then what a brilliant product HTC had on its hands, especially being able to download entire documents rather than text-only info. The phones are powerful, well designed, ergonomic, and have also kept up with the latest twists and turns of the development of the overpriced and underpowered iPhone -- thanks to the deal with Google Android.

So here are the top ten reasons for choosing an HTC over an iPhone, in reverse order:

10: Standard micro USB cable for charging
9: Standard USB storage uploading MP3s
8: Removable/exchangeable battery
7: No need for iTunes on your computer
6: True background apps
5: Usable voice control and free integration with Google Translate
4: Micro SD card, exchangeable and usable with many different devices
3: Full refund of Google Marketplace application purchase within 24 hours
2: Wireless syncing of calendar and contact data to your Google
account is free, unlike Apple's MobileMe
1: OS has free developer tools, unlike the Apple iPhone developer program.