I'm a telephonic luddite: I've still tethered to my landline while even my technophobic mother has a cellphone. But my girlfriend is dragging me into the 21st century and I'm looking for a cellphone. And I intend to go cell-only when I get a new apartment in a few months. She (my girlfriend) lives in Indy while I'm here Rochester, but she visited this weekend and we went to a Verizon shop for a bit today and looked around. Ack! There are approximately 8-million phones, three thousand calling plans, and (after checking online tonight) and 96 carriers to choose from . That's like a billion possible options! Once upon a time, I'd research all the options, learn the terminology, read Consumer Reports, and about 8 months later identify the perfect phone, plan, and carrier for my needs. But now I'm a working stiff and don't have the inclination to invest the time in a quest for the Perfect Phone. Any advice for the cellphone-ignorant? Another thread recommended http://www.phonescoop.com, which appears quite handy. Some specific questions confounding me: - Is it possible to by the cellphone and carrier independently? Or must you buy a Verizon brand phone for use with Verizon service? - How important is tri-mode vs, dual-mode capability? - Any independent coverage maps out there? The Verizon brochure shows almost completely national digital service. Can I believe it? - Any highly recommended phones? - Any sales techniques to be on guard for? - Any shopping methods to get a better deal from the salesperson? - Get the two-year plan, for cheaper up-front phone cost and discount on a new phone in two years? Or may more for the phone but be only locked in for 12 months? My best guess is to get the Motorola T730 phone from Verizon with the cheapest plan. My girlfriend and brother-in-law both have this phone, and it seems to work well with ok battery life. The GF is with Verizon currently and the in-network plan would cover almost all of my minutes. And I don't call that much so 400 anytime is likely sufficient. The runner up phone is the LG VX4500; I liked the design, it has better battery life, but is dual-mode and can't sync to a PC. Whew! That's a lot about getting a phone :b Any other commiserating thoughts?