23 July 2007

Mobile madness

I've recently been going through the yearly trauma of picking a new phone as my free upgrade. It's the same every time - there is never one phone that meets all my criteria so I have to go for the best compromise. The phone I'm upgrading is a Nokia 6680 which is a rather large Symbian smartphone, lacking in both the processor speed and memory stakes. The criteria for my new phone are therefore:

  • Features - preferably a smartphone with a camera (40%)
  • Usability - a decent size keypad and quick processor (30%)
  • Size - not a brick but not very thin either (20%)
  • Design - least important but something that looks reasonable (10%)

I've only ever had Nokia phones and have stuck with them mainly because they were a lot more usable than other brands. Nokia's current offerings were leaving me a bit cold however so I've been thinking "surely the other brands must have caught up" and indeed Sony Ericsson's sales are topping Nokia's in the UK at the moment. Anyway I thought I'd give another brand a try so I went for a Samsung U600 as I like the look of their sliders and although it's not a smartphone it is from their new "Ultra Edition 2" line so I thought it would meet my needs.

I'm currently awaiting the Jiffy bag from Orange to send it back in so needless to say it fell at the first hurdle. A hopelessly inadequate phonebook, annoying predictive text set-up requiring constant swapping between keypad and navigation key, and some very questionable calling and hanging up behaviour were my main grievances.

So now I'm back to square one and thinking I'm either going to get a Nokia or another brand only if it's running Symbian so I can be assured of a certain amount of base functionality. So the next two candidates were the Nokia 6300 or the Sony Ericsson W950i - the Sony is missing the all important camera and the Nokia isn't running Symbian so not clear cut by any means. I may have finally found the answer with the Nokia 6120 which is a smartphone, has a camera and is a centimetre narrower and half a centimetre thinner than the 6680. Only problem with this one is that it's not currently available on Orange so I've got to wait for it - Doh!



Anonymous said...

For what's it worth, I was in a similar position two weeks ago.

I went for the Nokia 6300 - with an additional 2GB microSD card. I haven't really investigated whether a Symbian phone would be nicer, all I gathered that those are "real" OSs, so you can run "applications" in them, probably even simultaneously or in the background. From what I see, the usual Java stuff runs on this gadget as well as anything. The included mp3 (media?) player runs in the background (as in, you can browse around the menus while it plays), that was enough multitasking for me.

The main selling point for me was that pressing the call button instantly shows the call log -- as opposed to start the "let's staaaart redrawing something" operation that will in a while become the call log :)

Other things some complained about: some phones have a pretty picky microSD connector - it disappears sometimes until a power cycle (I didn't experience anything like this). It also apparently doesn't have 3G (HSDPA?), just the EGPRS variant, and the camera is *very* low resolution for recording movies. The sound quality is somewhat worse than my old one, though that's not just subjective, but easily changing with times.

Other good points include the display, mp3 player, microSD expansion, bluetooth (hey, it's my first bluetooth phone), including A2DP -- though it quite often skips similarly as an old record, but the convenience is overwhelming :)

Battery time is also fine for me, it can go on all day of listening to mp3s via bluetooth -- but this is getting to be almost an A2DP review now, so I'll stop. :)

Derek Fowler said...

Thanks for the comment Janos.

The 6300 is a great phone and you're right that it has enough multi-tasking ability. The multi-tasking of the 6680 is useful but can be very annoying because I'm used to quitting applications by pressing the hang-up key however on the Symbian that just takes you back to the home screen leaving the app running in the background (hold down the menu key on a Symbian phone to see the running apps). To quit properly you have to navigate to the "Quit" menu item in the application.

You're also right about the slowness. A Symbian phone is great so long as the handset has a decent processor on board - the 6680 doesn't.

The thing I think I'd really miss about the Symbian however is the selecting of text, cutting and pasting feature. I've found that invaluable for writing texts and e-mails.

Danny Tuppeny said...

I used to always go for some sort of PDA (usually an XDA), but after having them for about 3 years (because I could write .NET for them!) and never actually using them for anything more than a phone, I went for a "normal phone" this time.

I picked the Sony Ericsson W880i in Silver this time. It's tiny, the battery lasts for ages, and it looks pretty cool :-)