My wireless service provider sent me an offer for a free cell phone if I renewed my service contract again. Why not?: I’m content with the service, and my cell phone was showing its age. In particular, the battery doesn’t hold a charge for more than a day and the display has been cracked since the phone flew out of my handlebar bag at 45mph down The Hill one morning last year.
But there’s always a catch: the “free” phone is last year’s model. With my choice being either a folding Nokia or the boxy Samsung, I took the Nokia 6103 because it had longer battery life. Its display was pretty, but everything else about the phone sucked:
- Cycling among menu options was as s-l-o-w as Friendster or Orkut.
- The FM radio seemed to work, but there’s only one ear bud. (A stereo set of buds is available on eBay.)
- The camera was allegedly 640×480, but everything looked blurry.
- The only ringing sound that wasn’t a poorly constructed mock-up of a cheesy song was the T-mobile ding ding ding ding.
- The worst part: there was no obvious way to accept an incoming call. I dunno, it seems like pressing the “accept” button should work, but this usually rolled the call into voice mail while the phone did whatever it was doing before — sitting idle, playing Bejeweled, or finding Country-Western stations on the FM band. I was explaining this conundrum to a disbelieving coworker when the phone rang. She couldn’t figure out how to answer it, either.
They exchanged it with a Samsung T509. It’s worked better, though the phone needs some improvements:
- The wide, proprietary power connector is difficult to wedge in the phone. It’s clearly developed by someone who didn’t have to plug in the phone.
- Display dims and locks, with no visual indication of voice mail/missed calls. If I press the phone, the “Press * to unlock” message obscures any interesting dialogs. I can now sorta tell there’s a dialog behind this, but I have to “login” to check it. My previous phone had a blinky LED that would alternate colors when someone left a message.
- Notification of missed calls *after* I’ve checked voice mail. My previous phone did this, too, but it’s more key clicks to delete these things.
- Its built-in Java is apparently incompatible with Bejeweled. Huh? Isn’t Java supposed to be standard?
- The camera on this model has a similarly small, grainy image, but there’s a zoom. I suppose it’s useful in case I ever have an accident and need a grainy image.
But the phone answers! As a bonus, it has an actual, non-obnoxious, non-branded ring tone. (My all-time favorite was the older Nokia one that would “pip” then, after a few seconds, “pip biddle pip” then “pip biddle biddle pip” before rolling over into voice mail. Very distinctive.)
cell phone, degrees of kevin bacon, fomplicated