weblog of rommel talavera pascual

Time for a New Mobile Phone

Celine was in a mobile phone shop and perhaps was being talked into updating her basic mobile phone into one of those jazzy touch screen phones with an arm length of features. She called me for my opinion on her choices, I told her that she should first research these models.

Her phone carrier had a falling off with Apple and therefore do not offer iPhone as an option. Here’s a link to someone’s 10 Alternatives to the iPhone. She also told me that what she really wanted is the PDA function of the phone. So here’s another list of what someone had considered to be the Top 5 PDA-Phones.

Candidate Phones
The following are the candidate phones for this exercise as they are available in plans in Celine’s phone carrier. It is hyper-linked to a review of each phone.

  1. HTC Touch Diamond
  2. Samsung Omnia
  3. HTC Touch Pro
  4. Nokia N96 – not a touch screen but a PDA-Phone

Of course, she could still buy an iPhone out right from another shop and just buy the plan off her carrier. They priced this option competitively.

Dad’s Summary

You get into these phones to achieve the following in no particular order :

  1. Email Access on your mobile
  2. Web Surfing
  3. Skype Access via Wifi or VOIP via Data Access
  4. Replaces your MP3 player
  5. Oh yes – to make and receive phone calls.

A fashion statement or a status symbol are also reasons, but I guess my opinion is not being sought for that.

A major drawback of these phones is the BATTERY LIFE. It takes energy to power-up a touch screen. If you use this for browsing in lieu of a notebook, you will draw the battery quickly. Their size can only accomodate smaller battery to be fitted. With very short battery life, their use becomes limited.

A phone must be something that require very little care. Charge it once a week, talk for hours and you should still have some power left to make another call. If you forget to charge on due time, you should be able to plugin for 20 minutes – and have enough power to last you a day. If it requires constant charging, the battery will not last 24 months – which is the pay-off period of these phones. You would soon realise that in 6 months, it just requires too much attention and its novelty gone, it becomes just another brick. Yet for the next 18 months it will continue to cost you $ dollars because of the plan.

The irony is that these expensive phones are BAD PHONES. They are hard to operate as a phone and has poor signal quality. They have to make room for circuitry of the other features and still make it slim and sexy.

If you use this as an MP3 Player – you would soon realise that they manage music haphazardly. With clunky controls and difficult to update. If you’re used to your iPod – this will be a nightmare. Much research and development has gone into iTunes, you just can’t duplicate that for each phone. (Unless you buy an iPhone which is still a bad phone).

Use it for surfing and you’ll notice that most contents are really not suited for small screens. As an email client, it is really just for those odd occassion because the controls are just too small.

My verdict – not a very good idea. Concept wise these phones promises everything, but their very nature makes it impossible to live up to. Buy a simple phone – with little bells and whistles but great in making calls and requires little care. Keep your iPod for your music, it is the best music player I know as it keeps your music in your PC and iPod organised and synced. If your tablet-notebook is too heavy, buy a NetBook. Netbooks are cheaper than these phones, with the savings, subscribe to a wireless broadband.

Use a tool for its intended purpose – phones are phones, ipod for music and videos, and netbooks for your contacts, calendars, web browsing, emails etc.

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8 Responses »

  1. Ok I resent that you wrote that I was being talked into purchasing a new phone even when I did tell you when I called that …I went in the 3 shop because I was thinking of upgrading…you needn’t be patronizing…

    The reason I want to upgrade is because i want an electronic organizer which will replace written diaries, I want to sync it with my outlook organizer so I only have to write things once and i have it on a hand held device too… the reason I want it to be a phone as well is because.. you know it’s all in one… makes sense… but i’ll look at the netbook option

  2. Consider the Nokia E51 with the works. It is an HSDPA and WIFI phone, ie. works too as a SIP phone via Internet or your less costly home network or hotspots. It has a sync feature as Celine requires.

    Mine cost me $271 on ebay. Able to get from Telstra (with 15cents a minute calls to mobile phone) a plan with $12 per month for 12 months and I added $10 per month for a 150MB data pack. Browsing basic web sites like the weather, news, movie times and so on are free. Pennytel charges 8cents per call, local and national, and 10+ cents a minute calls to any mobile phone.. and you use up about 8MB per 30minutes.

    Battery life is okay as in up to 5+ days without charging. However, if used with Skype via Fring and/or Nimbuzz, I charge everyday. It served my purpose.. but that is primarily for voIP calling. Oh, you must have good eyes, the screen ain’t that huge ;).. but I don’t mind it. The radio and MP3 features are superb (but I listen to my own and Lou’s recordings mostly and may be biased hehe).

    I totally agree with the hype linked to your top n phones. They cost a lot too.. but hey, for the looks, I’ll consider ’em once they’re off the pricey tags and limited voIP. For now, I just want to get into wrecking and customizing my own phone to what I need, not too allowed for an Apple phone 😉

    Other notes for the voIP challenged:

    Nokia E51, HTC Touch Diamond, HTC Touch Pro (Fuze) operates in frequency bands useable with Telstra, Three, Vodaphone and Optus networks, ie. HSDPA 850 and 2100 MHz.

    Samsung Omnia, Nokia N95, N82, N96 (HSDPA 2100 phones).. do NOT work with Telstra nor with Three when allowed roaming via the Telstra network (soon). The Telstra branded N95 is okay ‘though. (This probably explains why I can not contact Celine when she was here in Melbourne except by text message).

    Choose wisely regardless..


    Tita Helen

  3. Tita do you know anything about the nokia E71 – the Nokia e51 isn’t available on 3

    • The Nokia E71 (ie. E71-1 available from 3) has a disadvantage of being a WCDMA 2100 phone, ie. not dual as E51 is. You can not use it over the Telstra network, ie. no Internet, no VoIP and and you pay $$$ for ordinary calls outside the 3 range. The E71-3 is okay but NOT yet available in Oz. I got tired of waiting for the E71-3 so I bought the E51.

      3 striked a deal with Telstra to allow roaming via Telstra Q2 or Q3 of this year. In other words, E71-1 will be a brick sooner than you think.


      Tita Helen

  4. I sounded too techie I think..

    Addendum, avagreatwkend to everyone in your household…

    Happy Valentines too from further south 😉

  5. Hehe… I reckin’ no mobile plan salesman will advice you to use VoIP. It’s like sending customers to go buy elsewhere where they could get better service and better value for their money.. but I might pass as a VSP salesman 😉

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