Monday, May 14, 2007

Small Object Of Desire

Go into any Carrefour or Geant in Dubai and the gleaming glass cubicles displaying the latest Sony Ericsson/Nokia/Motorola/Samsung mobile phone delights are often crowded two or three people deep.

Last week I found myself at one of them in a desperate effort to buy a new phone....."what another new mobile phone?" well yes. Let me explain. A little while ago I blogged at length about the goodness of the W950i with the me and the phone even making an appearance in Stuff. However some months of let me update my review with the "long term" test comments:

Original comments in italics.
Pros:
No joystick - but you have to use a stylus which I kept losing and 95AED for three is crazy.
Lightweight and slim in size - agreed
Walkman branded and 4gb storage means it is a great mp3 player - not really the Sony software has a horrible user interface - it is just not iTunes
Much better for messaging email/SMS - The biggest flaw with this phone is that it is just so slow, using the SMS and email applications is like treacle. All sticky and gloopy.
Stereo bluetooth headphones are a great boon with awesome sound quality - they are great though you can not use them when the phone is in "flight mode" so you still need either wired headphones or your iPod on flights. The bluetooth headset is fantastic for conference calls.
Usable PDA functions - if you like it s l o o o w
A wealth of third party applications available - I want to get World Clock and a MSN instant messenger program - I never used them
Reasonable battery life - with a little use of the GPRS for email the battery was soon gone and it would only last a day on average.

Cons:
No camera - I really missed it
Need to get use to the touch keyboard - very hard press the keys with great accuracy
Need a new SIM card to take advantage of 3G - too hard to get from Etisalat with a company SIM card
Loading applications other than the "Walkman" is not snappy - very true and was the final nail in the coffin
Need to find a case to protect the large screen - I never did and it has now seen better days

In summary after using this for a good few months - it turns out that the battery life is poor, the phone is slow (application launching, email, contact search), I kept losing the stylus and once you get used to having a camera on a phone it is hard to go without again.

New overall rating for the W950i - 6/10. Could use a faster internal processor, built in camera and a decent keyboard.

Having decided that W950i was now resigned to the phone graveyard I was still convinced that I wanted a Sony Ericsson. The user interface for me is very natural. The choice was straightforward - the svelte and slim Sony Ercisson W880i. After forcing my way through to the to the front of the busy display counters the I left empty handed as it was hard to get one with an English only keyboard. This led to a two hour hunt around Ibn Battuta and eventually I located one in my desired silver finish. Here is a short review of the phone:

W880i

Pros
A true object of desire
Slim and Light
Great Battery life
No Joystick
Excellent crisp/bright screen
Snappy in use
Raised keys makes SMS'ing easy
Email application is quick
Camera does well for 2mp
Track ID - a small music recognition application works brilliantly

Cons
No flash for camera



Overall an excellent phone - I am giving this 10/10 until I get an iPhone...

5 comments:

Thresherinc said...

Hey Ron,

The W880i tempted me away from Nokia, I like their menu systems and I have a large number of Nokia chargers kicking around.

I'd previously been using the N91 but thought it was too chunky, so when I came to look for a new phone I naturally started looking for another Nokia, but then I saw the Black and Orange W880i and I had to have it.

So far the dissappointments with it are...

1) Transferring music to the memory card is slooooooooooooow.
2) Battery life is a little limited if you use the phone a lot.
3) They gave us another memory format rendering any old cards I had useless.

I've been using mine for about 6 weeks now and I'm very happy with it.

Aaron said...

Hey Glenn,

I am using a memory card reader for the mp3 transfer - so not too bad. But agree with you on the other things.

Black and Orange eh? very pimp!

Somu said...

Hey Aaron,
After a year and spent with a horrendous, clunky Nokia N70, I decided to go back to a Sony Ericsson. Not too keen on a walkman phone, so went in for the (now old) K800. The camera on that is really nice.

The new P1 looks pretty darn cool, with Wifi to boot.

http://www.geekzone.co.nz/content.asp?ContentId=7163

Gomez said...

"I am giving this 10/10 until I get an iPhone.."

Fanboy!

You'd be better off with the O-Phone
http://www.dvorak.org/blog/?p=11341

Aaron said...

Hi Ya Somu! I really like the K800i but the joystick broke on that for me. So it has also been put in the phone graveyard....

The P1 looks interesting - I like the business card scanner idea!

Gomez - you sooooo know you will get one (perhaps 18 months after launch - but you will have one!). Just like your iPod :D