Monday, July 27, 2009

Cellphone retrospective

A couple of days ago when I used my iPhone to post a Twitter kind-of status, I was contemplating on how many different cellphones I've had, some excellent, good, some mediocre and some just very bad. I must say after buying an iPhone and being on a couple of trips this summer, for the first time i didn't regret bringing my laptop. The maps application in combination with Safari on the iPhone did the job just fine. Cellphones has come a long way since I bought my first Ericsson phone back in 1995. Some of the phones have been lost on the way, others has been borrowed (and probably never returned) and given away. The first phone I bought I actually managed to sell for 50Dkr in 1999. I have attempted to rate the phones according to a relative rating-scheme; what did I think of the phone when I had it back in whenever. I actually still have quite a few of these phones in my possession still, but they are scattered in different boxes in the attic or maybe in different storage bins in my home office,....sigh.

Ericsson GA 318



This is the cellphone I bought back in 1995 when i still went to university. The phone was nice, and leaner than most other models that was on the market at the time. The display a very simple black and white (no color lcds at the time i'm afraid) LCD that barely had enough real-estate for an international phone number. Netcom did not charge for SMS at the time, and they also provided a gateway that enabled you to send sms-messages directly to the cellphone using mail on the form: MSISDN@gw.netcom.no. I actually forwarded alarms from a production system to the phone using this gateway.

Verdict: 4.

Nokia 6150

I bought this phone when I worked as a consultant in Denmark back in 1998. My needs were really simple. I basically used this phone as a replacement for the fixed line that I terminated back then, and being a consultant, I had to be available. This is one of the most durable phones I have ever had, and I actually got this as a work-phone when I started working for Nokia Networks back in 1999. Later I have used that particular instance as a replacement phone for other phones that have ceased to work. However this was the first time I encountered the "it just shut itself of" syndrome that seems to have been haunting Nokia phones ever since.

Verdict: 4


Nokia 7110




This was a truly amazing phone at the time. It was, I believe, the
first Nokia model to support WAP and T9. It also had this neat little
keyboard-cover that you could release by pressing a small button on the
side of the phone. It made this "wsssh-click" that was very easy
to recognize. This phone was actually engineered and developed at the
research-facility in Copenhagen where I worked at the time. The early
prototypes had some flaws and one of them that I remember particularly
well was the problem with the ejecting spring for the cover being too
strong so that the cover would actually separate from the phone and be
ejected several meters. I more than once had to pick such a cover out
from my lunch (not my cover) being ejected from one of my coworkers
trying to enjoy their lunch while receiving a call, and sitting at my right side.



Verdict:5

Nokia 3310

I got this phone as a prototype back in 1999, 4 months before it went into full production. At the Nokia facilities at Fredrikskaj they handed out this model to all employees. It was nothing special with this model, and it was ugly. It had, however, a sms-chat function that was pretty neat that I haven't seen on any phone models since this one. This phone was one of the first ones with widely available snap-on covers, i had only one cover, grey.....

Verdict:3

Nokia 6210


I got this phone as a replacement after my 7110 was lost on a business-trip to Finland. The phone had many of the same features as in the 7110 but had a much better mechanical design and no antennas pointing out. The screen was nice and it had a small lean design so that it would easily fit in to any pocket. It also turned out to be one of the more robust models I have had.

Verdict:4

Nokia 9110i

Wow, I felt like a kid the first time a got my hands on one of these. I first got it in 2000 and given the functionality it had at the time still amazes me. It is one of the reasons I loved (and still do) Nokia as a company, being truly innovative. When the first Communicator was launched, virtually nobody knew, before the lightning came out of the sky. This was one of the predecessors, only with even more features. I had work-mail using a VPN connection, and I more than once used the built-in telnet terminal to log into test and development-servers to launch new builds, check build-status and so on. The excellent QWERTY  keyboard was one of the reasons I really had a hard time to switch back to more regular type phone models.
The only problem with this phone was its limited durability. I had to send it away on repair twice before it finally gave in in  2002. The backbone was an AMD 486, I had a Cyrix 486 as a refrigerator magnet several years erlier :-)

Despite it's mechanical weaknesses I have to give this phone a verdict:6

In the period after the decease of the legendary 9110i but before the 2003 i used my old 6150 and 6210 before finally giving in ans buying my first Sony Ericsson phone with MMS.

Sony Ericsson T610


I just wanted one of these phones to try something else than Nokia. It also was to my knowledge one of the first Sony Ericsson mobiles to come around apart from the legendary T68i and of course the P800. The phone was my first MMS-phone. A lot of service providers campaigned this as part of their MMS launch. The phone was OK, nothing more.  Its dimensions in combination with a lousy keyboard made it very difficult to write sms-messages using only  one hand, the bottom part of the keyboard was simply to close to the edge.

In fall of 2004, a scratching disturbing background noise made it difficult for the people I was talking to too hear what I was saying. That made an end to a not very exiting relationship.

Verdict:3,5

Nokia 9210i

My brief encounter with what we referred to as "those other guys" when I worked for Nokia up to February  2001, the Ericsson part of Sony Ericsson, made me want to go back to Nokia. During the last couple of years I hadn't been able to get the Communicator out of my head. I will admit to possibly being a bit nostalgic, but it was no other way, I had to get back to the life I had with the Communicator. So I went down up to Telekiosken at Storo and got myself a 9210i. The form factor of this phone was better than the previous Communicator models, and the foldable antenna was all gone which was about time. The mechanical flaws from the previous models had vanished and it now had a color TFT which today I still remember as one of the best cellphone-displays ever. Even in broad daylight the screen was completely unaffected, as pristine as a piece of paper. Some of the magic feeling I had from the first model was gone, that together with a battery with limited quality made the re-encounter shorter than I hoped for. After the phone shutting down when I was about to agree on a rendezvous point with my off-piste friends in Hemsedal, for doing some serious downhill just before I was able to communicate my location, aided me lin shutting it down. I decided to get a more robust and less amp-hungry friend.

Verdict:4,5

Sony Ericsson W950i



A good friend of mine (and co-worker) that was much more knowledgeable about cellphones than I was, became all worked up about this new model. It had a decent size, heaps of functionality and a touch screen that was usable together with the pen that accompanied the phone. No fuzz, I got one immediately. This became my first mp3 player as well I am embarrassed to say. The phone was decent and even had a radio which I have missed on most of the other models I have had (and still miss). But it did not take long before I re-discovered the flaw that I had seen on other Sony Ericsson phones as well, a keypad that relly sucks. The keyboard is one of those plastic ones where a thick film of plastic covers a keypad with mechanical devices sensing keypresses underneath. The problem with this model was that they had messed up the placement of those sensors completely so that you actually had to press slightly above the marked digit to get the desired result. I wonder what kind of substance the engineers designing such a piece of ***** had been consuming before they hardened the design....

Verdict:3

Nokia 6500 Classic


After been doing my fair share of smartphone-hype, carrying around power hungry and feature-bulky phone for almost a decade, I wanted to go for a small, feature stripped phone with an appealing and urban design (!!?).  I went for this simple and not very expensive model from Nokia. It had Java as well so together with the small but very nice screen it made a good company for the J2ME version of GMail. All in all I was quite happy with this phone that I got in the summer of 2007.

Verdict:5

iPhone 3G


I finally gave in in in 28'th of march 2009, my wife convinced me to finally get myself an iPhone. I gave in because I was very pleased with my acquisition of an iPod touch a couple of weeks earlier. After the 3.0 upgrade which arrived fashionably late in my opinion i think this is probably the best device with a cellphone I have ever had. Even though it does not matter it kind of pisses me of that it does not run Java.

Verdict:6



 





2 comments:

Kristian Rosenvold said...

Nokia E66 breaking down, now.
Must not buy iphone
Must not buy iphone
Must not buy iphone
Must buy iphone

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