Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Cell Phones... How many have you gone through?

Yes I promised a review on my Blackberry 8330, but this is not the official review on that phone.  This article is a summary of all the phones I've owned.  The number of cell phones that I've gone through in my lifetime has been 7.  Below are all the phones I've owned (first to current):


Nokia 5110
My first phone I bought through AT&T.  This phone cost me about $120 when I signed up for cell phone service.  I believe I paid a higher price because the plan I had with this phone was a pre-paid service.  Not much I can say about this phone.  The phone was very limited when you compare it to what todays phones can do.  For more information about this phone, see the Nokia 5110's Wikipedia article.

Nokia 3510
My second cell phone.  When I bought this cell phone, I wanted something smaller then the old Nokia 5110.   I HATED having phones with antennas that stick out.  90% of the phones life is spent in my pocket when I'm on the go and you can imagine how annoying it can get having those antennas poke you when you go to sit down; hence the reason why I purchased the Nokia 3510.  This was my first phone that had limited AOL Instant Message capabilities.. Essentially every text message you sent or received counted as a text message.   The funny thing to note was back when I got this phone, text messages didn't cost me anything... Now wireless carriers charge up to 20 cents per message.  The one thing I really liked about this phone was the ability to load in MIDI ringtones.  I had made a modified ringtone of the Highwind theme from Final Fantasy VII.

Final Fantasy VII - Highwind

To learn more about this phone, see the Nokia 3510's Wikipedia article.

A year or two went by where I stopped paying for my cell phone service.  I wasn't making too many calls so I couldn't justify paying money for something I wasn't making much use of.  Cell phones started becoming quite popular now and phones with color screens were standard.

Sony Ericsson T290
This was my first color screen phone.  The Sony Ericsson T290.  I bought this phone because it had similar characteristics to the Nokia 3510.  It was small and compact, and it didn't have that antenna that stuck out.  I don't have much to say about this phone, as it was the one phone only used for about 3 months before I replaced it with a Motorola RAZR V3.  To learn more about this phone, see the Sony Ericsson T290 review article on Tech-FAQ.com.

Motorola RAZR V3
The Motorola RAZR V3 was the phone that quickly replaced my Sony Ericsson T290.  I bought this phone brand new off eBay.  I bought this phone because it was quite popular online and considering it was only out 2 months, there was quite a few sites dedicated to this phone.  The internet community embraced this phone.  Anything you wanted to know about this phone was easily searchable online.  I even managed to hack the firmware on mine to enable options that were for whatever reason hidden.  For example: my phone couldn't get the date & time from the network, so I had to manually set it every time I had to pull out the battery... You shouldn't EVER have to deal with that kind of thing.  In any case, this was my first phone that came unlocked.  To learn more about this phone, see the Motorola RAZR V3 Wikipedia article.

T-Mobile Sidekick 3™
The T-Mobile Sidekick 3 was the one phone that lasted me no more then 30 days.  This is the story behind it:

I called a T-Mobile CSR and asked them what their available plans were for the Sidekick 3.  At that time they had two plans available:

  • Pay as you go

  • Monthly payment

I inquired about the pay as you go plan, and I was told verbatim: "You pay $1 a day for unlimited data use ONLY on the day where the phone uses data, so if you keep your phone turned off for the day, you won't get charged."  I bought the phone off eBay for $100 where T-Mobile itself was selling it for $200 with a 1yr contract, so I got a pretty deal there.

I walked into the nearest T-Mobile store in my area and the representative there was somewhat turned off by the fact that I had my own phone to activate rather then forking out the $200 for a new one.  The activation fee was $120!  What a fucking crock of HORSESHIT!  In any case, I was still under the impression that this phone would last me a long time considering that I would only use the phone when I away and needed to contact somebody via IM.  About 7 days later, I go to check the account balance on the phone and I see that it's down $7.  I had only used the phone 2 days out of the 7 days since activation.  So I called up T-Mobile and I had another agent tell me: "Oh no you're charged $1 a day regardless if you use your phone or not."  I was pissed, I was deliberately lied to; the first agent I talked to on the phone was said anything he could to get another customer... Had I known this, it would've been a deal-breaker for me.  In any event, I was completely put off by this and I didn't use ever again.  I ended up selling it on eBay for more then I bought it, so considering the amount of money I spent towards a useless investment, I was glad I at least made up some of the loss.  Read up on the Wikipedia article on the T-Mobile Sidekick series.

So for about a year and a half, I was on AT&T's "Go Phone" service using my Motorola RAZR V3 and for the most part, I didn' thave any problems.  I had the occasional phonecall drop but who doesn't?  The cool thing about the AT&T "Go Phone" service was that my particular plan had the rollover minutes, and as little as I was using my phone, it was nice knowing that I had plenty of spare minutes for a plan that had no strings attached.

It wasn't until August 2007 that I decided to switch phones once again.  During that time, I was in Newbury Port MA visiting some family.  My uncle John had a pretty cool hybrid phone.  He had the best of both networks from Sprint & Nextel; it used the CDMA portion for voice (Sprint), and the Push-To-Talk (PTT) portion of Nextel.  Also the phone wasn't all that bad looking, it had a vibrant screen, and a semi-rugged design to it.  I was always curious about the Push-To-Talk feature, and I knew that Corion had that feature on his cell phone.

Motorola IC902 - (no longer carried by Sprint)

After the vacation was over and I was back in California, I went to my local Sprint store the next day and picked up the same phone my uncle had, the Motorola IC902.  I was pretty put off at the cost that Sprint was asking for; they wanted $350 for the phone WITH a 2 year contract.  Why the fuck would charge that much for a phone on top of the 2yr obligation they tack on?  It was grossly overpriced.  Well little did I know the amount of features this phone packed.  This phone for its time was THE best phone you could get on their network.  I guess the saying was true, you DO get what you pay for.  The biggie for me was the PTT as I would see myself using the hell out of it.

I had been using this phone now for a year, and for the most part, it's been a pretty good phone for me.  Although what ultimately led me to switching this phone to my BlackBerry was the PTT reception was awful.  Half the time the conversations were me going "What? Can you repeat that?" on the phone.   I could never understand people, and people on the other end could never understand me.  This was especially noticeable after owning the phone for about 10 months.  I think the poor reception was partially due to the fact that the antenna had this small crack forming around the base, making the connection between the antenna and the
phone itself loose.

In any result, I wasn't talking to my extended family back east often enough, and the only other person I'd talk to using PTT was Corion.  Again half our conversations were "What?" or "I didn't understand a single word you said."  It just wasn't worth the trouble anymore.

Despite all the neat features this phone had, there were alot of limitations that really frusterated me.  For starters, the phone didn't allow you to have Java applications to run in the background.  So if I were to go to Youtube on the Opera Mini browser, and then click on a video to watch, it'd have to quit the browser to load the media player.  Secondly, I'm not sure if this was a problem that was isolated only to my phone, but there was a 50/50 chance the video would or wouldn't play.  Sometimes I'd only get sound, and the video would freeze, other times I'd get just the first frame of the video and the phone would load the video forever.  So in a nutshell, watching any video on this phone sucked.  To learn more, you can check out CNET's Motorola IC902 review.

Blackberry 8330

I've had this phone now for 4 ½ days and so far I haven't found anything that this phone couldn't do that I wanted.  I love the fact that I can have numerous applications running in the background.  I keep AIM, and Google Talk running 24/7 so that I can have people message or me message them whenever convenient.   The phone call quality seems pretty damn good, the microphone seems to clearly pickup any audio within 4 feet of the device so it makes it nice when using the speakerphone so I don't have to yell to the phone when in a conversation.  I've had two issues with this phone so far.  The first issue with this phone is the slow loading of webpages; I have no idea if this is due to the area I'm at where the EVDO is flakey or if it's the phone.  I'm leaning towards the EVDO network because the same sluggishness that I had loading webpages with my old phone seems to be an issue for the Blackberry as well.  It's hard to say for sure, again I've only had this phone for 4 ½ days so it's hard for me to know exactly where the problem lies.  The second issue (and for most it's probably not that big a deal) is the damn phone doesn't vibrate+ring at the same time!  Sure the phone has the option to do both, but what it'll do is vibrate an X amount of times before it'll start ringing.  What kind of stupid crap is that?  Luckily there is a program that can fix this issue, so it's not a total loss.  Every prior phone I've had would vibrate AND ring at the same time...  Not do one first then start ringing later.

I'll have a more detailed review on the Blackberry 8330 hopefully sometime later this week.