Tuesday, December 11, 2007

New phones

Well I finally upgraded my old Samsung T209 for something newer when the t-zones quit allowing me to get to my gmail. First I tried a Motorola RAZR, but wasn't very happy with that one, especially when the ring tone for a contact played for text messages as well. Not even the nearly free price was enough to keep me in that phone. A little while ago I traded the RAZR for a samsung blast. In fact, I'm using it right now to write this blog while attending my daughter's choir concert. She's up, will finish this later.

Back at home now. Yeah, the RAZR (V3), the much (over-) hyped Motorola monster. It wasn't for me. The camera was kind of fuzzy, the WAP browser wouldn't sign into GMail with the "remember me" checked ("your browser's cookie functionality is turned off" - apparently this is a feature of Motorola's browser since the setting "accept cookies" was set to "all"), the battery life wasn't very good (based on my four-day trial of the phone), and the killer was the ring tone issue - when my wife's text message came, it would ring the same ringer ID as when she called, and there was no way to change this behavior (ok, MotoModders, I know there are ways around it, but not within the context of the phone as delivered and expected to work).

Now I have the Samsung Blast. This one wasn't free (well, $18 upgrade fee plus tax) as was the RAZR, but (after rebate) it's not overly expensive. I'm "used" to the Samsung interfaces, so this might be a better fit (since I've been on a Samsung of one kind or another for years now). Admittedly, I still don't like that T-Mobile cripples their phones (won't allow Java apps to access the network; ok, they'll allow "signed" apps to get to it, but there aren't a lot of signed apps, and things like Opera Mini, Google Maps for Mobile, and Mobile GMail won't work). Maybe I should buy something off ebay, which I'll probably do sometime or another, but not in the near future (assuming I'm satisfied with the Blast or can find another adequate phone at the T-Mobile store).

The Blast supposedly supports e-mail via a text-message interface, but I can't get my Bellsouth.net e-mail to send. I can view them, but not send. And I can't get that interface to log into my GMail at all (the Blast was, according to intial reports, supposed to support GMail directly, but it doesn't). That's not as big a deal, since I can get my GMail (and even my AT&T/Bellsouth Webmail) via the WAP browser, but it's a feature that doesn't work the way it should. It might be nice to have some document viewers available, and perhaps a Google Talk IM client (Java apps can't access the network, remember?), but I think this phone will likely suffice to fill my "staying connected" needs.

The camera on the Blast is better than the RAZR (but no match for a real digital camera, of course); compare the photo of the CHRISTmas tree (to the right) to the RAZR picture in this post (ok, maybe not a good comparison... but the RAZR was the best of a couple of shots, this was a single, quick snapshot of the tree with the Blast). The Blast photo is not retouched in any way (whereas the RAZR picture actually had a "zoom blur" applied to try to make the picture more appealing).

Anyway, there you go... new phone. Two, actually, within a week. Who knows... maybe if I'm unsatisfied with the Blast I'll get a different one, but we'll see. I'll (try to) keep you updated; check back for details.

Oh, yeah... the Blast has the "two-letter-per-key" Suretype keyboard. Frequently criticized, I think it's one of those things to which you just have to adjust. That may be one of the reasons I didn't like the Motorola... the typing interface (while still a standard phone keypad) was different in the way it handled "smart text input" than Samsung. The Blast is more similar to what I'm familiar with (Samsung's T-9 entry) - different due to the keypad layout, but actually not too difficult an adjustment from a standard Samsung. Oh, I did like the alarm system of the RAZR in that it appeared to have quite a number of available alarm entries, but I still like the Samsung "Wake-up Call" alarm feature. And the Blast accepts microSD cards to enhance its already-bigger-than-the-RAZR 11MB of memory.

Anyway, I think I'm going to be happier with the Blast (especially if they do integrate GMail into the e-mail interface and/or Google Talk into its IM clients). I still have 10 days (if from the original RAZR upgrade date) or 14 days (if from today) to decide whether I like and want to keep the Blast (or whether I want to return it and try something else). I'll probably keep it.


1 comment:

Carter said...

I need a new phone myself...I'm still dealing with a Motorola V220 :P