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Friday, October 23, 2009

New personal phone - might finally get around to getting an iPhone

A real life case study in handset decision critera & thought process: Me.

This is my genuine thought process about choosing a phone. Probably not typical, but nonethless a realworld example.

At the moment, I mainly use two handsets

- A SonyEricsson C902 for my personal use, billed to D Bubley esq, and only used for voice & SMS (plus originally for camera, although the images are worse than my old S-E K800i from a couple of years ago), on O2

- An unlocked Nokia E71 for work use, used solely for web, email and VoIP. Currently mostly using a 3UK prepaid SIM, although occasionally other SIMs if I'm travelling. It's billed to Disruptive Analysis.

I also occasionally use other devices I have around on loan or that I get through other channels, usually with the 3UK data SIM. I've also got a 3G dongle & a MiFi.

My personal S-E is on a contract coming up for renewal. Also, the software is very buggy, it keeps hanging during calls and occasionally losing inbound speech while a call is live. It's a pain.

Question: what do I replace it with? My normal preference is for my personal handset to be a featurephone, not a smartphone. I have no personal interest in downloading apps at all - I only use download mobile software for work reasons. If I wasn't in the industry, I'd just want a decent browser and email client, and maybe a mapping app.

... however. I'm quite tempted by the idea of a personal iPhone. I like the UI, even just for scrolling through the phonebook and camera album. And I might resuscitate my old & broken iPod music on my PC. And maybe... just maybe... I might try some free apps (I don't have an iTunes account, so I won't be buying anything).

Otherwise, the only appealing options are things like the new widescreen LG Chocolate, the Samsung Jet and maybe the Nokia 6700. The S-E Satio looks tempting and has a camera with a xenon flash, but unfortunately I've lost faith in S-E after the C902, and anyway it's a smartphone so not what I'm looking for. At some point I may play with a BlackBerry, but that's as a replacement for the work E71, not person.

For whatever reason, the HTC Hero and the various Moto devices have no appeal to me right now.

So to be honest, I'll probably get the iPhone - because I'm fairly sure that the "smartness" won't get in the way of me using it as a basic device. My main question is whether the 3Gs if worth an extra £100 over the basic model - essentially a question about whether the camera's any better, as I don't care at all about either video or speech control.

Anyone have any alternative suggestions for a non-smartphone with a good camera, ideally Xenon flash, which looks cool & has a decent browsing experience?


Anonymous said...

I understand how you feel.

I'm reading your brog from Tokyo.
I'm a user of Panasonic and a subscriber of NTT docomo. Basically I'm not an early adopter and I use my personal phone only for voice, carrier email, and occasionally for checking subway transfers and maps.

But iPhone might be an exception. I don't envision myself downloading tens of apps but I'm simply attracted by cool UI.

David said...

As you are asking for suggestions on non-smartphones, I should not propose the one below. However, given the amazingly high cost of an unlocked iphone and its big limitations, why not to opt for Nokia N900?

Antoine said...

If you have an interest for having a camera on your phone, drop the Iphone, the camera is terrible compared to others. And I say it as a pretty happy Iphone user. But still, the camera is better on, say, a Nokia E65.

mm said...

I totally recommend the 3gs. Having had both generations the 3gs does everything the older generation did, just quicker. And let me tell you, you will be completely happy with a normal 3g one until you see a 3gs in action.

Don't dismiss it's Internet tethering and push email capabilities either both work very well IMHO.

Paul Jardine said...

Interesting, as the main complaint I have heard about the iPhone is its basic features (mainly SMS, MMS etc) rather than the smart features.
No doubt that it's a good device though.
You'll be buying a MAC soon....

Dean Bubley said...

Thanks everyone.

Paul - yes I'm a bit concerned about the SMS issue, but I reckon my iPhone-owning friends send me just as many messages as others, so it seems to be acceptable.

Max - Thanks. I'm not bothered by tethering as I have a couple of 3G modems about anyway. I'm being swayed by the improved camera on the 3Gs

David - I'd get a subsidised one via O2 (on contract). I haven't played with an N900 - the question I'd have is whether the Maemo OS is "in-your-face smart" like S60 or WinMob, or more "behind-the-scenes smart" like the iPhone & some BlackBerries. I'm also getting irritated enough by the My Nokia spam SMSs on my work device to avoid risking the same on my personal phone.

Thinking about it over the last few hours, the key things I'd want to work well would be the SMS client, the camera, the browser, Google Maps and Facebook. And it must be easy to turn off the data connection when roaming.

Eelco said...

Turn data roaming off on the iPhone is easy as it is an option to disable data roaming. You just don't have to think about switching it on and off when you go abroad.

I would go for a 3GS. I use an 3G for over a year and it is a great device. The 3GS has a slightly better camera, compass and is just a lot faster.

Just one note: you will need an iTunes account to install free apps. If that is a problem you should go for another phone.

Avshalom said...

Dean, I can only recommend the new BlackBerry Bold 9700 if you want a keyboard. This device is amazing.
I know it is a smartphone and you might prefer a feature phone for personal use... But it is worth it. And as you were tempted to get an iPhone:
I would recommend the new BB storm2, if you prefer a touch screen. The device is fast, very stable and works great (the battery life is much better than the iPhone 8-hour lifetime).

Chocolate said...

I Personally think the LG Chocolate is a great phone. Especially because of the great movie watching and internet experience it offers with its large screen. But if you are looking for a phone similar to the Iphone you might also think of the Palm Pre.

Anonymous said...

Several of the guys at work use the iPhone. I use the BBerry Bold.

You are headed in the wrong direction if you 'prefer' a feature phone and would only use a couple apps. The iPhone guys are all fanboys, but all agree that the iPhone does everything well *except* be a good phone.
I'm a fan of the iPhone as well, but don't use it (yet) for this reason.