The Phone: It’s about the same size and weight as my T68i. Which is to say, it’s light and small. This is a good thing. It’s a nice silver and black affair that looks very classy. The screen takes up about half the size of the unit. It has a rounded indentation that runs along the sides that makes it easy to hold. The keypad has small buttons for the numbers, but they are easy to hit.
The screen: The screen is larger than on most cell phones and can display a good bit of information. It’s also really bright. It’s a big improvement over the T68i. It’s 128×160 pixels and makes for some nice backgrounds. Some people are complaining that they cannot see the screen in bright daylight. While out shooting the other day I got to experience this first hand. While it is difficult to see the screen, it is not impossible as many people claim. Is is annoying: Yes. Is it a deal breaker? No way.
Reception: There have been a lot of complaints about reception on this phone. While my phone is reporting low signal, I haven’t had any problems with dropped calls or bad reception. It’s about the same as my T68i. That’s not all that great, but it’s about the same as my previous nokia 8290.
Features: This is where the phone really shines. it has a bevy of features that are too numerous to list on my page so I will hit the big ones that I use.
Great Bluetooth support. You can browse the phone from Mac OS X, add pictures, midi files, games and sounds to the phone by dragging and dropping. Sync your contacts, to-do items and calendars without taking the phone out of your pocket.
Standard MIDI ringtones. There are millions of these things on the web, and you can use all of them on your phone. I’m currently using a midi version of “The Man Who Sold the World” by david bowie. It’s a 3 minute midi song. It will play as long as people will let it ring. So cool. So cool to not pay a dollar for each freaking tone.
Sound Recorder. I used the voice recorder pretty extensively on my T68i. And I died a little each time I had to play it back on the phone to transcribe what I had written. Now I can pull the files over to my machine using bluetooth and play them back in quicktime. My only gripe with this is that my bluetooth headset will not work with the sound recorder, despite having voice commands to activate it. I suspect this is a weird T-mobile firmware issue. The T-mobile firmware has some changes from the defaults, one of which is a voice notes option, which essentially is the same thing as the sound recorder, but its resulting files can only be mailed or sent to another phone or computer. They cannot be saved on the phone. This seems asinine to me, especially since the voice notes feature actually does work with my bluetooth headset, but does not have a voice command to activate it. I’m hoping that an update to the firmware will resolve this weird conflict of features.
There is a firmware update for the phone which has been available for a number of months. My T-mobile phone has the first one available, and apparently the update speeds up the phone greatly, and helps java compatibility. Unfortunately, you have to send your phone into a sony ericsson repair center for the update. This will remove the T-Mobile customized firmware, which in my book is a big plus.
My only other gripes so far are that the calendar cannot show all day events and the contact list doesn’t include physical addresses. The calendar is not a big deal. It can be avoided by just putting in an arbitrary appointment. But I don’t see why the phone can’t simply import standard vcards. I understand that there isn’t a lot of phone memory, but memory is cheap these days. Beef it up to 16mb, and let me have standard vcards with all of the accompanying fields. As it stands, I have to check my iPod for physical addresses when I’m in a bind.
All told, I am a big fan of this phone. Once I have hammered out the firmware silliness, I’m sure I will be much happier. I got it on the T-mobile good customer discount for $150, which was cheaper than trying to buy and unlocked phone online, but not as good as new customers can get it for after a rebate. If you have a T68, get this phone. It is far and away a much better phone.
I looked at a lot of phones before upgrading including the Nokias, the sidekick, and the Motos, but this phone offered the best tradeoffs between size, weight, display, features and quality. If you’re anything like me, there are few phones on the market that could better meet your needs.