Bits and Pieces

Thursday, December 16, 2004


I've spent most of today watching the third series of the West Wing while browsing for a new mobile phone - there are some advantages to being out of work, not least the sense of achievement you get from passing a day without spending a single penny while still enjoying yourself.

For the past year I've been using a Nokia 7650, a brick of a phone that was one of the founding fathers, as it were, of mobile camera and video technology. I understand that it never really took off (probably due to the fact that it really is a brick), but I never found the bulkiness of the phone a major problem. I don't like this trend of forcing technology into ever smaller devices. There's something insubstantial and unsatisfying about a phone the size of a credit card. Give me something I can feel in my hand. Give me a monster that needs a heat sink. I like a cellphone that comes with two fat guys, a sack of coal and a shovel. It has to feel real. Take your flimsy toys away from my sight, I'll take that one. I'll park the truck out front and you can lash it to the roof.

This loathing of miniaturisation probably stems from the time I used a Nokia 6510 for a year. I almost swallowed it several times, it was so small. I have fairly slender hands, and still I mashed the keypad while writing messages. It was a nightmare. In fact, let me clarify. It wasn't a nightmare. A nightmare is being chased through a park in the dead of night by an army of dogs shooting bees from their mouths. Just a figure of speech (in a similar vein there are, in fact, many things worse than a paper cut).

Anyway, I'm looking for a new phone. I've got my eye on the new Motorola a1000 - a 3G phone that uses a touch-screen and stylus arrangement in place of a keypad. It also features a 1.2 megapixel camera with 4x digital zoom. The problem is that the reviews I've read are all over the place. Some have rated it outstanding, others say its the worst phone they've ever used. Who to believe?

My biggest gripe is that the phone is only available in the UK for customers of the 3 network, the forerunner in the 3G market. 3 have decided that users can only access the Internet at 3-approved sites, which basically means that the phone is useless for Internet browsing, unless all you want to do is download news and music videos directly from 3. Sounds a bit crap.

Now I think about it, though, I only use my mobile for the occasional voice call and frequent text messaging, so the reported problems with the phone shouldn't be that big a problem. I've only used my current phone to access the Internet once, and it was so bad I never bothered again. Even so, I would like the opportunity to access a wider range of sites.

Enough prattling from me. What I want are recommendations from you guys. I'll leave it a few days before ordering, so if any of you have anything to say I'd welcome the input. Maybe you've used the a1000 and want to give me your verdict, or you have another model phone that you can rave about. Have at it in the comments, if you would.
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