More mobile phone musings and 3G dongle chat

Posted by Chris Green on Tuesday June 3 @ 5:09 pm

More thoughts on the mobile phone situation:

Current Phone

I’m currently using an Apple iPhone (work thing) and a Samsung SGH-i320 (personal phone). It is the Samsung I want to replace. The iPhone is brilliant, it rocks – let’s just leave it there.

The Samsung is a good phone as well, even though it is Windows Mobile. Unfortunately, its a bit underpowered, its only GSM/GPRS – not 3G let alone HSDPA, only runs Windows Mobile 5, is a tiny bit unstable and the keys could do with being a little bit bigger.

The Options

BlackBerry

I dearly love the BlackBerry platform and devices, or rather I used to love the devices. They’ve ruined them by making them too small, and with it the keyboards too small. The 7230/7290 device keyboards were brilliant – anything smaller is too small, and I hear too many friends, business contacts and readers complaining about their BlackBerry Curves and 8800s because the keyboards are too small.

Also – none of the current crop of BlackBerry devices supports Bluetooth data access. They are fine if all you want to do is use a Bluetooth headset or in-car handsfree system, but if, as in my case, you need your TomTom sat nav to be able to access the connection on your phone so it can download traffic and speed camera alerts on the move, the BlackBerry is useless. Even the recently-announced Bold doesn’t support Bluetooth data – c’mon RIM, get with the programme.

Windows Mobile Devices

I have had a play with several. The Samsung SGH-i600 (the 3G HSDPA version of my 320) is not a nice device, it seems that Samsung regressed from the hardware of the 320 rather than improving on it.

I’ve reviewed various HTC devices, and while they are very well built, they either don’t have a keyboard (deal-breaker), have a touchscreen and a stylus (horrible) or an impractical qwerty keyboard. A shame.

Symbian

The keyboards on the E61 and E61i are pretty horrible, and when I reviewed the E61i, I found it painfully underpowered, though the software set and capabilities are excellent. I’d kill for a Noia E90, but I can’t afford to buy one (and Nokia understandably wanted its review unit back) and my mobile provider doesn’t offer it as an option (in fact, all the phones on offer from my German-owned mobile provider are so old and dated, I don’t think any of them were launched in 2008).

The LG KT 610 looks like the perfect solution. All the features and design of the Nokia E90, same operating system, but a fraction of the cost. Trouble is, it’s not on sale yet and nobody (retailers, distributors, LG’s UK PR company) knows when it’s coming.

Data Cards

On a side note, several people have been asking me about 3G data card and USB dongle options of late, so I thought it would be a good idea to post about what I use.

I currently have a USB dongle from 3, on its £15, 3GB-a-month contract. This is not a review unit, I signed up for this out of my own pocket in December 2007. And I swear by it. Very reliable, seems to get signal where Vodafone and other cards seem to fail, and its pretty quick. I regularly get close to the 3.6Gbps top speed on my tube run into the office (3 actually understates a 2.8Gbps HSDPA maximum on its cards, but they can and usually do more).

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