Friday, October 06, 2006

Telecom brick to Vodaphone 3G

As I sit here in front of the laptop trying to decide what to write about I am making myself sick with a bag of jellybeans that I received in the mail from Telecom. They sent them as a reward for having stuck out my 24 months on a mobile phone plan and as a bribe to make me upgrade to a fancy new phone and a fancy new plan.

Now, the fact is that at this point in my life I don't actually have an address. All my mail is forwarded to me from Kapiti to 'poste restante' in Whangarei where I collect it a couple times a week. I've gotten used to the hair raising side effects of being address-less such as receiving bills the day they are due, but sadly for Telecom, their marketing was too late to have even a chance at tempting me. I have already been seduced by the Vodaphone ads offering to give me a 3G phone in exchange for my Telecom brick.

When I first saw the ads I didn't know what a 3G phone was and when I found out I didn't really care. Something to do with internet connection but only for townies- there is no 3G coverage at the non-address where I stay right now. What I got excited about was the camera on the phone- not as good as the borrowed ones that have been illustrating Bibliophilia for the past year or so but better than the little credit card phone that long-term readers may remember from Purua.

So I was tempted enough to do some more reasearch about the contract I would have to sign with the the big V... turned out that I would be able to cut at least $12 a month off my cellphone payments and with no penalty for abandoning the big T. Where's the catch I'm thinking... there must be a catch.

So I Googled for reviews of the give-away phone. And sure enough there is a catch... as 3G phones go this one is the bottom end of the market. The most trenchant criticism of its 3Gness seems that it has a ridiculously small memory for a device that can hold, play, send, receive and manipulate photos, videos and music; and no capacity to add extra memory. There was also some criticism of its more fundamental functions such as too quiet ringing and speaking volume and keys lagging or being overly sensitive. These latter problems seem to have been more or less resolved* in the year since the phone came on the market (it's role in the market being as a free (or discounted) gift or an entry level 3G). By the time I'd read a hundred reviews from the UK*** I'd decided they were all completely unreliable anyway, probably written by juniors in marketing companies to promote their own products or undermine the opposition's.

I did a bit more research such as I texting a few fancy-phone-owning-friends friends who all said they preferred the other brand but were uniformly excited that I might be stepping up to the fancy-phone circle of pxters. Finally I went down to the local Vodaphone shop on a Saturday morning and there amongst a crowd of teenagers I asked all the stupid questions I could think of while testing all the functions I could understand (some tiny proportion of the phone's potential).

Satisfied that the volume issues and camera were up to my meager standards, I decided I had nothing much to lose except the continuity of my telephone number**. I handed over my old phone, with some trepidation to part from my reliable 24/7 companion device of more than two years. I asked the bored young woman serving me not to send my old phone to the knackers until I was satisfied my new phone wasn't a disaster. She humoured me, and promised to do her best despite company policy to get rid of the trade-in the same day.

So I suddenly find myself the somewhat pleased owner of a far fancier phone than I thought I would carry this decade. My techno naitivity means that this first week with the phone has been equal parts frustrating and satisfying. Challenges have included
  • entering all my contacts by hand as Telecom don't have SIM cards so no way to transfer a hundred or so names and numbers electronically
  • one of those circular software installation experiences ultimately resolved by ignoring the phone folder on my laptop for several days and then finding it all works perfectly.
  • tearing my hair out until Kate accidentally figured out how to work the camera
  • forcing myself to learn to use predictive text (I didn't realise how many Maori words I use in casual texting conversation- they all have to be spelled out)
  • realising after quite a few messages exactly what the difference is between MMS and SMS
  • struggling with a new way of navigating commands so frequently losing texts instead of sending them
  • etc
But it's getting easier now and one of these days I will figure out how to post text or photos straight from the phone onto this blog. In the meantime, here's first phone-photo, thanks to Kate. (The flowers at the top are all my own work).

* New phone owners are advised to remove the clear plastic sheet from the speakers to facilitate improved volume.
**Email me if you want my new phone number and if you are not a complete stranger or weirdo stalker aquaintance I will give it to you.
*** Sample review: Me got 1 or 2 tings 2 say bout dis ere fone it be gettin massif respect ratins from me coz it be so sick da fone got one respecetable camra n also 1 respectable vidyo recorder coz da piacture quality is so gangsta, me wud recomend dis fone 2 anyone yo massif respect n pease out

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

3 Gees for Meliors!!
Welcome into the fold.
My only advice to save having no hair by your 40th is to take the phone into Vfone and let THEM programme your email and multimedia functionality - they're the ones so you can send pxts - I've only just got them to do mine a few weeks ago (as you will of course know by the pxt you got from me on your new whizzer).