Despite working at Bell Mobility this semester, I’ve pretty much decided I’ll be dropping some of my hard earned cash at Rogers Wireless this birthday/Christmas season. Reason? Phones. Choice of phones. The CDMA carriers in Canada (like Bell) have amazing networks, but unfortunately, their handset locking/restrictions are really cramping my (phone) style. The joy with GSM networks is I can buy any unlocked GSM phone, stick a SIM card in it and it’s good to go. Now, the only tough part is choosing the phone.
I’ve decided that a cell phone is one of the more important pieces of gadgetry a person can possess. Sure that sweet boombox you’ve got at is home is great and all, but you don’t (usually) carry your home stereo around with you all day. Plus, a cell phone is more than just about making phone calls, texting or the regular communications mumbo jumbo. There’s also a style factor in there; it’s like a piece of jewelry. As well, the high end phones can mostly replace the MP3 player and act as a decent camera. I mean I have spent well over a grand on MP3 players alone at this point… With that in mind, you might see why I’m willing to spend a good chunk of cash on a nice phone. After a lot of reading and research, I’ve narrowed my sights to two devices, the Sony Ericsson K790 and the Nokia N73.
Sony Ericsson K790
This is a phone which emphasizes its digital camera with the Cybershot branding (which is Sony’s digital camera brand). The phone’s 3MP camera with autofocus (as opposed to most phone cameras’ fixed focus) is very nice, with picture quality slightly better than the Nokia N73′s. As well, it has some real camera features such as a full xenon flash as opposed to the LED flash that most cell phone cameras have. This means a much stronger flash. BestPic technology takes 4 shots just before fully clicking the shutter button, one shot while the button is fully depressed and 4 shots right after to help you get that perfect picture. It also has a 2″ QVGA (320×240 resolution) LCD which is great for viewing photos/content. (I feel like I’m writing an advertisement so excuse me for that.)
Of couse, as a high end Sony Ericsson phone, it has a decent MP3 player built in. The K790 is not part of the Walkman line, so some features are missing, but for what I want in an MP3 player, this will suit me fine. Sadly, this is one of the first devices that Sony is making that requires the use of its new Memory Stick Micro (M2) card. Not only are you forced to use Sony’s proprietary format for storage, you have to use the ultra rare M2 form factor. I’ve found a 512MB stick in one store online. That doesn’t bode terribly well for getting a higher capacity card for a reasonable price at this point in time.
Additionally, one of the main qualms I have with the device is that Rogers will soon be offering it. I can hear you asking, why would it be a problem if a major carrier is going to be carrying the device? Well, it won’t be as exclusive, let’s just say. What’s one reason I dislike the RAZR or iPods for that matter? It seems like everyone has one. It has no… ‘unique’ feel to it. So the fact that Rogers will be carrying it means that more people will have access to the phone. Ah well, it also benefits me in that I’ll have to pay much less for it; I won’t have to buy an unlocked one for the full price. So I’m looking at $300-350 for it on contract. You’ll see this phone used by James Bond in the upcoming Casino Royale… (hooray for product placement?)
Next up on the s(c)hopping block (har har, punny no?) is the Nokia N73. This is actually a smartphone, or if Nokia is to be quoted, a ‘multimedia computer’. Okay, okay, so I wouldn’t be caught dead using this instead of my desktop with a 20″ LCD to watch movies, but the device does have a strong focus on its media capabilities. Like the SE K790, the N73 also posesses a 3MP camera with autofocus but lacks the xenon flash, instead showing off its Carl Zeiss lens. Picture quality is not quite as good as the Sony. Instead, Nokia decided to slap on a truly monstrous 2.4″ QVGA display.
The use of Symbian OS Series 60 3rd ed. entitles the phone to a ‘smartphone’ status and is quite powerful, packing a lot of extra features like a Microsoft Office document viewer. As well, the battery life is extremely good. The main deterrent to this device is its currently high price and extremely rare state in the Canadian marketplace. The only place I could find that carries this phone prices it at a hefty $570. While I could scrounge up the money for it (you know with university sucking all my funds dry and all) it’s definitely at the top of my price range. The Sony Ericsson is obviously much cheaper, since Rogers is going to be carrying it. The only thing I can hope for is when availability increases towards Christmas, prices will drop a bit. Even $500 would be a lot easier to swallow. (Considering I’ll have to buy a 1GB or 2GB memory card to go along with it. It takes MiniSD, much more available than the Memory Stick M2.) On a more personal level, I prefer the looks of the Nokia more than the Sony Ericsson. It’s a little more rounded.
So here’s the deal; I want your input. Based on what I’ve said here, the pictures (of couse the pictures, after all, part of the choice is in the aesthetics) and anything other experience you might have, what would you buy? Money is an object of course, but let’s assume you can afford either one (but unfortunately not both).