I didn’t plan on getting a new phone yesterday. Honestly, I didn’t. My trip to the Cingular store was instead intended to conclude with me walking out with a.) a new car charger for the LG and b.) a Jawbone. It being Maine, they were not yet sold out of the latter like Denver always seems to be, so that part was good. But on the former, they had to hunt around for a while to find a compatible model, because my phone’s been discontinued for the better part of a year.
After hearing they wanted almost thirty bucks for the charger for a phone I was planning on replacing, I stopped to reconsider. My LG has gradually been dying; the battery is more or less shot, there’s a loose bearing or something inside that rattles around, several J2ME applications including Google’s Gmail interface fail due to data transfer errors, it’s escaping apostrophes in SMS messages, it reboots continually when in low connectivity areas, and so on.
The original plan had been to hold out until the OpenMoko was released in the fall, but a.) that’s a long time away, b.) the rumors I’ve been hearing re: build quality are not encouraging, and c.) it was sure to slip from that date anyway. So it couldn’t hurt to ask the question, I figured: do you guys have the Nokia N75’s in? As it turned out they did.
More conveniently, it turned out that I was in fact due for an upgrade, meaning the phone was available for under $200, plus a $50 rebate. Put differently, it’s ~$350 less than I would have been required to pay for the cheaper of the two iPhones. So after a short internal consultation, I said screw it and now I’m back on Nokia after several long years with LG and Motorola.
It’s way too early to give the N75 any sort of comprehensive review, other than to say that I’m rather pleased with it thus far. A few likes and dislikes:
- Battery Life: Granted, it’s brand new, but the phone is still showing full charge after its inaugural fill up yesterday, despite a.) significant internet usage, and b.) being used as an alarm clock. The LG would have been at three quarters or maybe even half strength by now.
- Screen Size: The screen on the interior of the phone – it’s a clamshell – is both sizable and highly readable. It’s easily the biggest screen that I’ve had on a phone yet, and it makes a big difference with applications like Google Maps.
- Connection Speed: Although the LG was 3G (UMTS) as this phone is (unlike the iPhone), it feels snappier while browsing. Whether that’s the browser or actual differences in connection speed is something I have yet to determine.
- Build Quality: I’ve always had a soft spot for Nokias since I had my 6260 and my 8200. The N75 is certainly out of that mold, and seems very well put together all around. We’ll see how it holds up to what will undoubtedly be heavy usage.
- Handset Size: The cost of having a big screen, of course, is that the phone itself is similarly oversized. While the phone is far from huge, neither is it slim in the way that a RAZR is. As someone who’s carried around bricks in both the V70 and my LG, it’s not a huge issue, but the phone could definitely be a little more svelte.
- Menu Speed: Like it’s other N-series brethren, the N75 is a Symbian based phone. This being my first prolonged exposure to that platform, I didn’t know precisely what to expect. My only real complaint at this point is that there’s a very slight delay when navigating menus – a brief latency – that doesn’t really impede getting around but is perceptible nonetheless.
- Won’t Pair With Ubuntu: Not the phone’s fault, in this case, but a dislike nonetheless. Unlike the LG, which I was able to successfully pair with Linux so that it could function as a modem (it’s what I’ve been using since I got to Maine), the N75 refuses to see my Ubuntu instance while it allows itself to be seen by same. I’m sure I’ll get it figured out, but having to boot into Windows in the interim – because it will pair with the N75 – negatively impacts my productivity.
- Out of the Box Bluetooth: Whether we’re talking Linux or Windows, the out of the box experience with regard to Bluetooth file transfers and the like is really not ideal. I shouldn’t have to hunt around the interweb to figure out to effect a simple file transfer.
The other real selling point for this phone is the camera. At 2 megapixels, it’s not exactly photojournalist material, but it is, sadly, the single best camera I now own. We’ll see how much of an upgrade that is over the LG, which took exceedingly poor quality pictures. Watch Flickr and judge for yourself.
Otherwise, will keep you posted as I get better acquainted with the new hardware. And if anyone has suggestions at pairing with Linux, feel free to drop me a line. I’m already sick of Windows and I’ve only been on it for a few hours.