At the end of June, I pondered smartphones for the first time and decided on the Nokia E71 (preliminary review here). Since then, I have witnessed mine sicken and die, getting progressively buggier. Bugs aside, I have also found the phone much less useful than I expected before getting it. The web browsing experience is poor; blogging from it is impossible; the audio quality is lower than with my cheap old phone; and the email capabilities that were my primary motivation for buying it were always finicky, awkward, and temperamental. The media capabilities were never a major concern of mine, but it is fair to note that the media player and camera are both rather poor.
Today, my dead phone was revived by the Fido store in Ottawa’s ByWard Market – eliminating all my saved notes to myself (foolish to save anything in local memory!), settings, and applications. The generic OS they installed lacks some of what my phone came with initially, and it still won’t pair with Bluetooth devices. The people at the shop say that the matter of any further repairs is between me and Nokia, and I should be glad that they didn’t charge me for flashing the phone.
As such, I see myself with three options:
- Give the E71 another try, in hopes that the bugs are mostly gone and I will learn to live with its limitations as a device.
- Get an iPhone, with the annoyance of a three year contract.
- Abandon smartphones altogether and get a basic GSM phone with the capability of making calls and sending text messages only.
The choice is complicated by the apparent defectiveness of the E71. It wouldn’t really be ethical to sell it to someone else in this state. Given that, and my displeasure at the prospect of an exclusive contract and locked phone (or spending $700 on an unlocked iPhone), option two is basically out for now.
In some ways, option three is actually the most appealing right now. Smartphones may simply be more trouble (and expense) than they are worth. Perhaps waiting for a few more generations of devices to pass by makes the most sense. That said, given that I have a phone that I cannot really sell, I will probably continue with option one.
If I could send advice back in time to myself in June, I would probably say: “Wait a few more years before going for a smartphone, and if you must get one now, go with Apple’s offering.”