From the daily archives:

Monday, December 21, 2009

Nokia E71x Smartphone

Nokia E71x Smartphone

I have been resisting the fad of getting a fancy latest model mobile phone ever since I got the very first one. I am not  a heavy phone user by any standards. I don’t need, neither do I want to be hooked up 24/7 via talk, texting, e-mail and so forth. I have always looked at the phone as a necessity, not a fashion article. And since my needs have always been very modest I never had an urge to pay for a fancy phone. My very first mobile phone was on a 20 minutes a month plan, and was supposed to be used only in emergency. Admittedly, it was not too long before I upgraded to a plan with more minutes, but still it is indicative of my relationship with mobile phones.  For all these years I had  a mobile phone, I have always been getting a free one from my provider in exchange for an  yearly (lately it has become 2-year) contract. Needless to say, it has always been some model that was already discontinued and probably had not been in the spotlight of phone aficionados in the first place.

The first time I realized that I would benefit from having email access on my phone was this fall when I started my part-time MBA program at GWSB. I was on my way to a class and I was pressed for time. I was a bit nervous, because I really did not feel comfortable being late for a class and disrupt it by my late show up. When I came to campus, barely making it in time, I saw a classmate in front of our building who informed me that professor had sent an email that he would be 15-20 minutes late for  a class due to whatever circumstances. He sent an email after I already checked my university email box before getting on the road to school. I realized then, should I had my email I would not have to be in that much of a hurry, and I would have time to make myselft a cup of coffee for a class,  as I usually do, or to stop at Starbucks to get one. Later there had been a few other occasions, all related to my MBA emails, when I felt I would rather get the information earlier than later, when I eventually got back to my computer at home. Anyways, I felt that I was ready for an upgrade. Namely, I wanted to have my university email access on the phone.  So I decided that this year I was going to get a smartphone for myself. But given my “tough love” relations with fashion for mobile phones, I knew that I would not want to fuel Blackberry vs IPhone war with my personal money. Every time I saw someone I knew with a smartphone I was asking about their experience. Blackberry clan was totally in love with their devices, and there is no point to mention how enthusiastic, or shoul I say extatic, were the IPhone owners about their “little babies”. This alone was enough for me to look for some model that was not in everyone’s and their grandmother’s pocket. So I started to look for various models, asking more people with different models about their smartphones, reading online reviews, and checking out the end-of-the-year deals on my provider’s website. My goal was to find a non-Blackberry-IPhone smartphone which was decent, reliable,  gave me the functions I needed, and preferably for as little money as possible: I still have to recuperate from a purchase of my Sony laptop less than two months ago; and with all the holiday gift shopping for the family I feel a bit stretched out. I eventually zoomed on Nokia E71x Phone, Black (AT&T). It had mostly favorable reviews, had all the functions that I needed and then some, and was offered for only $50 from my provider with a renewed contract. A few weeks ago I stopped by at RadioShack to get a personal encounter with the phone, and to compare how it felt compared with other models. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that RadioShack was giving it away for free (of course, I would have to subscribe to a data plan for extra $30/month, but that would be required for any smartphone). So I decided then that thiswas the phone I would get. Last week I went to RadioShack again to actually get it. It was my Christmas gift and a little reward for finishing the fall term at my MBA program. The store I came to did not have the phone in stock. They found through their inventory system  the only one in stock in the area and I actually got it the next day. So now I have it. I already have been using it for a few days and it’s a nice toy. I even used the GPS function (free for first month). It came at no surprise to me that I beat the GPS on the local routes all the time. That’s why my family calls me a “walking GPS”. However I can see its value if I go to the unknown area. Then efficiency will be secondary in that case. The fact that you eventually get to where you need to will be outweighing the inefficiency of getting there.  I like the phone so far. It’s quite intuitive overall, though I had a little trouble finding some functions. I would just assume that I am not “smart enough” yet for a smartphone. Nevertheless it’s a major step up in my relationships with mobile phones. Funny, this is the second upgrade (after laptop) since I started my classes at business school this fall that I would not feel prompted to do if not for my MBA program.

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