My ambition was to have the oldest working cellphone in the world and I was heading in the right direction, having bought my hardy little Nokia 3310 in Dublin in 2001.
It had an alarm clock with snooze, its most-used feature, and the phone side of it worked reliably and well, despite coming into contact with the floor a number of times. It was with deep regret, therefore, that I discovered one day that it was showing no signs of life and all that it would display on the screen was the battery indicator.
I had been on pay-as-you-go and I was very happy with that but I’d heard that you could now get contracts which would give you airtime every month and allow you to top that up when necessary, by buying airtime vouchers. I thought the idea sounded quite cool because it came to just about what I had been spending every month, and included a free phone.
Ha! I should have known better because, when I arrived at my local branch of Autopage Cellular, I found that my requirements were incompatible with free. All I wanted was a Nokia, in one piece with no sliding or folding bits, and, as the advert would have it, blue teeth.
It emerged that the Nokia 6234 was the most junior member of the range that would meet these requirements and would cost me nearly R1000. I thought that was a bit high, and said so, but it was what I was I was going to have to pay for what I wanted.
The thought that the phone could also connect to the Internet was a slight consolation and so I agreed to the deal. The paperwork was quick and hassle-free but an unpleasant surprise emerged when I told the assistant that I already had insurance, and she said to make sure that the insured amount was R4600.
Over two years the deal will cost me about R4120; and they give me a phone worth R4600?? Not likely. Anyway, you can get a damn good desktop PC for that price and, clearly, the phone is not worth even a fraction of that.
My preliminary impression of the 6234 is that it is OK, but I haven’t been blown away. The speaker sounds quite tinny to my ear and, presumably due to the comparatively large colour screen, the battery life is not great. This is in spite of the fact that the screen switches off really quickly; too quickly, sometimes, when you are peering at it trying to figure out something.
Having had my previous model for so long, I’m battling to get used to the new controls which are often in different places, and the menus are quite complicated. Someone once said that he had been waiting for his computer to become as simple to use as his phone but that the reverse had happened; I know how he felt.
Vodacom did not see fit to turn on my Internet until the morning I wrote this; nearly 11 days after I took possession of the phone. I’ll check out the world of mobile Internetting and report back another time.
Added a week after the print version of the article was written:
The 6234 continues to underwhelm. The battery life is really shocking and the speaker is poor and tends to distort when you turn it up high enough to hear. For some reason, Nokia has changed the plug on the battery charger and it’s now a needle-thin bit of folded tin which is going break really easily. I’ll also have to buy a new car charger because my existing one doesn’t fit. Guess how irritated that makes me?
My old Nokia was good quality and lasted well. It lasted a bit too long for Nokia’s taste, perhaps, but I did go straight out and buy a another one of their phones when it failed. Next time, I’m not going to do that. I was talking to a colleague, who also has a new Nokia, and she has exactly the same negative things to say about her phone.
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