Sunday, 7 December 2014

A farewell to old, good Nokia :(

1 December 2014 will go down in the history (of this blog) as the day when my Nokia 3110 Classic gave up the ghost. I bought the handset on 25 March 2008 and for six years and eights months it had served me almost beyond reproach. Much more reliable and much more durable than mobile phones produced these days, the Nokia would keep me company and had not been spared endurance tests. Over those years the Nokia survived being dropped several times (and went unharmed), withstood lying exposed to strong sunlight in temperatures exceeding +40C and unlike other phones remained totally indifferent when used in below –20C frost.

In the last two months the phone began to give first warning signs of the forthcoming end of its service. It crashed after being switched on and I had to wait some ten minutes before the phone returned to life, from time to time it also tended to lose network coverage and I had to shake it to help aerial catch the signal again. Despite those flaws I admit to have been too attached to the phone to think of replacing it with a less obsolete one. I am not fond of gadgets and the Nokia offered me everything I expect from a phone…

Then the fateful day came. On Monday evening I hooked in the phone to charge it up and after two hours I noticed it did not draw electricity from the charger. I grabbed the phone, but it did not react when I pressed any button. I called my number from the company phone, but it turned out my number was unavailable. I took off and put in the battery and turned it on again, waited until ten minutes when the phone is not responsive elapsed. The phone reacted only to numerical keys and had its menu accessible via navigation keys. I took the opportunity to recover all the notes I kept in it. Pressing menu and dialling keys resulted in the phone crashing for good. I tried to work out whether it was not the SIM card and sought many causes of the breakdown, but eventually gave up. Life of the phone naturally came to an end. Unexpectedly and swiftly, the Nokia let me down once, but properly.

Corpo smartphone unfortunately does not offer dual-SIM functionality, so I had to resort to the only unused handset I have in my drawer, namely Sony CMD-J70, “vintage” 2001. In 2007 I urged my friend not to throw out the phone his just then departed mother had used for six years and for seven years it has served as substitute phone when my parents’ phones (both low-end Nokias) were under warranty repairs or to me as a second phone, before I moved my number to Play. Sony had been idle for many months, so the battery perked up after some ten minutes since being plugged in to the charger. I have used the phone for six days and although the handset offers excellent quality of calls, writing messages on it (it traces back to times when T9 dictionaries were unknown) is a veritable nuisance and the phone does not read messages sent from newer traditional phones (oddly enough those sent from smartphones come through).

My first choice on what to buy was Sony Xperia E Black. At first glance it was not the newest model (it premiered in March 2013), but reasonably priced, seemingly durable and with lots of functionalities. The other day in the office it turned out my team-mate has that model and he complains about it. He handed me the handset and allowed to play with it for a while. When I took it into hand and saw how crappy devices it indeed was and then ran a thorough search on its quality on forums, I cancelled my order placed in the Internet shop I use to buy consumer electronics. I always choose cash payment when I pick up ordered stuff in collection point, so the resignation did not involve claiming back money, yet it has left me without a decent, normal phone (it lacks keypad locking feature which means it can initiate a call while kept in a pocket!) before a three-day business trip.

Actually reading Internet forums on handsets (one should make allowances for their contents, since many of the grumbles are written by people with exorbitant expectations) prompted me to revise my needs and expectations towards the new phone. I use the corpo smartphone, but actually am not fond of it, nor impressed by it. The corpo-phone has some limitations in scope of usage (restrictions on multimedia messages, downloading applications, private e-mails and social media), but apart from it I can have 1GB monthly data transfer to use up when I need to check something or to read some news or article and has built-in, though slow, GPS. I will gladly make do without a touchscreen and prefer a traditional QWERTY keyboard. I will appreciate reliable and durable, decently assembled phone with solid battery. It does not have to be fancy, I do not need it to swank about, it has to serve me well and meet my modest needs.

Finally I have made up my mind for Nokia Asha 302. The model was released in February 2012 and for this reason is not readily available in every bigger shop with consumer electronics, but garners excellent opinions from its users. Nokia Asha 302 was also the main company phone back at the Employer (I did not have one on account of not being eligible for company phone) and my colleagues, counting out those who expected too much, were satisfied with it. The only problem with it is that it takes some trouble to purchase it. I learnt it was available in Nokia shop in Żoliborz, but yesterday I could not afford to spend two hours to drive there to pick it up in person. Tomorrow I will check out whether any of the other two Nokia shops, in Śródmieście and in Ursynów, has any Asha 302 in stock. I sincerely hope they have some and price does not diverge from 248 PLN (superb price-quality trade-off) I was quoted by the Żoliborz outpost.

The thoughts on the phone could be put into broader perspective of critical assessment of unbridled consumerism and how most people relish on fancy stuff. Hard to deny, pursuit of only newer and more swanky goods also underlies economic growth and gives jobs to people, but when staring into the screen of the posh smartphone, it is important not to lose sight of other people…

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