Number One, Engage.

December 30th, 2003

It wasn’t my intention to have to buy a new cell phone after only six months, but it turned out that way. My Sony-Ericsson T68i stopped being able to connect to the network. It would show 4 bars of signal and “No Service”. A firmware update didn’t fix things. Given enough time, the phone would right itself but when having these “spells”, which could last hours, it was a small brick with pretty lights. I lost an important call yesterday and had to do something to try and get a new phone.

Features are what I’m all about. I need bluetooth and decent organizer software in the phone. I have no desire to carry a PDA and am willing to compromise a little on size of phone to get the features. I also require that the phone be capable of being a bluetooth modem. Cameras and other whizzy features aren’t so important. A speakerphone would be handy, though.

I contacted T-Mobile and they offered me a meager $50 discount on a new phone. That made the SonyEricsson T610 (basically the phone I already had with a camera grafted on) $230. I noticed, though that Nokia’s super overfeatured N-Gage phone cum gaming platform was $199 at Gamestop. I had to look.

The device itself isn’t oversized particularly. It’s slightly larger but lighter than the Nokia 3390 that I used to carry with T-Mobile and much easier to carry than the large, heavy Sanyo 4900 that Sprint offers. The shape is unconventional and you talk into the side which has resulted in some criticism of the design, but it seemed livable. I checked features and it’s got them all and more. For $199 including 3 game cartridges that I really don’t care about, I took the plunge and bought the N-Gage. I’ll talk more about configuration and use later, but for now here’s the feature list.

Useful N-Gage Features:
bluetooth (and support in MacOS X iSync)
full featured phonebook
full featured calendar
GPRS support (for modeming)
headset jack
voice commands for dialing while driving

N-Gage Featuritis:
support for java (apps and games)
support for midi ringers
support for mp3 ringers
big color display
quick web browsing via WAP
a slot for RAM expansion
an MP3 player
a gaming platform
an FM radio (WTF?)
Note: There’s probably more that I haven’t noticed yet

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