Ericsson SH888 Originally introduced in 1998, I was given it in about 2000 by someone I used to work for who worked for Ericsson. It was one of the earliest dual-band phones and also one of the first with built in infrared. I think I managed to get it to talk to my Psion 5 once. Very solid and dependable.
Ericsson T39m In 2001 I took out a contract with Vodafone and chose this phone to go with it. It features tri-band, Bluetooth, predictive text, GPRS and a WAP browser, nice clear screen and very good battery life. It’s also very light and thin. It’s seen a lot of use: I used it for just over two years I think, then I lent it to my housemate who used it for a year or so. It still works fine, though it is a little worn. One of the best phones Ericsson made.
Sony Ericsson T610 Oh dear. I don’t know what came over me with this one. I thought it was time I had a new phone on renewing my contract and the T610 caught my eye with its retro styling. This was in 2003 or so. Ericsson and Sony had joined forces to make phones and my good experience with the T39 lead me to believe this one would be OK. How wrong I was. Sony brought nice styling to the partnership, unfortunately rather than combining it with Ericsson’s robust content they apparently discarded it altogether. It features a colour screen which is unreadable outdoors and a camera which not only takes pointlessly small 288x352 pictures, but the sensor lends a green tint usually and the optics distort to the edge of recognition. The software is very sluggish, especially when opening the text message inbox. The keys and joystick are not great, though they’re even worse when mango chutney is applied I found. Yet another negative is the level of bastardisation by Vodafone, most annoyingly that the right-hand soft key always goes to "Vodafone Live" which I hardly ever used and was not allowed to change.
Nokia 6630 Just as soon as that contract was up I got this phone. I realised my mistake and so was much more careful choosing this one. Put off Sony Ericsson I decided to switch to Nokia and to splash out some extra cash to get a fairly high end smart phone. Definitely content over looks this time, it is a bit bulbous, funny looking and bulky. After the T610 the content is a very large breath of lovely fresh air. The very first thing I did was reassign all the shortcuts on the standby screen, because I could. Features a nice bright screen which is very legible in all lighting conditions, especially with the sensor which varies the backlight brightness depending on the ambient light level. It has a 1.3MP camera with reasonable optics though like nearly all phone cameras it doesn’t cope well with bright lights in the shot. Has 3G and the keys are good and responsive. The main feature though is Series 60 which is a version of the Symbian OS. There’s a fair bit of software available for it, including a version of PuTTY which is very handy. It takes a reduced size dual-voltage MMC memory card, it took me a while to find a compatible one, but I eventually got a 256MB card off ebay. It didn’t take too long to fill it with music, pictures and text messages. One gripe with the software implementation is the lack of integration between the Symbian apps and the phone functions, for instance the clock and calendar applications have no connection so there is a lack of sophistication in how alarms can be set, one can’t have different alarms repeated on different weekdays. I’d like to be able to set alarms which switch profiles for meetings, lectures etc. One can include a person’s birthday in their entry in the contacts database, but it doesn’t show up on the calendar.
Taken on my brand new Nokia E70. The camera is slightly better than my old 6630, though it seems a bit noisy in low light. I was considering the N93 with 3.2MP camera and optical zoom, but then I saw the E70 with proper keyboard and WLAN and thought nethack over ssh. I wasn’t overly impressed with the results from the N93’s camera anyway.
This picture has been cropped and the background blurred to take the edge off the noise.