I mentioned in my last post that I lost my Motorola Razor cell phone. I'm not including a picture of the Razor because I just don't think my blog is popular enough to catch that particular group of individuals that don't know what one looks like.
I had to replace it, but me being me, I can't just settle for "another cell phone" (I'm weak I know) I'm a bit of a Skype addict and I wanted something that I could use it on. Incedentally I lost my phone the day the iphone was released (Coincidence or subliminal sabatoge hmmm?) but getting the iphone was out of the question. Rogers is the only carrier here in Canada that will have it, and Rogers' network while exceptional in the cities, is sorely lacking up here in the north. I spend most of my time out in the countryside where the network coverage is minimal at best, and Rogers
coverage is completely nonexistant.
So I went shopping around. 85% of my internet usage is done via a cell modem or an "air-card" as most of us locals call them. It's a seperate contract and it's rediculously expensive for what you're getting. I pay $100.00 a month for a connection that's marginally faster than dialup and only includes 250mb of bandwidth per month, after that I pay $3.00 per meg. This is only for the data transfer, and includes no phone minutes, but the cost is not affected by roaming.
Before I lost my phone I used two pieces of hardware to cover my remote communication needs. The Razor and a Kyocera Passport, with the loss of the razor I decided I'd look into something that could cover my phone and internet needs at once. My requirements were that I could use Skype on it, I could connect it to my laptop for internet, and that it would have a direct connection for my Wilson Booster.
My previous carrier Bell Mobility didn't have any PDA's with a booster connection, you could boost them wirelessly, but I'm $500.00 into a non wireless booster allready, and replacing it with a wireless model would likely be another
$400.00. so I'm not doing that. But I found a Telus unit that did, the new HTC P4000 also known as the Titan, and some other names under different carriers, it used Widows mobile, which Skype had versions for, could connect to an EVDO network which is the same as my Air-Cards, and had a port in the back for boosting. In short, exactly what I wanted. The price… $200.00 on a 3 year contract, otherwise I'd be looking at about $650.00.
I'm not usually keen on contracts, if I miss a few payments or lose the phone then I'm stuck paying out $20.00 per month left on the contract, but upon doing the math, if I even hold on to this unit for a year and a half, and then have to pay it out, it works out cheaper than paying the full price initially. It wouldn't if I was getting a cheaper phone, but with a high-price unit such as this one it was worth it.
After deciding to purchase the phone (it was the last one in town), I found I was pleased with what it came with. The carrying case had a magnetic latch and which held it fairly securely, I'm a bit leery about the fact that it only slides onto my belt after what happened to the last phone, but I'll deal with that later. It comes with the software to install the uplink to Windows XP (not Vista though) with connection cables, and an extra stylus. The software I found reasonably difficult to install, (Am I the only one who finds Window's hardware installation wizard dangerously tricky?) And getting the phone to work as a modem took more trial and error to figure out than I'd like. (It still has some foibles I've yet to understand fully.)
The camera and voice recording options of the phone are quite intuitive, the camera it's self lacks a zoom, and while the placement of the button makes holding the phone to take a picture actually feel like you're holding a camera, the lense is in the upper left-hand side which makes it so one has to be careful how you hold it or you'll get your finger in the shot.
The slide-out keyboard is quite easy and quick to use even with large thumbs like mine, and I could hammer out SMS and Skype messages quite quickly using it. Dialing the phone using the touchscreen was similarly easy, but did take some getting used to.
One aspect of the P4000 that I'm still trying to understand is the boosting. The adaptor cord I got for it was questionable as to whether or not it was the right one, it fits in the hole but I see no signal bars go up, though evedence suggests that the booster works with it, I'm still slightly worried, this is going to be my lifeline to the outside world when I'm at work, I want to make sure I can rely on it.
Overall though, I love the phone. It's sleek, ergonomical, and feeds my desire to have something cooler than everyone else. (The reason I got the razor… though the originality of that venture lasted about 10 days, then everyone had one.)