Today we became a completely S60 family.
I’ve been an S60 (previously “Series 60”) guy ever since I grabbed myself a 3650 on T-Mobile a few years back. Actually, S60 had me the first time I heard Russ talk about his 7650
After that 3650, I picked up a taco for $60 at GameStop and I’m currently using a 6682, though it’s getting a bit long in the tooth. We had set aside money for me to pick up an N95 a month or two back, but we’ve temporarily funneled that money in to the “we’re buying a house” fund. I think I’ll end up on the winning end of that, though, as now I’m saving for a US-HSDPA N95.
This isn’t a story about me and my somewhat unhealthy obsession with mobile technology. This is a story about how today we became an S60 family.
A few months back my wife’s tried an true Motorola v551 went for a brief swim in her cup of water. After a few days of trying to dry it out, we declared the phone dead and went on a hunt for a replacement. Of course we were some 18 months in to our Cingular contract which meant that even the cheapest of phones were running upwards of $100-200. After a couple of missteps, we found a refurbished Nokia 6030 gophone online. A few days later we popped her SIM in the 6030 and she was on her way.
This is where we get to the point about S60 being a bit of a hard sell for normal people. My wife appreciates a phone that can, not surprisingly, make a call. She also appreciates phones that look and behave like phones. Needless to say neither the circular keypad of my 3650 or the “you do what?” talking configuration of the N-Gage were very appealing to her. She did borrow my 6682 when I was playing with the N95 and seemed to get along with it pretty well. Over the weekend she realized that we were now 20+ months in to our contract and it was time to look closely for a replacement for her really-low-end 6030.
After looking on line for a bit, her decision came down to either a Nokia N75 or a Samsung Sync. The Sync seemed to have darned good specs but the N75 was a S60 flip phone with a solid camera, a combination that’s been too long in the making. Both phones were free after rebate on a new contract at letstalk.com. Armed with that knowledge we hopped in to the car to check out the phones in person at our local AT&T dealer.
We were expecting to take a look at the Sync but were surprised to see the N75 on the shelf too. The N75 beat the pants off the Sync when we looked at them side by side. We scooted home expecting to order a pair online.
This is the part where I get really annoyed at AT&T in particular and wireless carriers in general about how poorly they treat customers that hurl a hundred or more dollars at them every month. The same N75 that was free after rebate on a new contract was $199 on a contract extension through letstalk.com. My wife and I grumbled for a bit while I recalled the number of $300-400 Sprint phones I had purchased over the years. Then we decided to double check the in-store contract extension price on the N75 that she had already fallen in love with.
It turns out that the N75 was $150 after rebates at the AT&T store. That was just cheap enough that I was able to talk her in to it as a birthday present. We made another round trip to the AT&T store, this time coming back with an N75.
I have to say that it’s a sleek little phone. The size is not-too-big-not-too-small, the screen is huge, and there’s a decent sized external screen that acts as an itty bitty S60 UI via the external softkeys. I was pretty blown away after we figured out that you can use the external screen as a viewfinder for the camera. It’s another evolution of the phone being a particular type of device depending on how you use it. When you plug headphones in and use the music player softkeys, it’s a music player. When you open it up, it’s a phone. When you hit the camera button and use the external screen as a viewfinder, it’s a camera. I’m really glad that Nokia have figured this out. Some of the first attempts (such as the 3250) were a good concept implemented poorly. These days Nokia has pegged it.
One thing that I’m constantly reminded of is that S60 and Symbian fall down completely during the configuration and setup process. Finding which sub-sub-menu a particular option is on is a complete nightmare. I can’t remember how many times we said something along the lines of “I know I saw that option somewhere” or “I was just there!” Ease of seatup and configurability is definitely something that Symbian/S60 can improve on.
After getting the basics set up, we spent the afternoon entering contacts and playing with the phone. It seems quite capable with excellent fit and finish.
I’m quite happy to finally be able to buy an S60 flip-phone for my wife, and I hope that she’s not too embarrassed at how excited I am to be an all-S60 family.