Thursday, November 12, 2009

I have gone retro (in the phone sense)

This is not something one should admit in the multi-functional handheld phone device age, but I have gone retro.

It's a long story. I've always been a Nokia girl, and I've been on Orange like forever, and my contract was up for renewal early last year, and I did a great job renegotiating the tarrif (more minutes than you can ever eat, plus data), but I didn't really know what to do about the phone. And the tarrif really is to die for. It reflects a unique combination of never leaving Orange with arguing the toss with the customer retention people over a decade or so, and when I originally called up to pre-order the iPhone, the customer service officer told me I'd be crazy to give it up.

Old days, phone-wise, I'd do a few days of research, visit some handsets in-store, check them out. But I was pregnant and largely immobile and running a business and worrying about labour and somehow it felt unimportant.


Andrew in the customer retention (aka don't leave, we'll give you whatever you want) department sold me an HTC Touch Diamond. "It's the phone for people who want an iPhone, on Orange. It's a windows phone, it's fab."

Fab, it ain't. I've lived with it for 18 months or whatever because (a) it was too expensive to get out of and (b) my brain was too full to add another research project. But it sucks.

Camera - takes photos like your prescription is -10/-8 and it's snowing. Heavily. Texting you have to do with a stupid pointy thing, which I've almost-lost a million times, and you can't forward a text message and you have to do so many clicks to do anything that you think your life is running out. The home screen gets stuck and forces you in a menu you don't like. So you reboot. And it takes about 10 minutes to restart, like desktop PCs in 1991. And when you text, if you go onto the punctuation screen, after one character, it takes you back to letters. And sometimes it just hangs, for no reason. And it phones random people in your address book even when it's technically sleeping.

And that's just for starters.

My contract's up in a coupla months, and I got all excited about the iPhone on Orange, but then realised that I'd have to give up my great tarrif, and so now I'm in a bit of a quandary.

But my HTC Touch Diamond has almost given up the ghost, and I'm so frustrated with it that I basically don't call or text unless I have to.

And then I had a brainwave. I've switched my SIM card to our backup PAYG phone: a Nokia 1650.

I love it. It's like 1996. It just phones people. And it works. It's intuitive. It doesn't overpromise and it doesn't underdeliver. It makes phone calls, does text, tells me the time and that's about it. I can't synchronise my address book of everyone I've ever met, but hey, I only really call about 25 people, and I've added them to the phone as I've made the calls. And it has cute little pixellated images I can put next to each address book entry.

So I am loving my retro phone. Costs basically nothing. Works like a dream. We understand each other.

And the iPhone? I'm waiting till something else persuades me it's worth giving up my tarrif.

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