Thursday, April 19, 2007

Gadget of the week #11

I've finally upgraded my "old" Motorola Razr (which I had been pretty happy with) and found the first Windows Mobile based phone that I actually like. I've tried several other WM phones including the Motorola MPx200 and MPx220, as well as an iPAQ H6315, but my new phone puts them to shame.

So, what did I buy? The Samsung Blackjack.

It took me a while to decide on which phone... I've looked at a number of them over the past few months and decided on the Blackjack for several reasons including:

  • It's on my provider (Cingular) so I don't have to pay the premium for an unlocked phone without subsidy.
  • Its small and light, but still has a full qwerty keyboard (though my big fat thumbs are still getting used to it).
  • It has data push available for email so I can set it up to get email from work (haven't done so yet, but one of my compatriots at Intel has gotten this done).
  • It felt nice in my hands.
  • I got it for a good price!

I've been very happy with it since I bought it. It's worked pretty much anywhere I've tried even internationally (though there's an update for it that I've yet to load that is supposed to fix problems with some international access).

Of course, once I bought it I had to go and get the typical set of accessories. I started with a belt clip leather case. I bought the one from Cingular since I wanted one right away (though since it had a plastic clip, I knew it wouldn't last long) -- then when I got home ordered a good one. My case of choice for any device is the case made by Nutshell. They claim their cases are "tough as nuts" and they are. I've had several for different devices and they have never broken in any way -- meanwhile the Motorola case from Cingular broke within 4 days (the clip broke off). See the pics below for the case.

Of course, I had to get my Gadget-of-the-Week-#5 Gomadic power/sync tip:

Which works like a charm, of course.

My other modifications include:

  • A replacement home screen. I didn't like the options that I had built in, nor was I able to find any that I liked that I could download, so I bought a copy of Home Screen Designer 2.0 and made my own. You can see it pictured above (although pictures of the phone screen just don't seem to come out very well). If you like it and want to use it yourself, you can download it from here. I will not support it, I will not provide you with any form of help installing it, and I will not provide any form of renumeration if, when you install it, it causes your phone to go up in flames (in other words, you're on your own).
  • I installed a good Irish ringtone -- a midi rendition of "The Sally Gardens" (an Irish Reel).
  • I figured out (with the help of the web, but I can't find the link anymore) how to configure it to work as a data modem for my PC (and so far Cingular does not charge me for the data minutes). The one sad thing there is that I was unable to get it to work via bluetooth. I was only able to get it to work via the USB cable and I guess I can live with that. I've used it a few times with decent success.
  • I figured out (again with the help of the web) how to substantially lengthen the battery life at the cost of slower connectivity. I'm not sure if I'll keep it that way once I get email push enabled (if I do), but for now, my battery can last several days without a problem -- before this fix, even the extended battery was wearing down by the end of a day.

I'm very happy with the phone -- been using it for a month or so at this point and it's held up great. I'll probably try to install the upgrade at some point soon as I have a trip to Brussels scheduled for next week.

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2 comments:

Ruth said...

How can you tell that the phone is already unlocked? I thought that it delivered locked, and you basically had to hack into the registry and unlock it yourself.

Conor P. Cahill said...

The only way to tell if a phone is unlocked (that I am aware of) is to try a SIM from a different provider in it. If the other SIM works, then the phone is unlocked.

My comment above that mentioned an unlocked phone was directed at the fact that if I wanted to buy a phone that was currently available only on another providers network (such as the Motorola Q, which is only on T-Mobile here in the US at the moment), I would have had to buy an unlocked, unsubsidy-ized version of it (as in much, much more expensive).