Apple Archive

Motorola, LG, Macs, and the iPhone

- 2007.10.26

Within the past year, I've managed to upgrade both of my mobile phones to new models. Longtime readers will recall that I had both a Nokia 6230b and an Ericsson T610. Both of these phones were quite competent when originally purchased, and the Nokia remains still a very good model, despite being three years old. Both had Bluetooth, color screens, and cameras (though not very good ones), and the Nokia had an MMC card slot as well as the capability to have MP3s as ringtones.

The Ericsson, however, did not have that capability and was "on it's way out". It wouldn't always charge, because the charger contacts on the phone were corroded, and each time I'd clean them, they'd get re-corroded within a month. The '8' key worked sporadically, and the phone started dropping calls.

The Nokia worked, but the battery life was down, and thanks to a fall onto concrete, there was a crack in the case.

Motorola KRZR

I decided to try something different for the replacement of the Nokia. My contract was with Cingular (now AT&T), but I'd been hearing more and more about unlocked phones and felt that in case I should ever want to switch to T-Mobile or use the phone overseas, an unlocked phone might be a good idea. About $200 later I had a blue Motorola KRZR off of eBay. For $30 I purchased a 2 GB microSD card, as I felt I may be using the 2 MP camera.

The phone is great. It interfaces easily with my MacBook Pro via Bluetooth, and I can copy ringtones and pictures to and from my phone with Apple's Bluetooth utility. Battery life is great, and the construction is solid. It's Achilles' heel is the interface, which looks like something out of 1996. There are no options to change colors, and menus are clunky and hard to understand.

LG Chocolate TG800

For my Canadian phone, I ended up going with a white LG Chocolate TG800. This is the European version, not the same unit Verizon gets. The design is vastly superior, with both a cleaner appearance as well as a much easier to use touchpad (there's no fake "wheel" on this model). The interface is elegant, much more modern, but integration between the phone, MP3 player, and camera aspects of the device are mediocre at best. For instance, in order to set a photo you took as a desktop picture on the phone, you must go into the photo album in the camera section, not the "change wallpaper" option in settings. In addition, the memory is a non-expandable 1 GB, and switching it on silent or vibrate mode requires going through a myriad of menus. You can do it with three clicks of a button on the KRZR - with the flip cover closed.

The best part comes when using Bluetooth. Yes, you can copy photos you took with the phone to your computer, as well as MP3s to play as music on your phone, but in order to add MP3 ringtones, you must physically connect the computer to the phone with the (thankfully provided) USB cable. I haven't figured out the logic to this, but I'm just glad it's Mac compatible.

Why Apple Created the iPhone

I'm beginning to see why Apple felt it could produce a better phone. While both of these phones have some very redeeming qualities (design, camera, size, clear sound), they also have some glaring issues which I can't believe the designers didn't notice. Only being able to copy ringtones over via USB when other phones can do it with Bluetooth? I'm sorry, but that's just not acceptable. That being said, the iPhone also must be connected via USB - but at least it's more consistent in respect to it's other computer-to-phone functions.

I didn't purchase an iPhone for a few reasons. I had a first generation iPod, and it was very reliable. But the second generation models had better wheels (touch sensitive) and the option of a larger hard drive.

Essentially, I'm waiting for at least a second generation of the iPhone. The current iPhone has no 3G capabilities. Sorry, but I'm not spending $400+ on a phone without that. Secondly, Apple has announced it will begin supporting certain applications, and even though there are hacks, I'd like to wait and see.

Finally, the iPod touch is available, and it provides almost all of the functions of the iPhone without the phone (or the calendar entry editing). It's also been hacked, and I'd rather take a chance with an MP3 player than with a primary means of communication.

The way I see it, the best of both worlds would be a small-sized phone as well as an iPod touch, if you must buy now. If you can wait - hold off for the revamped iPhone.

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