Jumping on the Android Boat & Telecom Customer Service 02/01/2011Posted by Nigel in Technology.
Tags: Android, phone, review, Telecom
So, it’s taken a while to convince me but I have finally jumped on the smart phone boat. On Boxing Day I headed down to DSE and purchased a Samsung i5503T (the 850MHz WCDMA (Telecom XT) version not the 900MHz 3G (Vodafone) version) for less than $200 (a pretty decent deal considering they are back up to $300.
Previously I’ve owned a Nokia 6121 (from Vodafone NZ) which I brought for when I moved to Australia (prior to Telecom’s XT network), it wasn’t a matter of choice switching to Vodafone, but a matter of having to, if I wanted to keep my old Telecom CDMA (027) number as Australia shut off their CDMA network a year previous. The first & biggest problem I had was Vodafone NZ’s reception, however I moved to Australia, popped in a Optus SIM and had not a bad time.
In Australia though, I was captivated by the iPhone 3GS (and at several moments was about to buy one), however, the lack of contracted International Warranty didn’t add up for me compared to the price. By the time I moved back to NZ I’d already decided that I would switch to the XT network and once again keep my 027 number (although it was back on CDMA and unusable in Australia due to Vodafone porting my number back to Telecom and never been able to tell me why), however iPhone 4 leaks and then ‘AntennaGate’ (although really I didn’t see it as much of an issue) etc delayed it, and as an interim I purchased a 2Degrees SIM for cheap outgoing calls, while retaining my CDMA phone for superior reception.
So here comes now, after purchasing my new phone, I went to the local Telecom shop (about 2 minutes from the DSE at Westgate) and got an XT SIM, requesting that my old number be switched over etc, and boy was I impressed. It took a little while (mainly due to disconnecting the original connection from a OneBill arrangement - expected) but the service was professional and pretty good for that on a public holiday. The biggest surprise was that I had my EFTpos card out at the start (as I’d originally been told it’d cost $30 for the SIM) ready to pay the guy, and after offering to pay getting told “oh no need to pay, the system has said here that it’s free”. Come on, Telecom refusing money??? (Turns out that there is a free CDMA to XT upgrade offer that I got included in.)
So, by the time I got home, popped in the new SIM and turned on my phone, once again, I’ve seen the pesky provider graphics that are displayed at boot (and consequentially shutdown), although Telecom’s animation is far nicer to watch that Vodafone’s. Personally I’m impressed w/ the reception that I get under XT, seems far superior than Telecom’s CDMA network, and a lot better than reception from Vodafone & 2Degrees which for most of the house is next to zero.
The phone? Well it’s nice compact small phone, but it seems to pack a bit of punch for low-ish spec/price. It has always seemed snappy so far, WiFi connectivity is great (although I do have one WLAN issue which I’ll explain below), Data connectivity appears to be pretty snappy, and reception outdoors is fairly reasonable. Don’t get me wrong however, the screen is fairly small and low resolution, but I like it, I don’t need to take photos via my phone very often, if I think I’m going somewhere that I want to take pictures, I’ll take my digital camera, and paying the extra money for a phone with a better camera just seemed silly.
The screen while low resolution, is large enough and clear enough to still display websites/applications/etc well, and the camera is good enough for the likes of QR Codes (which I had never tried in the past with my Nokia phone). The virtual keyboard took a little getting used to, but I can type fairly well now and it doesn’t bother me anymore.
The biggest plus that convinced me to buy the phone, was that it came with Android 2.1 instead of the typical Android 1.6 which appears to be common place in NZ, that was the decisive factor for me to eat my own words and give an Android phone a go.
With anything, there is cons:
- For some reason when the phone goes into sleep, and I wake it, the Wireless reconnects, but is unusable, requiring cycling the Wireless/Airplane mode setting to fix
- Occasionally the phone will not wake, which for lack of finding a better way, and required taking the back off and removing the battery for a moment
- This build of the 2.1 OS appears to believe that a notification that it has completed charging should be the same as receiving a text message, to say the least I don’t really appreciate my phone waking me up with two really loud bursts of vibration against my bedside table at 4am….
However, it’s still a nice phone and I think it’s a keeper for a while, and I’m much more impressed with Telecom’s Customer Service than that of Vodafone.