Friday, April 25, 2008

Travel tools: Nokia e61i vs Apple iPhone

I've been an avid Apple user since the 1980s when I had an Apple][ with 48k of ram. At 12 years old, I wasn't very good at programming in BASIC, but I had cracks of all the games and kicked ass at Castle Wolfenstein and Lode Runner. I've got Apple street cred in spades.

So all y'all die hard Apple fans may be wondering why I am posting to my blog from a Nokia E61i and not an iPhone.

Last summer, when we were planning, I knew I needed an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink mobile for traveling- a digital swiss army knife if you will. It had to be unlocked, gsm, have a decent camera with video because I didn't want to carry a bunch of gadgets, a qwerty keyboard so I could email, a large enough screen because I am legally blind, and Wifi for internetting. GPS would have been an added bonus.

The Nokia has everything but the GPS, which can always be added later via bluetooth. It's not the end-all-be-all, but it comes close. The camera is just OK- 2Mpx and no Carl Zeiss lens like pricier models, but for quick pics and vids it suffices. There are a bunch of apps by third party developers for the phone's Symbian s60 operating system including Fring which lets one use skype via a packet data connection or wifi. There is even a web server out for s60, but I haven't tried it.

The only real downsides are the lack of a world-wide warranty which the iPhone has and a few minor software bugs. The warranty issue is HUGE, but it must be said that I've dropped this thing a million times and it still works. Despite what the geniuses at Nokia in HK tried to tell me, the only problems I've had have been with the software, although perhaps stemming from it's relatively low internal memory of 64MB. If you save too many wifi access points, you'll run out of ram and won't be able to edit them and will have to reset your phone with a special code to do so. That was a major headache to figure out, but since then I discovered I don't need to save every hotspot I use- just the ones with passwords I'd like the phone to remember.

The other issues are annoying but liveable - there is no control-z undo, and you can't copy and paste text in the browser unless it is in a text entry field. But Seeing as how the iPhone doesn't let you copy and paste at all, the Nokia wins in this regard as well.

As for the iPhone, it is sold locked and at the time I was researching phones, no one had yet cracked it. Right there was the deal breaker. Because even if I had the option of Jail-breaking at the time, why risk having Apple brick my phone?

So while I love Apple products, for my purposes the iPhone just doesn't cut it. Perhaps once Apple makes enough money off of it to cover their r&d costs, they'll be able to offer an unlocked version. Until then, despite my chagrin regarding the warranty, I'll stick with the Nokia.


cousin isaac said...

I recently created a small website primarily for Nokia users that allows you to get the source code of a website and open new windows called
which might be useful for other handsets as well.

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