Monday, 31 December 2007

Internet Access on my Mobile

When i started my present job, i sort of expected to be given a mobile phone. I bought a cheap pay as you go phone, thinking it only had to last the 4 weeks between jobs. It turned out the new place use radios rather than mobiles, that was nearly 4 years ago. This Christmas, I decided it was time to splash out and get myself a new phone. Obviously as an IT professional it had to have all the extras, blue tooth, wifi, 3 mega pixel camera with flash, push email, and fast internet access, video messaging, voice control, sat nav...basically it needed all the bells and whistles. Only thing was it also had to have good coverage, (i fell run most weekends in some pretty unaccessible areas and need the phone to work), oh and it had to be cheap.

So i set out to buy something with all the features of a top of the line Blackberry for under £100 on a pay as you go contract, with options for all day internet and call tariff's as bargain basement rates.

I spent a day battling the x-mas shoppers, and got came home armed with a sack full of product guides, tariff plans and catalogs. Many of the offers looked too good to be true, 'anysite, anytime packages' internet for £7.50 a month - only you also have to have a minimum contract of 12-18 months at £22 a month and there is a limit to the amount of content you get classified as 'fair usage'.

In the end it came down to a choice between orange and 3, with no contract daily rates at £1 and 50p. But i couldn't find any g3 phones on 3. So i in the end i could only actually find 1 phone that met the requirements. Thephone i ended up with was the Sony Ericsson k800i, at £80 (plus an initial purchase of £10's worth of calls).

So far i am loving it...The navigation is very intuitive, with tabbed browsing and joystick control. It's even pretty easy to get your head around the multiple inboxes for straight forward text, multiple pop 3 email accounts, and orange email, I love the Adress Book, its simple yet effective. Storing a contacts home, mobile office, msn and email addresses in one place so i simply find the person then decide how i want to communicate. The internet is a fair bit faster than the dial up account on my laptop.

It wasn't all plain sailing though, it doesn't integrate that well with outlook (although i think you can buy a third arty product that will sync them) it also doesn't work with my online banking system (although they do have telephone banking as well so i don't really need internet access) and the browser doesn't like frames much, so it look a while to work out the right url to be able to access my office email and contacts via microsoft web access.

Some of the things that did make life that little bit easier were some of the web 2.0 sites that i used already, like social bookmarking sites, i now have all of my favorites from the office and home on my phone. While the phone didn't have a sat nav feature built in, google maps mobile worked fantastically getting my location from the phone and showing me where i was and where i wanted to go.

There are a few features that i don't think i'll ever use, the mp3 player is never going to replace my ipod and the games are never going to rival a psp.

But on the whole i think i managed to get everything i wanted pretty much on budget with a car charger at £18 and a blue tooth headset at £8 i came in at a total of £106, £6 over budget, but i got all of the features that i wanted and a few i didn't. With a 15 per minute any network call tariff and a £1 per day £5 per week internet charge for only the days that i use it...not bad for a days shopping.

I'd recommend it as an alternative to an iphone or a blackberry (for those that want performance on a budget).