Mister Eclectic (howeird) wrote,
Mister Eclectic

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Caveat Emptor in Reverse - cell phone foo

A month ago I bought a replacement cell phone on eBay. I had dropped and scratched up the screen on the one I'd bought in the store, and was also having trouble maintaining a bluetooth connection. I had not signed up for the no-questions replacement insurance, because it cost about 10% of the price of the phone per month.

The one I bought on eBay arrived with a cracked faceplate (purely cosmetic, but it explains why the seller used a stock photo) and over the past two weeks it was clear that the ribbon cable connecting the flip to the body was defective - about 1 out of 4 times opening the flip there would be nothing on the display. I bought it "as-is" for a very low price, not worth the trouble of trying to get my money back. One good thing is its bluetooth worked very well. Another thing that was wrong is it did not have the full set of standard ring tones, and did not have a setting for Ring & vibrate - just vibrate and then ring. I'm sure this is just a firmware thing, but when I asked the guy at Cingular about it he gave me a big "duh".

So last week I bought another on eBay, advertised as new and unused, for about 2/3 of the price in the Cingular store. It arrived this morning, and it seems there must be a range of models and firmware for the Motorola V551 because this one had even more built-in ring tones that the original, and it did have the vibrate & ring, plus it has a much clearer, sharper, higher resolution camera than either of the other two. It also has video capture, which the first one lacked and the second one did poorly.

Motorola's Mobile Phone Tools over bluetooth allowed me to back up my phonebook, calendar, photos and audio files, and then transfer them in seconds to the new phone. The bad news is there was no function to restore the links in the phonebook to the ringtones, photos or voice dial recordings. My old Nokia let you do this via the Futuredial software, but Motorola doesn't support this. It does include a simple photo editor for making screen images, so I added a few of the usual suspects at work and my cousin in Santa Cruz to the mug shot list. And I used the rudimentary audio editor to make a ring tones from a couple of Thai songs to link to Noi's number and to use for a text message alert. And it seems this new phone has more memory, because I wasn't able to shove any more ring tones at the previous two.

It took about half an hour of button-pushing to associate phone numbers with photos. It will take another 10 minutes to link specific phone numbers with ring tones - bummer, the Nokia let me do this programmatically, and by type (I could label a group as "VIP" or "Family" or "Work" and assign a ring tone to the group).

But I'm happy - this phone was worth the $$ and the effort. Now if only I could find a good bluetooth headset which doesn't make me sound far away or like I'm walking on my hands through a tunnel filled with candy wrappers.

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