Thursday, October 12, 2006

Cingular 8125 Pocket PC phone - great product, but...

I'm about a month into ownership of a Cingular 8125 Pocket PC phone, and I'm still trying to decide if it's a keeper or not.

The up side is pretty awesome:

- I get my personal (gmail) and work (Outlook) email pushed to me. Mail hits the phone almost the same instant it hits the Web site or Exchange server.
- Full featured browser (IE) that works well on EDGE and tremendously well on WiFi.
- Full versions (or close enough) of Word and Excel.
- PowerPoint viewer.
- Good size and form factor.
- Truly excellent screen - good size, bright, colors are great.
- Much better phone reception than my old LG clamshell phone.

However, there are a few significant drawbacks as well:

- Battery life is absurd. Yesterday I got about 10 hours out of the battery. This was with about 10 minutes of talk time. Now, I did learn a lesson about battery life - I'm sitting right under the wireless router here at my current client site, so I had WiFi turned on most of the day. It turns out this drain the battery MUCH faster - I guess I should have known that, as WiFi is basically another radio built into the phone. But still: 10 hours?
- Speaking of batteries, once the battery gets more than about half depleted, the USB cable won't charge it. You have to use the OEM power cord, which is, of course, plugged in in my home office. Doesn't do me much good while out and about. I've ordered a car cord, but I've read a few things that lead me to believe it won't work on a depleted battery either.
- The silliest stylus ever. It telescopes from about an inch and a half in length to maybe three inches. If I don't lose or break the thing within three months, I will be SHOCKED.
- Impossible to dial while driving. There's no way to use the keypad on the screen with one hand, and the keyboard is QWERTY, so it's nearly impossible to use as well. Voice tags work great, but there's a real limit to their utility.
- Wired hands-free devices work sporadically at best. Perhaps its a lose connection in the jack on the phone, but I can't get either of my wired earpieces to work reliably. A Bluetooth device would solve this in a heartbeat, but I don't want to spend another $50. Plus, I think they look D-U-M-B.

I suspect I'll learn to work around the drawbacks. The upside is too compelling, and, from the reviews I've read, the 8125 is better than the competition. This is the price you pay for being a relatively early adopter, I guess.

BTW, if you're looking for a site chock full of 8125 info, go check out Jason Golod's blog. Excellent info throughout, and not just on wireless phones.


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