Wednesday, May 27, 2009

TVNZ reviews mobile phones

By Benedict Wee

TV One’s morning current affairs shows-Breakfast and Good Morning- dedicated their tech segments to mobiles today. Breakfast previewed 4 phones; the Nokia E71, the Samsung F480, the Telecom R6 and the Sony Ericsson C510a from Telecom’s XT network while Good Morning did the Nokia Xpress Music 5800, the BlackBerry Storm and the 3G iphone. 

First up, we’ll talk about the Breakfast review, done by Ben Gracewood; Breakfast Gadget Guru and tech blogger. The first phone he talked about was the Telecom R6 -an entry level phone at $149- for those who just want a phone to call and text. It also speaks and has predictive text input in Maori which is a nice feature. Can’t say much about the phone except it falls under my ‘quick replacement phone’ category.

The next phone is the ancient and expensive F480 ($599). It was released in May 2008 and was the official phone of the China Olympics. Ben mentioned the widget interface (which is present in all current Samsung smart phones except the i7500 which runs Android) as an iphone knockoff but I’m more inclined to believe it copies the Android OS. Whatever the case, this phone is old and its interface is archaic so my recommendation is the same as Ben’s, do not buy.

Next up is the Sony Ericsson C510a, priced at $399. Ben mentioned it has facebook integration which is pretty neat but other than that it’s your run of the mill Sony candybar phone with adequate features that will suit non-smartphone users. I do not recommend this either as it is about 2 years late into the mobile party and the world is pretty much moving on to phones with better designs and features.

Finally it’s the $900 Nokia E71. Ben calls the phone “manly” in comparison to the Sony one though I do not agree. It’s black and has a qwerty keyboard, giving it the “blackberry” look which executives –of both sexes- are fond of using. Ben didn’t say much about this phone (cause there’s nothing much to say) but it would have been nice to inform the viewers that it had wifi capabilities. I personally would have reviewed the Blackberry Bold 9000 instead of this one cause it’s newer and has a better OS.

Ben also mentioned on his Twitter account that he wanted to talk about the HTC Magic but there wasn’t any time. On the bright side, Vodafone will be coming into the studio at 7.40am tomorrow on channel one with a big surprise so it’ll be cool to see what they have in store for us.

The mobiles reviewed on Good Morning were done by Adam Brown, the first being the Nokia Xpress Music 5800.  He got the price wrong (it’s more closer to $900 than $800 without a plan) but the description he gave was pretty accurate; wifi, maps and the standard Nokia interface (it’s called Symbian btw) though Adam should’ve also mention that it’s compatible with the Ovi store which went live yesterday. I agree that the phone is worth the purchase but only if you do not want to fork out the extra $230 for a 3G iphone and are a Nokia fan. Look out for offers by Vodafone this Queen’s birthday weekend to see if they’ll offer a discount. (Fun fact: This is the phone James T Kirk was using when he drove his step dad’s car over the cliff in the movie Star Trek and you can download themes from the film made specially for the 5800 online)

The next phone featured was the 3G iphone. Nothing much to say that hasn’t already been said. Adam was accurate on his information, though why he’d choose to review the iphone when a new one is being announced very soon is beyond me. If you’re thinking about getting it wait till the WWDC on June 8th for news on the 3rd gen iphone before making a purchase. Am sure the newer model will come with better features.

The last phone introduced was the BlackBerry Storm. At $1199 it is really not worth it. Adam highlighted the biggest flaw -no wifi- which makes BlackBerry’s first foray into the touch screen market a major disappointment. Reviews of the phone (which includes US politicians) have been pretty negative and its successor has already been hinted at. So this phone gets a no-go from me too.  

Incidentally, all the phones reviewed by Adam are only available from Vodafone. Perhaps they’re trying to get rid of the old stock before the big announcement tomorrow. In the meantime, I want to repeat my caution to those thinking about jumping to any network; just wait for all three to launch before making a decision because prices are going to be competitive and we’ll be the ones benefiting from it.

You can watch the Breakfast review here

and the Good Morning review here.

Check out Ben's blog and Twitter account too.


  1. I currently have the Telecom R6 phone and have had a lot of troubles. These include:
    Duplicating contacts
    Illogical predictive texting
    Limited settings with profiles and alarms
    Extremely slow upload times for mp3's

    Not a winner, I don't recommend.

  2. Yeah.. my personal advice is not buy phones with the telco's brand on it. Best bet is to stick with actual brand phones (i.e. Nokia, LG, Sony Ericsson)

  3. R6 is a DOG! HAve had it since June, and I have had all the problems that are mentioned above, plus the VERY annoying feture that it will unpredictably and without warning loose connection but still state it has several bars of signal strength. I could have missed a days worth of calls or texts, and the only way to fix it is turn the phone off, remove battery and sim card, wait a minute and replace everything and turn it on - then wait at least 5 minutes before the sim card numbers are available to use!!!! NEVER BUY THIS PHONE!!!