Friday, August 07, 2009

New cell phone GET!

I've complained bitterly about the state of the American cellphone industry here. I've held onto my now-ancient Samsung SGH-A707 like grim death for the past 2 1/2 years, despite being eligible for an upgrade for the last 12 months. I just couldn't find a phone that was the right form factor and had the features I wanted.

Well, the fact that my SGH-A707 does not ring in my new office forced my hand. (It works fine otherwise, just doesn't ring!) I got this:

It's a refurbished HTC Fuze, aka Touch Pro. Currently on offer at Amazon for $0.01 for new accounts, or $74.99 for upgrades. AT&T still sells them new for $299 on their own site. (Amazon also has new ones discounted a bit.)

I know, the new Touch Pro 2 should be out soon, but AT&T's holding them back so they can sell more iPhones. Who knows when it'll really be out? Not to mention that the specs are basically identical, except that the Fuze has a built-in camera flash. Oh yeah, and the Touch Pro 2 ships with Windows Mobile 6.5 instead of 6.1, but there are ways to equalize that (evil laugh: muahahaha). Ok, the TP2 has a bigger screen, which would be nice. But not worth the premium they're gonna charge.

So far I love my Fuze. It's my first smartphone - I've taken the leap into the 21st century - and I'm already having loads of fun installing apps, tweaking stuff and using the internet. Love the built-in wi-fi. But what I really bought it for was this:

The full keyboard. This is one trend in American cell phones that I'll give a standing ovation. About freakin' time! When the iPhone first came out, everybody suddenly wanted to go touchscreen-only to copy it. Junk! Not all of us like touchscreens, but for a while it seems like if you wanted a decent phone, you either went touchscreen-only or you went ugly Blackberry with its tiny itty bitty little unpressable keys.

When I first found the Fuze (almost a year ago now), I was smitten by its form factor. It's not the first phone with this design, but it was the smallest I'd seen at the time. And those clean, straight lines - it was beautiful! Nowadays, there are a lot of phones like this. And that's fine, because this is a design worth copying. The keyboard is perfect for big-handed people like me - not too big, not too small. I can fly on it. I'm not doing it now, but I have no doubt that I could have written this entire blog post on it without too much trouble. I have no doubt that I will write future blog posts with my Fuze. This is a pocket computer. Real computers have keyboards.

Also, one huge, huge thing for me that almost no other American phone can do: the Fuze works in Japan.

I'm still not a big fan of the unprotected screen - I'll be buying a cheap screen protector soon. I don't understand why nobody can figure out how to build a simple flap into their phones like Sony did probably 10 years ago with their Clies. And the back is that horrible mirror finish glossy garbage too, that does nothing but accentuate fingerprints. Why do electronics manufacturers think people want this glossy crap?

Minor complaints, though. So far, I'm in love.


  1. Yeah, I love hardware keyboards on phones! Your HTC Fuze looks a lot like my HTC G1, but the Fuze's keyboard looks much nicer.

    I used the screen protector with my phone until a good friend of mine said he doesn't use anything on his iPhone. That convinced me to let my G1 "go naked" and I haven't regretted it once! The screen looks even more beautiful now, and the blacks are much darker, colors more saturated, and touch screen is a lot slicker. It's been naked for 2 months now and not a scratch! (I checked beforehand for accounts of the scratch-resistance of my phone's screen beforehand of course)

  2. Our keyboards probably feel similar, but yours has some space in between the buttons, which I'd probably like better. I kinda wish the Fuze had that, but it's really not difficult to type on as it is. I think they went with this design more for aesthetics than function, though. But it works ok. The new Touch Pro 2 has a keyboard like yours, though; seems to be the new standard.

    My next phone will probably be an Android phone; I'm just waiting for things to mature a little bit and for there to be a better selection of phones.

    I actually ordered a clear case and screen protector today... I might not use the screen protector, but the total for both items was only like $7 including shipping. I'm really curious to see what I actually get for that price. But I always use a clear case for my iPod and I love how they look, and I need *something* to at least keep fingerprints off this thing. It's pretty much instantly covered in gunk whenever I pick it up right now. I think the G1 is made of a more matte finish than the Fuze.

  3. Yep, this kicks the ifono's butt really hard.

  4. Yep, this kicks the ifono's butt really hard.


About This Blog

This is increasingly not a blog about Alphabet City, New York. I used to live in the East Village and work on Avenue B, but I no longer do. Why don't I change the name if I'm writing about Japan and video games and guitars? Because New Yorkers are well-rounded people with varied interests, and mine have gone increasingly off the rails over the years. And I don't feel like changing the name. I do still write about New York City sometimes.


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