Mobile Phone Nirvana

April 18, 2008

Motorola F3

Over the past years, I have experimented with different mobile platforms, but that perfect handheld has been always elusive. My first HTC with the Windows Mobile was OK, but alas it was a chore to carry around that heavyweight sucker. Blackberry was better, but the sync options to my Mac were rather unwieldy. I tried the Symbian OS in a friend’s handheld, but somehow I never quite got the hang of it. I wouldn’t mind trying an iPhone, if only I didn’t have to pay through my nose.

Anyways, after all the tribulations, I decided it was time to quit this whole smartphone bandwagon. Instead of taking pictures, managing calendars, plotting routes and making my toast, I think a phone ought to be good at just that. Making phone calls. So I decided to go bare-bones and remembered the Motorola F3 that I had come across last year. Turns out that this phone is not targeted for the US market, but for developing markets like India and Mexico. However, Amazon does sell an unlocked version (along with a downloadable English user guide, as the package comes only with a Spanish version of the guide).

So what’s special about this device, you ask? It is as minimal as it gets when it comes to phone. Other than making calls and sending text messages (albeit with a lot of difficulty), it does nothing. Absolutely nothing. If you know what you are getting, it is hard to find too many gripes with this phone. Cause there is not really a lot of features to mess up, you see.

The screen is one of those e-ink types, which consume a lot less power and can be seen quite well in sunlight. The keyboard is responsive enough and back-lit (although not uniformly). A single port doubles as power and headset port. Overall, the feel is very cheap (what else would you expect for 40 bucks), but very sturdy. Here is a few reviews: GearDairy, CellPhoneStalk, Video Review.

If you are in the market for a minimal mobile phone, it doesn’t get any better than this.

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