It was late last year when I graduated from university. My mobile phone at the time, a Nokia 3660, had clearly not aged too gracefully in that the housing was looking rather leprous (I’ll probably cover that in a future blog). The keys weren’t responding consistently anymore and the software and hardware simply felt outdated.

Okay, fine. I probably just grew tired of the damn thing.

Needless to say, I felt that it was time to find (ask for) a replacement.

With so many models of mobile phones to choose from, I imagined that singling one out would be hellish. Fortunately for me, the features I wanted were to be found only in the geekiest of phones – smartphones.

Smartphones, you see, aren’t exactly the mainstream choice. Heck, when it comes to mobiles, many people I know simply base their choices on camera megapixels, size, or looks. What I wanted was the ability to install native applications as well as having close-to-PC functionality – features that, understandably, may not be needed or even wanted by the average mobile user.

Basically, I was looking for a phone that could provide me with productivity features such as the ability to work with MS Office files, while still having above-average multimedia capabilities for viewing videos and photos and listening to music. For me, a camera is a definite plus, of course, but not a major concern. I also wanted something that could keep me on the internet, so 3G and wi-fi capabilities were must-haves.

At the time when I was deciding, there were four major smartphone platforms: Symbian, Blackberry, Palm, and Windows Mobile (Now there’s Google’s upcoming Android platform, and, of course, Apple’s please-stop-talking-about-it-already iPhone). Symbian was the obvious platform for me because the devices it powered were simply more accessible and affordable in my country, as well as the fact that its user interface was already a familiar one.

With my preferences considered, my list was narrowed down to four offerings from Nokia and two from Sony Ericsson. Nokia had the E65, E61i, E90, and N95. Sony Ericsson had the P990i and the P1i. I narrowed the list even further by scratching out the E65 because of its tiny screen and my general aversion towards sliders. The P990i was out too because of its reputed buggy firmware, as was the P1i for its strange semi-QWERTY keypad.

Choosing one among the three that were left on the list was a bit more difficult though.

The N95 definitely attracted me because it was at the absolute cutting edge at the time. But again, it was a slider. It also had an appalling reputation for not having enough juice to even make it to the end of a day.

The E90 was even more attractive because of its awesome screen and full QWERTY keypad. In the tradition of Nokia’s communicator line though, it was brick-like, and I imagined that keeping it in my pocket would provide a rather conspicuous bulge too close to my crotch for comfort.

The E61i was still everything I wanted, though its RAM was somewhat limited and its OS was rather old.

In the end, it all boiled down to the price. At the time, the E61i was selling for PhP19,200 (~$466), the N95 for around PhP35,000 (~$850), and the E90 for well over PhP40,000 (~$970+). Contracts with local carriers offered lower prices but I really didn’t want a locked unit. The E61i was the best overall package considering its price, 2’8” screen, and QWERTY keypad.

I finally bought the Nokia E61i and I’ve been happy with it ever since. Even with much newer devices in the market such as the N95-8GB and E51, and even newer ones recently announced, and also considering the fact that the E61i is made from 3-year-old technology, I’m still very much contented with it because it already does everything I want it to. I also have to mention that its battery life and QWERTY keypad are still pretty much unmatched. It was definitely (and still is) a good buy and I’m looking forward to a few more years with it.

And that’s it for this story! In the next few blogs, I plan to talk about my E61i in detail as well as what’s possible with S60. Hopefully, you’ll stay tuned!


P.S. Yes, I realize that this should have been written and posted months ago. It’s too bad I wasn’t blogging yet.

P.P.S. Happy Valentine’s Day! ❤ ❤ ❤