Hello?

I have a new gadget.

My old mobile phone, my dear old, much loved, extremely trusted and many-times-dropped Samsung D500 handset has just creaked past the limit of operating acceptability.

When one is texting and presses the ‘H’ key and the letter ‘B’ appears in the screen, or when one is making a call and presses the number ‘6’ only to see the character ‘!’ light up, it’s time to set the trusted friend aside.

Especially when Vodafone laugh down the phone when I call them up to ask about warranty; after the giggle they explain that my handset went out of warranty 18 months ago.

Eighteen months being, in the mobile phone world, the equivalent of three millennia and a small aeon. And perhaps an Ice Age or two. Not the cartoon of the same name, natch.

So the Sunday before last found me in Oxford’s Ye Olde Vodafone Shoppe, examining replacement handsets.

Eventually a decision was made; the Sony Ericsson Xperia X1.

It had the things I need; Text, Bluetooth, 3G WAP, WiFi and a Camera.

It can also make and receive Video Calls and record video and has an FM radio and has MS-Office compatibility (and has MS-Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Internet Explorer preloaded) and has the Opera browser and full data exchange/synchronisation with Outlook and Many Other Things.

And it even makes and receives phone calls!

It also has great call-time life and is very strong in the standby-time department too.

In fact there’s just one thing wrong with the Sony Ericsson Xperia X1 handset.

It sucks.

I’ve had the thing a week and a half, but some time in the next few days I’ll be hot-footing back to Oxford’s Ye Olde Vodafone Shoppe to hand the thing over, admit defeat and choose a replacement.

The more I’ve used the Sony Ericsson Xperia X1 handset, the more I’ve become disenchanted with it.

Today was the final humiliation.

A colleague rang me and she and I talked about what we needed to talk about. And then we chatted.

And then there was a slightly awkward pause and then we chatted falteringly about some random things for a while. And then she said ‘Aren’t you going to hang up?’

‘No, you hang up.’
‘Why?’ came back down the cellular line. If lines can indeed by cellular.
‘Because I want to see what the handset does when the incoming caller hangs up.’
‘You don’t know how to!’
‘Rubbish! Of course I know how to hang up. I just tap on the little red telephone icon on the screen.’
‘Well go on then.’
‘No. I told you. I want to see how the phone reacts when the incoming caller hangs up first.’
‘That’s rubbish. You don’t know how to do it!’
‘Of course I do. I just tap the red handset icon.’
‘Do it then.’
‘No.’
‘Why not?’
‘Because.’
‘Because why?’

I mumbled something.

‘I’m sorry?’ she asked.
‘I can’t.’
‘Why can’t you?’
‘Because the screen goes dark after 20 seconds, to preserve the battery life.’
‘And?’
‘And no matter how or where I tap it, it doesn’t come back on.’
‘You’re joking!’
‘No.’ I may have felt slightly embarrassed at having to say this.

Anyway, we concluded our call – she did the hanging up thing.

I really love the look, feel and weight of the Sony Ericsson Xperia X1 handset. But it really does suck. It does far too many things and because of the functional complexity it is a complete and utter fucking nightmare to get it to do what you want it to do.

Want your address book?
1. Push the button to deactivate the screen/battery saver
2. Click ‘Start’
3. Click ‘Contacts’
But that’s four keystrokes to get to the alphabetical list. My old Samsung did it in two.

Want to make a call?
1. Push the button to deactivate the screen/battery saver
2. Click ‘Start’
3. Click ‘Phone’
4. Click on ‘Address Book’
And that’s four keystrokes to get to the searchable address book. My old Samsung did it in two.

Want to use the camera?
1. Push the button to deactivate the screen/battery saver
2. Look for Camera in the list
3. Keep looking
4. Look some more
5. Check the list again

  • a. Today
  • b. Office Mobile
  • c. Calendar
  • d. Contacts
  • e. Internet Explorer
  • f. Messaging
  • g. Phone
  • h. Vodafone Find & Go
  • i. Comm Manager
  • j. Opera Browser
  • k ActiveSync
  • l. Programs
  • m, Settings
  • n. Help

6. Click on Programs
7. Look at the list

  • a. Business Applications
  • b. Games
  • c. Media
  • d. Tools
  • e. ActiveSync (again!)
  • f. Calculator
  • g, Comm Manager
  • h. Email Plus
  • i. File Explorer
  • j. Getting Started
  • k. Google Maps (yes, really!)
  • l. IM Messenger
  • m. Opera Browser
  • n. Search
  • o. Vodafone Find & Go (again!)
  • p. Vodafone Live
  • q. Vodafone (something different!)
  • r. Windows Live

8. Realise the camera isn’t there
9. Look for the ‘Back’ button
10. There isn’t one
11. Click on ‘x’
12. Click on Start (again!)
13. Look at the same list
14. Give up

See what I mean? And do I really need to tell you that my old Samsung did it in four?

There’s far too much in there trying to be way too clever. And yet Sony Ericsson haven’t even got their basic functionality menus right.

As I said… The Sony Ericsson Xperia X1?

It sucks.

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10 Responses to Hello?

  1. Allister says:

    If you want a “phone”, never go past a Nokia. They’ve had user experience pretty much nailed for about 10 years now.

    If you want a personal device that can make phone calls, get an iPhone. It’s a lot of fun. No, it doesn’t do video, FM radio or MMS. To which I say, use a video camera, a radio (!!) and email. Who uses MMS anyway?

    For that matter, Mr. Jones – you shouldn’t be listening to radio now!

  2. Citronella says:

    I remember back in the time, when people where actually amazed by cellular phones that, well, phoned. And frankly, I’d rather my phone made coffee than took crappy pictures. Then again, if the coffee was of the quality of the photographs…

    Of course I say that because I don’t use my cell nearly enough to justify a plan rather than pay-as-you-go, and without a plan these little devices are awfully expensive, so I have an old Nokia 6012, also known as ‘the brick’. It remembers my contacts, passes phone calls, sends and receives SMS, and writes big enough that I can read it without wincing. And it has an alarm clock. What else could I want from it?

  3. Masher says:

    It’s probably more a case of what you’re used to. If you’d had a Sony for the last 18 months, you’d probably be appalled at the limited functionality of a Samsung. “It sucks” you’d scream.
    Maybe.

    My missus will only ever use Nokia and I”ve been happy with Motorola for the last few years.
    But, I never take photos with it. and according to my bill, I average at 4 texts a month.
    I think it does MP3s, but that doesn’t interest me.
    I mainly use it for phoning people.
    I know: I’m weird.!

  4. Lizsara says:

    It’s all about your brand i’m afraid. You can go from Samsung ot Motorola or LG without a problem because they interface in pretty much the same way, but trying to change brands any further and you will hate it.

    Bad Bren for not asking the blog/twitter world before you bought hte phone 😉

  5. Brennig says:

    Allister, yesterday they showed me a Nokia that looked nice, I’m probably going to lean that way.

    C, the reason for the upgrade was the lack of warranty and deteriorating functionality.

    Masher, all the bells and whistles just came with it. My core applications are phone, text, bluetooth, wifi and camera. Anything else is window dressing.

    LizSara, Bad Bren indeed. So what else is new? At least there’s no financial cost to any of this, just my time.

  6. Trixie says:

    I know exactly what you mean…I’ve got the same with the palm I’ve got. I walked in for a blackberry and they talked me into that one. I wanted to take it back…but took too much time….so don’t do that!

  7. Trixie says:

    Oh and…*waves*. Finally got around to see you! (only 186 posts left to catch up on now…started with 568 a couple of days ago, lol – 18 of which are yours!)

  8. Lis of the North says:

    You see how you have typed “Help” at the end of the options list? It should read “Help!?”. 😉

  9. froggywoogie says:

    Lol, too funny! No, not laughing really… humph, no I’m not 🙂
    It took me a long time to find a phone that was practical with different useful functions but not TOO many. Since I’ve married a BlackBerry I’m a happy man, especially it’s not one of these huge square and ugly things, mine is a Pearl style, which is as small as your next mobile but what a powerful thing! There’s one thing that sucks though, the camera takes crap pictures.

  10. Brennig says:

    Trixie, welcome back! Just take your time getting back up to speed with things. We wouldn’t want you straining anything. 🙂