too many words by laura lemay

notes on a new toy, part 3: aquiring a Nokia E70, with pictures

(warning: third in a series of obsessively geeky gadget posts. See part 1 and part 2 here.)

Step Three to the Nokia E70 plan was actually purchasing the phone. This was not nearly as hard as I thought it was going to be. After I waited and waited and drove myself into a frenzy of gadget lust waiting for the damn phone, it was finally released by Nokia in late June. Online retailers in the UK and Asia began offering it, unlocked, soon after that.

This is actually the third time I have bought a cell phone online without having either seen or touched the phone in question. I do this for a number of reasons: I am abrim with rosy optimism; I have had good luck in the past; and, most importantly, I hate cellular dealerships nearly as much as I hate car dealerships. I have never been into a cellular dealership where I didn’t know FAR more about phones and phone service than the over-testosteroned 20-something fast-and-the-furious reject clerks who inevitably staff these stores, and yet the lies and the high-pressure sales pitch never lets up.

Once in a while I do set foot in a cell store or a cellular hut in the mall for some reason unrelated to buying a phone (sometimes I like to fondle gadgets, sue me) and then I am occasionally forced to interact with a cell guy. And here I have found that if I do ask hard questions I am confronted with either bizarre changes of subject or complete and utter bullshit. I should expect this given that I know it is physically impossible for a 20-year-old guy to actually say the words “I don’t know” to a woman, especially concerning technology.

Me: Does this phone have EDGE or just GPRS?

Cell Guy: You can download all kinds of free ringtones from the web.

Me: (turning to stare). Um. Sure. Does it do A2DP?

Cell Guy: (pause. panic) Yes. … Yes it does. But you need the extra single-mode reverse-analog assertion enabler module. Otherwise you get interference with the resource manager.

Me: (laughing, walking away, shaking head)

So I ordered my E70 off of Ebay, from a dealer in the UK. The phone shipped from Hong Kong and arrived in two days (it would have been earlier but the plane was delayed.) Eric was kind of anxious about this whole ebay thing (“You ordered a phone from China? Off of ebay?!”) but I figured, hey: Hong Kong Phone Dealer on Ebay has 37,000 positive feedbacks. Does Westfield Shoppingtown Cellular Asshat Hut have 37,000 positive feedbacks? I don’t think so.

Given that this was my first unlocked phone I had kind of a bit or nervousness the first time I put my SIM card into it and hit “On” that there would be some kind of magic that it wouldn’t work, that I would get a big angry message “ILLEGAL PHONE, ACCOUNT LOCKED, PLEASE CALL T-MOBILE SUPPORT.” But nope, it lit right up immediately, and works just fine.

One of the drawbacks about ordering a phone online sight unseen is that its hard to tell how big or heavy its going to be. I did see in the feedback about the E70 before I ordered one was that some people thought it was an exceptionally large and bulky phone. From the measurements and weight on Nokia’s site I saw that it was about as big as my 6600, and the 6600 is a big phone. Lots of people had pictures of the phone in their hands on the web, but its sometimes hard to tell how big the phone is from hand pictures, cause people’s hand size varies.

My first impression is that yes, its a big phone. If you’re comparing it against your average candybar or flip phone, its big and fat. A RAZR it isn’t. But if you compare it to a treo or a sidekick, its not big at all. I find it much easier to hold in the hand than the wide profile of most of the querty phones. It feels much more like an actual phone.

I did take some pictures for comparison purposes. Here are the token hand pictures, folded and unfolded:

It is slightly larger than the old Nokia 6600, but narrower:

It’s about the same size as a nearly-antique 3rd generation iPod:

It is, however, smaller than a Sony PSP (to be fair, everything is smaller than a Sony PSP):

Smaller than a TiVo peanut remote:

Smaller than a banana:

And smaller than a 1982 Toyota pickup.

Hope this helps.