Monday, May 11, 2009

SciPhone G2 First Impressions

My Dream G2B. Now I need to find a calculator program that will do justice to the ledger pad it's on. Anyone know where I can get an HP-41C emulator?

I ordered myself a new cell phone a little over a week ago, a SciPhone G2. I spent a lot of time researching different cell phones before I settled on this one, and considered everything from an iPhone or Nokia E90 at the top end down to anything that would give me at least the same features as my old Nokia 3650.

I spent a lot of time considering the SciPhone i68+, but there were two things that kept me from jumping at it right away: the camera and data networking are no better than my N3650, and I wanted to make sure I found a reliable seller, so that I could be sure I'd be getting the real SciPhone, not a knockoff.

I found a great forum full of information from a lot of users of the i68+ as well as its knockoffs. I got a SciPhone G2B, which has a different layout of keys than the SciPhone G2A. It's not as colorful, but just looking at the G2A's keys I would have to say that the G2B layout should be better to use.

The first challenge I ran into was opening the battery cover. It's not described or illustrated in the manual. Given that this is a phone with a large display, I wanted to make sure I didn't break it while trying to figure out how to get the battery in, before I even had a chance to use it.

The battery cover doesn't have any raised bumps or other clues on how to open it, either. On my G2, the cover runs across the entire back, and the lens cover for the camera is part of the battery cover. There are pictures of two G2s with the backs off in the G2's manual, neither looks exactly like mine.

I ended up using a small plastic tool to pop the back off while pulling with my thumb on the lower part of the battery cover. The cover is made to slide about 1/4 inch (6mm) toward the bottom of the phone, then lift off. It doesn't slide all the way off.

Once you've got the battery in the phone and you go to replace the back cover, you have to press the cover down a bit to get it fully engaged with the back of the phone. Then slide it back up. I usually don't get both the tabs at the top engaged on the first try, but once its in place it's secure. So secure you'll probably have to use a tool to start it loose again.

Getting the battery in isn't difficult. Looking at the battery and the phone will let you see where the contacts are, and therefore which way the battery goes in. You can put the battery in either left-side first (contacts first) or right-side first (contacts last). To get it out, there's a tab on the right side of the battery and a little relief cut underneath the tab on the phone. A small fingernail could probably get it popped out, I use my little plastic tool again.
Using the little red plastic tweaker tool to pop out the battery.
The phone has a solid feel to it, it doesn't feel cheap and nasty. The texture on the case is pleasant, and easy to grip. The case color is a lot nicer than the manufacturer's picture makes it look, it's a standard dark black, not some wishy-washy gray. The screen is good--nice contrast, good colors, and bright. I put the protective plastic cover back on it until I get a protective case for the phone.

When I put my T-Mobile (USA) SIM card in it, it put me on the cell phone network with no problem. I haven't had a chance to configure GPRS/EDGE and MMS/SMS yet. And I'm currently working on getting Wifi working on my home network.

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