Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Nokia 2126

My dad got this phone on the 4th of December, as Tracfone was (and is) being very slow to ship out a replacement Nokia 1221. The service was with Verizon, which sadly uses the 1900 band here and thus has subpar coverage. THus I would rather\he would rather be o back on the Five Star Wireless TDMA network (CDMA is available now but Tracfone will have none of it) even if it meant going back to a Nokia 1221 (it will) because the reception is so much better. ANyway, now to the thing that does do well: the Nokia 2126.

This phone, which I posted a photo or two of awhile back, is basically the same as the Virgin Mobile Shorty or the MetroPCS Nokia 2116, except with a color screen and a color interface. So all the accessories that work on those phones will work on this one as well. Oh, and calls to *228 are both free and encouraged by TracFone, but don't expect any miracles...it did not change my dad's phone's home\roaming area. Now to actually describing the phone...

First off, it's tiny! It's not a Razr but for $20 plus tax (what my dad got it for) it is one small ph6 Review!one. It is the typical Nokia bar, with power, send, end etc. keys in the normal arrangement. The up key on the phone has an interesting feature in standby mode though. One press turns the phone's bright LED flashlight, housed in the power button, on for the duration of the press. The next press, if done soon after, turns the LED on until a third press turns it off again. Ingenious.

Speaking of the up button, I have one small gripe about the mechanics of this phone: sometimes pressing the up button discolors the screen, probably because to make something this small with that little money you can't always make sure that things aren't overlapping in the least. This little annoyance isn't a deal-breaker though.

About the screen, four words sum it up: small, pixelated but super! Now how you can manage to have 96 by 65 distinct rows and columns of pixels on a screen a bit larger than a postage stamp I don't know exactly, but the fact still remains that the screen is beautiful! The interface makes use of both animation and color, and as with all color Nokias can be in a variety of colors that are nice and vibrant. And yes, you get that lovely cream of the crop Nokia interface. The interface sounds seem to have a CDMA, more utilitarian feel than the GSM sound sets on such Nokias as the 6010, but the ringtones are fantastic enough that the fact that you can't get any more than the preloaded 19 isn't so bad. Also, the vibration motor truly rocks this ultra-light phone's world, so you are going to feel the phone vibrate to the beat of the ringtone you selected. And speaking of ringtones, they can be nice and loud with the top-right-mounted loudspeaker, which also serves as the speakerphone speaker.

Which brings us into the more "practical" feature set. The speakerphone is good, though not perfect, especially considering the form factor it is packed into. There is clipping at higher volumes, but volumes can get pretty darn loud. The earpiece volume is a bit on the conservative (read "soft") side but it is definately sufficient. Speaking of voice-related features, the phone can record and store one minute's worth of voice recordings (as far as I know there's no maximum number of recordings so pick a length, any length, as long as it's a minute or less).

There are, of course, the usual extras for a modern phone, such as a calculator and date book, and both of these features are done well by Nokia, though I'll stay with a dedicated PDA or maybe a PDA\cell phone for now. There are a few good Java games on the phone, the standard fare of all color Nokias since the 3560. As Tracfone doesn't support anything more than voice and text messaging, the phone doesn't support anything more either, but it does both of these satisfyingly well. One gripe with text messaing though is that the message-sending process is somewhat backward, but again this is a forgiveable quibble.

Overall, this is a great phone that does perfectly everything Tracfone's network can do, and if any CDMA provider offered this phone as one of a bunch of "voice phones" as Sprint calls them, I would quickly pick this one if it wasn't too expensive...that's why I don't have the Verizon version, the $80 2128i ;). Reception, as I should have said much earlier, is very good, and battery life is superb as well. What more could you want from a phone geared toward voice and text as far as network-based services go? I don't want anything :). So when in doubt, buy this phone...and no, I will not let you go away alive clutching that horrible Tracfone called the Motorola c343 if the Nokia 2126 was anywhere nearby. :)

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