Sunday, January 22, 2006

Of Shorties and Tracfones

First, the Nokia Shorty is now back up to $29.98 at my local Wal-Mart, upping it back into ripoff status. I would've posted a photo of it Saturday morning when I was in the store but STi's picture messaging is strangely defunt of late. Watch this phone not sell ;). Amazon has it for a penny more...until you figure out they don't charge tax or shipping and Wal-Mart does charge tax :). I'd go for the Tracfone 2126 right now since it's $10 cheaper and in color.

And about Tracfone, as it turns out if you have those lovely promo code booklets you can still use them with the new beefed-up airtime rates. I know this because some people walked up at Wal-Mart wanting to add airtime to their Motorola c353 (more on that later) or is it c343 (can't remember). Anyway, without a promo code (added airtime over the phone and the prompt didn't let me do another promo code after the first failed; didn't get there fast enough) there were 250 minutes added to the phone. One of those famously huge codes (there were three of 'em) that I typed into the phone enabled that nice little feature called Rapid Refill so that time I was able to put in the promo code easily (for 30 minutes) and tada we had 280 more minutes. Not bad for $50 plus tax (about 19.1 cents a minute all told).

Now about the Motorola c3?3, it's that $60 phone that few people buy. I actually found it to be relatively useable though it has the flaw of REVERSED SEND AND END KEYS AAAAAAAH!!!! Anyway besides that and a slightly wierd menu scheme the phone was very useable and seemed to hold a signal well. It seemed to have the exact same screen (and a similar menu layout) as the Motorola v170 GSM Tracfone flip (now seen with cingular branding as well) which means it had a screen medium-sized for a bar phone (slightly larger and higher-resolution than the Nokia 2126's but the 2126 makes better use of the screen) but abysmally small for a flip (I mean wouldn't you expect a larger screen on a flip phone...come on). Enough with the screen and menu system ranting: the phone seemed a bit cheap but certainly useable, a feeling you get with the v170 except to a lesser extent, mostly because the buttons aren't placed or responding ultra-correctly relative to the surface of the phone.

Anyway, not on to Rapid Refill. For the few, the proud, the people who have it turned on in their local areas (some zips seem to have it, some do not) and have a modern enough phone (anything from the Nokia 1100 or 2285 on) welcome to, upon your next code-punching frenzy, something that makes adding airtime refreshingly easier: a menu option that lets you put the airtime code, with the promo code right after it, into the phone. You get the appropriate number of minutes a little later via a free text message. Genius...why so late Tracfone? Oh yeah, it's because the phone keeps track of airtime. ;)

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