Sunday, January 07, 2007

Nokia 2366i

Behold, the long-awaited review...okay, not really long-awaited by announcement but someone probably wants to know about this phone and has been wanting to know for quite awhile...of the Nokia 2366i! I've had the phone for two weeks now, and it's a nice phone in my opinion. I'll outline why below...though I haven't so much as activated it. Which merely means that I used 611 to test call quality...

Which is really good. Though it seems a little buzzy on the highest-volume speakerphone setting and a little metallic (compression-style) on the highest volume on handset mode. But then again I was calling 611. Oh, and the volume for non-speakerphone is nice and loud...if you're hard of hearing the highest volume level should still be plenty loud enough for you, if you're holding the phone up to your ear...loud and clear...can't expect less from Nokia anyway. The speakerphone, active only when the phone is shut and played through the handset speaker, is pretty loud, too, though not ear-splittingly Nextel loud. But it's fine most of the time.

What about signal? Well, next to my trusty LG 3280 in my house both phones get two bars. I call 611. The LG connects at the same time as the Nokia, or close to it, though it rings first by a few seconds, so the Nokia actually may be connecting slower...which is fine because it doesn't take forever to make the call in any event. But anyway the Nokia, with its angular antenna just slightly longer than the LG's, picks up a nice, clean signal while the LG cuts out twice, though these cut-outs are barely noticeable. Not saying that the LG is a great phone to compare with or anything, but the Nokia bests it.

So I compared the 2366i with my dad's trusty Nokia 2126, again with both phones at my desk on Verizon. Both showed a similar signal (2366i: 2\5 bars, 2126: 3\7). I test-called three times. It was a tossup as to who connected first. But both didn't cut out at all. To my ears, however, the 2366i souns a tad more lush than the 2126. So for signal the 2366i is quite solid. Wierd how it's not available as a contact phone...it's INPulse (or PagePlus) only.

Hmmm...maybe it's because I didn't see any way that you could get onto the web withthe phone. Which fits it even better to PagePlus and, incidentally, Tracfone. Boy I wish this phone was on Tracfone. They could sell it for $70 and I'd proably help both of my parents get it...

But anyway, the phone is nice, but feature-limited. Texting is there, and works quite well, as far as I've messed with it. The two things about good text messaging are a good keypad and a large enough screen. The 2366i has both. The keypad is nice and big, and looks good, with the typical Nokia panache that features a "digital" font on the buttons. The keys don't stick out or anything, but they provide nice tactile feedback.

But on to the screen...

Suffice to say that it looks to me to be the biggest screen on any phone I've had thusfar. Not as big as, say, a Razr screen, but it's plenty big enough to see what you're doing and then some. It seems nice and high-res, too.

Which reminds me of the outside of the phone. It also harbors a screen, which is about half the size of the display on the Nokia 2126. Which is plenty big enough for an external screen on a phone; all the readouts on the screen are very legible. But that's probably due to the fact that Nokia decided to make the screen a kewl ("cool" doesn't do it justice) blue-on-black.

Anyone notice that everything about this phone is really nicely done? Me too. Speaming more of the outside of the phone, and the inside too, the styling is pretty much flawless. The whole thing is beautiful. Small, too, despite a nice screen and keypad. As said, the famously large antenna is simply large compared with the phone; it's the same size as my LG 3280's antenna. Which, by the way, is about as thick as the Nokia, maybe a tad thinner as it tapers down toward the bottom of the phone, but is, in my opinion, not nearly as pretty as the 2366i, which is both narrower and shorter than the 3280, both open and closed, due a lot to the Nokia's squarer design that makes it quite the cool phone. But I said that already.

Let me take a break from ranting about how cool this phone is and tell what I do not like about the phone...then I'll get back onto the last few features that are neat...

First off, a minor nitpick. The outer rocker button (you know, the up\down volume button) isn't exactly snappy. It's made out of black plastic like a lot of the phone body, but there's little tactile feedback when using it. But there is visual feedback on whatever screen you're using, so this can be forgiven.

Second, another minor nitpick. MP3 ringtones (ech, spoiled that secret...nevermind about the rest of the features...I'll cover them in scrutinizing them here) take a few seconds to kick in, at least in the Gallery browser. But when they do start playing they're crystal clear, and they're Nokia-smooth.

Third, a somewhat more major, but expected, annoyance: the phone has limited Bluetooth. Wait...the phone has Bluetooth?!? Yeah, you do get a lot for $50...but Verizon blocked off everything to do with Bluetooth except the most famous part: headset\handsfree capability. Which means that I can't whip out my Palm T|X (which unfortunately has power button problems right now...and I need to call Palm up again to get them to tell me how to send it off to repair it) and send even more luscious MP3 ringtones to the 2366i. Neither can I use the 2366i as a modem. I can't even use my Palm to serve as a 4" screen on which to view and write text messages. Dang. Somebody hack this, please.

Fourth, and most annoying, is that the phone's user interface is slow for the most part and not as easy to use as I'd like. I dunno whether it's because I grew up on Nokia bar phones (well, sort of...from probably mid-2001 through September 2005 that's all I had used) or whether it's just because of what they are, but I think Nokia makes really, really good user interfaces on their phones. User interfaces that work well, and work quickly. Then the flip phones came. The user interface, with added screen space, strangely became slightly less easy to use, at least to my reckoning, but still nice and all that. Now the 2366i...it has this slightly less-than-greatest UI but to boot you don't get instant response when, say, you hit the OK button to go to the main menu of the phone. You hear the button beep instantly, but it takes about a second to actually change to the menu screen. Okay, maybe not a second but no less than half a second. Which is annoying to me, because I've seen so many Nokia phones that have done this right. :( Yet another erason to hack and see what one can do to speed up the darn thing. You can't let such a posh phone as this go to waste just because the UI has a lag to it, an inexplicable lag at that. Or is it Verizon\The Man stickin' it to you? You be the judge...

One last thing, and this isn't a critique but rather a compliment I forgot to pay the 2366i earlier: the battery lasts a long time on it. At least long for CDMA and a phone with an external display, though the display turns off after a few seconds of inactivity. But anyway I must've taken the phone off the charger either on the 1st or the 2nd of the month and it's still alive on the 7th. Granted, this is 99% standby time but that's still nice in view of other phones' 4-day battery lives, or less. I mean, this phone, with a bigger screen, mp3 ringtones, Bluetooth (though for most of those days I didn't have Bluetooth turned on...I don't have a BT headset) and an external display, equals the more basic LG 3280 in battery life. Impressive.

Which reminds me of one last nit to pick: the dang phone makes all things new a bit too much. Besides the different UI (at least from what we're used too) the phone no longer uses the near-universal Nokia power connector. Which means my hundred-and-fifty-some-odd (I'm not kidding...anybody want 'em?) brick-style home chargers, and my smaller travel chargers, and the two car chargers that I can use (one I got with the Motorola c261, one my mom has had for awhile) won't charge this phone. !?! Did Nokia have to break all the great old hardware when they graduated this phone up to the MEID system?

Yeah, Nokia is using MEIDs now. Rock on, Nokia. Take that, But anyway, my closing comments...

I like this phone for what it is: a bang-for-your-buck, good-looking (especially compared with the current INPulse Pantech camera phone...ECH!), Bluetooth-headset-capable flip by the company that's well-known for making crackerjack phones. However, the crippled Bluetooth (thanks, Verizon...oy), nonstandard (or is it becoming a standard now? Who knows?) connector and slow user interface hold it back from it being a phone that I wouldn't part with even if I did have to use it on INPulse (that God for PagePlus...sic them on the evil 99 cent daily fee of INPulse). But those are the phone's only weak spots, leaving you with a really nice phone for $50, perfect for activating on PagePlus and at the same time feature-rich enough that nobody will know you're using something prepaid, let alone PagePlus, whose newest phone if I remember correctly is about three years old now. As I said before, if Tracfone released this as a SingleRate device I'd move up to it in a flash from my LG 3280, and would likely have my parents do the same...even if the phone did cost a bit more than Verizon is offering it for.

But anyway I like this phone...

One thing to ponder though, as Nokia looks to be getting out of the CDMA business entirely ;,(. This seems to be their swan song in that side of the industry, and it's a heckuva swan song, a song that basically says "Qualcomm, look at the people who got their hands on this phone...look at how everyone's going to miss us when we're gone when they've got this baby to remember...". Ah well...maybe Nokia will update the firmware on this phone somehow (over the air? It's possible) and make it an ultra phone that will bring Qualcomm back to the table with them as the phone sells out and Nokia won't make any more and customers flock to GSM for their Nokia fix...okay I'm just thinking wishfully but again this is a nice phone.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

T-Mobile's Nokia 6030 has the same lag in its UI. It's very annoying at times. I noticed that the 6030's UI is also a bit different from the standard Nokia UI.

Anonymous said...

What is a MEID? I have never heard that term before.

Anonymous said...

Why don't you put your parents on Page Plus or U Prepaid (instead of Tracfone) for the lower monthly cost?

No native Verizon towers (or Alltel) in their area?

I put my in-laws on Tracfone CDMA, but come renewal time they'll be on Alltel's U Prepaid (no minutes expiry)

BTW, for some reason my Nokia 2126 Tracfone stays single-rate, at least when on Verizon towers (it's forced to "home only")

Anonymous said...

So, does anyone know about the vibrate capability of this phone? I'm considering getting this phone, but will be using it mostly in areas where audible ringtones would be offensive (bummer, I know). I just got a Razr, which, although loaded with features and cool looks, has a really weak vibrate feature. Too weak for me. The 2366i is another option for me to consider, but only if the vibrate mode works well.

Anonymous said...

The vibrate function works well (or-- "strong" if that's what you're looking for)-- the thing will get noticed in your pocket.

divya chirsty said...

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