Friday, July 2 2004

New toy: Motorola v600

Okay, I don’t really have much use for the camera side of my new cellphone; I’m a quality snob who thinks his 5 megapixel digicam is adequate for 4x6 snapshots and web galleries and nothing more, and I’m more interested in switching to larger film than to digital. Still, when you buy a new toy, in this case replacing my Ericsson T68 to get better reception and MP3 ringtones, you should at least try out the features.

How’s the camera? Functional for quick, on-the-spot documentation, but nothing more. For instance, when I was leaving the Reno Hilton (lame casino, skip the steakhouse, eat at Asiana) Wednesday morning, I spotted a big Harley parked on the sidewalk next to a large sign that boldly stated “No motorcycle parking on sidewalk.” That would have been worth a quick snap.

It takes 640x480 pictures, and claims to offer a 4x zoom. Zoom, my ass. This is pure marketing-speak. The viewfinder is what zooms; the resulting picture is either a 320x240 or 160x120 crop. Quality is nothing to write home about, but sufficient for amusement.

Other than that, the phone’s features are quite nice. It has the usual mix of vibrate, speakerphone, BlueTooth, GPRS, games, messaging, etc., and adds MP3 ringtones with quite reasonable fidelity. The reception is also living up to its promise so far, giving me a much stronger signal inside my house, where the Ericsson was prone to dropping calls unless I stood in the sweet spot facing the correct direction.

Motorola doesn’t support Macs for their phones, and Apple hasn’t added SyncML support to iSync, but they still work together over BlueTooth. You can copy phonebook entries, MP3s, and pictures back and forth, and with Ross Barkman’s modem scripts and configuration database, it was easy to set up GPRS and configure my PowerBook to use the phone for wireless Internet access.

And if you call me, everyone nearby will be blessed with the sound of The Carol of the Old Ones. I briefly considered the orgasm scene from When Harry Met Sally, a classic geek sound file, but I still remember what happened when we used it as the out-of-paper noise on our NeXT printer, and my boss tried to print a large document while carrying on a phone conversation with his very young daughter.

It’s easy to switch to a secondary ringtone, so I’m thinking the opening song from Hand Maid May would work nicely.