9/01/2005

Avoid the Nextel i860 camera phone with GPS

Don't expect much from the Nextel (Motorola) phones that have a GPS and camera. I tried the i860 and had three fundamental problems with it:
  • Poor phone service. Coverage limited to major metro areas and some rural industrial zones. No roaming. Delay in audio (call your landline and listen to the delay) causes others to think you're cutting them off in conversation.
  • Poor camera. Tiny photos, fuzzy, or completely out of focus. Not usable for anything, really, other than showing them on the cell phone's tiny screen. Must e-mail your photos to yourself (for a fee).
  • Poor GPS. I tried the Trimble Outdoors software (for a fee). Big problems downloading it. Support was friendly, but could not fix the problem. Poor reception -- I mean, so bad you give up -- if you're in the backcountry, because the GPS relies on the nearest Nextel tower to narrow its location. Without that, it's lost. Eats up a battery in a few hours, so no good for hiking.

Nextel was hard to deal with, on top of it all. I couldn't get the same answers to some questions from any two people. The company mysteriously cancelled my first order without even contacting me.

The second order went through, I tried the phone, and returned it. Not without having to submit to the last-ditch hard sell from their sales department.

The two weeks of use cost me over $250, plus some long distance charges. They took their time refunding the additional $150 cost of the phone.

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