My perfect phone would have the life-organizing chops of a Blackberry or iPhone, but have a real number pad, NOT be a touch screen, have a real keyboard, good call quality (it's a PHONE, first and foremost), enough internet/email capabilities to keep me non-computer dependent, great battery life, and if I need to just make a call quickly, I shouldn't have to jump any hoops. If the phone function is a program or app you have to open, it's not a phone, it's more just a PDA thing that coincidentally can also make calls, or so goes my thinking.
Blackberries are great but come with 300-page user manuals (I'm not exaggerating - each model comes with 300 pages of how to use it, which I would guess means it's WAY too much phone for me). Also, the fact that the number keys are off to one side would eventually get bothersome - I like being able to dial without looking. This is why I am hard to please. For basic phone functions, that 6010 spoiled me rotten.
I want a 6010 smart phone.
So I saw this demo phone at Walmart, of all places. Blackberry-looking, but with the numbers in the center of the keypad!! Right there where if I spent some time with the phone, I'd be able to dial by feel. I was so excited! And, drum roll please - made by Nokia. Rock ON. The E71x.
So I went home and googled the phone to read reviews, forgetting the "x" when I typed it in - and that x is important, apparently. The E71 (released in Europe) has VERY good reviews. Emailed Husband at work saying "Eee, I want this phone!" and he reminded me about the x, saying that's the US version, so I looked it up. Not so good - like, from four and a half stars to three. Grr. Said it ran slowly, was bogged down with programs you couldn't uninstall, it just wasn't that great. Same site that reviewed the European model. Husband came home from work AGAIN to answer a barrage of questions about the nagging little differences between this model and that model and "why does the US version stink??" He's so patient. He says I give him practice for certain customers he encounters at work.
Well, the E71x is the phone supported and subsidized by our carrier. The x stands for "branded to the max" - it has Nokia's navigation program AND the carrier's navigation program, same for music and email and so on. You can't get rid of any of it, and so it runs slower and isn't as good. Hmph. And now I had a bee in my bonnet - golly gee, did I want a Nokia again.
I checked out the other E-series Nokias, they're okay. E72 has a smaller space bar. One of them, I forget which, has a half keyboard (every key has two letters on it), which in my book is the strangest concept since Pepsi Blue. The N-series are all touch screens. And besides I was looking for something to get used on Ebay like all our other phones (with the exception of iPhones) have been. We have quite the collection, but they've all been cheap.
Husband reminded me it's tax season. (Ooo, goosebumps! But no, I should be good...) And that you can order phones directly from Nokia. Okay, but the E71 is still my favorite and still a European phone (uses different bandwidth). Ah, but not exactly, Husband Dearest says (at this point he looks a lot like Santa Claus, picture him 200 pounds heavier and a lot older). Nokia has an E71, no x, that uses the US 3G bandwidth and can be bought directly from them. No carrier-based extras, no branding. The exact same phone as the one I got excited about, just with the ability to use US towers.
Oh, and he knows someone at work who would buy my iPhone, which would help cover the price.
I did a LOT more reading. We found a store that had an actual working model I could play with to try out the keyboard and menus. I typed "How hard is it to type without typos on this phone?" and "The quick brown fox..." and some other stuff. Apple made me a worse typist, Nokia will make me a better one. So the keyboard is cool. On the number pad, I dialed quickly the numbers I call the most without too much trouble. Menus will take getting used to again because, well, the iPhone doesn't have any. But they're not complicated.
I THINK I have found my "forever" phone. It's a Blackberry-sort-of-thing but not a Blackberry, it will do everything I need and precious little that I won't, and it's as close as I will find to a "6010 smart phone".
And this probably brands me as a forever GEEK, but I'm so excited about going back to Nokia! I'm such geek that I have a favorite manufacturer! And it's kind of like coming home! (Hey, some women have favorite clothing brands, favorite shoe brands, favorite make-up lines... I'm not THAT weird! Am I?)