I have two cell phones, a Nokia 6101 camera phone and a Sony Ericsson Z520. Everyone asks me why, but it’s because I have yet to find one phone that has everything I need and want in a cell phone. I think this phenomenon will change sometime in the near future, but for now, I will keep my two phones…
This gives me great insight on what features are good for phones, and I would like to share with you a tale of two cell phones. What do I like about each? What do I dislike? Which would I pick if I had to choose one?
1. Camera. Both the Nokia 6101 and the Sony Ericsson Z520 phones have a built in camera with less than one megapixel of resolution. This is decent for a camera phone, but does not produce a quality picture. Both phones also have the option to take a picture of yourself using the outside viewing screen on the outside of the phone when it is flipped down. The Sony Ericsson camera is able to zoom, whereas the Nokia camera can’t zoom when taking the picture. The memory tends to fill up quickly with the Nokia phone, and when the memory is full, you can’t take another picture until you delete one. You also can’t send any pictures already on the phone until you free up space.
2. FM Radio. The Nokia 6101 has an fm radio built into the camera. You attach the wired headset to the phone, and there is a tuning device on the headset to change radio stations. The phone is used to adjust volume. I think this is the coolest thing! I don’t like spending alot of money downloading music, so this is a free option! The radio works pretty well, I have to say. It gets as good reception as my stereo in my car (which is an alpine system.) The stations come in well and you can hear them. The Sony Ericsson does not offer this feature.
3. Bluetooth capability. Sony Ericsson Z520 wins this category. This phone has bluetooth capability, but the Nokia 6101 does not! The bluetooth capability is very important to me if you’re going to talk when driving, because then you don’t have to hold the phone at all. It just has to be near enough to the bluetooth device to pick up the signal. Some bluetooth devices allow you to dial the last number and answer and end calls without even touching the phone! The bluetooth is better than a wired headset because you have to have the phone close enough to you that you don’t run out of wire. Bluetooth devices pick up usually at least six feet away. I can have the phone in my purse and being walking through a store and not have to hold the phone at all!
4. Infrared capability. Both the Nokia 6101 and the Sony Ericsson Z520 have infrared capability. This means that with an infrared compatible device, such as a printer, the phone and printer can communicate and you can transfer information such as photos. More and more devices are equipped with this technology, but I don’t think it has gained the attention that it probably deserves. I don’t know that as many people use this as use bluetooth. To use the infrared, the infrared port must be lined up with the infrared port on the device (printer) so the two can communicate. It can’t be near it, like it could be with the bluetooth device.
5. Networks. The Sony Ericsson Z520 is a quad-band phone. This means it picks up network service coming across four different frequencies- 850,900, 1800 and 1900 frequencies. The phone can thus get a signal in the United States, using the 850 or 1900 Mhz frequencies. The 1900 frequency is the one mainly used in the US, but in more rural areas it helps to have the 850 Mhz band. In Europe, the 1800 Mhz frequency is used, with more and more use of the 900 band as the 1800 band becomes congested. If you plan to use your phone in Europe, it is best to have a quad-band phone so you will be able to pick up the frequencies and signals to receive and place calls. This gives Sony Ericsson a definite competitive advantage, because there aren’t many quad-band phones available unless you specifically purchase an international phone. The Nokia 6101 is a tri-band phone, with 850, 1800 and 1900 frequencies. You can still get a signal many places in Europe with the 1800 frequency, but not as well as if you also had the 900 band.
6. Voice Recording. Both phones allow you to record your voice, and then send this to another phone or email account. However, the Nokia 6101 enables you to record up to a five minute voice recording, whereas the longest recording with the Sony Ericsson Z520 is 1.5 minutes. With the Nokia, you can thus record a whole song at a concert and send it to a friend! (I have used it for this.) There is enough memory on the Nokia 6101 to record about eight 4 to 5 minute voice clips. The Sony Ericsson voice clips tie into the memory space of photos and videos, so it will depend on the number of photos and videos already stored.
7. Connecting devices. One thing I like about the Nokia 6101 is that you can charge the phone and have the phone connected to a wired headset at the same time. There are two different ports on the bottom of the phone. With the Sony Ericsson, you either have to charge the phone or connect the wired headset. However, you can overcome this obstacle by connecting a bluetooth device that doesn’t need a port on the phone. Then, you can charge the phone and talk handsfree at the same time.
8. Ease of use. I have to give the Nokia 6101 the award in this category. I have found the Nokia easy to figure out without reading through all the instructions. I simply have used the menu and have figured out to send and receive text messages and how to add contacts, for instance. With the Sony Ericsson, I haven’t had as much luck. I hate to read manuals, so if I can’t figure out on my own how to do it, I probably won’t ever use the feature. I have had trouble figuring out how to send text messages with the Sony Ericsson. You actually have to set the phone up to do this, instead of just being able to send the text messages like you can on the Nokia phone. Also, for some reason when I try to add a voice contact in the Sony Ericsson, I can’t get the name in right because of some feature that tries to figure out what word I am writing. I know I could easily overcome these two issues by reading, but I am hardheaded when it comes to these things. I like things to be easy to use.
9. Internet. Both phones allow you to access the web. It is pretty easy to figure out how to do this just using the menu screens on both phones. But the Nokia 6101 gives you the ability to use AOL instant messaging! You have to ask for this feature, because all phones do not come equipped with it.
10. Comfort and design. The Nokia 6101 phone is easier to hold for long periods of time. I find the Sony Ericsson Z520 to be so small that sometimes it is hard to hold. Both are flip phones, but the Sony is lighter and it just gets tiring to keep it to your ear for long periods. I rarely use the Sony without the bluetooth device anymore, so this doesn’t matter as much, but when I forget to charge my bluetooth, this matters.
The design of the Sony Ericsson is a little cuter. It looks more feminine for girls, with it’s blue and silver or gray and silver colors (it comes with an extra shell you can exchange back and forth between). When the phone turns on or you receive a call, the Sony lights up, and you can even set the lights to light differently depending on who is calling. This is a neat feature.
11. Volume. Neither phone really wins hands down on volume. When using the speakerphone, I never can get either phone loud enough to really hear anyone when driving in my car. The Nokia 6101 can be set a bit louder, so that I can generally hear on speaker phone at my house. I really wish the phones were louder. When using the bluetooth with the Sony Ericsson, I am able to hear a little louder. There are still problems in my car with hearing the other person, and the person on the other end of the phone has said that the background noise from my end is pretty loud.
12. Holding a charge. I find that both phones hold a charge pretty well. The Nokia 6101 seems to hold a charge a little longer. Sometimes I am fascinated by how many days I can go without having to charge the phones if I am not using them much.
Overall, both of these phones are nice little flip phones. They are lightweight and offer many features. The Nokia is good for its fm radio feature, AOL instant messaging ability, ease of use, comfort when holding, voice recording times, volume and ability to hold a charge. The Sony Ericsson is better for its bluetooth capability, camera zoom function, lighting features, and quad-band frequencies. If I really had to choose, I don’t know what I would do. I would probably choose the Sony Ericsson Z520 because of the bluetooth, because I have found this to be invaluable. I drive a good bit every day and find myself busy without the ability to hold a phone. I also highly regard the quad-band frequency, which proved useful when I went to Europe in October of 2006.
So what will you choose?