My Rose-Coloured Clamshell Radio Alarm (and Mobile Phone!)
+ Clear calls; choice of vibrate or ringtones; easy to use keys; iTap predictive texting (like T9, but with possible next words based on previous texts); Bluetooth; alarm
- Need to use headphones as aerial for FM Radio; no expansion slot for memory
Motorola W377 Mobile Phone (in Pink, on T-Mobile network)
- GSM Tri-band Mobile phone with 1.3 megapixel camera
- Bluetooth and GPRS; WAP 2.0
- MMS (multi-media or picture messaging), EMS, SMS
- Up to 5 Alarms (with possibility of different tones for each), once, daily or weekday
- Can set different ring tones for different contacts
- FM Radio with 9 pre-set station capacity
I've been using this phone since December 2008
Every morning I listen to four different alarms at half-hour intervals, and when the final alarm sets off, I exit it and listen to an hour of continuous playing of my favourite Michael W Smith track, a 5min 9sec track of "Worthy is the Lamb " (which is the track I have chosen for the penultimate alarm setting). When I am out, if I remember to bring the headset I can listen to my choice of BBC Radio 4 FM, Classic FM, or a range of other FM stations (as long as I can pick up the signal ~ the earphones wire acts as the antenna).
I can send and receive SMS, MMS and e-mails, and I can receive my calls without losing them before I manage to answer the phone.
My latest use (UPDATE 4th May 2010)
I have discovered that I can set the alarm on tone + vibrate, and the vibrating phone pressed against a painful place can relieve the pain (a bit like a tens machine or hand-held massage unit!) . . . so now I use the phone for pain relief as well!
This is How and Why I Chose This Particular Model
My T-Mobile Contract Phone
I have always chosen a Siemens handset in preference over any other as the most easily understood and functional phone since I started using mobile technology ten years ago in October 1999. When I accidentally drowned my Siemens MT50 mobile phone in 2004, I couldn’t imagine using a different phone for my T-mobile contract phone, and managed to replace the Phone I Could Trust
with a Siemens MT50 WAP phone.
Unfortunately, eventually, the battery of any mobile phone will no longer hold a charge; any handset has a built-in obsolescence (due to fragility and normal wear and tear), and the time will come to look for a new handset, no matter how satisfied you are with what you have. The search for the successor can be a frustrating journey.
I had taken loyalty discounts off my mobile phone bill instead of upgrading the handset for several years. When I finally started looking for my Next Generation Siemens Phone to replace the MT50 WAP I was shocked to discover that Siemens-BenQ had moved out of the mobile phone market altogether . . . so there wasn’t going to BE another trusted Siemens model for me to try. Oh dear! Like my search for a new laptop, this search took a considerable amount of time. I wasn’t due an Upgrade until December 2008, which gave me over six months to look at the options available, but I already had some idea as to what I DIDNT want, having failed to get on with Nokia, Samsung, Mitsubishi Trium, Sony Ericsson . . . in fact, I was starting to wonder, as I looked at mobile phones in the T-mobile shop, if I was running out of options altogether. As my T-Mobile contract phone is the one where I receive the most calls, I needed
- a phone I could answer without losing the call. That was the problem I had had with the Nokia 3510i phone. Although it had a fantastic memory for contacts, I lost many incoming calls due to the inability to answer with any key like I had been able to with my Siemens phones.
- a phone with easy to press keys, not too close together and not too small.
- a phone with alarms I could set (I was used to the Siemens phone telling me when to take my medication and when to eat).
In addition, I wanted a phone with
- a calculator
- a camera to take at least a few pictures
- Bluetooth in order to communicate with other phones and computers, and
- a reasonably easy to read screen
Any other features would be a bonus.
So Which Manufacturers Would Be Possibilities?
I decided the best option would be a phone I could answer by just opening it, so decided to ask for a clamshell or slider phone when my upgrade was due, although I still hadn’t seen any being offered in the shops for contracts/upgrades, and I was starting to worry about the miniature buttons on all the phones I could see on display. My chubby arthritic fingers would never cope with any of those! The manufacturers available seemed very limited as well, with most providing very small candy-bar style phones.
I had tried to help a friend with her Samsung slider phone, and had failed miserably to use the menu options, so I was pretty sure that would not suit me. I was dubious about my ability to learn new tricks, so I decided to ask about a Motorola phone when upgrade-time came.
In September 2005, I had also signed up to a contract with 3-mobile, for 100 texts and 500 anytime/any network minutes. This gave me a video-camera phone; my first was a Motorola C75 (Silver Brick) which lasted nearly a year before being replaced with the PUMPKIN RAZR V3x (which Took Me to The Ball
). I had not been particularly comfortable with the C75 (although I used it to take my current profile picture), but the clamshell RAZR was easy to use and I was reasonably satisfied with its performance, particularly once I knew how to use the Bluetooth to copy files. The beauty of the Pumpkin RAZR was that I could answer it by just opening it and placing it to my ear. Where the caller was known, it gave the name of the caller visible through the small front screen of the phone. Although this particular feature is not available on the Motorola W377
, it was not one of my essential features for which I was looking.
Choosing (and Using) the Phone
On the T-Mobile website, Motorola W377 was only offered as a pay-as-you-go option
I wanted an unlocked
handset. I tried to find a clamshell phone, but the only one I could find within my price range was the Motorola W377
in a dusky pink on the T-Mobile website. This was marked as being £29.99 with PAYG SIM. It seemed to have all the features I wanted, though, and also included (obligatory?) FM Radio, Internet access, a few games, camera, stopwatch and other features I have rarely used on a mobile phone, but which are so important to the techno-geeks these days who like to show off their latest gadgets. I had managed to get my contract monthly payment down to £10/month (with loyalty bonus credit) for 3000 minutes of off-peak calls to landline & T-Mobile calls, and I wanted to keep that rate if I could (my evenings & weekends contract was an obsolete contract but I could continue with it as long as I wanted).
I was being asked for a contribution of about £100 for the only clamshell phone available on contract as an upgrade and I would lose my loyalty bonus on top. However, If I wanted to change to a current promotional contract for 24 months (instead of 12), and not upgrade the handset, I could have essentially the same offer as I already had, at £15/month instead of £20/month ~ and although the maximum loyalty bonus this year was only £5/month, I would still only pay £10/month as before ~ and I could buy the Motorola W377 on the website as a PAYG model for less than the only clamshell model available on contract. This I decided to do.
I ordered the phone after the 1st December 2008 to take advantage of the reduction in VAT to 15% and the box arrived on the 3rd. I started to try out its features straightaway. There was no manual with the phone, and there also was not a manual online available on the Motorola website, which was a big disappointment, but it is fairly intuitive to use.
The closed handset is more feminine in appearance than my sturdy pumpkin-coloured RAZR V3x and has a long black reflective glass panel occupying the middle third of the front. This is where the camera is sited (top) and lit icons appear down its length when appropriate. My W377 has a dusky rose pink and silver metallic finish plastic with quite a sleek and attractive look. I believe it can also come in a dark gray finish, but I have only seen my model. A green flashing symbol indicates a known contact calling, while a yellow/orange one indicates someone not yet in your contacts. A blue envelope indicates a message received; and a battery shape indicates the battery (flashing means battery is low; continuous means battery is charging). In a crisis, it can be used as a mirror, although it is quite dark. The Motorola insignia is at the bottom of the glass.
There are protective covers on the sides, for both the headphone and the mini USB charging port, which lift via a tab and stay attached at the bottom of the tab.
Opening the phone reveals a two-inch rectangular screen which you can personalise with your choice of picture.
A row of symbols at the top indicate signal strength, network, whether on vibrate or alarm and a battery indicator, which has three sections: three green when fully charged, paler green as it is reduced; brown as gets low, and fully red when needs recharging. The screen also displays the network, date and time and your personalised soft key functions are named. Now we come to the bottom part of the open clamshell:
- There are shortcut keys for both internet (globe) and messages (envelope), soft key dots to select options visible on the screen, a green symbol for making/selecting calls, and a red symbol for on/off/cancel call and going back to the main screen.
- A joy-pad circle has four directional triangles and a centre dot. These are used to navigate the menus and to select different features.
- The keypad is separated by raised ridges with a dot on the number 5 for ease in recognition for the visually impaired. I find this is very easy to use, even without looking at the keys, although it is backlit in blue as soon as you start to type.
On standby, the phone lasts about a week (the manufacturer claims 250hrs), although you can drain the battery in less than two days if you use it on the internet, play lots of MP3 files, make lots of phone calls or play games. Use of the FM Radio also drains the battery quicker, although I have listened for several hours on a normal day out without having to recharge before I get home. It takes at least three hours to charge completely using the provided mini-USB charger. I play up to three hours of MP3 in the morning as part of my alarm sequence but do not need to recharge more than once or twice a week as a general rule. The battery indication light is continuous while it is charging and turns off when it is fully charged.
You access the menu by pressing the dot in the middle of the joystick. There are Nine Menu Icons to choose from: Recent Calls, Multimedia, Extras, Messages, WebAccess, Games, Personalise, Contacts and Settings. Extras include Calculator, Alarm Clock, Stop Watch, Calendar and a few other features. Multimedia includes Camera, Pictures, Sounds and FM Radio, and the remainder are fairly standard and self explanatory. Generally speaking, pressing the soft key labelled as Select gives you the highlighted option, and pressing the middle of the joy-pad gives you the further options if there are any.
Making calls is very easy
You can either select a contact (scroll down or choose the first letter of the name) or type the required number from the keypad, pressing the green symbol, or choose one of your last 20 dialled calls by selecting the green symbol first then scrolling down the list of persons called and pressing the green symbol again. To cancel a call, just press the red symbol. Receiving calls you open the clamshell or press the green button if the phone happens to be already open when the call is received. Call quality is excellent; I generally have a good signal and rarely lose calls. If the phone is closed, you cannot see who is calling, although the colour of the flashing light does indicate if it is someone in your contacts or not. If the phone is already open, it will show you the contact name or number in a pink-tinged white square; you can refuse the call by pressing the red symbol. I usually use my fingernail on the keys as the ridges are excellent to trap the nail in place on the right key.
Other Features Regularly Used
- The FM Radio can be preset with up to nine stations; put earphones in then select Multimedia/FM Radio. Once you have found a station you can save it in pre-sets, which then can be selected by merely pressing the numeric keypad.
- Alarm clock can be set with up to five separate alarms with differing tones and individually set volume. They play for three minutes with an eight minute snooze, and will keep this up for up to 90 minutes. When a new alarm cuts in it dismisses the previous; this can then be recalled by turning off the current alarm, at which point it will play that tune continuously until you either silence it or the original 90minutes has been completed. It is worth knowing that even if the phone is set onto silent or vibrate that the alarm feature still works at the set volume, so if you forget to restore sound after a meeting you will still be awakened in the morning!
- The camera is easy to access and takes clear pictures, if a bit on the small size (under 10 kb).
- Bluetooth sends and receives pictures (up to 70kb) and recorded sounds.
- When accessing the pictures and sounds, I am given a choice between [Preloaded and downloaded files (everything which came with the phone; I have not purchased any downloads)], or [Additional Storage Device (pictures I have taken or pictures/sounds sent via Bluetooth to the phone)]
- You can send small sound bites and pictures (about 10kb) in MMS once it is set up.
- Because I have inclusive texts on my 3-phone contract, I rarely make texts with this phone; but I do receive texts; they are clear and easy to read, with first the text, then a panel containing sender’s name (or number if not in contacts) with day-of-week, time, date. Viewing texts from the most recent to the oldest saved is easy; after scrolling down through each chosen text and sender details, it says please wait, then shows the next text. And I currently have over 60 received messages without running out of memory. There is space on my SIM for 20 message sections, so the oldest 19 messages have a little SIM card icon next to the sender’s name, and the others have a little phone icon (looking a little like a paperclip!).
- I do not know about playing the games as I never play any on my phone.
- There is no available manual, so you have to figure most things out yourself unless they are pictured on the box.
- On the RAZR V3x, the centre joypad button is your 'OK' button, but on W377 it opens an additional menu, which is really annoying if you are in a hurry.
- You cannot use the Radio unless you use the supplied earphones. My original earphones were faulty, but the replacement set worked fine once I managed to find the stations. I have 5 set to Northampton frequencies and 4 to West Midlands. Scanning for stations in the first place can be a bit hit or miss. I located the Northampton stations one restless afternoon in May when I was in the Northampton Jesus Centre.
- You cannot see who is calling before you answer (unless you happen to be in the middle of doing something with the phone open).
- There is only one camera (so cannot take self portraits the same as with a video phone).
Where to Purchase
It was available at Argos, on the T-mobile website, Amazon and eBay at about the £30-£40 mark when I purchased mine.
This is a basic clamshell phone which multi-tasks, looks nice (and feminine) which does most of what I want it to do and more. You can personalise the menu and soft key functions and make clear calls and send messages. If you want a good alarm clock, this works well.
. Thanks for Reading!
© October 2009 ~ ♥jesi ♥
. ps. I have posted photos of most of the relevant features highlighted.