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Monday, December 04, 2006

Cingular 8125 Review

My assistant and I are out of the office a fair portion of the day. For a small staff, this of course means there is no one available to return phone calls or tend to urgent emails. We solved part of the problem with additional staff, but looked to technology to resolve the rest. My initial choices were between the Treo and the Blackberry. I began researching and found that based on our server capabilities and limitations, the Cingular 8125 was the best way to go. So I bought 2 (I love company credit cards)

After playing with it like a kid on Christmas morning, here's my review.

A little larger than a deck of cards, it is bigger than the Blackberry and Treo, but the keypad that slides out from underneath more than makes up for the size difference. I've toyed with both types of keypads and the size of Cingular's is very nice. It allows for quicker and more accurate typing. And while I'm famous for it, I actually don't like typo's.

The function buttons on the front let you quickly access email, internet and phone. In addition, when I receive a new email my phone vibrates and with the phone locked, I can view the notification and read the email or ignore an incoming phone call with a quick press of the button.

The phone is... well it's a phone, and your satisfaction is going to be relevant to how well Cingular covers your area. I've had pretty good coverage, in fact I would say it's a little better than Verizon's coverage in Colorado Springs. Using the phone functions is a little trickier than I expected. Everything is touch screen, so to dial, I have to press the screen. Maybe I haven't been through the learning curve yet, but I'm not a huge fan yet. For one, I don't like getting fingerprints all over my screen, and two, though I think my dexterity is pretty good, I don't seem to be able to type the numbers too well. Especially when driving, dialing becomes more difficult because there is not feel of which button you are pressing because the screen is flat.

What I love about the phone in every aspect is summed up by saying "bells and whistles". I took Acid Pro and created my own custom ring tones. No more downloading ring tones for $2.00 a piece. I grab my favorite song and cut the best 20 seconds and presto - instant ringtone. I went so far as to create one specifically for my wife when she calls me.
You can listen to it here.

My email account was very easy to set up. I had gmail dropping messages into my inbox within a few minutes. It took a little longer to resolve some issues with my MS Exchange account, but that had more to do with our IT than it did the phone.

Again - bells and whistles. One doesn't really need to be able to sit in church on Sunday morning and check the status of one's fantasy football team, but it is kind of fun anyway.

More Bells and Whistles
The phone runs Windows Mobile, which is a smaller version of Windows. It runs nice, provides access to Word, Excel and Powerpoint. I slipped a 1GB memory stick into it and am now able to store loads of mp3's to listen to via Windows Media Player. To use headphones I found out you have ot buy an adaptor for most headphones. The jack is smaller than the typical headphone jack. Radio Shack had one for around $4.00 and while it degrades from sleek and trendy, the ugly, black adaptor works fine.

Special thanks to my sister's husband, Brian, for letting me stick my file on his site.