Rounded shape brings the friendly and human feel for comfort and
fits to the hand
Thus spake Nokia India's specifications for the
1202, a model I found by going to a shop and saying
have anything cheaper? a few times. Listed at €25, it turns
out to be the
cheapest Nokia handset
ever manufactured (and I got it for €19).
The phone is thin, light, and not ugly. It has a small (but very clear)
monochrome screen and a large "dust-proof" keypad (a grooved rubber mat
covering the keys) with a four-way arrow key and four control keys
besides. Its minimal feature set is exactly what I was looking
for. It does phone calls and SMS messages and has an alarm clock, but
precious little else. No camera, no radio, no Java.
Nokia claims that the battery provides 9 hours talk time and lasts 636
hours (26 days!) on standby. I am
deeply suspicious of such
claims, but the phone has used only a quarter of its first full
charge under slightly heavier than normal use over the past couple of
days. That's already enough to make me happy, even if the published
figures are an exaggeration.
The audio quality is adequate, but there's a strange "concert hall"
(think cavernous space) effect at my end. It's distracting, but I can
live with it, especially since it isn't audible to whoever I'm speaking
to. The text messaging is done just right, including delivery reports
that—for the first time ever—don't annoy me (no beep and no additions to
the inbox, but the delivery is recorded under "Sent items"). I do wish
T9 recognised names in the contact list, but I don't know of any phone
that does that.
I've always been perplexed by the minor inconsistencies in the features
of different Nokia handsets. My old 6610i couldn't "Insert smiley"
(unlike many of its contemporaries). The 1202 can do that, but it can't
be made to display both date and time on the main screen (which the
6610i could do). Some models allow you to select menu items by number,
but not the 1202. Some models have a plain old "ring ring" tone, but not
the 1202. Fortunately, this phone does have sensible shortcuts: left
goes to the SMS composer, down to the contact list, right to the
calendar; and the top-right key leads to a programmable "Go to" menu.
Tapping the "up" key twice reveals one special feature: it turns on the
tiny LED flashlight. I couldn't have cared less about that when I bought
the phone, but it's a surprisingly usable little light, and I caught
myself using it already to hunt for my car keys. Another surprise:
The calendar is the one place where the smaller screen is a noticeable
disadvantage—there's space only for two weeks of dates, and not being
able to see the full month at a glance makes it much less
useful. I wish they'd packed in a smaller font instead of the bizarre
"Panchangam" feature (a Hindu astrological calendar).
I like my new phone very much—but how could I not, given the
Subtle texture on back, which brings a fresh feeling
to end user?