Mike's Cell Phone Rant

Do I hate my Samsung Omnia cel phone? Yeah, I think so...

I was thinking about getting a new cel phone for several months. My previous contract expired in September 2008, so I was going month-to-month using some refurbished Motorola V265 phone that my current provider, Telus, sold me when my first phone (an LG) died.

I was very interested in an iPhone, because I won an iTouch at our company Christmas dinner in 2007. I use it all the time to check my e-mail via wireless, go on the WWW around the house, play Sudoku, etc. An iTouch is sort of like an iPhone without the phone.

But to get an iPhone in Canada means you have to deal with Rogers. The data/phone plans for the iPhone are expensive (more so than those for a “regular” cel phone) and a lot of other “conditions apply.”

So after reading a lot of reviews about the Samsung Omnia (as well as the people at Telus hyping it), and finding those reviews gave the phone around an 80% OK rating, I decided to get one, especially when Telus gave me a very good deal for the new contract which includes this phone.

Straight out of the box, this phone gave me a very bad case of “new device shock” which transported me back to the early 80’s when I bought my first computer (a VIC-20, which had 3K (yes, K) of RAM and cost hundreds of dollars). After playing with that computer for a day or two I was just about ready to throw it in the garbage. Same with this phone.

The first thing that annoyed me was a pop-up screen that appears when you are making a call. This pop-up prevents you from entering stuff easily on the keypad, like entering extension numbers and other prompts. I totally hate this. Yes, I know this is supposed to keep your face from hitting the keypad and causing weird things to happen when keys are pressed. The iPhone solves this problem in an intelligent way by making the keyboard "rotate" away from you and if you want to get back to it, you just push some simple prompt. With the Omnia, you have to hit the optical mouse button at the bottom (the pop up looks like you are supposed to hit the representation of the optical mouse, which is a small square -- this is hard to get used to) and then hit the "Keyboard" prompt. As well, if the pop up wouldn't appear like every five seconds after you make it go away, I wouldn't be so PO'd. There is some fix for this available. I have installed it, and it makes the pop up go away -- but it got removed when I hard reset the phone a few times for other reasons. I have reinstalled it. I am skeptical that it doesn't cause some other problems.

Here are some more things that annoy me:

So how much do I dislike this phone? So much that a few times, I have been tempted to phone Telus and cancel my contract (unfortunately three years), even though it would cost me hundreds of dollars to do so.

Not getting an iPhone was a big mistake, though there is still one thing very much not in the iPhone's favor -- iTunes. With my iTouch I tried to copy a CD that I had created from one of my own LP records into the phone. This caused about 6 gigabytes of other music to suddenly disappear from the phone. This totally soured me on getting an iPhone, even though this device is so much more intelligent than the Omnia from what I have seen so far.

If you want to e-mail me, please do so!

Eric from Australia e-mailed me in June, 2009:

hi Mike

I just got talked into an Omnia.

I am so pissed off with it. This message keeps coming up about Critical low memory... such bollox... this ph is supposed to have 8gig of memory.

Then I jump online to try and find out how to fix it I struggle with all the lingo. One needs to be a rocket scientist to understand what to do.

I wish I bought an Iphone. Macs are soooo simple.

Updated Jan 20, 2010