Tuesday, April 05, 2011

My short, horrible story with a cell phone

If you know me, you probably know that I'm a gadget lover. I was all over my iPhone when I got it, I coo over the latest ThinkGeek stuff and I look towards the future with an open heart and a wallet just waiting to grab the latest tech (if only my wife would let me :P).

But even though I appreciate my iPhone 3GS for its polish, stability and solidity, the cell phone service from Fido is a tough bill to swallow. At $77 for the longest time (tax inc.), it felt like I was overpaying way too much for a very low plan - 100 minutes, unlimited nights and weekends, unlimited text, 1gig transfer which I busted once. So, I started looking for alternatives a while back and, very recently, noticed that Videotron was offering a couple of cellphones at $0, with contract of course. So after some basic research and review reading I chose the Motorola Milestone XT720 and explained to my wife that even after paying the Fido cancellation fees, I'd still come out on top by a few hundred bucks in the end, since the service was $30 cheaper every month (I have all 3 other services with Videotron).

A week ago, I went into the Videotron shop, picked up an XT720 (which has an 8mpx camera, does 720p video recording, 8 gigs space on an SD card, Android 2.1) and signed myself up for 3 years. Unbeknown to me, that was a mistake. Mind you, not singing up, but choosing the XT720. It's not the first time I make a bad purchasing decision, but this time it wasn't my fault!

Honestly though, the XT720 looks like a good phone on the surface. It has a great design, the screen is bright, large (2.7" I believe) and has a good resolution. However, from my experience there are some major issues with it.

First, it has an internal memory of 256 MO, on which Android OS is located and on which ALL applications must be installed. If you know Android OS you may want to say that 2.2 and up gives the ability to save apps on the SD card, but Motorola themselves have confirmed that they will not release a 2.2 update for the phone so, short of rooting it (which I didn't), Froyo will never see the XT720. That, in and of itself, was a great source of frustration.

Other minor issues such as the wireless being semi-reliable (couldn't access the internet while every other wifi device in the house could), the mis-placements of the buttons around the phone and the over sensibility of the "hardware" buttons at the bottom, kept nagging at me.

But the one major flaw in the phone, I simply cannot live with: it is impossible to transfer (or delete, for that matter) a large amount of data on the phone without the SD card crapping out. The first time I had an issue was after copying my 850 MP3s (about 2.8 gigs) on the SD card. The media player would refuse to load the songs, froze while reading the SD card and I had to hard-reboot (remove the battery). I then tried to delete the songs, but in the middle of the deletion dialog, everything (Explorer.exe , the phone, the copy dialog) froze. Unplugging the USB fixed the computer, but the SD card was now unavailable in the phone. No amount of coaxing could get it back online, it was simply unavailable. And that's what I started seeing that the phone was utterly crap. While the unreadable SD card was inserted, the phone would not shut off (stayed in the "powering off" dialog forever), it would not wake up from sleep mode (pressing the button did not turn on the screen, but the hardware buttons turned on for a couple of seconds), and I couldn't even reset it to factory defaults! Each time either of these situations happened (and they happen quite a lot, the phone does go to sleep mode automatically which is normal), I had to remove the battery.

So I went to the Videotron store to get the phone checked, but they needed an authorization from customer service, which I called from there... but while I was on the phone with the tech (while he was preparing a confirmation for a phone exchange), the SD card decided to come back online and the phone was functional. So I went back home, plugged in the phone, tried again... with the exact same results. Called Videotron, got a confirmation number to change the phone, went back to the store and changed for another box of the exact same phone... which had the exact same problem. I figure that when this issue happens, if I'm patient enough the SD card eventually comes back online... after about 8 hours. I'm not that patient.

Now, if you didn't know this let me tell you: If you're in a contract with Videotron and you're not happy with the phone, don't even think about asking them to change it. They will not do it, period. I'm generally a person that can get satisfaction and "what I want" from customer service, but this time nothing I could do could make them budge. It was "tough this phone out, or dish out full price for a new one" and that was that. What you can do however, if you've just signed up, is cancel your contract within 30 days, absolutely no charge. I'm returning the phone today, and any charge related to this phone and service will be credited.

If you do this, you need to wait 60 days before signing up again and have access to promotions (like a free or cheaper phone). By the time this delay is finished, the Nexus S will be out and you can bet your ass that's what I'm going to get myself. In the meantime, my iPhone still does a good job of making calls, playing my music, and playing casual games.

1 comment:

  1. Shit, that seriously sucks man. I will definitely keep this in mind, I have had people asking about the videotron phones lately. Wasn't sure what to tell them.