Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The cellphone chronicles

Over a week ago, I discovered a crack in the casing of my Nokia 6108, near the bottom. It wasn't anything major, so I simply ignored it. Last weekend however, the crack split wide open until a sizeable piece of plastic broke off. Suddenly there was a gaping hole in my cellphone, through which I could actually see the circuit board inside. I tried to repair it with Mighty Bond, but I did a crap job of it and now my phone looks like, well, crap. At least crappier than it used to, because the keypad has been begging to be replaced for months. See for yourself:


My friends razz me about how ridiculously low-tech my cellphone is (it has no camera, no Bluetooth, can't play music, and can only use polytone ringtones), and my dad keeps persuading me to upgrade to a newer model (at his expense too), but I pay them no mind. I love this phone. It flips open to reveal a pad on which you can write Chinese characters using a stylus (although my stylus keeps sliding out of its holder, and is missing the rubber part in the middle), the only Nokia model with that feature. It also has an English-Chinese, Chinese-English dictionary which comes in handy when I'm traveling in China or Hong Kong. I've had this unit for about 4 years now, and it's never malfunctioned, the battery life is still decent (I can go about 2 days without recharging), and I see no reason to replace something that's perfectly serviceable. Even if it looks like crap.

I've never been one to look for fancy features in cellphones anyway. As long as I can call and text, I'm fine. This is part of the reason I have a track record of hanging onto phones for an abnormally long time. In the almost 10 years I've been using cellphones, I've only owned 5 models, to wit:

the Nokia 2110 - You never forget your First. This baby was big, black, and weighed a ton (and yes, it had a pull-up antenna). My parents gave it to me during my sophomore year in college, back when texting was still free of network charges and "message sending failed" was a regular occurrence. I learned how to speed-text on this bulky brick of a phone, and it became my omnipresent companion during late-night cramming for exams, when I'd text the few blockmates I had who also owned cellphones just to stay awake. Yes, the screen was monochrome, the font size ginormous, and the battery was heavy-duty (emphasis on "heavy"), but though it may be hard for the iPod generation to conceive of such a clunker being indispensable, I remember the 2110 with much fondness. The only reason I replaced it was that smaller, handier phones were being introduced in the market, and a girl's purse just cannot contain such a huge gadget.

the Nokia 6110 - Of all the cellphones I owned, this was The One. I started using it sometime during my junior year in college, and it saw me through the best and worst times of my college years. That phone was my lifeline to project groupmates, org members and co-officers, and even some teachers. It was so sturdy that despite dropping it on hard surfaces many, many times, it never gave me any problems. Back then it still had its original deep purplish-green casing, but eventually it got so chipped and the keypad got so worn that I had to replace both when I started working. Then the numbers and letters on the new keypad eventually got worn away too, and I didn't bother buying a new one (what for? I know all the numbers and letters by heart). THEN the display on the LCD started fading, and to see what was on the screen I had to press down on it ("touchscreen", I joked). until the screen literally cracked under pressure... and yet it still worked! I loved this phone with a passion, and the day I gave it up was truly a sad one. Until now I keep the unit in a place of honor inside my bedside drawer.

the Nokia 6310i - This one was The Fling. My dad forced this unit on me when I went to Beijing to study for several months in 2002. He didn't want me using the 6110 while I was in a foreign country, because at the time it looked like it should be in cellphone ICU and could die on me any minute. I used the 6110 for my Globe line and the 6310 for my China sim card. I liked the latter well enough; it was sleek and silver and resembled the 6110 in many ways-- it also had monochrome display and pretty much the same features, with the addition of Bluetooth (though I never really used it anyway). This unit didn't stay with me very long though. Once I got home from Beijing, I gave it to my sister and my dad gave me a new phone, the 6108 I'm still using now. However, the 6310 has the distinction of being the only phone I came closest to losing. I left it on the train my friends and I took from Inner Mongolia back to Beijing; thankfully, my friends who left the station later than me managed to go back to the train and retrieve it.

the Nokia 6108 - I call this The Keeper. If the 6110 was the love of my life I had to give up, then this one's the long-term relationship I can see myself settling down with forever. Although it pales in comparison to the more advanced models out there, I like the practical functions it offers and how they meet my needs. It's reliable, no-frills (hence, no technical glitches), and at least it's WAP-enabled so I can download ringtones and wallpapers (this is my first ever colored-display phone). The size is also ideal for my small bags, and it also fits snugly in the pockets of my jeans. Now that it's damaged, I know my dad will bug me even more about getting a new unit, but the only thing I'd consider replacing it with is another 6108. Just not a pink one.

the Nokia 2310 - My latest phone I refer to as The Office Affair. This was the unit that came free with my Sun line, which I got just this year. Mostly it's relegated to work-related calls and texts, and though I occasionally use it to chat with or exchange texts with friends, it's more owing to the unlimited calls/texts that Sun offers than the ease of using the actual unit. The 2310 means nothing to me, but it's convenient to have around as a back-up for my 6108. It also serves as a second alarm clock to jar me awake every morning. Though it's purse-friendly like my 6108, I remain emotionally detached from this model.

So there you have it, the 5 cellphones I've gone through in the past 9 or so years. You'll notice I've been loyal to Nokia ever since, and I don't think I'll ever be one to try a Sony Ericsson or a Samsung or even an iPhone. When it comes to cellphones,
in case you haven't noticed, I believe in the saying, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". Or, if it's broke, fix it with Mighty Bond. But ask someone with a steadier hand to do it for you.

4 Comments:

At Tuesday, December 11, 2007, Blogger Sean said...

Guilty too. :) I held onto my first cellphone for seven years, and even then my dad had already been using it for some time. When I finally retired it in May 2006, it was still in good physical condition (although the display was starting to fail and the speakers had already gone). It actually even outlasted its original case, which rotted away sometime in late 2004...

 
At Wednesday, December 12, 2007, Blogger Ailee Through the Looking Glass said...

Is this the 5110 Sel mentioned in a comment on my Multiply? Haha.

 
At Thursday, December 13, 2007, Anonymous chars said...

heyyy i have a pink 6108 :P well, HAD is more like it, since it is now dead and i also go around with free phones from sun cel and globe (speaking of which, i should really know your sun number :P)

 
At Thursday, December 13, 2007, Blogger Ailee Through the Looking Glass said...

Haha, I know, I saw your pink 6108 once or twice. :) How did it die on you?? You must have smashed it against a rock or something, considering my unit has withstood so much physical stress yet is still ok.

I'll text you my Sun number. :)

 

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