After almost four years of flaky and somewhat reliable service, my Motorola RAZR V3 is dead. No amount of cable re-seating and connector cleaning could revive the RAZR. Fortunately, the Bluetooth was still functioning, so I was able to recover my address book.
Inspired by Eric’s cheap phone I went in search of a cheap replacement. After wandering through a few stores, I found my phone. Inside a secure glass case I found a Nokia 1650. But not just any 1650, this unlocked version was on clearance for what seemed to be a somewhat reasonable $35 AUD. Admittedly, this $35 AUD is quite exorbitant in comparison to Eric’s $10 USD Motorola F3.
First, what doesn’t the 1650 have? Foremost, the 1650 lacks a camera, and not surprisingly, Bluetooth. Bluetooth would be nice, though I doubt I’ll miss the camera.
What does the 1650 have? Aside from a phone, the 1650 includes an FM radio and a flashlight. The radio is kind of interesting, though inconvenient as the included headphone must be connected for the radio to function. On the other hand, the flashlight is somewhat more useful. The relatively bright LED (mounted on top of the phone) is both brighter and more directional than the screen back light, and almost as amusing as a laser pointer. Which is to say that it is amusing for about three seconds, unless you’re a cat.
How does the 1650 work as a phone? The sound quality is better than the RAZR, as is the battery life. On the other hand, the keyboard is positively awful. As seen here, all 12 keys fit easily under my thumb. Both the keypad and individual keys are far too small, and make dialing or text entry a pain. On top of that, the keypad is too close to the bottom of the phone. Not only will anyone with hands larger than a two-year-old have trouble pushing the correct button, but the location of the keypad makes one-handed use nearly impossible.
Other impressions? The RAZR was charged via a mini-USB port, which is both convenient and flexible. The Nokia is charged via some unique plug which is both annoying and inconvenient. In addition to that, the weird-plugged included charger is bulky. I would gladly take a phone with no charger but charges via USB over this. Luckily, Nokia does offer a USB charger adapter. Annoyingly, I’d have to buy yet another cable. A better alternative may be to just cut up the supplied adapted and make my own.
Conclusion. The Nokia 1650 is a phone, a flashlight and a radio. It does all three things poorly. At $35 AUD it is overpriced, but I haven’t seen too many unlocked phones under this price point. In the end, I can’t find any reason to buy this phone over any other.