I finally got a cell phone again after three years without. Ended up with the Sony Ericsson T637. First things first, it is unfortunately a product of slave labour equivalency. I couldn't find one that wasn't, although there may be some very high end ones that aren't. This model is made in Malaysia, with the battery "Made in Japan, Finished in Malaysia".
It has the features I was looking for; mostly bluetooth, camera and non flip form factor... and I couldn't quite justify spending the money on the one I wanted.
So how is it you ask? Well, it works amazingly well with my PowerBook, when combined with Salling Clicker. Romeo is an open source program that does the same remote control stuff as Salling's software. Of course, I didn't find out about it until after paying the shareware fee... Doh!
The camera images are crap, but good enough that I can take a quick snap of my friends and add their photos to my address book. Kind of nice to see who's calling visually. Using the bluetooth file transfer I can manually transfer the photos to my computers address book as well, but it would have been nicer if iSync did it auto-magically. Apparently that does work with some camera phones.
The one thing that surprised me is how addictive text messaging is. I had never really tried it before. The new method of predictive text entry is quite intuitive once you start to use it. I'm a big fan of playing with different methods of communication, and this is one that I'm enjoying that I didn't think I would.
Overall, it's a decent phone, integrates well with my computer, and iSync does work flawlessly with it, although occasionally the bluetooth connection drops for no apparent reason. The camera is passable for quickie portraits, but not for details, or low light situations. The reception is good, and battery life is fair if bluetooth is off, and abysmal when it's on. Seeing as how I rarely leave the house for more than eight hours, battery life isn't an issue for me. In terms of the UI, the menu system works well, with only a few levels of menus to do most tasks, and as a phone it's excellent having a standard key layout and controls.
On the downside, is it's origin of manufacture is questionable, and the lack of MP3 ring-tones is disappointing. (god, that's an incongruous combination to put in one sentence). Buying stuff is such a pain when you're trying to harm as few people as possible... It is fun though, said the geek tech toy addict part of me...
It would be an interesting project to look at tech toys like mp3 players, cameraphones, etc, and rate them based on a scale that included, ease of recycling, conditions of manufacture, etc. More than I can take on right now, but I send the idea out there, and hope it lands in the lap of someone with more time, and energy...