I spent the day at my parent’s house near Buffalo. Our family cell plan contract was up this month, and we decided to extend it since it’s cheaper than maintaining three separate plans. As such, we all got new phones - Eric and I both got a Samsung SCH-a630, and my parents are sharing an SCH-a850.

I like the phone because it’s pretty small, and I like the clamshell. However, I was so used to my old phone and knew EXACTLY how to do everything I wanted to, that adapting to this one was been rocky at best. It seems that Voice Dialing is in no way attached to the phone book - on the Motorola, you could add a voice dial to contacts in the phone book, and everything was peachy. On the Samsung, you record a voice dial, and then enter the number that goes with it, whether it’s already in the phone book or not. The ringers just plain suck, so I picked the least annoying of them. When you adjust the ringer volume, it doesn’t actually make any noise, so I have no idea how loud “Level 3” is until someone calls me. As far as I can tell, there’s no voice note feature, which sucks because I’d often leave reminders for myself. The color screen is sort of nice, but my long-standing suspicion was correct - a simple, monochrome list is a much more usable menu than a colorful one with icons.

The text predictor isn’t as flexible as the Motorola’s - if the word isn’t in the dictionary, you have to enter it manually. On the Motorola, you could sort of fudge it - for example, I have a friend we call Cupcake. Cupcake is not in the dictionary on the Samsung (and I don’t think it’s in the Motorola). With either, you hit 2-8-7 and get “Cup.” When I hit 2 for the second ‘c,’ it suggests “Curb.” I can hit 0 to cycle through other suggestions, but none of them are right - once I’ve typed the whole word, my options are “Curable” and “Btracke.” On the Motorola, it shows a running tally of options, so it would read “Cupa,” but I could use the right arrow to get “Cupb,” “Cupc,” or “Cup2,” and go from there. It was a nice compromise between text prediction and manual entry.

In the twelve hours or so that I’ve had the thing, I haven’t been too impressed. I imagine it will grow on me, especially once I’m familiar with all the menus and such, but I wish I could have a simple, usable, sturdy phone like I did.

On the bright side, Mom took me shopping and got me some clothes for my birthday. I got to hang out with the family, and I got One Last Ride in before it’s too cold for motorcycling. Along the way, I stopped by a friend’s place and got to take my buddy’s new Harley for a spin, too, so the day wasn’t a loss by any means.