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QCP6035: A review

February 13th, 2002 · No Comments · Uncategorized

A few months ago, I bought the Kyocera QCP6035 combination cell phone and Palm PDA. I’ve had it long enough to feel I can assess it fairly. A device as dorky as this needs to be reviewed in several ways, because it does several things. However, in the interest of sticking to the Nosuch tradition of terse reviews, I’ll provide this one sentence summary: A massive cell phone that can crash.

Kyocera QCP6035

The QCP6035 is huge. Gigantic. Did I mention the phone is large? This may not be a big deal if you already push a wheelbarrow around with your other gadgets in it. In my personal crusade for technological decorum, I have to wear my phone on my belt because I refuse to turn the ringer on, instead exclusively relying on the vibrating alert. When I did this with my itty-bitty StarTac, I looked like a dork, but it’s for the public good. When I do this with my QCP6035, people think I have a portable artificial kidney strapped to my waist. Children point and stare before their parents pull them away.

“Mommy, Mommy, why does that man have such a big cell phone?”

“Shh, honey! That’s not polite. Either he’s poor, or that’s some sort of medical device.”

If I’m feeling bold, I’ll try to mount a feeble defense: “Actually, it’s a phone and Palm PDA. I used to carry two devices, now I carry just one. Yes, it’s big for a phone, but it’s actually less total gadget mass.”

This usually gets a polite, dismissive smile. Of course, what goes unstated is that no one but the biggest geek will wear a Palm PDA on their belt in the first place. So while it may be less gadget mass in total, it is a far more visible and conspicuous gadget mass.

The dork factor with this phone is extremely high. Uncomfortably high, I’ve discovered. I was hoping the phone’s gee-whiz-it’s-a-phone-it’s-a-pda-you-can-get-on-the-net factor would counter the dork factor, but no dice. The phone isn’t cool.

The integration between the PDA and phone is really good, though. Managing contacts, call logs, messaging, and other aspects of the phone via the PDA is really well done. But frankly, that’s not really that exciting.

Internet use, just like every other cell phone in the U.S., is pretty close to useless. No fault of the phone, really, and the big screen and PDA software probably make it the best Internet phone around, but that’s not saying much.

As a PDA, I’m not hugely impressed with Palm OS. Again, this isn’t a fault of the phone, though the phone does suffer from a small, hard to read, poor contrast display. I came to Palm from a Psion, and I am strongly biased towards a keyboard. Even ignoring the lack of a keyboard, I find Palm software just isn’t as good as what I was used to on my Psion. Basic things like cut and paste frequently don’t work on the Palm. Switching between applications on the QCP is slow and awkward. It’s much more work to use the Palm for basic things like taking down notes or contact information compared to my Psion. If you love using Palm software and the Palm OS, you’ll find the implementation of it on the QCP6035 is good. For me personally, I don’t find it as useful as I’d hoped. Two exceptions, though, are AvantGo, which lets me download web pages onto my PDA, and Vindigo which is a great city guide. The map in Vindigo has saved my bacon more than once.

One big, big problem with the QCP6035 is it can crash. I’m sure it has to do with some additional software I’ve installed, but I’ve installed very little, actually. The crashes are really bad because they happen when the phone is idle. I’ll go to use the phone, and it won’t respond. Some pokes and prodding and I’ll see an error dialog: “Fatal exception” with a reset button. Or the phone will be frozen, and won’t respond at all. In either case, what it means is I am unreachable. I have to reset the phone. I have missed calls because of this. My phone crashes about twice a week.

Unless you are a Palm nut or uber-geek, I’d stay clear of the QCP6035. I thought I was an uber-geek, but it looks like I don’t cut it.

On a related note, Sprint PCS sucks. If you are still thinking of getting a QCP6035, get it from anyone other than Sprint. Sprint charges for every Internet minute above and beyond the minutes I get in my calling plan. I wouldn’t mind my Internet access being deducted from my calling minutes, but Sprint doesn’t do this. So given a choice between a quick email via my phone, or making a call, I’m going to make a call because I’m already paying for it. Sprint also is lousy as delivering voice mail, which I find inexcusable. Voice mail is delayed any where from thirty minutes to a full day after a person leaves it. Combine that with a crashing cell phone, and I might as well not bother carrying this thing around.

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