The cell phone finalists: T610 or 3650?

by brian d foy

I have narrowed the cell phone field to two contenders, the Sony Ericsson T610 and the Nokia 3650. Neither come close to my initial requirements, but no phone does.

I settled relunctantly on T-Mobile, since my wife already has a phone with them, after I gave up on Verizon, which has served me well but seems sadly stuck in the last century. It is a pity I cannot give my money to the carrier I really want. I wish Motorola had more BlueTooth options, but since they do not, I have to choose someone else, and another company loses my money. Even though we are both in Chicago, Motorola, I cannot buy local and it looks like my money is going overseas.

I have a selection of 11 phones in my T-Mobile service area (Chicago), but only two, these final two, show up on Apples iSync device list. They both have BlueTooth, and they both have a lot of add-on services designed to suck the money right out of my checking accounting. Even though I do not want to send video email from my phone, once I have a phone that does it, I might be really annoying to my friends and family who have already seen enough out-of-focus pictures of my cats.

Timothy Appnel says from the Emerging Technology Conference that the Nokia 3650 is the phone to have", and I am leaning that way since it is the last thing I read. How can so many Mac users be wrong?

Although T-Mobile does not list the Sony Ericsson P800 SmartPhone, a couple of people have told me I can buy it and take it into their store for programming. I think I would have to pay full price for the phone, in that case, whereas the ones T-Mobile lists have generous rebates. Besides, the notion of a SmartPhone scares me---its only with some trepidation that I am even venturing beyond technology that does caller ID, the most fancy feature on my last phone.

Maybe this is a good thing---I am being forced to try something new and outside my gadget and brand loyalty comfort limits.

Would you choose the Nokia 3650 or the SOny Ericsson T610?


2004-02-11 14:10:12
SE T610 vs. Nokia 3650
I think they both offer similar functionality. As I recall the 3650 has much more internal memory.

But physically it is much larger than the T610, which I can put in my shirt chest pocket and no one even knows I'm carrying a phone. Look up the physical dimensions on-line, draw each out on a piece of paper, and compare if you think this would be an issue for you. Don't forget thickness.

Also, the 3650 has a funky key arrangement which you may or may not like.

2004-02-11 15:08:31
Wait for the 6230
I have GSM service with Cingular and I bought the T610/T616 last year since it was chock full of features in a small package. I used Nokia phones for a long time and was initially put off by the SonyEricsson interface, but eventually got used to it. However, even today I'm having issues with navigation, the address book, and even games that just don't seem natural. The perils of early adopting.

If you can wait for it, the phone I'm hoping to get is the new Nokia 6230. It has all the features/size of the T610/616 with the Nokia interface.

2004-02-11 20:32:02
Go with the T630
I own a T610 and while the phone is generally pretty good, reception leaves a lot to be desired, and the screen isn't all that great outside. Its still a good phone, but from what I've read online the T630 is pretty much the same phone with a better screen and better reception. Its a lot smaller than the 3650 which is also nice.
2004-02-11 23:22:38
choices, choices
I was in much the same situation last year when I was shopping for a new phone.
I'd decided on the T610 for its more traditional keyboard layout and because it's thinner (therefore easier to stuff in your pocket) but ended up getting the 3650 anyway because the T610 was not yet on sale here (despite being listed in the catalogues of all major resellers) and wouldn't arrive for several more months (guess someone underestimated the demand and decided that our small market would have to wait at the last moment).

I'm quite happy with it. Reception is excellent and so is sound quality. The screen is bright and easy to read.
I'm using it for voice and occasional SMS only (after looking up the GPRS rates here I decided to pass up on that for now, they're extortionist at 10 a month (on top of the normal rate) + 1 per MB of data) so can't tell you if the data functionality is userfriendly.

The camera is decent, for a phonecam. I've used it once to make a background picture for the camera and no more (no GPRS means no MMS, and I'd have noone to send stuff to anyway as none of my friends have MMS either).

2004-02-12 01:13:22
SE Z600
I'm in the same decision process right now. I right now have a SE T68i and I need to replace it because it's leaving me. I liked a Symbian phone, but the 3650 is just too big and clunky (I wonder what the designers were smoking when they came up with that keyboard...) and the 6600 is too expensive, as are SE P800/900.

I think I'll go with the T630, once SE decides to distribute it here in Italy...

You said you liked a flip-phone design, you might want to look at SonyEricsson Z600. It has exactly the same software as the T610/T630, with a TFT screen and a flip. It is a bit thicker than the T610/T630, but it also has a bigger keyboard and screen.

2004-02-12 08:49:30
3650 has it's downsides...
I'm with T-Mobile because of the insane amount of minutes you get with their plans - currently I've got 5000 anytime, free nights / weekends, 1000 text msgs for $150 a month. Their network isn't the greatest in some remote areas, but from what I've heard, none of them are. Having been through Cingular and Verizon, though, I can safely say I like T-Mobile the best out of those three.

That said, I originally started with the Nokia 3390, but later on I felt that I wanted more features. I chose the 3650 over the T610 because I'm used to Nokia phones. Camera, bluetooth, Outlook calendar / address book synch - perfect for what I needed!

However, I hope that your Mac iSync stuff works A LOT better than Bluetooth on Windows, because getting this phone and that CRAPPY Nokia software to sync with my Windows PC is just a joke. To the point where I just have to laugh.

If you have a Windows PC and want to sync a phone with it, MAKE DAMN SURE that phone has a USB cradle. SERIOUSLY! BLUETOOTH ON WINDOWS IS NOT AN OPTION. Macs, maybe...I sadly don't own a Mac, so I couldn't tell you for sure.

Anywho, the camera on the 3650 is decent, and have used it pretty extensively. The one clear advantage that the Nokia has over the T610 is that the Nokia includes a removable / upgradeable 16mb MMC card. That said, I've had this phone for about a year and have never come close to filling that thing up. And I take A LOT of photos with it (largely cuz I'm just weird like that).

Anywho, a lot of people gripe about the keypad but I found it remarkably easy to get used to. It's really not that bad. Oh and about the bulk - it is a big phone, true, but having used the other extreme - a Nokia 8290 - I can say that in my experience, the bigger phones have better reception.

It's a mixed bag of phones out there, Brian; all I can is that I like the 3650 (for the most part), but personally would rather have waited for the Motorola MPx220 that's (supposedly) coming to T-Mobile...granted it's an M$ OS so it's probably going to crash more than my 3650 does...but sadly, I think I'm getting used to the idea of my cell phone crashing...

2004-02-12 10:42:42
For the 3650
Actual sound quality and reception seems great -- certainly much better than the Motorola V66 I bought for my wife.

Looking ahead: Nokia has promised a Perl and/or Python interpreter for the 60 series.

2004-02-12 14:03:33
I've been going through much the same process (I will get a new phone later this year). But now Nokia scares me, despite the good I've heard, because of the Bluetooth security holes. YOW! An attacker can read and even edit your contacts.

Of course, according to this site, all phones have some vulnerability here, but Nokia is worse than the others.

2004-02-12 15:14:23
Apple and the Nokia 3650
I am a Mac owner who has had a Nokia 3650 for 8 months with T-Mobile. I got it free (after rebates) from Amazon.


1. If you EVER think you might work in a classified or secure area, don't get a camera phone. They won't let you take it in to the the building. Of course the same goes for health clubs nowadays.

2. The phone is great for news and sports junkies who need a fix at a stoplight, with the wife at the mall etc. I browse headlines from ABCNews, and CNN (wish CNN would have links to the top of the link hierarchy on each page like ABC does -- you have to pop the stack after you drill down into an article). The IMAP email support allowed me to get my email on vacation at a remote lake house.

3. The phone DOES NOT meet "Apple ease of use" criteria. My phone (and my wifes and one other friend's) need to be rebooted regularly to defrag the RAM -- otherwise GPRS stops working.

4. I love the camera. My wife and I send photos to each other regularly. The video is a gimic. The resolution is so low it is practically unusable.

5. Bluetooth support is good. I still haven't figured out how to browse the phones file system, but the latest Bluetooth driver seems to make it possible (I need to read my Mac OS X Unwired a little more). Whoever said security is an issue is probably wrong (at least in my experience). Each Bluetooth transaction is preceded by a Yes/No dialog prompt to allow a connection followed by a passkey entry dialog (for example I enter "BR549" on the Mac, then the phone prompts for entry of "BR549", or vice versa).

6. As a phone it is good. T-Mobile service has been great. You'll never figure out the keypad dial, but that's part of the fun!

2004-02-12 19:58:11
Apple and the Nokia 3650
Any real security does not allow cell phones in secure areas anyway. I know---I'm the guy with the automatic weapon out front. :)
2004-02-12 20:00:40
Wait for the 6230
A lot of people are saying I should wait, but that does not help me next month when I need a cell phone. :)
2004-02-12 20:02:01
SE T610 vs. Nokia 3650
I like the larger size---I can put the phone in my bag and find it later when I fish around for it. I lose small things too easily.