Sunday, October 21, 2007

Awesome Asian Cell Phone Technology? Not Quite.

I've been here for two months and successfully lived without a cell phone.

That is a statement I never expected to utter. One of the things I couldn't wait to get when I came to Korea was a cool new tricked out Asian phone. I expected to have to pay like 40 or 50 bucks to buy a phone and be on my way. Well, I was pleasantly surprised that my school offered free phones to the staff, and all we had to do was put $10 worth of minutes on a phone per month in order to use it.

Perhaps 'pleasantly' is a word that shouldn't be used so liberally here. The phone that I received was a Samsung AnyCall something or other:





I say something or other, because I spent a good 15-20 minutes today trying to find any type of specs on line, but to no avail. Anycall is the brand of Samsung for its Chinese, Korean, and Russian phones. Some of their products look pretty snazzy but I believe my phone to be easily 5 years old (which is a dinosaur for how far cell phone technology has come in the last few years) so its got no flair.

The screen has color, but very basic graphics, and its menu is not user friendly. It takes the phone 3-4 minutes to even turn on, and when it does some stupid dancing fairy has to go through its routine before you can get to the main menu. The phone is set to English, yet whenever I attempt to add in a contact or write a text message, the script will still come out in Hangul (Korean writing). Also, to get to the phonebook you have to go through 4 different menu options to even get there. There is no scrolling option to be found anywhere. Not to mention the battery doesn't last longer than 10-12 hours and takes about 10-15 to charge on its base. Yes, it has a base, not just a plug in option.

As far as the $10 a month option, it operates as almost a pay as you go. You're not on a contract once you register the phone but you have to put a minimum of 10,000W down. I have no idea how many minutes this gets you, but incoming calls are free. Supposedly if you do not use all of your minutes, by the end of the month you lose whatever money you have left, as it will not carry over to the next month. This is still up for debate. The Koreans are an extremely helpful people, but they also like to leave out a lot of important details on purpose if they think you won't be happy with it.

I could just go out and buy a phone and get on a contract somehow (apparently its pretty difficult for foreigners to get a contract in Korea), but since I barely use this thing as it is, paying $10 a month when I need to use it isn't a bad option. We'll see how it goes...

1 comment:

Michael said...

i have the same shitty phone. i used to have a pretty cool one i got for real cheap. http://smurf-house.blogspot.com/2007_03_01_archive.html

but i lost it and now i have to settle for this taped up anycall clamshell.