A few weeks ago I received an email from a PR agency (3mobilebuzz) asking me if I was up for trialling a new mobile phone for 3 Mobile: the Sony Ericsson C510. They said I’d also get taken on a ‘trip with a twist’ of London. Since I am still really new to London I reckoned this might be nice. Plus a free phone for a month, might as well eh. Turns out it was a cryptic quiz / treasure hunt competition thing on foot all over London, with questions about London landmarks, streets and history! I’m rubbish at that sort of thing and don’t know anything about London! And I’m not competitive. So, 3 hours in when the thing was supposed to be finished, I was only half way through the questions, exhausted, frustrated and hungry. So I gave up and called to demand to be told the finish point. Anyway, the point of the thing was to take pictures and video throughout and use Google Maps and upload stuff to Facebook and YouTube, which I managed to do. Here’s me trying to enjoy it next to some historical statue, possibly Shakespeare or Charles I.
One feature which is apparrently going to be exclusive to 3 when it launches is the Facebook Application on the phone. The phone’s screensaver shows all of your Facebook Friend’s current profile picture alongside their current status. You can skip forward and back between them too. It tells you when they updated it, but I discovered that this isn’t always correct even when you’ve just refreshed the data, so don’t trust it if it tells you that 3 minutes ago your friend said they were in such and such a venue. Also it would be nice if you could click on them and it would take you to their profile but it just takes you to the Facebook Application Home page, which is a basic text only news feed of all of your friends’ Facebook Activity. Clicking anything on that takes you to the standard Facebook Mobile website in the phone’s browser. I do really like the screensaver of status’ though.
When trying to take pictures it was really frustrating because it refused to zoom at all. This may have been because it was supplied without any memory card. This may also be why videos were limited to about 20 seconds. It also only has a 3.2 megapixel camera which seems a bit out of date when so many phones are 5 megapixels these days. However it does have face recognition technology which is awesome. My favourite thing is to try and draw a face realistic enough to make the phone think it’s a real face. Or find things in nature which look like faces and see if the phone agrees.
The handset is really skinny though – the skinniest handset I’ve ever owned for sure.
As to 3’s signal/reception, in my house in Bethnal Green I either have one bar or no bars and reception is generally terrible in comparison to my own phone which is on O2, which always has 4 or 5. However, at the boyfriend’s house it’s the opposite. So basically I need a 3 phone for when I’m at the boyfriend’s and an O2 phone for my house.
Despite that, it really came in handy when I was being corralled for 5 and a half hours by police when I’d stopped by the G20 protest to have a look on my way home from work. I was able to quickly and easily upload videos live from the scene to YouTube. That’s when I wasn’t being slammed into a lamp post by police (completely unprovoked – I was just waiting to be allowed to go home). Unfortunately when I saw a man being attacked by 3 police dogs I passed my housemate the phone to film it (he was closer) and he couldn’t work it out quick enough and just took a bunch of completely blurred photos. Luckily the bitten man saw my other videos and contacted me about it, so we’ll see what happens there.
Anyway, my free month of the phone was up the other day, but 3mobilebuzz promised me the phone for another two weeks in return for me and a friend doing another thing – “We’d like you both to use the phone to document a ‘Day in Your Life’, capturing a 24 hour period in 20 photos”. Fair enough, sounds good to me. So I agreed to that and now it has been called a ‘challenge’ and I’ve been sent a bunch of playing cards and a red ribbon through the post. Very mysterious. I only hope it doesn’t involve any trekking about or solving riddles!
Also, great timing or what, my other phone (also a Sony Ericsson) just broke today. Dear 3mobilebuzz, please can I keep the phone longer, or forever? I might be moving house soon so maybe the reception will be better there 😉
p.s. all my phone pictures and videos including the 3mobilebuzz challenge and the G20 protest stuff is in a set on my Flickr.