Quest for a Camera-Less Phone


Before I begin let me tell you that I am much the mobile geek (and many a fried will testify to that). I have always had pretty high end phones and spent many hours installing third-party apps to extend their functionality. I always considered those owing a non-smart phone as lesser mortals. How ironic life be.. To my horror my current place of work does not allow camera phones in the facility. After fruitlessly trying to fight against the system I finally gave in and decided to buy a (dare I say it) camera less phone.

Now seeing as there is a wide diversity of mobile phones available in today’s marketplace I was sure to find some decent smart phone without a camera. Boy was I wrong! Not only are there no new camera-free smart phones but even the decent midrange feature phones all feature cameras. To make maters even worse, most of the budget phones also had a camera on board (albeit a rather low quality one but a camera nevertheless). I was faced with two choices, (i) either succumb to my situation and use an absolute base of the pyramid mobile one twentieth the cost of my current phone or (ii) return to the dark ages where people did not have mobile phones.

Unwilling to do either I decided to use my research skills to scour the virtual globe for any last remaining vestiges of camera-free smart phones. My extensive research led me to three devices which fit the bill of being fairly intelligent devices minus a camera. The phones were :- 
1) The Sony Ericsson W950
2) The Sony Ericsson G700 business edition
3) The Blackberry 88xx series

Device comparison:-

The SE W950 was, in my opinion, was the best looking phone of the lot. It was compact and was said to have good sound quality (after swapping the headphones) and had a touchscreen. The drawbacks of the device were its less than average keypad (practically no tactile feedback), no extendable memory (fixed 4GB flash drive), below average battery and a few software issues here and there.

The SE G700 business edition is essentially the same G700 without a camera. On paper it looked ideal. It was compact, had a good keypad and fairly good touchscreen. In terms of audio quality it was said to be on par with other sony ericsson phones. The drawback was that is I did not care for the looks and the battery life was less than acceptable.

The Blackberry 8800 was one of the most popular BBs in its day however now it’s pretty hard to come by. The phone has a very good battery life, typical blackberry form factor, good screen and best of all the ability to use blackberry connect. The drawbacks of this phone are its size and limited support for third party games (yes I am a child). Apparently the device does have pretty good audio quality however one would need to swap the supplied headphones for more powerful ones (not to mention to 2.5mm to 3.5mm adapter).

With my new found knowledge I set out look for these devices and not the quest really gets difficult. You see, all the above mentioned phones have been discontinued and are no longer available in the market. I will have to find working second-hand devices or tap various retailers to in-turn search the grey market for these devices. I even spoke to one dealer who said he’ll try and have one shipped from the Gulf if nothing comes up here.

I still have not decided on which phone to opt for as it also depends on what price they are quoted at. By my estimates they all should be around the same price but finding them would be the hard part. So fingers crossed… lets see how this goes. In the mean time feel free to post any suggestions you may have, I’d be happy to get someone else’s opinion.

Cheers
Prithvi

5 Response to Quest for a Camera-Less Phone

  1. My suggestion would be is to stick to the phone your girlfriend got you. :P

  2. ... and this from a girl who has 27 pairs of shoes (and counting)!!
    I guess this is more of a gender thing but i need to be surrounded by intelligent electronics. Without my smartphone i feel neutered and domesticated.. Do you not see the irony here.. its me with a base model phone which has the equivalent functionality of two paper cups connected by some string. I don't expect you to understand.. just accept me for my weird quirks.

  3. Lester says:

    Hi,

    Like you, the facilities that I frequent bans camera phones. I got myself a Blackberry 8800 2 year back and have been dissapointed with the phone.

    Prior to 8800, I was using a palm 650. Compared to the palm, the BB8800 UI is clunky, the trackball is a hopeless piece of sh#t, little things like the address books and options settings require far too many clicks and is nested too deep.

    On the plus side, the emails come in timely and is easy to use. It seems to be the only plus to me.

  4. Hi Lester,

    I actually ended up buying a BB 8820. Fairly happy with the phone, you are absolutely right about the UI, it needs far too many clicks to do the simplest of tasks. I have to say however, that I am quite impressed with the build quality and the media functions (especially audio) is comparable to a media-centric feature phone. I'll go into more detail in a long overdue review.

    Cheers
    Prithvi

  5. Thanks a lot !!!

    www.noncamerasmartphones.com

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