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Monday, 10 May 2010

Obituary to Chinese Impersonator!

It is with great sadness that I announce the demise of my trusty N82 Chinese impersonator. This great phone has spent 13 months nobly impersonating a Nokia before finally giving up the ghost and going to electronic heaven today.

The N82 became ill a few days ago - notably about 3 weeks after the 12 month warranty expired. At first, it had fits of rejecting all nourishment from the charger, then took a turn for the worse when everything happened at once and we had lights flashing and ring tones ringing all at the same time. The N82 then quietly drifted off into a sort of slumber.

Now slightly incapacitated it locked itself back to factory settings and refused to accept it still had a memory card. In its weakened state it seemed temporarily to welcome the daily feeds until last night.

All attempts to introduce any electrical current into the handset failed and finally this morning, at around 8.45am, the phone finally switched itself off having fought hard to keep itself going long enough for the alarm to wake me.

Attempts were made to revive this once wonderful and feature-rich item and everything possible was done to encourage its software to restart. Occasionally, there was a limited response which gave us all hope but, by this evening, even that hope had vanished and we had to accept the N82 has gone to its final resting place.


I had not really come across cheap Chinese mobiles until I came to Egypt. When I arrived in Egypt I had a Motorola that I had been using for around 4 years. Not surprisingly, some features started to fail and I decided on a new handset. By now I had 2 sim cards. On arrival I had purchased a Mobinil card because they were offering the best deals and cheapest calls - especially abroad so they were the cheapest option for calling friends back in the UK. Plus they were allowing non-residents to buy full pay-as-you-go packages. Everyone else was only allowing non-residents to buy a tourist package which forced you to buy a new package every 3 or 6 months. I dtched my UK Vodafone card and inserted the new Mobinil sim.

The Motorola was originally issued by Orange as a contract phone but when I took a job as a Holiday Rep I had to reconsider. I would be away for 6 months at a time. I didn't want to keep paying a monthly fee for something I didn't use and everyone except Vodafone needed me to make a chargeable call every 3 months to maintain validity. With Vodafone this was extended to 6 months. I therefore went to the local Sunday market where a very nice man unlocked my handset from Orange for not very much money. Then I bought myself a Vodafone sim.

My company also gave me a phone on a Vodafone contract because, when I arrived in Hurghada, I was the only Rep so my phone was also the resort emergency phone for guests.

I therefore gave my friends and family in the UK, plus a couple of special friends I made in Hurghada the Mobinil number and everyone else had the Vodafone contact. This meant always having 2 phones with me but I didn't mind.

About 6 months after I arrived the merger between First Choice and Thomson (to become TUI Travel plc) meant that things changed drastically for the Reps. The company phone was taken away and I was told to buy, at my own expense, a new sim card for my business line. The upside was that during my off duty hours I would no longer receive calls as they would be diverted to a call centre. The need to divert after hours meant I couldn't use my existing Mobinil number because I still wanted to speak to friends who called. So I bought a new handset (a very cheap one) and a new Mobinil sim for work. I started to give out the new Mobinil number but, about a week later, we all realised that call divert is not an option with Mobinil pay-as-you-go. My boss then ordered me to purchase another new sim on Vodafone which does allow this feature.

Eventually I left the company because I wanted to stay in Hurghada and they wouldn't guarantee any extension to my contract here. I handed in the Mobinil sim card which they had paid for on expenses and kept the Vodafone card. They hadn't reimbursed me for this as they said they wouldn't reimburse me for 2 sims. Also, I had given a lot of friends here in Hurghada the Vodafone number and hated the thought of the time and cost of sending them all an SMS with yet another new number.

Somewhere around this time my Motorola died (although I did not write it an obituary).

I now had 2 sim cards and a handset that only took 1. I set out to buy a new handset. That's when I discovered these too-good-to-be-true Chinese phones. I was quickly persuaded to part with a small amount of money for suck a swanky looking and feature rich item that took 2 sims. This phone didn't pretend to be anything at all except a Chinese phone and had no guarantee. Needless to say, after 6 months I started having problems.

Now Egypt is a resourceful place and you can get things mended that you wouldn't think of getting mended anywhere else. I had my phone mended and it went on for another 6 or 7 weeks before it needed mending again. I had it repaired a second time and about 8 or 9 weeks later it started switching itself off whenever it felt like it and needed another visit to the phone doctor. At this point I started to think that if this went on it would be cheaper to buy another phone.

I was again lured by a not so feature rich and cheaper Chinese phone which came with the promise of a 12 month warranty - the good old N82!! For the duration of the warranty period I have to say it gave excellent service and always behaved impeccably. Sadly, within a few days of the end of the warranty it started to throw little tantrums from time to time and, 1 month after the warranty expired so did the phone.

I have now excuse. I HAD heard the saying that if something seems too good to be true then it is too good to be true.

I have now bought a replacement. This also did not cost too much and does take 2 sims but does not have so many features. After all, I realised once the novelty had worn off with the previous 2 phones I didn't use the other features anyway. After all, how often do I want to watch Egyptian TV (choice of 2 channels only) on a miniature screen, or sit for hours playing a pointless matching game when the battery life is so short the battery dies before you finish the game? The other difference with the new handset is that I have chosen a well-known brand that is NOT CHINESE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have, in fact, now purchased a Samsung. I have owned Samsung handsets in the past and found them to be very good. Also, the specific handset I have chosen has received good reviews and is supposed to be quite sturdy.

We'll just have to see. It's made in Korea supposedly. However, I am a little concerned to see that all the printed material in the box says it was printed in China????????????????? (have I entered some sort of horror movie or groundhog day perhaps?)

Watch this space.

1 comment:

  1. FOLLOW UP - the Samsung is still going strong. It has not given me any problems at all and it's now 15 February 2012!!! Perhaps it was only the box that came from China after all.

    I am looking for a new phone but only because I want features the current phone doesn't have like voice activated dialling, touch screen etc. Problem I'm having is getting the features I want in a phone that is unlocked and takes 2 sim cards (for 2 networks). Unlocked phones and dual sim phones are NOT a problem in Egypt - you find them all over the place. However, it's proving difficult to find them with the right features.

    Never mind, perhaps if I keep looking I'll find one eventually. Till then, the Samsung I bought in 2010 is working well and doing its job and that's all I REALLY need after all.