A friend of mine recently got his second cell phone, the Samsung Rant for Sprint. I say "got" and not "bought" because the phone is a hand me down from a friend who tacked my friend onto her family plan. Rant is an upgrade for him from an old Sprint flip phone whose make and model he can't recall (also a hand me down). My friend is 40-ish and never owned a cell before his friend added him to her family plan, and has been happy to accept her hand me downs and not get caught up in the mobile phone rat race. He sent me his thoughts on Rant, and I found them interesting and well-written enough to ask him if I could repost his "review" on the site. He said sure, and we decided to conceal his identity - and have some fun - by dubbing him The 40 Year-Old Cell Phone Virgin ... with a big nod, of course, to Steve Carell.
I should tell you that 40 Y.O., as I'll call him for short, is not at all un-tech savvy. Quite the contrary, he's a software engineer and jack of many trades computer-related. And, again, he didn't choose the Samsung Rant or Sprint - they chose him. That said, I found it great to get my head out of the rareified bubble of uber-geekdom in which it spends most of its time, and "back with the people" so to speak - it's great to hear what a smart guy who's not used to the quirks of mobile phone design has to say about a relatively typical and popular messaging phone circa 2009:
40 Year-Old Cell Phone Virgin Review: Samsung Rant (Sprint)
(Editor's Note: This all started when I was trying to help 40 Y.O. transfer photos from Rant to his iMac. I told him to use the microSD card and he couldn't find the slot, which is hidden behind Rant's back battery cover.)
Honestly though, the fact that without thinking I've been able to use the phone to take pictures and start an eBlog is pretty good plug'n'play. Even if it requires going through Sprint's middle-management slideshow site. Viewing and downloading images from the site is pretty straightforward, but I haven't found any indication of how long they remain there or how I can delete them to ensure I don't run out of storage space.
That is my 40ish-year-old cellphone virgin review of the Sprint Rant.
As long as I'm reviewing, I also like that it still tells time when I'm in the subway with no reception, unlike my favorite phone (the old nameless flip phone). And, the Rant's qwerty keyboard has made texting possible. A 10-word message that took me 15 minutes to type on a numeric keypad, I can now do in under 5. The keys up top take some precision thumbnail action to press, but overall I'm a big fan of the qwerty keyboard for my (twice a month) texting. Also much faster for adding names & email addresses to my contact list. The numeric keypad (compared to my old favorite) has way tiny keys and I often hit two at once. Whenever I dial a new number, a few extra digits get included and it takes a couple tries. Admittedly, I do have big thumbs.
One of the things I like about a flip phone is that when you close it, it locks (sleeps?). You open it, it unlocks (wakes up?). It won't make calls without your consent. With the rant, unlocking is done by holding down asterisk then Back key. This takes two hands and often many tries to get it to work. Maybe I've got a glitchy one, but sometimes I just give up on the key combo and slide open the keyboard to wake it up. And even then, I still often have to press asterisk/Back once it's open to wake it up. And anytime I want to put it in my pocket without making accidental calls, I first have to hold down Back key until it sleeps. Not a big deal, except I know I may have a wrestling match next time I want to use it. Minor inconvenience, but inconvenience nonetheless.
I know brick means a dead phone, but this feels like a brick. Not necessarily in a bad way. You call it candy bar, I call it ingot. When I pull out that block and people see me barely able to wrap my hand around it, and they step forward to help me as I reel under its weight, I'm all like, "It's okay, I got a qwerty in here. I don't use it, but yeah, I got a qwerty."
That unwieldy solid mass of phone is a point of pride. Yes it's a little bulky, but it still feels pretty good. It doesn't melt into my hand the way the tapered rounded wonder that was my old phone did, rather it feels more like a tool, like something I'm gonna use to do some important things. I'm just gonna tell time, make calls and take pictures, but it will all feel a little more weighty, a little more important.