June 10 - Exactly 3 days after my birthday, I decided to buy myself the ultimate birthday gift. A brand new Nokia 3250 with a full black body finish. This twisting, turning, music playing smart phone is IMHO the best convergence device that money can buy. It is a PDA, iPod, 2 MPx Camera, Jukebox, USB pen drive and more all rolled into one. Its outstanding speakers plays clear music (much better than the tin sounds emitted by mobiles these days) that can be heard even in the adjacent room! Its battery lasts for 10 hours of continuous music playing, which makes it an ideal iPod killer.
Technically, the main superiority of this model is the ability to plug in 3.5 mm type headphones (yes, your normal headphone) and the use of Series 60 3rd Edition OS. The former compliments its excellent audio fidelity and the latter is the most touted feature of Nokia N Series phones. Priced must lower than an N Series phone, I must say 3250 is an extremely good value for money. What more, unlike its predecessor 3230, the phone admirably has no bugs or complains whatsoever since its release last month. Looks like Nokia has a winner in its stables this time.
After some playing around, I realized that this is currently the only phone that can play music while conversing. This is a really cool feature. From faking the background noise of a noisy cricket ground to playing birthday tunes to your (physically) distant relatives, one can find many imaginative uses for such a feature. I also love LifeBlog software by Nokia which stores all my snaps and smses in chronological order automatically. Sweet! Though, being a new OS, there are not enough Symbian software ready for OS 9.0, I quickly realized that there are tonnes of J2ME midlets that run flawlessly on this phone. My only gripe with this phone is, ironically enough, the charger. Unlike the standard 3.5 mm pin Nokia charger which is readily available anywhere in the world, 3250 uses the newer 2 mm pin charger. My package disappointingly doesn’t include a 3.5 mm to 2 mm converter. Thus, it is clear that Nokia has done no major modification to the charger, but simply reduced the form factor a tad bit. But by making such a trivial change they have created a frustrating incompatibility for most of the Nokia users.
The model boasts support for the newer and more efficient music formats like enhanced AAC. I also attempted to convert my mp3 music collection to this format. I was quickly dissapointed by my results. After a bit of reading I realised that this transcoding process results in inferior quality files because we are converting one lossy format to another. Both MP3 and AAC uses different mathematical and spectral models, hence it is bound to loose a lot of information. Hence, I decided to retain the mp3 files as they are.
PS: The phone has been christened Paaru. For non-mallus Paaru is the affectionate shortened version of Paarvathy (Lord Siva’s better half). Why Paaru? My search for the perfect convergence device draws parallel to Siva’s relentless search for his conjugal partner, I might say. Naaah…. I just loved the name…. it just clicks ;-)