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Wear and tear: Nokia 7900 Prism, Sony Ericsson T650i
As a rule the users of fashion-savvy phones don’t buy the Nokia Prism, Sony Ericsson T650 and the likes for email or browser. These devices emphasize the owner’s status and please his eye with snazzy looks and sophisticated design. Plus, they tend to use this kind of handsets solely for calls, turning them into mere toys for quick and easy communication. No wonder good looks are what these phones are all about.
That’s why we are eager to figure out how fashion-conscious devices can hold up to abuse, because, the fact is, the materials they employ usually differ from what we experience with other not-so-fashionable handsets. Indeed, it is a rare occasion when you come across bare matte plastic in such a device – more often than not they enjoy metallic surfaces, glossy coatings and other neat touches.
Nokia 7900 Prism
For this test we took a unit that, let's be frank, it had better days, so we it didn't take us too long to find out the 7900 Prism's major shortcomings – the device went through the hands of many journalists and reviewers, who, in turn, didn't mind using and abusing it as they pleased.
We already mentioned how prone to grease and smudge the Nokia 7900 Prism's surface was, and basically we have nothing to add here – it does get all dirty in no time indeed.
The display’s coating has picked up a slew of miniscule scratches and some bigger scuffs too; it’s worth noting, though, that for the most part you won’t see the tiny ones. Nevertheless, getting the Prism’s display cover in such a pathetic state is quite a challenge; the fact that our unit didn’t look all that good was more due to the conditions it was carried and used in (in pockets along with key chains, bags etc). If you do care about how your handset looks, then just stuff it into a separate pocket, this should be enough to keep the display scratch-free for many months of use.
As far as wear and tear goes, the 7900 Prism’s keypad is arguably the most vulnerable element, it gets scratched all over in an eyewink, and in case it’s used by a girl who normally punches in messages with fingernails, the keypad will get ruined before long, that’s for sure. But as long as the keypad is backlit all scuffs and scratches keep a low profile, which is natural, though.
The glossy plastic employed in the 7900 Prism’s design can’t avoid scratches and minor damage either – tiny scratches at the base and above the camera module are very common guests there.
Interestingly, you won’t notice such scratches at first, but the more you use the 7900 Prism the more evident they become, and some parts of the casing actually take so much damage that the glossy coating goes off completely.
The bottom part of the back cover has worn off in some spots, exposing bare plastic underneath.
However, the rest of the back cover’s real estate doesn’t seem to have words like “wear and tear” in its dictionary – it may pick up some scratches here and there, but that’s about it; rest assured, it will maintain its pristine conditions for a long while.
But it suffers from a different kind of letdown – to access the battery you will have to remove the entire bottom half of the casing, and it tends to loosen up with time. That is, our unit felt wobbly on the ends, which was a bit irritating
All in all, the Nokia 7900 Prism’s casing is very vulnerable to all types of scratches and scuffs and barely gets away with it as far as its looks are concerned; but that’s chiefly thanks to its good coating and glossy surfaces that cover up some of its imperfections.
Sony Ericssson T650i
Over 10 months of quality time, the Sony Ericsson T650 has truly stood the test of time – scuffs and abrasions on it are striking only if you start examining the casing, but for the most part they don’t spoil the handset’s looks.
While its plastic doesn’t tend to wear off with time, smallish pieces of paint go off after some tumbles and shocks – our unit suffered exactly from these two misfortunes, but the scuffs around the edges are not discernible at all and don’t appear to grow in size over time.
The T650i’s metallic chassis is what absorbs most shocks and impacts – as far as durability goes, it leaves most competitors in the dust. However, while its details are well-painted and all, the keypad is its weak spot, especially the number “5” button, whose coating goes off to expose the bare plastic base.
To our shame, after several impacts our T650 got a few cracks, plus the right soft-key started malfunctioning now and then. Two months later the cracks got bigger, which resulted in a small piece of plastic falling off. But all in all, it takes the T650 around 6.5 months to get into this state, so this phone is actually a tough guy, with a robust casing and durable materials.
If you have some free time on your hands and would like to share pictures of your phone, smartphone or communicator for our future photo-reviews, we’d be most grateful.
You will have to take a few shots picturing different parts of your device, especially those that have worn off or picked up scratches. Then you will need to provide short comments for the best of them (i.e. clear, detailed images with all defects exposed): how you carried the phone (for example in the same pocket with keys), the way scratches, scuffs and abrasions appeared on it, etc. And finally, you will need to send a zip archive with your selection of images to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The more images with some particular model we receive, the more likely we are to post a photo-review over at Mobile-Review.com.
Published 15 May 2008
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