Monday, November 26, 2007

Fix my phone!

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The past few months my son has been having problems with his Sony Ericsson K310i, specifically with the unit shutting down intermittently even though the battery wasn't discharged yet. "Automatic shutdown" was my son's term for it.

Over the weekend, the cellphone finally decided to give up the ghost, showing nothing than a continuously blinking white screen when powered up.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketNot wanting to be stuck with a high tech paperweight, and with unit still under warranty, I promptly called up Globe Handyphone for advice on how to have the cellphone serviced. I was instructed to bring the malfunctioning unit to a Sony Ericcson service center, and as it turned out, the closest service center to my location is the Sony Ericsson Concept Shop in SM North EDSA. My son and I were off to visit it the next day.

I was never a Sony Ericsson person, as I've always preferred Nokia cellphones instead. The thing with Nokia is, if you know how to use one model, then you wouldn't have any problems using any other Nokia model, thanks to its semi-standardized user interface. Sony Ericsson cellphones also have semi-standardized user interfaces, but since I got my first Nokia almost a decade ago, I've never really seen the need to move on to another brand.

I've owned more than a dozen Nokia cellphones in the past ten years or so, and I've never really had a unit go south on me, whether it be a lowly 5110 or a high-end Nseries phone. I guess Nokias are just as tough as nails. Nothing against Sony Ericssons, but they just don't strike me as being as durable as Nokias. Then again, I really wouldn't know since I've never really owned one. That being said, having a unit less than a year old break down on my son doesn't really fill me with confidence.

Sony Ericsson phones are quite notable in the fact that they have better feature sets than their Nokia contemporaries, especially with their low to mid-range products. Nokia is notorious for releasing several similar models over a particular model series with compromises in features here and there, without any unit within a range overwhelmingly better than the rest. While this may have the advantage of having more models to choose from, the downside is that Nokia cellphones depreciate in value more rapidly than comparable models from Sony Ericsson, which tend to retain their value better over the long term.

Of course, it's not necessarily an apples to apples comparison. For the most part any cellphone from Sony Ericsson or Nokia, or for that matter, any other contemporary brand will serve your needs quite well, it's just a matter of preference and/or brand loyalty. For my son, that preference was for Sony Ericsson.

I was somewhat taken aback when we got to the Sony Ericsson Concept shop at Cyberzone, SM North EDSA. They had around four people tending to customers in the sales area, while there where none at the service area, despite a line of people waiting to have their units serviced.

The wait wasn't excrutiatingly long though, only about 10 to 15 minutes. It would have helped though if there were people at the service counter though. For at least 10 minutes there wasn't anyone. Hmmm. Around four or so employees at the sales area. No one at the service area. I guess for them sales must be more important than service.

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Where the heck is everyone?

Eventually our number was up, and it was determined that my son's cellphone was in need of a software update. Thankfully, there were no hardware problems whatsoever. We left the unit to be fixed and went on with the rest of our day. Minor quibbles include my having to drop by a Globe business center to get a certification that I got my son's unit from them, and the fact that no one was answering the phone at the Sony Ericsson shop when I tried to follow up the unit's status, despite repeated attempts. Eventually someone did answer, but again, the less than enthusiastic treatment I got wasn't exactly confidence inspiring.

Later in the day we picked up the unit, and it was now working. Being under warranty I didn't have to spend anything on the repair. I think an out of warranty software update would have set me back around P500.00 or so, and while this isn't a huge amount by today's standards, it's still quite a sum to be saved by having them perform the update under warranty.

All wasn't well though. My son was quite disappointed over the fact that all of his contacts, messages, tones, pictures, games and other files were lost, proving that you can never be too young to be a victim of technology.

But I guess he'll just have to live with that.

His phone now works flawlessly, and even the automatic shutdowns which have plagued the unit before have disappeared. At the end of this adventure, this was the only thing that really mattered.

As for me, I'll stick with Nokia.

I've never had any reason to visit a Nokia service center in the more than ten years I have owned Nokia phones, and hopefully, I'll never have to visit one in the future.

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