Nokia N-Gage QD

august 23, 2004

Well, on GameStop's website they reported that the newer N-Gage handset is shipping. This is the QD (it really doesn't stand for anything) started shipping on the 20th of this month, so I stopped by the local GameStop store to see if they had any in stock. They had a whole shelf full of the N-Gage QDs and I picked one up. The original N-Gage intrigued me. It was a hybrid smart phone (running Symbian OS), game deck, MP3 player and FM radio. It had its problems though, and I did not pick one of the originals up. The biggest problem with the original was the whole "taco talking" or "side talking" aspect of the phone. Other problems was the large size of the phone and the need to take off the back of the phone (take out battery, etc) in order to change a game cartridge. All of these faults have been rectified with the QD. It is smaller, cuter (yea, cuter), normal talking, cartridges can be loaded from the bottom without turning phone off, and it even sports a nice brighter screen. I really didn't get the QD because of the game deck aspect of the device though. There aren't that many good games for the thing anyways. The QD does make for a very cool and cheap smart phone when compared to its siblings running the same Symbian OS. These brothers and sisters include the SonyEricsson P900 (which by the way costs some $800 if you buy direct from SonyEricsson), the Siemens SX1, the Sendo X, the Nokia 6600 ($399 at T-Mobile, and the Nokia 3660 ($299 at T-Mobile). All of these phones costs a lot more than the mere $200 that the QD costs -- and that is no discounted price, that is full price for the unlocked phone. Yea, it doesn't have a camera built-in (whoopee), but that whole camera phone rage ended for me a while ago. The QD syncs with my iBook -- though it has a weird bug that reports a "system error" at the end of an iSync, I'll have to figure that one out later. I got all my calendar events, to-dos, and contacts synced over to the phone with little fuss using the built-in Bluetooth. The nice benefit is that the contacts/addressbook on the QD actually keeps addresses, birthdays, URLs, and other assorted information for the contacts. That is something that my SonyEricsson's phonebook did not do. The built-in XHTML web browser is really nice also. It does not do Javascript, SSL, nor frames, but for the basic browsing it should be fine. It sure beats having to use that crappy Reqwirelessweb (or as it was known before as Reqviewer) on my T610 -- which used some funky way of proxy browsing and HTML rendering. I did sign up for the N-Gage Arena but I am still exploring that. Arena is a psuedo-community and online competition center for N-Gage players (much like Microsoft's Xbox Live, but Arena is free). The QD came with Tony Hawk for free, which I tried out briefly. The game looks better than the Gameboy Advance version and gets close to PS1 quality in rendering. I'll have to play it more to see how it is. The Arena integration of Tony Hawk is interesting, but I haven't played that enough either. Anyways, I'll have to explore the phone more and see how the QD really comes up. So far it's a great cheap Symbian OS-based smart phone, a deal that most cannot beat.