My new-every-two Verizon term was up for renewal, meaning I could get a new phone with big discounts. For the last two years, I’ve had a LG Dare touchscreen phone which features a decent web browser, and a virtual QWERTY keypad for spelling out those odd words and terminology in email and texts. It also had a decent camera, and took nice quality 640X480 video. I’d also gotten used to using the Verizon navigator service and Verizon email client and liked both.
So, I’d been thinking the last year about making the leap to a real smart-phone, an Android of some flavor, and making the commitment to Google address book, maps and navigation, and all that goes along with that. But I’d also been missing the phone call experience of a flip phone – something about talking into a flat touchscreen surface held against the side of my head never did feel quite right. After several weeks of researching and pondering, after all, phone selection is a big commitment, I decided against a touchscreen/Android upgrade and found a flip phone with some pretty cool features.
This is what attracted me about the C721 Casio phone:
- flip phone style
- cool conversion to digital camera form
- image-stabilization camera
- 3X optical zoom camera
- runs Verizon navigator
- runs verizon email client for personal and work email
- camera flash works as a flashlight
- Rhapsody music compatible
- and the biggie: military spec WATER and SHOCK RESISTANCE!
From my research I was aware of the following compromises:
- no QWERTY keyboard
- no android apps of course
- maximum of 320X170 video capability, I’d miss the hi-res video of my LG.
- crippled web browser
- Verizon address book still lacks mailing address fields
- no built in headphone/audio jack, and the provided port converter is for 2.5mm size headset plug
- awkward connectivity to a PC, not plug and play
After using this phone for a month, I’ve got the following observations:
- The camera takes damn good photos, but its not the quality I had hoped. Especially in lowlight.
- the external buttons are small and awkward
- built in photo editing functions are awful
- battery life is poor and getting worse, but I may have a defective battery
- Verizon navigator works great, and is truly functional and legible. Just wish they offered speedometer and odometer functions for my running.
- did I mention waterproof? I’m not reluctant to take this phone anywhere – and I’ve lost two phones previously to water damage.
- I have yet to try putting music on this phone, or to sync with a computer. Too much hassle.
- Verizons proprietary T9 predictive word technology cannot be taught custom words. Because no QWERTY keypad, I would use this.
- A native facebook client is not available.
I could switch back and forth between my old LG Dare and the Casio if I had a need to, but the irony is that the circumstance where I am most in need of the Dare’s web browser and QWERTY keyboard is when I go camping, and that’s also when the waterproof casio is highly valued. Now, if I could only tether with the Casio, I’d be a happy camper.