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One for the good old times!
Aug 23, 2005 12:44 AM 2782 Views
(Updated Aug 23, 2005 12:46 AM)

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Okay, you will have to be honest to me, reply to me in the comments section – have you ever heard about this phone? At least I have. In fact, I have even used it, till I discarded it some 3 years ago. Now you may ask me what hit upon my head that made me write a review about this phone? Well, I recently saw this phone in the hands of an elderly lady as I was travelling in a city bus, and it reminded me of some good memories I have of this phone. The good old days of mobile telephony were quieter and fun than today.

Let me recap to the summer of 2000, when we had purchased this phone. I don’t quite remember the exact price of this phone but I can guess that it must have been in the range of Rs. 5000. Please don’t compare it to modern handsets for obvious reasons. Even a decent Nokia 1100 comes for barely Rs. 2750 and is feature packed when compared to the Ericsson A1018s. Now back to the summer of 2000. It almost caused hysteria in my household when my dad purchased this handset. We hadn’t even thought about owning a cell phone at that time given that the call rates for incoming and outgoing calls were a whopping Rs. 9 per min! SMS weren’t even thought about. I did not learn to send a SMS till 2002, and by that time, I had already replaced the battery of this phone once. But the purchase of this phone brought a smile on our face and strange looks of awe on the faces of people we knew.

It took me some time to learn how to use this phone, not because its menu system was difficult, but because I had never used a cell phone till then. And in the few days that I took to learn how to use the phone, I had lots of fun, changing its settings over and over, including panicking once when I dropped it and its battery came apart. Thankfully it worked after fixing the parts together.

Some Tech Talk

At the outset itself, I should remind you that all that I am going to write here is largely from my memory, because I discarded this phone ages ago! The striking feature of this phone is its size. I used to call the A1018s a jumbo phone when I was using Nokia 3310. But now I prefer to call it an elephant phone thanks to the sleek, slim and small models that are available in the market. I think it must have weighed around 170-200 grams, much heavier than some of the modern day phones.

It did not have any phone book memory although it could hold up to 10 SMS messages. And the wonderful thing about it was that unlike modern day phones which refer to the SMS menu as Messages or SMS or related words, it used to refer to the same menu as Read Mail and Write Mail, which made me wonder if I am really sending an e-mail from my cell phone. Those were the days of high call rates and I had equated those high call rates to equally high charges for sending mails from my cell phone, and thanks to that belief, I did not send any SMS messages. Of course it was another matter that none of my friends owned a cell phone at that time and services like 8888 and 8243 did not exist.

It had a decent battery life for phones of that era, lasting up to 48 hours with less than 2 mins. of talk-time (if there was any!). The keypad was soft on hands although I wont call it a breeze when it comes to writing text messages. One striking feature that was missing from this phone is the vibrating alert. This handset did not have a vibrating alert and I missed quiet a few phone calls while travelling in buses. There were 7 built in ring tones (if I recall correctly) and a ring tone composer, plus it could hold 3 downloadable ring tones. But how could we download ring tones? As said already, services like 8888 and 7333 did not exist! The phone did not even support picture messages, and when one day a friend sent a picture message from his (then) ultra-cool Nokia 3310, I was left stumped as all that I could see were @ symbols all over the screen.

Yeh lamhe, yeh pal hum barson yaad karenge…

Those were the good old days when owning a cell phone was considered a status symbol. I remember those 15-20 days that I took this phone to college. It was in the latter part of my final year in college that I managed to cajole dad to give me the phone for use in college, otherwise dad used it either in his office or it would languish in some corner of my home! I attracted quiet a crowd the first day I showed my friends the cell phone. I ended up spending close to Rs. 100 worth of calls that day and not to mention, wore out the battery in a matter of an hour! I immediately became the centre of attraction and I was labelled as a rich man, bada aadmi and a few more unmentionable labels.

Some guys thought that the next logical step for me would be to carry them home in my car, but thankfully for me, I had a DTC bus pass which I utilized to its fullest. I also noticed a bunch of girls talking to me in a rather friendlier manner, only to get a glimpse of my cell phone. And the cell phone honeymoon came to a rather abrupt end when it rang in the middle of a lecture. It got me embarrassed to such an extent that I literally turned red! And then I got a big flogging from my professor for carrying a cell phone in college. He scared the hell out of me, and I thought it better to keep the cell phone at home rather than to get into trouble yet again. The silly person in me didn’t realize that I could switch it off or keep it on silent during lectures.

In spite of all the things that are missing in this handset, I recommend it. Why? Because those were the good old days when things like SMS, picture messages, ring tones, GPRS weren’t even heard about. AirTel was a good company, RIM wasn’t even thought about by the Ambani bhais and customer care was really customer care. What about today’s AirTel? Haha, I reserve another review for my thoughts about today’s AirTel. Above all, I recommend this handset for the nice set of memories I have with it.


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Ericsson A1018s