Blast from the Past: The Ericsson R520m : 12/06/2003
By Bling Blink & Helio
Sometimes when reviewing phones, I find it appropriate to relate them to something else I know nothing about but still like... women. In that vein, hopefully the descriptions and comparisons will help the everyday user appreciate the all the good points, bad points, and features of this memorable phone, for it will surely end up in your scrapbook of good memories. Note that I will use the terms “girlfriend” and “phone” interchangeably throughout the review.
First, the basics:
Dimensions: 130 - 50 - 16mm
The Ericsson R520m has been out for a while. A long while. So why review it now? Well, think of the R520m as the old girlfriend from your hometown you still see from time to time who you used to think was really hot, and you think is still attractive when you run into her now, but she never really kept up with the changing times. It helps you keep perspective on your new-phone-lust by appreciating all that the old ones have to offer that the new ones take for granted. Yet sometimes I think the cutouts for the speaker look like bangs...
The strongest points of the R520m are its reception (think “pays attention”), its light weight (not the latest 15-year old supermodel, but a robust fit and trim), its speakerphone (think “good communicator”), and its Bluetooth connectivity (ie can still be useful without being in the same room all the time). The R520m was light years ahead of its day when it first came out – big fish in a small pond. Good girlfriend material.
Sometimes I find new phones can require too much effort (think “high maintenance”). I mean, do we really need color screens? Cameras? MMS? Many people out there don't even know what an MMS is, and those that do, if they're on a different carrier, too bad. No interoperability yet anyway. I sometimes spend more time making my phone do things than just enjoying its company. Every so often having a gal who makes all the other men jealous and other women catty can be fun, but most of the time you just want one who you can hang out with every day without stressing about it.
Sometimes you do wonder if going back to the old girlfriend would be that bad...
Think of the R520m is a big sexy woman. Supermodel tall and amazon enough to not worry about breaking if you rough-house play a little. Every guy’s dream. I get more comments on this phone than on any other. Ever.
" Boy that thing is big!"
“ Your real phone’s broken, eh?”
" Get with it man."
Obviously they wish they had a woman as real as this one, not the high maintenance, stick-thin accessory that they’re forced to upgrade every six months in a vain attempt to stay ‘hip’. Like my grandpa would say,
“ Whatever happened to R520m I met a coupla’ years ago? You need a good strong woman to take care of you like her. You oughtta marry that one.”
Sometimes, it's just fun to take the big gal out for a spin. Everyone seems to love taking turns at poking fun, but checks her out when she turns around for a minute. Deep down we all love a big hearty woman.
Size aside, though, its reception still continues to be one of the best out there. That, in addition to its three bands, makes you wonder why you ever upgraded to the younger sleeker models. See, there are a few women you can take home, to work parties, and to the club without too much worry about her fitting in. Same goes with the IR port and Bluetooth to connect to other mobile devices and PCs.
The speaker phone and the motion sensor can be irritating at times, though. The motion sensor is way too sensitive and can deactivate the speaker phone, and the speaker phone will usually cause an echo in the receiving party's side of the conversation. So the lesson is to not get into arguments when she wants to be alone, or she’ll stop talking to you. And if you continue talking, her sarcastic humor may start to mock everything you say. The downside of a woman who knows you a little too well.
The menu system is the old school type of UI from Ericsson. It uses the horizontal menu tabs, and is quite slow. Actually, the whole phone UI suffers from sluggishness. Perhaps, its geriatric nature is really what has caused it to slow down, for in its day, I thought I remembered it as being faster. I guess moving to the big city really can make you impatient with the small town folk of your past. The worst of it is in the SMS typing. The first few characters are speedy, but then it starts lagging to the point where you have to really wait and let it catch up. At least she’ll get there eventually, and isn’t afraid to take her time. Right?
Another great benefit is that this phone doesn’t mind sharing the accessories from old Ericsson phones, having the common plug-in port on the phone’s bottom. But I’m not saying that it’ll ‘plug-in’ with anyone she, er it, meets! It has some class!
I’m also partial to the appearance of the external antenna stub, which has been foregone on most current phones. I try to think of it as a distinctive birthmark or a mole that makes this one unique. And maybe it even helps with reception a little too.
In conclusion, the R520m still continues to be a great woman, er phone, and was definitely the ‘hot girl’ who moved to your junior high, in its day. So even as time may have left it a little outdated, it was still ahead of its time when first released. And its Bluetooth implementation is great, it's RF reception is still one of the best, especially compared to the arm candy that all too often can’t hear you across restaurant table on your first date these days.
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