Gadgets of the past

During the last years I have bought a number of gadgets, not all of them successful cases, for various reasons. Here are a few words about each one of them:

1. Digital Cameras

Agfa CL-18: This was my first digital camera. I was really anxious to get it in my hands and I was willing to pay the 40,000 Greek drachmas (about 135 euros) back in 2000 (if I can recall correctly) to buy it second hand. Its specs look really poor today (0.3 MP = 640×480, 2MB internal memory/no expansion slot for memory cards, no LCD display, fixed lens=no zoom). It could be used as a webcam with a workaround and it had a USB cable included. The photos were pretty awful, no matter if they were taken indoors or outdoors, and they looked more like pastel paintings! I managed to get rid of it at a lower price after some months, packing it with a charger and a set of AA rechargeable batteries.

Kodak DC-3200: My second digital camera. It was priced 82,000 Greek drachmas (about 240 euros) and it seemed to worth it back then. 1 MP resolution (1152×864), 1.6’’ color LCD screen, 2MB internal storage, CompactFlash expansion slot, 4x digital zoom (pretty useless), serial (!!) connection with PC and a number of image settings. I used it for quite a while and it was a nice update of its ancestor (Agfa CL-18). The photos were a little bit grainy but they could surely be considered as photos. Its main drawback was its power consumption (it used 4 AA batteries which they didn’t last long…).

Olympus Camedia C-720UZ: A really impressive camera, successor to the Kodak DC-3200 in my series of cameras. Boasting a 8x optical zoom (even though without a stabilizer of any kind (really useful for that big zoom!), 3MP CCD sensor and all-manual functions, it still produces excellent photos. I never decided to sell it, as I wanted it for a back-up camera. However, it seems that my sister was really excited to use it, so it was a nice present for her. I am really glad to know that this camera is still useful and functioning!

 

2. MP3 players

aiptek310

Aiptek MP3 –310: My first MP3 player, purchased in 2002 for 110,000 Greek drachmas (more than 330 euros) to keep me company during my army service. It had 128MB internal storage, LCD backlit display, some basic settings and voice recording. It used an AAA battery which lasted for some hours. Due to its memory limit, I had to re-encode my mp3 files to a lower bitrate. Radio was only available using the earphones included in the package. It is still functional after ten years in rain, dust and many falls!

3. Mobile phones

Ericsson GF-768: My first mobile phone. Small, elegant and really tough. Once it fell into a pool of rain water for 20 minutes and it survived! I t was really easy to use, having only the basic features as well as a screen of one line! It never stopped working but I sold it as soon as the battery started dying. Apart from that, I was really pleased with that phone!

 

4. PDAs

Palm IIIxe: My first attempt to buy a PDA. I cannot recall the exact cost or the date of the purchase (second hand) but I was never satisfied with it. It was really portable, I had downloaded a wealth of free programs (most of which I never even installed) and I kept it with me as a calculator, dictionary, expense diary, downloaded news to read on the road, car fuel consumption tracking etc. Its major drawback was its lack of flash memory, which I learned the hard way: After using it as a diary/expense tracking log during my summer holidays, it ran out of batteries and I lost everything (!!) on my way back home… I was so disappointed after that, that I never used it again.

Psion 5mx: Much better than my Palm in terms of usability and appearance, featured a nice sliding keyboard, CompactFlash expansion slot, 8MB RAM (more than enough for its applications. It was fully-featured, including an office suite and a wide variety of free programs. Bought second hand as well, it served me for some months before I decided to sell it because I was afraid that the ribbon connecting the screen with the rest of the unit would wear off and warranty/service/spare parts were not easy to do/find at that time… Despite that fact, it was really fun to use it and it was the first device (apart from a desktop) that I used to write my homework (it was really useful during some blackouts).

Mio P350: I wanted to buy a GPS device for along time before I decided to go for the Mio P350, suggested by by friend Nikant. It was rather cheap for its features (also bought second-hand), including one of the best and nicely fine-tuned GPS receivers, a very good screen, SD-card expansion slot and enough free space to install WM5 (and later WM6) applications. It lacked the really useful for me WiFi card but I purchased one SD-WiFi card so it worked miracles. For several months it was used intensively for internet purposes (e-mail, surfing, chatting), while it was also used for keeping track of expenses, watching videos and various other applications, apart from the GPS function. I always carried it with me, until my car was robbed and P350 was in it… even though my bag and other stuff were found by the police, the GPS was gone. I was really sad to lose this partner.

 

5. Smartphones

Eten Glofiish X600: After my P350 was stolen, I decided to carry only one device with me, so I had to find a cheap smartphone with GPS receiver. I couldn’t find a cheap one in the Greek market and the used ones were also either “crummy” or expensive… I was lucky enough to find Eten X600 on sale in Expansys. A true all-in-one device, with nice phone reception, good GPS and a WiFi adapter, nice 2,8-inch screen, SD card expansion slot, nice grip but with limited RAM (64MB). I decided to sell it almost brand-new, a couple of months later as in the meantime I read about problems with the speaker among others, and there was no Greek service support for Eten. In addition, Eten was acquired by Asus back then so its future and support for its devices would be problematic…

HTC Touch Cruise: The second-hand replacement of Eten and one of my favourite gadgets. A tough device, with a lovely 2,8-inch screen, GPS receiver and WiFi adapter, WM6.1 and a lot of software. I loved its looks and grip and it almost replaced my laptop in a number of cases. Email, calendar, expenses, browsing, watching episodes of my favorite series, anything I could imagine. I thought it was going to die in my hands due to excessive usage; however, it was stolen one morning from inside my backpack while commuting by bus to work… not much more to say, but I still miss it sometimes, a great tool!

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Eten X600

Πρόσφατα αναζήτησα τον αντικαταστάτη του GPS-PDA Mio P350 που χρησιμοποιούσα τους τελευταίους μήνες και κλάπηκε πρόσφατα (μαζί με άλλα πράγματα – θα αναφερθώ άλλη φορά σε αυτό το συμβάν…). Σκέφτηκα αυτή τη φοράα η συσκευή εκτός από PDA & GPS να είναι και κινητό τηλέφωνο, έτσι ώστε να μειώσω τον αριθμό των συσκευών που μεταφέρω καθημερινά μαζί μου. Δεν ήθελα κάτι φοβερό, μόνο τα βασικά: GSM, PDA, GPS, WiFi κλπ.

Αρχικά στράφηκα στην αγορά μεταχειρισμένης συσκευής, για λόγους κόστους: Με δυσκολία βρήκα μερικά ETEN X600 και Μ700, HTC 3600 καθώς και μερικά στρουμπουλά Mio (A501 κλπ) στα €200 που είχα διαθέσιμα. Τα περισσότερα βέβαια ήταν του κουτιού αλλά για διάφορους λόγους δεν προχώρησα στην αγορά (ο πωλητής ήταν εκτός Αθηνών, αδυναμία συνάντησης με τον πωλητή, έλειπαν συσκευασίες και παρελκόμενα κλπ). Το στοκ του Πλαισίου ήταν άλλη πονεμένη ιστορία: Οι περισσότερες συσκευασίες ήταν ελλειπείς (έλειπε ακόμα και η μπαταρία σε ορισμένες περιπτώσεις!) και οι τιμές όχι ιδιαίτερα χαμηλές για επισκευασμένες συσκευές.

Πάνω που είχα απελπιστεί βρήκα στο Expansys το Glofiish Χ600 της Eten με €193 μαζί με τα μεταφορικά! Απίστευτη προσφορά, δεδομένου ότι η τιμή του πέρισυ ήταν σχεδόν η διπλάσια! Όπως αποδείχθηκε ήταν τα τελευταία κομμάτια που είχαν μείνει (δεν υπάρχει πλέον στο Expansys) και μάλλον προσπαθούσαν να τα ¨σπρώξουν”. Όντως όλα πήγαν καλά και έφτασε στα χέρια μου σε σφραγισμένη συσκευασία, με όλα τα αξεσουάρ. Τα βασικά του χαρακτηριστικά? 128ΜΒ ROM, 64MB RAM (αρκετή για τη χρήση που του κάνω), CPU Samsung S3C2442 400MHz, οθόνη 2,8 ιντσών, WiFi adapter, GPS SiRF Star III (το καλύτερο της αγοράς!), ραδιόφωνο, μεγάλη μπαταρία, μικρό σε μέγεθος κλπ. Ήρθε με WM6 αλλά σχεδόν αμέσως του φλάσαρα μια ROM με τα 6.1 και το Manilla 2D, οπότε άλλαξε αρκετά! Μέχρι σήμερα είμαι απόλυτα ευχαριστημένος: το μηχανάκι πάει γρήγορα, είναι πολύ βολικό στη χρήση (ειδικά με το Manilla 2D), η μπαταρία κρατάει 2 ημέρες (ανάλογα με τη χρήση) και γενικά με βολεύει πολύ σαν συσκευή.

 Έχω διαβάσει για διάφορες ευαισθησίες όσον αφορά το ηχείο του (καίγεται εύκολα) και το σύστημα φόρτισης (οδηγεί σε βλάβες της συσκευής λόγω υπερφόρτισης-κάποιο σφάλμα στο κύκλωμα φόρτισης) αλλά ακόμη δεν έχει εμφανίσει κάτι. Πάλι καλά, γιατί η εγγύηση είναι μέσω expansys και αυτό σημαίνει ότι θα μείνω χωρίς κινητό για 15-20 ημέρες τουλάχιστον σε περίπτωση βλάβης!