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Stress-Testing the Verizon G'zOne Cellphone

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the extreme-abuse dept.

Communications 112

abkaiser writes "You can dunk it under water. Put it in the oven and crank up the heat. Drop it, smack it, treat it like the hunk of plastic that it is. And yet this is a cellphone. I got my hands on the Verizon G'zOne (pronounced 'G-Z-One'), a phone designed for high-abuse environments. Come for the test methodology, stay for the photo of a cellphone cooking in an oven."

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High abuse environments... (3, Funny)

patio11 (857072) | more than 7 years ago | (#17798616)

... seems to describe the marketing staff's relationship to controlled substances. "G'zOne" is not an electronic device, it is a name for a freaking Klingon. Come back when you have given up the faux hipsterism. Even *authentic* hipsterism isn't an endearing trait.

Re:High abuse environments... (1)

jamar0303 (896820) | more than 7 years ago | (#17799172)

That's probably why it was called the CanU when it sold in Korea. But that sounds worse- imagine all the advertising that would follow that.

The Wrath of Ally (1)

DrYak (748999) | more than 7 years ago | (#17799356)

I think even the most courageous Klingons are going to run aways before the wrath of the 21-months old Ally from the "Test 5 : toddler attack".

Re:High abuse environments... (1)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 7 years ago | (#17801348)

> "G'zOne" is not an electronic device, it is a name for a freaking Klingon.

Smile when you use the G'zOne...

Why use the oven? (1)

Nirvelli (851945) | more than 7 years ago | (#17803280)

Just set the phone next to your server. It'll be in flames before you can say "slashdotted."

I wonder how resistant the LCD is to cracking (2, Insightful)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 7 years ago | (#17798626)

I swore off ever buying an expensive phone after I broke my old one by stepping on while taking off my pants after a night of drinking. I was only on it for half a second, but the stupid main LCD(the secondary one on the outside of the clamshell was fine) cracked. The phone still worked as a phone, but I could never tell what I was dialing and if I hit the wrong button I could end up in some weird menu and not even realize it. No SMS to boot. From then on, it was sub-$20 phones. If I break them, I don't really care.

Re:I wonder how resistant the LCD is to cracking (1)

gatzke (2977) | more than 7 years ago | (#17798728)

I dropped my Treo in a parking lot after taking some hefty back-pain meds... When returned the next day, the LCD was cracked but the left side worked.

I have to cut-and-paste text messages then add carriage feed returns so I can read the text...

$100 for new screen
$200 for new (replacement) treo
$300 for new treo version

Too cheap and lazy to upgrade or fix it now...

Re:I wonder how resistant the LCD is to cracking (4, Informative)

Odiumjunkie (926074) | more than 7 years ago | (#17799262)

I dropped my Treo in a parking lot after taking some hefty back-pain meds... When returned the next day, the LCD was cracked but the left side worked. I have to cut-and-paste text messages then add carriage feed returns so I can read the text... $100 for new screen $200 for new (replacement) treo $300 for new treo version Too cheap and lazy to upgrade or fix it now...

When I broke the screen on my sony ericsson T610 about a year ago, I was given a quote of about $200 for a new branded screen - I went to my local asian-run backstreet electronics store and got a new generic screen installed for $30 including labour (although labour is nothing, I could have installed it myself). Anyways, it was hugely cheaper than a branded part, and brighter than the original to boot! It's been working flawlessly since then.

Siemens A65 (1)

Potor (658520) | more than 7 years ago | (#17798810)

I agree about buying inexpensive phones. I put my cheap Seimens A65 - which was switched on - through the washing machine a few months back. I let the phone dry for a week or so, and it is as good as new now. There was actually a puddle in the screen.

Re:Siemens A65 (1)

J0nne (924579) | more than 7 years ago | (#17800728)

My Siemens A50 also survived a trip in the washing machine. It died a few months later though (the display would randomly go blank, even though the phone was functional).

I'll never spend a lot on a phone. I only need Voice and SMS, the rest is unnecessary crap. I don't even need a color display.

Re:I wonder how resistant the LCD is to cracking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17799306)

I was only on it for half a second
That's what she said.

frist post/slashdotted (0, Redundant)

Jbcarpen (883850) | more than 7 years ago | (#17798634)

But apparently when you run a webserver on it, it can't take a slashdotting.

Tough phone, crappy server (1)

solevita (967690) | more than 7 years ago | (#17798636)

There's no comments yet and already the server won't send me the pictures from the article. The ultimate stress test? Running a webserver on a phone and front paging it on Slashdot.

FP! (-1, Troll)

Reddog0176 (587713) | more than 7 years ago | (#17798638)


Re:FP! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17798768)


Logged-in users aren't forced to preview their comments. Create an Account! To confirm you're not a script,
please type the word in this image: [gAyDONgS]

Clearly the most ridiculous name for a phone yet (3, Funny)

John Nowak (872479) | more than 7 years ago | (#17798666)

A gzone sounds like an italian sort food filled with cheese... with an environmentally-concious twist... for Gnome... err

Re:Clearly the most ridiculous name for a phone ye (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 7 years ago | (#17798882)

Um... so... I, for one, welcome our new gnome running Italian cheese diet overlords?

It's good he said how to pronounce it.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17798694)

Verizon G'zOne (pronounced 'G-Z-One'
because the first thing that came to my mind was gizz one.

Special permission? (4, Insightful)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#17798712)

Disclaimer: I was given special permission by Verizon to stress-test the G'zOne. Verizon and I both agree: DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME. These tests were performed so that we as consumers can validate Verizon's claims without you having to test them yourself. If you break your own equipment, you're the one responsible.
I understand why the reviewer would want a disclaimer of some sort, but since when does a product reviewer need "special permission" from a vendor to do a proper review?

Re:Special permission? (3, Insightful)

Mononoke (88668) | more than 7 years ago | (#17798756)

since when does a product reviewer need "special permission" from a vendor to do a proper review?
He probably signed papers requiring him to return it in the same condition as it was given to him. He wouldn't be able to truly test it without facing the possibility of destroying it and violating that agreement.

Who needs it? (2, Funny)

weinrich (414267) | more than 7 years ago | (#17798738)

I hate my company cell phone so I abuse it every chance I get, yet the damned thing keeps on going like some undead zombie from a B-rate horror film. Why pay extra for a feature that's already built into sucky phones like mine?

Re:Who needs it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17801686)

What brand/model phone do you have?

So they're building things like they used to. (3, Insightful)

gfxguy (98788) | more than 7 years ago | (#17798822)

We've become so accustomed to crap that when someone builds something the way they used to it becomes news.

For the record, I washed AND DRIED my Motorolla v70 a few years ago (in the pocket of my cargo pants).

I had to replace the antenna, and the microphone made me sound like crap, but it worked.

Re:So they're building things like they used to. (1)

solevita (967690) | more than 7 years ago | (#17798956)

The way they used to? One of the tests:

The G'zOne Type-V was immersed in water for a period of 30 minutes at a depth of 1 meter (3.28 feet)

I've had mobile phones for a long time now, never has one performed like this. Neither did your v70 by the sounds of it!

I hate to disagree with you, but there's plenty of very old electronics in my house and I'm not going to put any of it in the bath.

Re:So they're building things like they used to. (1)

Doctor Memory (6336) | more than 7 years ago | (#17802748)

I hate to disagree with you, but there's plenty of very old electronics in my house and I'm not going to put any of it in the bath.
Depends on how old "very old" is. A couple of times now I've taken old tube radios, removed them from the case, removed the tubes and anything else removable (dial cord, etc.) and plunked them in the dishwasher. Run them through a wash-only cycle (i.e., no drying) with no detergent, then stick 'em in the oven at 200F for a few hours. Does an excellent job of cleaning off all the gunk that old radios tend to accumulate, and it doesn't hurt the electronics a bit (although any paper labels on the chassis will take a beating).

Domestic harmony note: clean the dishwasher trap/filter after you're done, and run it empty for a cycle before putting any dishes in it. Whatever entertainment you may find in eating off of dishes that smell like vintage electronics will be more than outweighed...

Re:So they're building things like they used to. (1)

Kazoo the Clown (644526) | more than 7 years ago | (#17803834)

I used to work for Tektronix fixing oscilloscopes and test equipment. In the field repair offices the first thing we did with ANY gear that came in the door was send it to the wash rack. We hosed it down with essentially the same nozzle and soap & water that you use at the self-serve car washes. Rinse, then it went in the drying ovens for about three days (I don't remember the temp, not terribly high tho). Only caveat-- make sure any enclosed transformers were oriented so they would drain, because if they filled with water the dryers would not dry out a transformer filled with water in the alotted drying time.

We never had a problem with water damaging anything. Of course, the power didn't go on until after this process, but they were always dry by the time it did so there was no problem.

Water damage to electronics occurs when power is on at the same time, since water conducts electricity-- it can consequently cause shorts and component failures. Water exposure to unpowered electronics is usually undamaging except perhaps certain specialized components or possibly extremely hard water that might leave a mineral residue (rinse with distilled water if you're concerned about residue).

Note this is even true with antique devices that are vacuum tube and used paper capacitors. Paper capacitors were wax coated, though probably need to be changed due to their age anyhow if you're restoring old gear, as they don't have that great a lifespan.

YMMV, but I got paid to do it to all kinds of gear for years and never had a problem getting electronics wet.

Re:So they're building things like they used to. (4, Interesting)

clonmult (586283) | more than 7 years ago | (#17799050)

Likewise. My first phone, a Nokia 6130 (branded Nk702) took a major dip in Tango, which just made the keys a bit sticky, open up, clean keyboard, and it was fine.

After it got retired, I passed it to my son for use as a kiddies toy, and it took years of that abuse. Never really checked to see if it worked, but then realised it had a bunch of numbers in it I needed. Powered it up after 3 years of being a toddlers toy (hate to think the abuse it experienced), and everything worked perfectly.

Menu was snappier than most of the current batch of phones as well. And battery life was considerably better. Progress, eh?

Re:So they're building things like they used to. (1)

TheThiefMaster (992038) | more than 7 years ago | (#17800158)

I had my Sony Ericsson T610 thrown -hard- against a solid brick wall. The battery cover came off but the battery didn't escape, it was even still powered on. I just put the cover back on and put it back in my pocket before it happened again. Friends are interesting when slightly fermented (drunk) aren't they?

In general it seems to be the "solid block" phones that can survive the most punishment, most dual-screen sliding/flip phones are quite easy to damage.

I have a Nokia 6020 now (I got it on renewal of my contract), and I throw it in the air and catch it if I get bored. Despite missing the catch often, it's quite undamaged.

Re:So they're building things like they used to. (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 7 years ago | (#17801784)

Yep, same thing with my RCA Lyra. My ex-girlfriend put it through a full cycle without realizing it was in my pocket; it worked fine immediately after (including the SD card). :^)

Re:So they're building things like they used to. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17802544)

The LG VX4650 they handed me at work has survived a round in the washing machine and continues to work fine. The virgin mobile slider I had also survived a round in the washer and drier (Did crack the screen on a green house bench tho'... my dad seems to be happy enough with the phone with a cracked screen).

Re:So they're building things like they used to. (2, Informative)

flimflam (21332) | more than 7 years ago | (#17803780)

Agreed - most things suck. But for the record, I spilled an entire pint of Guinness into my brand new (at the time) 12" Powerbook a couple of years ago (well, actually my two-year-old daughter did it. Please don't ask what she was doing with a pint of Guinness). I quickly pulled the battery, drained the computer and let it dry for a couple days, and except for some stickiness in a few keys (that went away after a couple months) and a distinct smell of burnt beer (that lasted about six) it's been fine ever since. I've also dropped it 3 times -- once hard enough to bend the case enough that I can no longer eject the DVD that's inside. I seem to have good luck with these things.

On the other hand my mom has had a succession of Macs that she's had nothing but problems with. (Though it may be related to the fact that she always goes for the cheap models - starting with the god-awful Performa 6360 and leading to a 12" iBook).

Refund Policy (1)

Annoymous Cowherd (1036734) | more than 7 years ago | (#17798972)

When I went to purchase one of these badboys, I asked them what type of refund policy existed, were I to manage to damage it.

Surprisingly, they said that they can't replace deliberately damaged pieces.

Have to say they didn't sound so confident in the durability of their products right then. Therefore, if you're considering using it as a party prop to pump your popularity, you're might find yourself a pretty penny out of pocket.

Re:Refund Policy (1)

jamar0303 (896820) | more than 7 years ago | (#17799310)

The Japanese carrier that sells this phone says something similar- "Make sure the external connection terminal cap and flat-style stereo earphone terminal cap are completely closed and attach the battery pack securely. If any small foreign objects become lodged inside, it may lead to water leaking inside the unit. In addition, do not soak the unit in water with detergent, seawater, warm water, or fluids other than water (such as alcohol)." So basically, it's only safe in cold water with every precaution taken.

waterproof caps (1)

Psychofreak (17440) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809038)

I sell marine GPS units. Waterproof (JIS7) GPS units [garmin.com] have exposed USB connectors, power connectors and more, but are still watertight even without the dust caps on. It is sad to see the need for caps that must be replaced to guarentee watertightness.

Re:waterproof caps (1)

Psychofreak (17440) | more than 7 years ago | (#17809106)

I just realized I chose a poor example vs pricepoint. Look at this. [garmin.com] This unit has been on the market since 2001 and features a waterproof power port. This new unit [garmin.com] is also a good represenative.

My phone is always in the oven (1)

gelfling (6534) | more than 7 years ago | (#17799030)

It's called the molten fumes of hell when I try to send an SMS message or call customer support - neither of which actually work. All I hear is Satan chortling at me.

All a more durable phone means to me is I kill more reps with it when I throw it at them.

Lost in translation (3, Informative)

Zadaz (950521) | more than 7 years ago | (#17799052)

The -one- cool phone they bring over from Japan and they uglify it.

And strip half the features and change twice at much. Guess that's what took two years.

(Link to original phone. [kddi.com])

Re:Lost in translation (1)

jamar0303 (896820) | more than 7 years ago | (#17799252)

They're going to sell the new Japanese version (W42CA) in America too now. Of course, it's still uglified... This is why I go GSM- unlock the phone and use it without modifications.

Re:Lost in translation (1)

slash.dt (701002) | more than 7 years ago | (#17806974)

They're going to sell the new Japanese version (W42CA) in America too now. Of course, it's still uglified... This is why I go GSM- unlock the phone and use it without modifications.

Good luck with that - it's not a GSM phone :-)

Warranty? (1)

szembek (948327) | more than 7 years ago | (#17799072)

If it's that tough, and resistant to damage, why not offer some kind of 2 year warranty or something? If I spend $300 on a phone because it's supposedly indestructible, I would like that to be backed up by the company.

Re:Warranty? (2, Interesting)

Bucc5062 (856482) | more than 7 years ago | (#17799374)

Oh my, what a good chuckle you gave me this morning. A telco company backing their product for any extended period of time...for free?...Tried to get my mind around the concept, but seems it is harder to grasp then imaginary numbers.

I think any major corporation that says "We stand behind our product" is really saying "We stand behind you, please bend over, this wont hurt a bit".

Re:Warranty? (1)

szembek (948327) | more than 7 years ago | (#17799520)

I guess there will be people who buy it anyway, but to me it would be like paying a premium for a hand tool that doesn't come with a lifetime warranty.

name... too... funny? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17799096)

anyone else first read that as "giz on phone"

i guess I still got the Telus cell porn thing stuck in my head

oh man, you won't believe this, the captcha below is "depraved"

Will it Blend? (1)

adlaiff6 (810221) | more than 7 years ago | (#17799170)

I'm curious to see (but not awaiting the answer) which will win, this phone or the "Will it Blend?" blender.

Also, my friend's cell phone was once run over by a truck and still worked, aside from the screen. He used it for a semester before replacing it with the same model.

Ericsson R310s (1)

fantomas (94850) | more than 7 years ago | (#17799268)

Still happy with my 5 year old Ericsson R310s [gsmarena.com].

Party trick - set it to "vibrate" mode, drop it in a pint of beer, and phone it - instant cocktail shaker! :-)

Completely gortex'd up phone. You can find them on ebay here in the UK for about 50 pounds now and again, old stock people are dumping...

Re:Ericsson R310s (1)

jacksonj04 (800021) | more than 7 years ago | (#17800160)

That's a beast of an antenna!

My solution for the 'tough phone' thing is get a good quality phone with voice dial, and keep it in the pocket of a decent Goretex coat. Hook it up to your bluetooth headset (You can get ones with proper over-ear mufflers and boom mics with windshields if you check professional suppliers) and it works perfectly.

The one problem I see with phones designed for outdoor pursuits is that more often than not you're out of range anyway. If you need connectivity, get a sat phone, most portable ones of which come prepared to be driven over anyway.

Re:Ericsson R310s (1)

fantomas (94850) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807014)

yeah, ninja antenna eh?

outdoor theatre gigs - so phone gets dropped from ten feet up a scaffold tower, falls into puddles, works outside when pouring with rain, knocked against all sorts of hard unforgiving surfaces, rattles around in land rovers, that kind of thing. Good call on the tucked away phone for weather proofing - something I will investigate in future, but shock proofing and good for all weathers definitely a must. I think these new Japanese phones might be useful for sure.

Signal is usually not too much of a problem in the UK (though not always guaranteed) but a good option for those places is walkie talkies to each other then get the base folks to phone out if possible. Sat phones - I don't really work where those are needed, and I don't get the kind of contracts that will stump up satphone charges - Iridium is what, close to a thousand for a handset and 2 pounds a minute for voice?

I will never buy another Verizon-brand phone... (2, Informative)

terrahertz (911030) | more than 7 years ago | (#17799406)

...because Verizon has made it their policy to lock down the filesystem of every device they get their greedy mitts on. My first phone with their service was a Samsung a670, which worked great, allowed me to read and write to the filesystem for free (so I could get fancy with ringers, wallpaper, pull pics off quickly and for free, etc) using BitPim and QPST.

Then the time came to pick a "free" phone for work, and unfortunately I chose the Pantech PN-215, a "Verizon brand" phone. While it was more or less similar in features compared to the Samsung, the best I can do so far is just look at the filesystem, no writing allowed (to the device or to anything connected). I've tried out a few different workarounds (Verizon even went so far as to tell me there was no data cable for that model, a blatant lie I quickly disproved by doing some research and trying out an Audiovox cable), but so far no dice.

This means that if I want to transfer pics, ringers, etc I have to do that over the air, lining the pockets of the greed-machine that is Verizon.

My personal plan is coming up for renewal, and when I add my wife to it, you can be sure we will not be purchasing any phone that is locked down in this way.

Thanks a million, "Can you rip me off now?!"

Re:I will never buy another Verizon-brand phone... (1)

indigest (974861) | more than 7 years ago | (#17802694)

Verizon has made it their policy to lock down the filesystem of every device they get their greedy mitts on.
I agree with your general sentiment, but I'd like to point out that not every Verizon phone is completely locked down. In the past few months, I have purchased both a LG-VX5300 and a Motorola Razr V3m from Verizon. The LG is not locked down at all and I was able to sync phone book, add ringtones, transfer pictures, etc. using Bluetooth and BitPim. The Razr V3m, on the other hand, is completely locked down and can't connect to the PC at all without buying some software from Verizon.

This is pretty ridiculous, since the phone itself allows for a lot of syncing options with a PC but all these features have been disabled in firmware by Verizon. Anyhow, if you want to hack your phone and void your warranty, you can perform something called a SEEM edit which will let you change the file system either by cable or by Bluetooth. Lots of websites will tell you how to do this, since the consumer demand to sync phones with PCs is overwhelming.

Re:I will never buy another Verizon-brand phone... (1)

terrahertz (911030) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807062)

I guess I didn't explain what I've observed clearly enough: Verizon sells many different phones along with their service. Some of those phones bear the "branding" of their original manufacturers, while others are "Verizon brand" phones, even though Verizon is just slapping their name on a device manufactured by some other company. The latter is what I have discovered to be unacceptably locked down. I'm sure there are other non-Verizon-brand phones that are locked down, but I doubt there are Verizon-brand phones that are not locked down.

Thanks for the tip about SEEM edits, I'll research that as it applies to the PN-215. I have discovered an "unlock tool" for that model, but so far I haven't had any success using it.

Re:I will never buy another Verizon-brand phone... (1)

trogdor8667 (817114) | more than 7 years ago | (#17804316)

Good luck finding one, Verizon seems to go further and further down the road of restricting access to equipment their consumers buy with every new phone they release.

Not all that innovative (1)

battery111 (620778) | more than 7 years ago | (#17799418)

OK, the phone being waterproof is news. However, As far as ruggedized phones, Nextel has been releasing mil-spec phones for years and years. An abuse proof or abuse resistant phone is nothing new, but in typical verizon style, they tout everything new to them as if they are the first to ever do it, when rarely they are.

Re:Service Providers DO NOT make phones!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17800348)

Please stop describing phones by the service provider that slaps their name on ODM phones. Neither Verizon, Cingular, Sprint/Nextel, nor TMobile make phones.

SO who really is making this phone MOT, Sanyo, Casio? WHo?

Re:Service Providers DO NOT make phones!!!! (1)

battery111 (620778) | more than 7 years ago | (#17803008)

excuse me . What I meant to say was MOTOROLA made the phones. Nearly anyone familiar with nextel would have been able to tell you that, as motorola is the ONLY provider for Nextel iDEN phones. Some examples are the i700, i50sr, i350, and more modern ones that I can't think of the nomenclature for at the time. Excuse me for being unclear Mr. Coward.

Why? (3, Interesting)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | more than 7 years ago | (#17799754)

"a phone designed for high-abuse environments"

Hey, if you're a telco that intentionally cripples the bluetooth features on its phones to the point of uselessness and still sells it as bluetooth even after a class action lawsuit, you've already created enough of a high abuse environment for me as a customer to never want to ever return.

Citation for my gripe: http://support.vzw.com/capability/bluetooth_popup. html [vzw.com]
"Bluetooth is a wireless networking technology designed primarily to replace cables for communication between personal computing and communication devices. For example, Bluetooth technology allows you to use a wireless headset to place and receive calls." ...While we all know that Verizon intentionally cripples the Bluetooth file transfer features to the point that you have to use Verizons pay per transfer cellular feature.

So what self respecting /. user uses Verizon? And if you use it and pay for it out of pocket... WHY???
My #1 use for Bluetooth is file transfer to store media on my 1G of built in storage on my phone as I would a USB HD, but transferable without the cables.

I switched from Verizon to Cingluar a couple years ago and have been happy to transfer files from my desktop to my cell to my laptop or other peoples computers for years now. I can also plug it in and use it as I would a USB HD. But since I am in SF and so many techies here use MacBooks, because MacBooks lets Pros work like they want, it's just easier to have BT file transfer. BT is also great for syncing my Apple Address Book and iCal to my phone, infact, it syncs multiple computers via blutooth to my contacts and calendar. Verizons crippleware requires you plug in a USB cable and use proprietary software to do this. My Motorola and Mac just use iSync, which comes with my Mac from Apple with OS X for free.

I tried switching to HELIO last month, but I found out after subscribing that their bluetooth was HEADSET ONLY. I unsubscribed within 30 minutes, that's how long it took me to get home and find that my workstation and handset could not talk to each other... my workstation could see the handset but the file browser was "FEATURE NOT AVAILABLE ON THIS DEVICE" and they wanted me to install some proprietary software/spyware. Not suprisingly, HELIO uses Verizons and Sprints networks. I'd be willing to bet $500.00 that there is a contractual arrangement for use of the Verizon network that requires HELIO (EARTHLINK) to cripple Bluetooth to headset only.

And I am glad HELIO crippled their devices in this way without making it clear. I unsubbed, returned my eqpt and went back to Cingular with the only hitch that HELIO was playing games on my number being assigned back to CINGULAR (it took 3 days!!! While Cingular had the number to SPRINT/HELIO inside that 30 minute window) Because I am now just waiting for the Apple iPhone to come out and I will gladly drop cash for that.. ESP since SF will be wifi enabled withiin a year of the phones launch and will be one of the first cell/wifi phones on the market and by far the coolest.

iPhone on Verizon????

You'll have to install so many hacks on the iPhone to get it to work like Cingular users will have it work out of the box that you might as well just sign it off as "PWNED to some hacker in Beijing".

So WHY? WHY does any self respecting /. user use Verizon?
Or does the /. crowd == the "I WANT A PHONE THAT'S ONLY A PHONE" crowd?

Re:Why? (1)

realisticradical (969181) | more than 7 years ago | (#17800686)

While I agree with most of your rant against Verizon's anti-file-transfer policy your point about iSync is incorrect. I have a Motorola RAZR V3c and I use iSync all the time to sync my contacts. (The calender sync doesn't work though I can't figure out if that's iCal's fault. And I don't much care.)

That aside I think it's pretty pathetic that because of Verizon's policies the $250 phone in my pocket functions more like a $20 phone.

Re:Why? (1)

Ankou (261125) | more than 7 years ago | (#17804166)

Thats a well documented problem. You can edit the profile in iSync here [macosxhints.com]. Then you'll have calendar syncs. But be aware dont go syncing more than 1 month content (check to make sure it may be 1 week of content, there is an option to how much far to sync calendar events). The reason iSync has it disabled is because Verizon's firmware crashes the phone as it cant handle more than 1 month of calendar schedules and thats a Verizon firmware issue not iCal or iSync. Of course Verizon has no motivation to fix this no love for the Apple crowd.

Re:Why? (1)

Dekortage (697532) | more than 7 years ago | (#17800864)

WHY does any self respecting /. user use Verizon?

Well, for me, it comes down to coverage. I work in the Hudson Valley and travel by train between New York City and Albany nearly every day of the week. Verizon is the only carrier with decent coverage for both my cell phone and EVDO Internet access for the entire trip. Sprint, Cingular, Nextel have very spotty coverage, especially north of Croton-Harmon.

Now, we can argue about EVDO and wireless technology and money-grubbing telco execs forever, but at the end of the day I just need to get some work done while I'm on the train. Today that means I use Verizon, and it works pretty well.

Re:Why? (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 7 years ago | (#17803504)

Well, for me, it comes down to coverage. I work in the Hudson Valley and travel by train between New York City and Albany nearly every day of the week.

T-Mo has solid coverage up the Thurway between NYC and Albany. Dunno about the route that your train takes though. Might be worth looking into.

The only difference between RIAA and Verizon Wireless is that Verizon actually does have complete control over their users. And Verizon markets it better.

Re:Why? (1)

Dekortage (697532) | more than 7 years ago | (#17804008)

T-Mo has solid coverage up the Thurway between NYC and Albany. Dunno about the route that your train takes though. Might be worth looking into.

Thanks, I've looked. There are a number of T-Mobile users among the train regulars, and they drop signal far more often than Verizon users (though it also depends on the phone model). Upstate NY commuter train lore (vaguely confirmed by Verizon employees among the train regulars) claims that Verizon has their towers closer to the river than the other carriers. The trains run along the east side of the Hudson, through some very hilly and mountainous areas which are nice to look at, but not so great for wireless reception. Apparently most of the cell towers along the palisades on the west side are Verizon's -- mostly clear line-of-sight to the train.

Don't mistake my comments: Verizon is hardly a corporate saint. But there are legitimate situations where they are the best choice. Let's face it, in an ideal world, I wouldn't even need a cell phone....

Re:Why? (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 7 years ago | (#17804360)

Phone selection matters regardless of your provider. On VZW I had the best luck with (and you'll laugh at me for this) the old Kyocera's. Some of the new Motorola's are ok -- but the VZW version of the RAZR is a cheap POS with lousy RF performance in my experience. With T-Mobile I've had the best luck with Motorola and Nokia. The Samsungs that they sell are garbage.

In any case it sucks that you are stuck with big red. My agency is stuck with them because they do transports for our patients and VZW has the best rural coverage. I took a coverage hit to switch to T-Mo but it was worth it to me to escape big red. All the more so when I looked at my Verizon bill and realized that 75% of my calls and 90% of my minute usage was coming from home.

It's all well and good to have the best rural coverage but if you only use it once or twice a year then I don't think it's worth dealing with VZW's bullshit. In your case you probably don't have a choice (you need data) but most others do. They are just too stupid to look past the "It's the network" hype and realize how badly VZW is screwing them. Until they actually get screwed -- by then they are facing a $175.00 ETF. Then when the contract finally ends they get a new phone at cheap prices and extend for two more years because it's a "good deal". Rinse and repeat.

Re:Why? (1)

Dekortage (697532) | more than 7 years ago | (#17804516)

Agreed about the Kyocera models with VZW. It's still true with the various EVDO models -- the Kyocera K650 card seems to be one of the best. I briefly had an AudioVox cell phone with VZ that was crap; my current Motorola (not RAZR) works nicely.

Tip: if you have to use VZW's EVDO service, save a few bucks by buying from Booster-Antenna.com [booster-antenna.com]. And get their external booster antenna. Much better signal strength == better transfer speeds. Using it right now, actually... zipping along at 90mph along the Hudson... nice sunny afternoon here on the river. :-)

Re:Why? (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 7 years ago | (#17804738)

I also loved the old school Kyocera user interface. They had the neatest speed dial feature ever and I've never seen it duplicated on any other brand of phone (perhaps they have a patent on it?). Your name in my phone book is "Jason Smith". I dial "52766" and it will list all the users that match "Jason" on screen. I select your name and hit dial. I need only dial enough digits to get a unique match. It was the most obvious idea ever and still nobody else has adopted it. Direct dialing right from the main screen. The Kyocera 2325 was the perfect phone. Great signal, perfect user interface, a handful of free games and a black & white screen for prolonged battery life. What more do you need? Now they come branded with "Get It Now", crippled bluetooth and a UI that can't be customized for anything. And a lot of the phones are of subpar quality compared to years past. Just a few of the many reasons why I ditched big red.

Re:Why? (2, Funny)

indigest (974861) | more than 7 years ago | (#17802734)

Verizon phones are perfect for /.ers! You have to hack them, void your warranty, and risk bricking them in order to get them to work the way you want!

Re:Why? (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 7 years ago | (#17803416)

So what self respecting /. user uses Verizon? And if you use it and pay for it out of pocket... WHY???

I just dumped them and switched to T-Mobile for exactly this reason. Never mind the data transfer and PC connections -- with Verizon's new UI you can't even customize your d-pad buttons (besides the down one). Three of them go to VZW services that cost extra money. Screw that! I took a coverage hit to switch to T-Mobile because they don't pull this shit. My T-Mo phone will work for about 80% of the calls and 90% of the minutes that I used with VZW. I'm willing to take this coverage hit in order to stop putting up with big red's bullshit.

Anybody else looking to escape from the clutches from a VZW contract should know that they are raising their administrative fees effective 3/15/07. Once the notice of this increase hits your bill (mine showed up on 1/25/07) you have 60 days to cancel without paying an early termination fee. Goodbye big red. Hello little pink. Only bad thing you can say about T-Mobile is that they parted ways with Catherine Zeta-Jones

Re:Why? -- coverage (1)

reed (19777) | more than 7 years ago | (#17804506)

The sad truth is that Verizon has the best (consistent) coverage in the northeast once you get outside of high population areas.

Nextel (1)

aaronl (43811) | more than 7 years ago | (#17799814)

FWIW, my Nextel i560 lived through all of that, as do the i530 models that I have out there every day. My current Sprint/Nextel ic502 has been going strong, too. I have a few other milspec 810F certified phones in service that have been dropped out of a car at highway speed, run over by a truck, thrown, submerged, exposed to temperatures regularly ranging from -5*F to 80*F repeatedly, and more. None of them have developed any problems, as of yet.

I've had this for a few months now (1)

Star Stealing Girl (586833) | more than 7 years ago | (#17800208)

I've had one of these phones for a few months now. I live in an area where Verizon is pretty much the only option. It was the only phone I tried that didn't feel like a cheap piece of plastic in my hand. I've had no problems with it, unlike other phones I had used in the past. I only wish it supported bluetooth, but I only have the cheapest minutes plan and I really don't need a bluetooth headset like some might need for long work calls. The biggest plus is it doesn't look like those god-awful razor phones.

Pronounciation (2, Funny)

AJWM (19027) | more than 7 years ago | (#17800442)

(pronounced 'G-Z-One')

That's "gee-zed-one", right?

Re:Pronounciation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17801366)

Seems to me to make more sense if pronounced as coming from a native of NW England, thus:

G(ive)(u)z one

Price vs features. (1)

jayratch (568850) | more than 7 years ago | (#17802852)

I have a mixed reaction to this phone. My first, upon reading the advertizing which is all I could access after the /.ing, was "Why doesn't Cingular offer a phone like this." (I am not an unbiased observer.) I work for Cingular and a day doesn't go by where I don't see a broken RAZR. Yesterday's was cleanly halved from (supposedly) a single drop. The only phone Cingular sells that in my experience qualifies as remotely durable is the Blackberry, and that does nothing for the "I want a phone that's just a phone" crowd, nor does it do anything about the lack of weatherproofing.

This phone, of course, proves what I've suspected all along- that there's no tremendous technical reason why a phone can't be built durable. Silicon rubber membranes are already in use to make the keyboard functional; why they could not be made to enshroud 100% of the electronics except the battery terminals (or even go apple style and seal the battery in) is beyond me. The argument that circuitry should be accessible for repair is invalid; in todays market, phones are rarely repaired except by the manufacturers themselves, and the most common repair is preventable water damage. The other possible argument is cooling, but phones are designed for such low power use that this should be a nonissue anyway. Were I a true geek, I'd test this by building my own rugged phone...

A few years back either /. or a phone industry site had an article about a "disposable phone" concept. As such, it's a wasted idea, but it was proof of technology showing that years ago it was possible to create a rugged, simple phone of flexible materials. The "business end" of my blackberry occupies less volume than the battery cover does, so to enshroud it in plastic (especially a thin urethane coating merely a level beyond conformal coating) would at most add 1-2 mm in thickness. The design is already sufficient against dropping and pressure, and the risk of a water short on the battery terminal side causing damage is negligible except perhaps for salt water.

Hence, in short, the main question this phone raises is "why aren't all phones like this?"

The second question is "Why is it $300 with contract and not even bluetooth or memory card support?" To put that in perspective that means a "no contract" price of $450-$500 (same as an iphone.) Yes, I'd like my phone to be durable, and yes, in a sense one could compare it to the price of the 2 to 3 sequential phones it replaces. And I TRULY don't understand why no bluetooth. In a rugged phone, BT is a perfect fit; eliminate the electrical connection to a headset, AND market a $150 rugged bluetooth headset to go with it (...5) Profit!!!)

My hope is that this product is a hot enough seller that it puts some fear into the other manufacturers, and maybe we see some competition on this front. With open market competition involved, I see no reason why "rugged phone" couldn't become the new "camera phone" and become a standard feature within two years or so. Besides, of course, the obvious conspiratory reasons that will be posted by others in response to this statement, and yes, that's a damn shame. (about the reasons, not the posts.)

That site is bouncing back to slashdot (1)

mrmeval (662166) | more than 7 years ago | (#17804356)

Except the moron there can't type. I inserted the spaces in the ht tp part to keep from hotlinking.

If the asshats at this website do not want slashdot's attention maybe they should have used a 404.

wget ht tp://www.andybrain.com/extras/gzone-review.htm
--15:15:59-- ht tp://www.andybrain.com/extras/gzone-review.htm
Resolving www.andybrain.com...
Connecting to www.andybrain.com||:80... connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 302 Found
Location: ht tp://www.slashdot.comextras/gzone-review.htm [following]
--15:15:59-- ht tp://www.slashdot.comextras/gzone-review.htm
Resolving www.slashdot.comextras... failed: Name or service not known.

But what about cold? (1)

reed (19777) | more than 7 years ago | (#17804586)

The real question is will it survive extreme cold. And will it survive sudden chilling or sudden heating.

oh, geeks, for shame (1)

macsox (236590) | more than 7 years ago | (#17805516)

i never really believed the stereotype about /.ers being womanless nerds until today.

the guy straps a phone onto a vibrator, and not one comment.

Passes the adorable test (1)

drig (5119) | more than 7 years ago | (#17805876)

Someone had to say it. Submitter, your daughter is adorable.

MIL-STD-810F (1)

ReagansUndeadBrain (807163) | more than 7 years ago | (#17810280)

Luckily I happen to have a copy of MIL-STD-810F right here. In practice you have to take these standards with a grain of salt, but some funny things come to light when you compare what the article/Verizon's claims are vs. what the standard prescribes. Also, it's likely that many existing "non-ruggedized" cellphones would pass these tests.

Water Resistance (Method 506.4, procedure I). The writeup says the test was designed to simulate rainfall of 2 inches per hour with a 40 MPH wind. This is fine if you take it by itself. However, if you look at section 2.3.2. of Method 506.4 which provides guidance on "Rainfall Rate", you get a blurb recommending a minimum rate 4 inches per hour "since it is not an uncommon occurrence and would provide a reasonable degree of confidence in the materiel." Hmm. Well, at least they got the wind velocity (40MPH) right. Is this really an exciting test though? My non-MIL-STD qualified cellphone (had it for two years so far) has gone through some harsh rainstorms without any problems.

Immersion (Method 512.4, procedure I). Maintaining a seal at 1m for 30 minutes is actually pretty good for a cellphone. It would be interesting to know if they bothered heating the test sample prior to the test (as is recommended). This creates a pressure differential as the case interior cools during immersion - and it will tend to pull water in through faulty or inadequate seals. It's a more realistic test than immersing a room temperature sample in room temperature water. Imagine if your cellphone was in your pocket before it tumbled out into a puddle on the trail. It would be near body temperature initially and then would start cooling to whatever the puddle temperature was. Probably they did this ... although they didn't bother with the 4 inches per hour ...

Humidity (Method 507.4). I wonder why they did this test. They already established that the product exhibits decent water ingress protection with the immersion and spray tests, so maybe the only thing they'd gain would be the added pressure differentials from thermal cycling. It's unlikely that there are any exposed metal bits, so corrosion wouldn't be a concern. I suppose they could have coatings & paint for the plastics that they might evaluate for degradation. I can't see the appeal - again, just citing my run-of-the-mill phone which has gone through high humidity conditions without problems.

Salt Fog (Method 509.4). Salt fog and spray tests are funny because they are really hard to correlate with real-world exposure. You really have to strap down a sample out in the wild somewhere for a year to see what effects correlate with your lab experiment. I could see salt being a cosmetic issue for a mariner's cellphone - and possibly more damaging if seal integrity was weakened and salt started corroding metal on circuit boards, component leads, connectors, etc. This is a useful test to run, although using an arbitrary 48hrs doesn't tell you much. Also, you have to wonder if they only did 48hrs of straight spray as opposed to the suggested 24hr wet/24hr dry cycle. Either way, makers of equipment for marine environments often expose their products to many hundreds of salt fog test hours - so is 48hrs enough? Hard to say.

Drop (Method 516.5, procedure IV). This is a pretty straightforward test with so little detail that it would be tough to diverge from the procedure. Curiously they dropped from 1.5 meters instead of the suggested 1.22 meters. I guess this is a good thing. I've probably dropped my cellphone a couple of dozen times, although generally from waist-height, say about a meter, rather than 1.5 meters. It's been dropped on a variety of surfaces including concrete, wooden floors, tile and so on. Nicked and scarred, yes, but it still works. One interesting clause in the test method allows for splitting the 26-drop requirement among five test samples. Wonder if they did that.

Vibration (Method 514.5, procedure I, category 24). At every turn with MIL-STD documents, you are faced with tables, cross-reference, citations and annexes to help you select the appropriate THING for whatever is you are trying to accomplish (eg. selecting test conditions). Method 514.5, procedure I, category 24 is a vibration environment category for Life Phase - Supplemental, Platform - All Vehicles, Category - 24. Minimum Integrity, Materiel Description - Installed on Isolators/Life cycle not defined. I think "Life cycle not defined" was probably what motivated the selection. Considering that the cellphone will spend a lot of its operational life somehow attached to your soft, vibration-damped body, this test is reasonable vigorous. However, the humorous description about this category suggests that you only use this profile on junk that can't survive much of any vibration in the field "... experience has shown that materiel that withstands these exposures functions satisfactorily in the field, and that materiel tested to lower levels does not. These exposures are sometimes called 'junk levels'" Not a ringing endorsement of robustness from the spec.

Solar Radiation (Method 505.4, Procedure I). Not a bad test to run, but as with many of these environmental exposure tests ... what does the result really mean? If the sample has little cosmetic deterioration after three cycles of this test - does that mean it will be fine throughout the warranty period? Who knows - unless the vendor follows up with real-world comparative tests, monitors field performance and so forth.

Dust Resistance (Method 510.4, Procedure I). Given that it's sealed against water ingress, does a dust test matter? My cellphone regularly gets chock full of lint. Still works.

These claims seem sort of neat at first glance and it's fun to read about the reviewer beating up the sample. However, when you get down to the nitty-gritty and scrutinize things a bit, the results lose some luster. The one exception is the water integrity. That's pretty good.

I'm sure folks put in some good effort to make this phone rugged ... but is it really that much more rugged than any other phone? In their defense, I'm sure they have plenty more life test data that shows how reliable the products are. Unfortunately, they probably have to selectively present results so as not to expose all that data on unreliability.
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