Prior to last week’s #N97minitour the last locked-to-a-carrier handset that I used was a Fido-branded hiptop that I gave up in 2007. I’m a big fan of unlocked phones and wrote a fairly popular treatise on the subject for a previous blog.
In the interest of due diligence I thought I might have a look and show you what I’ve been missing before this Rogers-branded Nokia is sent back. Prepare to be underwhelmed…
Apart from the Rogers World-Ready™ start-up and shutdown screens the most noticeable tweaks to the stock N97 mini are the red and white icons on the default home screen seen above.
The first shortcut is actually a web bookmark that will take a Rogers customer to their account administration page. The good news is that there’s no special login required; the bad news is that you need to use the Rogers (or Fido) WAP connection for it to work.
FYI here’s the actual address of the page::
Verdict: Of dubious value. You could bookmark this yourself on any unlocked device.
I used my temporary Rogers SIM to buy and download a sample track — not only did it play back through the urMusic player (itself of dubious value) but I was able to transfer a DRM-free .aac file to my Linux box and play it back from there.
But with added-on “download fees” that range from 25¢ to a ridiculous $3 nobody in their right mind would use this service — at least from their mobile phone.
Verdict: A complete and utter rip-off. Avoid like the plague.
The third shortcut provides Rogers with another opportunity to bilk you further on ringtones, ringbacks, etc.
Verdict: Waste of time. You do know that you can side-load your own ringtones without paying a dime to anyone, don’t you?
The fourth and final shortcut takes you to a dedicated folder of more Rogers-branded shortcuts. How’s that for unnecessary duplication?
Verdict: Awesome if you appreciate the aesthetics of Rogers’ red and white icon design. Otherwise useless.
Final verdict: Aside from a modicum of wasted space none of the Rogers “value add-ins” interferes with the actual device. You can easily replace the home screen shortcuts like I did, and still use the Ovi Store proper instead of the Rogers ringback portal.
But there’s nothing here of any real value, either. This Rogers-branded Nokia might be cheaper at first blush than an unlocked N97 mini, but you’ll pay for it eventually with three years of servitude to a single master. And with all the wireless upstarts popping up ’round these parts, why on Earth would you want to do that?