A quick review of John's Phone

Dec 17, 2010

Picture of John's Phone with accessories

Received my John’s Phone this week and I’ll just put it out there: I’m disappointed.

First up: physical attributes. The phone itself and all accessories feel really cheap – a lot of empty space inside the device (it weights 95 grams1), medium-density plastic and the knobs residing at the side of the phone feel loose. These knobs/buttons are however made of metal (I’m not sure about the volume knob though).

Another thing that struck me was the size of the phone – it’s both thicker and broader than an iPhone, but slightly shorter. This was of course no surprise since dimensions are clearly stated in the specs.

One thing I really quite like about this phone is the looks of it. I mean, who wouldn’t want a phone that uses the classic The Bomb for the “end call” button?! If you get one of these phone you probably fit within one or both of the following categories:

  1. Extreme minimalist
  2. Addicted to pretty things

Every self-respecting minimalist know that a simple pen is a priceless accessory which you don’t “minimize away”. This phone comes with a built-in (or: concealed) pen and a tiny note book (which is meant to be an address book, but whatever, be a MacGyver will ya’). At the back side of the phone there’s a transparent plastic latch which holds this tiny book of notes.

Now to the software. This phone is obviously produced by some of the mass production factories in China where they share the internals of millions of not so physically similar phones. You guessed it – it’s slow and buggy. There’s an audible response when you type a button, which comes approx. 100ms after you’ve released the button. This just makes the phone feel retarded, so I turned of the interface sounds.

At the top of the phone there’s a 1-bit (black-and-white) old-style LCD which displays the number you are currently typing in or the caller’s ID when receiving a call. Now, the guys and gals at John’s Phone did something honorable here: they put a lot of extra time into making cute little low-fi animations.

  • When you turn on the phone a happy sun comes up and say “Hello”
  • When you turn off the phone, the sun turns around and “walks down”, ending in a starry night sky
  • When you put the phone into sleep mode, the sun goes to bed, floating in a starry night sky. This one definitely got my NES nostalgia going.

Here’s a short and shaky movie of the three animations:

  1. http://www.johnsphones.com/about/specifications/item49