After trying out a pair of Rumor phones for 2 weeks, we decided to trade them for a pair of Muziq phones instead while our 30-day exchange window was open, due to several usability issues with Rumor:
- Keyguard is not 100% reliable, and turns off if the QWERTY slider is jostled just a bit inside of a pocket or bag accidentally. I know how to turn on the keyguard and always did before putting the phone in my pocket. But I often pulled my phone out of a pocket or bag only to find it active and sitting in some menu about to execute some random function, while wasting the battery too with the display all lit up. Then one night I discovered that the phone had actually dialed a number in my contacts list accidentally while in my pocket, and the line had been open more than 30 minutes before I discovered it. Yikes! Who knows what the called party might have heard or had recorded on their answering machine while the line was open and the phone was in my pocket! Sorry, but that's a showstopper, and was the deciding point for trading the phones in for the Muziq. This is an easy problem to fix with software. I had Nokia candy bar style phones in my pocket for 4 years without keyguard ever accidentally disengaging. They had you simultaneously press two particular keys separated on opposite ends of the keyboard to lock and unlock the keyboard. And there is no reason that the QWERTY slider should immediately defeat the keyguard on the Rumor that's just bad design. For you Rumor users out there you may not realize this is happening to you, but it can happen without your knowledge. The Rumor keyguard will eventually re-lock if itaccidentallybecomes unlockedin your pocket, and you will never know what happened during the time interval that the keyguardwas off. Be careful how you carry your phone!
- The music player on Rumor is unbelievably lame. With a big 2GB or 4GB memory chip it puts hundreds of songs in random order on one giant list, and no way to organize them. The Muziq automatically organizes your songs in the phone by artist and genre, so you can actually find something, which is really a requirement with large amounts of memory. Muziq also puts the album art up on the screen while playing kind of standard now in the iPod era. The Rumor could do all this too, with just a port of the Muziq software which has already been written for that phone. It's not like the Rumor would need extra hardware, or need an application written from scratch. Don't the design teams talk to each other? Or was the music player on Rumor intentionally crippled to make other phones in the product line more appealing? I hope not.
- The outside phone keyboard on the Rumor is understandably cramped, but we found that the OK key in the center of the D-pad was so small it was very hard to press without hitting the outer keys. I'd settle for an extra 1/4 inch length on the phone if they could make that one area a bit bigger. The Muziq has a large pad that is easy and very fast to use with one hand without a lot of effort or concentration.
- Bluetooth on the Rumor is also pretty sparsely implemented compared to other phones like Muziq. Looks like many other Rumor owners are complaining about that too. Another software issue that should be relatively easy to solve.
- The scheduler application is so basic that it's not very usable. With that wonderful QWERTY keyboard I was hoping to use Rumor as a poor-man's PIM so I don't have to spend $300 just to keep my calendar handy. But simple things like entering a 10-day vacation means making ten separate, manual entries there is no begin-end feature. That's so basic! And meetings should be repeatable on a certain day of the week in each month, not just a particular numerical date every month, because that's how meetings are scheduled in real life. In fairness, the Muziq does not have anything better, but with T9 input I am not planning to use the Muziq for a scheduler anyway. I just think this is a missed market opportunity for a device with such a great QWERTY keyboard.
Bottom line, I give the Rumor an A- for hardware design, and a D for software design. Nice try, but it needs more work. I hope before another 2 years go by that there will be a follow-on product with these and other items addressed so I can upgrade to it at the next renewal period. For now, Muziq is an excellent alternative if you can stand to use T9 text entry.
Yeah, I have had my phone call people on my contacts listwhile in my pocket and leave ridiculously long answering machine messages too. I have also pulled my phone out to find it surfing some random website. People need to be aware of this. Note: all this can be avoided by just getting a slide in case for your phone. You can find them pretty cheap on Ebay. They are specialized so the keyboard can still slide out (but not in your pocket).... one of those: melts in your mouth but not in your hands type things.