So I’ve been watching the price of things, all kinds of things, here in Thailand. One of the bargains I noticed early on was for Japanese-made mobile phones other than Sony-Ericsson. In Thailand, Nokia is the absolute king, which is probably responsible for this trend (Sony still has brand power here so this explains their exclusion above). In fact, LG and Samsung cellphones are also more popular and expensive than their Japanese brethren, which I feel is ridiculous when I compare the products, yet am more than willing to take advantage of.
I picked up the black Panasonic VS6 for a little over 5,000 Baht ($140) last week and liked it so much, I went back to get a matching red one for Nam’s birthday. There is not much to say about this phone except that it totally kicks the shit out of the equivalent Nokia in every aspect – functionality, quality of build, photo quality, features, ease of use – at half the price.
I may be biased, but every cell phone from a non-Japanese manufacturer I’ve ever used has had an overly complicated (or overly simplified) user interface, making simple tasks long, drawn-out affairs. I’ve worked with the cell testing groups at factories in Japan and know that at many companies, each phone’s UI is tested by an army of 500 temp workers maintained exclusively for usability trials. They may very well have similar testing in other countries as well, but I doubt it is on the same scale. Anyways, an added bonus of this phone is that if you are used to using a Japanese keitai interface, this phone will be very easy to operate.
To answer the questions in my previous post, this phone seems to be available in the states (random shop link), but being GSM will not be available for use in Japan (it can be purchased in Japan for usage overseas in GSM countries, though – google jp link)