Last night I unknowingly washed my Kyocera K12 in the washer when I forgot to take it out of my pants. The thing can stand being run over by my car, and apparently a washer too. Mostly. Not all of the keys could be used easily anymore, they had to be jammed into the body to work at all, so I went down to the Alltel store today and took advantage of the insurance my dad purchased for it, which was due to expire tomorrow anyways. The K12 isn’t manufactured anymore, so I was shunted along to the LG AX390. Upon parting with my beloved K12, I regretted it and realized how much I’ll miss my dear friend. What follows is a comparison between the two models.
Over at the right is a K12. Beautiful, yeah? You can tell it was designed by an engineer. It’s rugged, durable, rubber coated, and has a flashlight. My previous K12 could withstand being run over by my ’01 beetle, so all that has some credibility. The K12 is a phone meant for people who just want a phone to get things done with.
Over there is the AX390. Looks like a normal phone. Also looks good too. Must’ve been designed by someone in LG’s design department.
While the K12 has been phased out of production, I still think it has some very good qualities that the LG one needs. For one, its got the flashlight. A flashlight on your phone is infinitely useful. Especially when its a very bright one like mine was.
Second, the UI in the K12 has one incredibly useful feature that makes the LG bulky and slow. On the home screen, I can just start typing “H-O-M-E” and my home number pops up. I can then hit dial and call home. On the LG, this doesn’t happen. The closest thing available is to either search through my contacts by actually typing in each character, entering some number and searching through contacts with that number, or through voice prompts.
The most suitable replacement I’ve found for it is to set my important numbers to the speed dial and remember an association between a number and a name.
Third, there is the issue about tactile feedback. The K12′s number keys are all individual rubber buttons that are distinct from each other. The LG’s however, are all smooth and uniform. There isn’t an easy way for me to know what I’m touching without actually looking at the keys. When I was driving, I could use this to send text messages on the road while still looking ahead. Not anymore.