The good news is that all the i-mode content services are free until the end of the year – well that’s not entirely true, you’re allowed to subscribe to up to 10 content providers for free until the end of the year. i-mode email is also free until the end of March 2006.
But good as it is, i-mode isn’t perfect. Take streetmap.co.uk for example, probably my favourite i-mode service. Now, to use StreetMap you need to navigate to the StreetMap site listed under the Travel section, then you have to download a Java application in order to use the service, but this is where it gets slightly confusing. Once the Java application has been downloaded, you don’t then go to the StreetMap site under the i-menu to use StreetMap, oh no, now you have to go into your Java menu and launch StreetMap from there. I don’t see why you can’t go to the StreetMap site under the Travel section and have the Java application automatically launched from there if you have it installed – surely that would be the most simple and obvious route for users?
Now that I’ve got i-mode out of the way, what is the N411i actually like?
As handsets go this one is pretty slim and light. I’m not the biggest fan of clamshell phones, but I did warm to the N411i ever so slightly. With dimensions of 93 x 46 x 24mm (LxWxD) and a weight of 95g, this phone can slip pretty unobtrusively into your pocket. The Tri-Band support will mean that you can use it pretty much anywhere in the world, although some handsets are now appearing with Quad-Band support, in case you fancy a jaunt to South America.
The 1.9in TFT screen has a resolution of 176 x 220 pixels. Although this looks very good when viewed in isolation, when I compared it directly to the screen on my Samsung D600 (a full review of which is coming soon), it looks far less impressive. To be fair though, the D600’s resolution of 320 x 240 is stunning and would make pretty much any other phone look bad.