My rating of the The MobileStore: 7.1 / 10
I did say a few days ago that I bought a new phone, an LG KG300. You’d obviously be expecting a review, but I thought I should try the phone out for a few more days before passing a judgment. Until then, I thought I’d give a review of the The MobileStore (that’s the place where I bought it). Speaking of multiple the’s reminds me of The from Starship Titanic [people who’ve read it will know what I mean ;) ].
The MobileStore is a joint venture started by Essar and Virgin as a chain of stores selling, duh, mobiles. And accessories, recharge coupons, gaming equipment etc etc. You can check out their site www.themobilestore.in (good luck if you can get the site to load these days), but it’s not really updated because the very latest prices aren’t put up frequently, and then too all models they have aren’t shown, or whatever IS shown on the site is something they don’t stock. Typical business mentality – ‘Hey, we’re starting a new business, so let’s have a site, to hell with it if it’s not that frequently updated’. Check it’s mobile tips section, it’s been copied straight out of a stupid email forward that keeps on making the rounds every now and then.
Moving on the brick-and-mortar operations, I went to their Connaught Place (oh-oh, sorry Mr Bureaucrat, I should say Rajiv Chowk) showroom. Took some time to track down, because they told me over phone that it was ‘behind PVR Plaza’. ‘Behind PVR Plaza’ turned out to be two blocks away from that location, but never mind.
The store itself is pretty small (I heard it’s the case with most locations) and stocks a minuscule amount of phones. Yes, but it does stock multiple brands, but generally only the ones in hottest demand at the moment. It seems they’ve a tie-up with Sony Ericsson, because the stock those more (and plaster their walls with SE logos), but you can find a decent amount of Nokia, Motorola and LG too. I saw hardly any Samsung phones though. The store also has a tie-up with Microsoft, so you can play around with an Xbox 360 (and buy it if you want); and there’s a mobile repair section where you’ll find six people coaxing one poor over-worked guy to have their phones repaired in under 42 minutes at any given point of time.
Anyway, after the sad demise of my Nokia 3220 post-sweat-logging, I desperately needed a new phone. I started pulling everything off the shelf so a store help (they’ve got loads of those for an incredibly small store so you’ll find personal assistance) got alarmed and came running and with a polite ‘May I help you…’ started putting everything back and blocking me from touching the other ones. Have it your way I thought, and asked him to take down each and every one.
My dad was chanting ‘N Series’ and ‘Walkman’ phone alternately, but SE was out of consideration for me. Yes, they make really good phones. Instead of trying to make a Swiss Army knife that can make a sandwich and stay in ‘not responding’ mode for 42 seconds on pressing any button like the new Nokia phones do, SE makes good phones. When it says ‘Walkman’ or ‘CyberShot’ it means that – that phone WILL be excellent at music / photos as the case maybe, and decent in the other function too. However, I’ve a few grudges against Sony Ericsson:
- Most of their phones use joysticks, which have been notorious for their uncanny ability to get worn off soon.
- If they do use a d-pad, then they are clamshell / slider phones. No explanation offered, but I hate both varieties. Candybar is best, I say.
- Even if they aren’t joystick using, clamshell / sliding, Se phones use Memory Stick (Duo) instead of standard (micro) SD.
And then, Nokia went out of the running because:
- In candybar shape, they’ve practically made no new product at all.
- I said I hate sliders like 5200 / 5300, didn’t I?
- NSeries design team probably had Microsoft as their software consultants, because they do seem to go to BSOD mode as quick as Windows. In fact, at the The MobileStore, they told me they’d started keeping less stocks of these because of excessive negative user feedback.
- Too bored with Nokia.
And then Samsung went out of the running because:
- THERE WAS NO BLOODY PHONE THERE FROM SAMSUNG WORTH MENTIONING.
Finally, the chap gritted his teeth. With after having made him run around the whole store, there was only Motorola and LG to choose from. Now LG Chocolate is out, because it’s slider, and so are KRZR, RAZR, RIZR and PEBL (although I must say, I found the PEBL cute).
The final showdown came to Moto SLVR L7i and LG KG300 Dynamite (why on earth should I take KG200?). So here’s how they stacked up – L7i has a 1.3 MP camera, 60 MB phone memory, iTap (ugh!), no FM, and cool looks (and the rest of the standard features). And the LG KG300 has a 2 MP camera, 56 MB phone memory, FM, a breathtaking screen. As usual with LG phones, it came with a mini USB data cable, a headset – and get this – a 512 MB micro SD card, all for FREE! Needless to say, I went for the LG one, but not without making him run around a bit asking for random models I knew I was never gonna take. In the end, he was practically shoving the LG into my hands, almost begging me take it (and I might have got it for free if I persisted).
Anyway (and coming back to the topic of the store itself), we did make the purchase, and then started the task of transferring my 350+ contacts from my dear old Nokia 3220 (boohoo, I’m gonna miss it…[sniff sniff])…boohoo). The The MobileStore had taken out an ad in the newspaper once that for a new purchase it’d do a ‘free phonebook transfer’. I was shivering with excitement. Were they going to use the PC sync software to do it? Were they going to use an online backup service like Zyb.com? Were they going to use Hutch’s new phone backup service and let me use it for free. The suspense was killing me.
It turned out that ‘free phonebook transfer’ meant having the poor over-worked guy at the handset repairs counter manually move your contacts to the SIM card, take it out from 3220, put it in KG300, transfer to phone memory, take it out again put it back, and deja vu. I was so excited at this triumph of technology over stupidity that I shouted around a bit (in joy).
I went back home, happy with a new phone. Happy? Maybe not exactly. It seems that the The MobileStore guys knew I like long posts, so I happened to get a phone which detected the memory card was plugged, but didn’t show it up in memory. Back I went the next day (the guy who’d attended to me must’ve thought I’m an apparition) and spoke to them. No issues, they agreed to file a DoA and get me a new handset. An unbearable 24 hours later I got a new phone, but that also meant a repeat demo of the technological breakthrough in backup up phonebooks.
Overall though, sarcastic though I may have been, the The MobileStore is a really nice place to get your phone. I got mine at least Rs 2000 cheaper than LG’s current offer price, and unless you want to buy something like a Siemens then you’d probably find the handset of your choice here. The store attendants here are guys who actually know about phones, and would be able to give you some good advice if you don’t know that much on phones (but do look out for hardsell); unlike the sethji run shops where they’ll try to pawn off anything.
And why should you choose something like the The MobileStore over other offer-offering stores like Big Bazar, Subhiksha and 42-knows-what-else? For one, the The MobileStore focuses only on mobiles rather than the other two and their ilk which are basically supermarkets or grocery stores looking for a quick buck. Secondly, you’d be able to see a reasonably wide selection of the hottest phones, and get some sensible advice. And some of the coolest offers around. What else would you want?
PS – THE excessive use of ‘the’ in THE post has simply been to make THE reader of THE post curious enough to read THE book Starship Titanic (a book conceptualised by THE Douglas Adams, not just a Douglas Adams; and which neither has a King, nor THE King), which features a character The.