Phone Scoop

printed November 24, 2014
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Review: Nokia 7705 Twist

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Menus Calls/Contacts Messaging  

 

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Anyone familiar with Verizon Wireless phones knows what to expect when it comes to the user interface. Users can choose to interact with the typical grid- and/or tabbed-style menus that have been a part of Verizon's vernacular forever. These menus are easy to learn and get the job done, though many find them to be kind of annoying. Or...

...Users can choose to activate the "Habitat" user interface. I get what Verizon is trying to do here, but in my opinion, it is poorly executed and feels sophomoric.

Essentially, Habitat attempts to bring a graphical representation to messages and call notifications on the home screen. There are two different skins within Habitat. One looks like a bad Cartoon Network show and the other look like it comes from an inner-city sneaker commercial. Hip, it ain't.

Anyone who's taken an art class probably remembers the lesson about perspective. Pick a point in the distance and have all lines on the page lead to that point to provide a realistic representation of how objects change in size relative to their distance from the viewer. Habitat has a perspective line that runs from the bottom right of the screen diagonally back to the top left of the screen. When you receive new messages, missed call alerts, and so on, they will be displayed on this line in the order that they are received. Users have to set a hot key to activate Habitat. Once the key is pressed, the D-pad lets you interact with the icons (AKA, messages, etc.) and see all pertinent information in each alert.

It's a neat idea, but Verizon and Nokia failed to make it truly useful. It's clumsy to use, requires too many clicks, and in the end, it is simply easier to use the regular (albeit boring) Verizon menu system. Of course, some Phone Scoop readers have noted that they really like Habitat, so perhaps it's just me...

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