I rang my dad last night. Mentioned my new phone, as you do. “I can’t understand you.” he said. “It’s simple”, I explained, before going into great detail about the complex financing infrastructure that I had carefully put in place so that he would appreciate that I was not being profligate with money and was putting into place all those rules of fiscal good behaviour that he had taught me. “No” he replied “I can’t understand what you are saying, your voice is distorted”.
I rang myself up (one good reason for having a landline). He was quite right. I couldn’t understand me either. Turns out that my lovely Lumia 900 is brilliant at everything except making phone calls. If you turn the volume up during a call then the sound gets progressively more broken up until you hit the level 7, at which point you sound like a dalek with a bad cold. Oh dear. It looks like it is a problem with the noise cancelling part of the device picking up sound from the speaker and trying to cancel it, and then getting stuck in a loop. Whatever it was, not good. From the posts on the Nokia forums there are a few folks having this problem. While I can solve the problem by not turning the volume above 7 I’m not particularly happy with this solution, the worst thing being that I sound fine to me, it is just the person at the other end that can’t hear anything sensible.
So this lunchtime it was off down to Phones 4 U in Princes Quay, where I bought it. Fortunately the problem is really easy to demonstrate, and they were happy to make a swap for a working device. They were very good about this, and so I was left with just one more problem to solve. On Saturday I’d linked my Zune Pass to my new phone (mainly so I could get the new Garbage album onto it). You are only allowed to change your Zune Pass devices once a month, and so I was worried that I’d have to wait another 28 days before I could carry Shirley Manson et all around with me again. Not so. Zune support has an interactive chat mode that works very well. Rather than hanging around on call waiting you just wait for the message window to open and then type in your question. Up and sorted within five minutes.
I’m a bit sad that I lost a lunch-hour sorting out a problem that should not have arisen. But I’m very pleased that Phones 4 U and the Zune people responded so quickly and constructively. Marks and Spencer could learn from them.