"Price aside, a huge advancement in mobile phones..."4.5 starson by mdmatthew
Pros: scroll wheel navigation and large clear screen
Cons: should not have a camera
Summary: I don't think, given the other reviews, that I could write a review without mentioning the price, but I don't think that price is as relevant a pro or con in electronics as people on this site would have you believe. Certainly the phone is expensive, but that does not automatically make it bad any more than something being cheap makes it good. That said, anyone who has ever held a job has some understanding that prices are not arbitrarily fixed. If the Serene costs $1,275, it likely costs significantly more to produce than less expensive phones. Just as an Aston Martin costs more to produce than Chevy Cobalt. Whether one car is better than the other is largely dependent on the needs of the consumer. Such is the case with the Serene.
I have owned mine for nearly two months and have found it to be the best mobile phone I've ever used. To me, the best feature is the scroll wheel. Many people to whom I have shown the Serene comment that it must be difficult to use because the buttons are arranged in a circle around the scroll wheel. To the contrary, most of what I do on a phone involves navigating in and out of menus and selecting options. The scroll wheel is ideally suited to the vast majority of daily operations on a cell phone.
The other feature I enjoy is the menu design. Any phone could benefit from a menu like this! Prior to the Serene I had a RAZR and before that a T68i, and though I really like both phones, I was always searching for a way to alter the menus to make them more legible. On the RAZR, I had to resort to taking a photograph of a white sheet of paper and using it as a background! The Serene has done away with backgrounds and icons. All the functions occupy their own elegant screen and are accessed by scrolling through menus. The screen is surprisingly large and everything seems crisp and vivid. My favorite visual feature is when dialing a number the number takes up the entire screen.
The rest of the features are, in my opinion, just icing on the cake. The ring tones are perfect little pings and clicks and the servo that opens and closes the phone makes every interaction an experience. Even the feel of the surface coating is pleasant to the touch. Though all these details seem minute and some even gimmicky, they all contribute to the feeling that you are using a very special piece of electronics.
I have decided to give the phone a nine, because after auditioning all the high end phones, even the Vertu, the Serene is the most functional and well considered offering on the market today. The camera is probably my only criticism. I understand the placement in terms of the overall design, but I think that they should have stuck to the "purity" concept and left it out. Cameras in phones have always ranked up there with ring tones in terms of irritating gadgetry as far as I'm concerned, but still not enough to knock it down to an eight.
I don't usually write reviews, but there's not much of substance either pro or con so far and if someone can afford the price, I wanted to offer the best summation I could of how it's worked for me. I hope this helps!