the cable thingy for Nokia’s (E72) WH-601 headset

While searching for a little present for her, I came across this simple cable retractor – which inspired me to build my own.

As with most other headsets by Nokia, the WH-601 that came shipped with my E72 is a little bit stubborn as the cables seem to contain too much rubber. And while this may as well be intended by Nokia’s engineers (or because no one at their Chinese factories maybe never really thought about this), storing the headset in your pocket will ultimately frustrate you sooner or later. It unfolds inside the pocket – and this peculiar behaviour will not change over time with more frequent use. It’s a design fault, in my opinion.

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One possible solution is such a cable thingy which can be bought in different shapes (there are even some with magnetic clips) or built on your own (hint hint, dear Kenyan jua kali workers: how about a version cut from car tires or flip flop sandals?). It just consists of some glued cardboard, wrapped in paper. It’s my first prototype and I may come up with a better solution – but for the moment, this will do:

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Nokia headsets have always been an issue on my blog. This one comes with a nice (much better) remote control (than the one on my N95). However, the headphones suck so much because of their shape (which can be adjusted using silicone caps, at least) and because of the sound they deliver.

I made this JKE-version of a headset in September 2008 which still works and delivers beautiful sound using Sony headphones. The cables are a bit too short on this mod though, and the remote control on the WH-601 is nice, slimmer and thus more attractive. I will probably hack this new headset soon and solder my favourite Sony headphones to the pcb inside the remote control.

And for those of you who came here looking for geek pr0n, here’s a recent pic of my opened Nokia E72 – enjoy :-)

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One may assume that the active parts (besides of the keypad, display, antenna, charger port, etc.) are all hidden underneath these metal cases only. Well…they are, and if you’ve ever opened a mobile phone yourself, you will know what they usually look like. So this is some fine piece of hardware engineering, I’d say. It’s ALL under these few covers. Also, the (multi-layered?!) pcb is of good quality. The only thing I don’t like from this first visual inspection (I had to open it because of dust under the display – yes, on a 4 weeks old phone. Nokia…) is that both microphones are directly soldered onto the pcb. The one above (visible on this pic within the gap on the left side next to the metal shields) is part of the noise reduction circuit. It’s also where most current E72 owners are crying out loud because it results in a noticeable light leakage on the keyboard. But uhm, well…. that’s the difference between a phone with many buttons (= QWERTY keyboard) and a touchscreen phone, I’d say. You can’t have it all.

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Anyways, I am happily surprised by the built quality I’ve found on the E72 and how (previously) fragile parts seem to be well engineered this time. I know the E71 has a better back cover and (metal) middle frame, but it still is a lot of high-tech they’ve hidden underneath these few metal shields. If it wasn’t for the display, the keyboard and the battery, the E72 could just as well fit into a matchbox. Seriously. Great hardware.

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Oh, and check out this massive pcb (the green part) that powers the camera flash and flashlight! Has about 1-2mm thickness.

It’s just great pleasure to see how things are engineered and that someone really thought about such design details and how they could reduce costs, materials and improve accessibility. Two screws and you can already remove the display, 4 more screws and it’s dissassembled.

Now I wish that someone at Nokia is smart enough to reconsider the materials used on their (cheaper) headsets, and that they really improve their OVI store + fill it up with Gravity-styled apps.

P.S.: Happy 2010 to all of you!

4 comments » Write a comment

  1. Dear Kamau:> what a blog!! You must be one of the most interesting bloggers i’ve come across lately…..and I aint jus sayin’! Maybe seeing you are quite tech savvy you could help me trace & revive mine…sensualnubian on blogspot;)Too much work starting another besides liked what I had started. Actually was doing feature on Iko Toilets for the Can Do ezine,opened Kikuyu moja,read on peepoo,fascinated decided to subscribe, came upon all the app & phone engineering user lit. Still fascinated. 2 underpaid to afford this stuff but used to write tech for the late BizBytes. You are very good, this what you do? writing on tech again. I shall be sure to consult you.Cheers
    PS…cute pic

  2. To open the E72:

    1. remove the back cover & battery
    2. use a TORX (no. 5 or 6) screwdriver to remove the two visible screws
    3. pry it open from the top: between the black plastic body and the chrome ring
    4. inside you’ll find another 4 screws which need to be removed.