First, some pictures compared to the 214 (white):
A lot of what I loved about the 214 remains and what annoyed me about the 214 was resolved. Namely the clasp. The 214 was fixed, could never rotate. With the 221, the clasp rotates 360! One of the coolest new features of the 221 is NFC. You can power it on simply by holding the Nexus up to it! (I've not had much luck getting it connected via this method yet though.)
You can *STILL* use whatever earphones you prefer. The headphones plug in in the middle, opposite of the screen, not on the edge like previously. It charges via micro USB (same as Nexus) unlike the standard Nokia micro pin plug on the 214.
They've also added an OLED screen that will show you caller id, track names (if the device it's connected to supports it), and displays the FM channel it's tuned to. OH YEA! It has a built in FM tuner! If your phone was like the EVO, it used the ear phones plugged in for an antenna.
It also supports mutilpoint connectivity, allowing it to be simultaneously connected to two devices. To initiate a search for a phone, press the Start/End Call button for about a second. Same thing for a media device, except you press the Play/Pause. Here you can see it searching for a phone or music device:
I use it in the car as a hands free (via the Aux In) connected to my EVO (as a pure media device) and my Nexus for phone. Works great. The only aspect that I miss is that all notifications on the Nexus won't be heard because they're played over the media connection, not phone. Also, I believe the mic to be improved as I used to get complaints about echos when on a phone call while plugged into the stereo.
It took me about 30 minutes to figure out how to connect a 2nd device. It's not intuitive and the manual has NO INFORMATION on it at all. It required a lot of button holding after initiating a search. Hold the Prev/Next buttons simultaneously & options menu is scrollable via the Prev/Next buttons. The options are:
- Adjust Bass/Treble
- Connect 2nd Device
- Factory Reset
(NOTE: I didn't realize that the 214 could connect to multiple devices as well! I don't know how I decided to try, but it works essentially the same was as the 221. Press & hold the phone to connect to a phone device, Play/Pause for a media device. You don't get a screen to show the search, but it worked. I can connect to both my EVO & Nexus at the same time with no music apps running on my Nexus, but music playing on my EVO that I can hit next/prev & the songs change and take a phone call on the Nexus. Thought that was neat!)
One of the greatest things I loved about the 214 was the battery. It seemed to last longer than advertised. The 221 seems to last about what's advertised & seemingly shorter than the 214.
The other issue is price. I paid about ~$30 more than I paid for the 214. Another cool thing for the 221 is now it comes in 5 colors (White/Black/Blue/Green/Pink, but it's just the controls, the body is still black). The 214 comes in 2 (white or black, I believe maybe a blue too?). I bought it for about $75 at Expansys.
(NOTE: I haven't found a North America 221 for sale yet, they only have the EU version. You can tell by the plug, but Expansys included a US/EU plug adapter! I almost threw the box away my order came in & while verifying it was empty, I found the adapter! Works great.)
The volume is about the same, if not the 214 being a tad louder than the 221. The call clarity is as good as your phone & I've not had any complaints about noise or whatever from others when on a call.
I keep the 221 in the car because of it's better mic capabilities & the 214 (that used to stay in the car) now is around my neck full time again. Either make a great hands free/media interface for my car. The stock stereo was severely lacking & the 214/221 is a pretty good stop gap.