Archive for the ‘Cellphones’ Category

Change is the law of life alright, and if you thought clamshell phones are the things in cool cellphones, then you probably just missed the bus. Say hello to swivel phones and a bigger hello to the SE W550i.

Looks and Design

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The design is a marriage of the W800i and the swivel screen S700i. And just watch the looks you get when you flick the screen open in public. Did you just hear an ooooh!!! from that girl in that skimpy skirt? Maybe you did, maybe you didn’t. You had the walkman turned on at full volume, remember, dahlink.
It looks smart and chic no doubt, and with the Orange color scheme it is quite an eyeball grabber too. This might not appeal to everyone and to me at least it looks a bit daft. Thankfully you do have snap on covers which are available in white, blue and black

Keypad

In the palm it fits nice and snug and you shouldn’t have a problem typing out long SMSes with that nice and neat keypad which offers excellent tactile feedback.
Also the buttons placed on the outside are pretty much enough for almost all the functions. You can access the menu, make a call, start the music player, surf the net, et al. I also tried playing a football game over it, without accessing the number pad and it worked just fine. I also like the fact that there is no navigational stick and there is a nice 5 button navigation pad. Navigational sticks are prone to going inside or just coming of the unit leaving you in a lurch. (I’m not generalizing but this has happened to many a people)Music Features
It’s a Walkman series phone so you take it for granted that the playback quality will be good. And it doesn’t disappoint. The highs are crisp and so are the mids and lows. All of your MP3 tracks are stored on the inbuilt 256mb memory which is room for around 100 tracks in MP3 or Apples’ ACC or Microsoft’s WMA (even with DRM).
The earphones bundled are the ones which you can find on the W800i and they do a darn good job of blocking out some of the outside noise and hence boosting the richness of the music you finally listen to.
Also the phone has got 3 small speakers(1 at the front, 1 at the side and 1 at the back) which are quite crisp and are certainly better than the silly LG M4410 which is almost in its price range,
Plus it’s got an FM receiver which is a big plus, given that the phone has a limited memory of 256MB which is not expandable, but is like poor compensation for not having expandable memory.
The same Walkman software sits on the W550 and it makes accessing your media a synch cataloguing artist, albums and tracks then serving them up through an excellent interface., however we found why the W550i is more cost effective. Sony have decided not to provide an external data slot, so no MMC, memory stick or SD card which means the maximum music you can carry is the 256mb internal memory and in one stroke they have crippled the W550i

Display
There is not much to be said about that brilliant screen which also does duty on the K750i and the W800i. It’s got 262k colors and at a resolution of 176 x 220 it is more than enough and suits this particular application very well.

Camera

The camera is a 1.3 MP unit and I expected the quality to be really good, but it disappointed me a bit. It does have AutoFocus but is not a patch on the 2.0 MP unit that is present in the K750i and W800i. The camera falters in low light and I’m not even mentioning complete darkness. Not mediocre, but certainly not what I expected after the K750i and W800i which have amazing alacrity with the way they capture light. The phone offers video recording and a small flash that is fairly effective too.Connectivity
The phone offers Bluetooth, IR and GPRS class 10. Doesn’t have EDGe in this one either. One reason why I steered clear of this phone.

Memory
The phone has 256MB of shared memory and sadly you cannot expand it. Maybe enough for most users but then, hey, when were you satisfied with the amount of memory your phone came loaded with. Maybe they wanted to keep costs down with a single non-expandable memory. But I think they should have rather given 64MB of memory and a slot so that they could sell their proprietary Memory Stick Duo sticks and minted money out of it.

Battery Life
In the Walkman mode, I played music continuously and the battery ran dry in some 12 or so hours. After carrying out some more real world tests (2 hrs of daily Walkman usage, a few calls and SMSes and moderate use of the camera) I found out that the phone lasted a good 2 days. But not exactly what SE quoted as 8 hrs.
Network Strength
Network Strength is excellent and the phone sounds good even in low signal areas. The phonebook too is as intuitive as on the other phones and browsing through it is a breeze

Games and Applications
You’ll find a lot of similarities between the applications provided for both the walkman phones. There are some smart games, a fully functional e-mail client a video editor, a ringtone composer kinda software and lots more.

Pluses
+Chunky design
+Intuitive Interface
+Good music playback
+W Logo
+SE W800i screen

Minuses
+No expandable memory
+No EDGe
+Average quality camera

Price
Rs. 11,900
Verdict
Sadly by this point I’d made up my mind and all the nice touches and the chunky yet reassuring feel of the W550i weren’t exactly enough to make up for the fact that we have a good sounding easy to use MP3 player that has less storage than an ant’s bum bag. Clearly Sony have to differentiate their products but there is little point in crippling them!!
Also if you are happy with just 256mb of memory or are prepared to use the USB 2.0 connection to fill up your W550i then the Sony Ericsson W550i does make an excellent phone, but if like me you have a bit more than 100 MP3’s then you’ll always wish you’d gone for the W800i.

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A guide to the Nokia N Series

Posted: March 9, 2006 in Cellphones

Thinking about what the hoopla surrounding the Nokia N-Series is? Want to know what unique features Nokia is introducing in the highly coveted N-Series? Here’s the Oober Guide that rounds up the basic features being introduced by Nokia in their newest phones.

Nokia firmly believes in bringing the world to the user and now it’s going bring to users a slew of phones jam-packed with multimedia features. Already, some of the new N-Series phones such as the N90, N91, etc. have created a stir and now Nokia will introduce even more phones. With the kind of technology they offer, these phones will make you drool, to say the least. But first, let’s look at some of the features that these phones bring to the table.

Some of the features that these next gen phones will include the ability to watch TV, stream music, send e-mails with attachments and all that “connect-share-feel good�? hunky dory using 3 letter mumbo-jumbo such as UPnP, WLAN and 3G. So what are these phones that have aroused everyone’s curiosity? Let’s take a look.


The Nokia N71

The Nokia N71 seems as if it is your average looking clam-shell phone. But don’t let it fool you. It comes with the latest 3G technology and a high-resolution color display (320 x 240 pixels, up to 262,144 colors), a new Nokia Web Browser, stereo FM radio with support for Visual Radio, support for digital music and videos, expandable internal memory up to 2 GB, and a 2 Mega pixel camera. The N71 is also a part of the Nokia XpressMusic family.

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The Nokia N80

Based on the 7650 and the N91, the N80 features a sliding mechanism to hide the keypad, leaving only the softkeys and joystick exposed. It weighs 134 grams and here is another first, it qualifies as the first quad band handset geared to work on 3G (WCDMA 1900 or 2100), WLAN, EDGE and four GSM bands (850/900/1800/1900). The phone also supports the new Nokia Web Browser with Mini Map; incorporates a nice high resolution display (352 x 416 pixels, up to 262,144 colors) and also includes MPEG4 AVC decoding support for high quality video streaming. But wait, the list doesn’t end there; the phone also includes a 3 Mega pixel camera, CIF video capture with built-in video stabilization, 40 MB internal memory with expansion up to 2 GB, digital music player, stereo FM radio, and support for Visual Radio as well. The N80 too is part of the Nokia XpressMusic range. So much for the geekazoids, phew!

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The Nokia N80 and the Nokia N71 are expected to be available in the first quarter of 2006; at estimated sales prices of 500 Euros and 400 Euros respectively.

The Nokia N92

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Nokia claims that its N92 is the world’s first mobile device with built-in DVB-H receiver, making it possible for users to watch and record live TV at any time. Good news for people who are stuck in mundane places like the board room, the auditorium, the conference room, the golf course and how can I forget, the loo? Jokes apart the DVB-H is a leading mobile-TV broadcasting technology, which enables low-cost delivery of high-quality broadcast programs, to mass audiences. So now, both the “Haves�? and the “Have Nots�? can tune in. Only the network needs to support it. This will be only a matter of time.

With the N92 users can set reminders, subscribe to TV channel packages, watch their favorite TV programs, and create personal channel lists. The screen is an absolute beauty with a 2.8-inch anti-glare QVGA screen with; hold your breath, 16 million colors! Additionally, it comes with the new Nokia Web Browser with Mini Map, FM radio with Visual Radio support, expandable internal memory up to 2 GB, a 2 Mega pixel camera(I suspect that is a Carl Zeiss product), and a range of connectivity options like Wi-Fi, infrared, Blue-tooth and USB 2.0. This is also an XpressMusic device.

The Nokia N92 is slated to be available in mid-2006, in Europe, Africa and Asia, at an estimated sales price of 600 Euros.
So much for your entertainment, your “Techness�?

Now hope and pray that your network starts supporting these features else you will not be able to make full use of these beauties. These phones should do well in Europe where advanced networks already exist. Nokia is flexing its muscle in order to fight the competition and the results seem nothing short of spectacular. So let the fight begin

Sony Ericsson W800i Review

Posted: January 8, 2006 in Cellphones

So, the K750i is bored of the way it looks and decides to get a makeover. It’s probably inspired by the Japs who roam at 2 a.m. with pink hairdo but thankfully it decides to choose a much less lurid color than pink, though. So, it goes for a white-orange combo. Also adds a “Walkman? option when you start the phone up. Everything else is pretty much SE K750i.

Looks and Build Quality
Looks pretty funky and is eyeball grabbing for sure, but there could have been a better color combo that SE must have thought of. (Used to get a C at school in drawing and coloring, so don’t ask me to suggest a color)
The phone’s nice to hold and fits pretty snuggly into your palm. Easy to slip in and out of your jeans pocket. And don’t do it unless it’s a Diesel or a Levis’ (it’s fairly pricey, ya know)
On the side are the buttons to the camera and the Memory Stick Duo slot. And oh, lest I forget the phone comes with a 512MB Stick.


Keypad

The keys look small but don’t get fooled by their small size. They are comfortable to use right from the word go. Well spaced apart and very good tactile feedback. There is also a four way stick for scrolling and zooming around. So SMS junkies shouldn’t find any reason to complain. Wahey!

UI and Screen
Coming to the UI, it’s pretty similar to the earlier SE phones, and I certainly think those icons could have done with some anti-aliasing and some more detail. It’s a brilliant 262k (176 x 220 pixels) screen after all. Apart from that the UI is quite simple and a newbie shouldn’t have much difficulty navigating through the plethora of features that this thing offers you.

Performance
Battery Life

The battery is a 900mAh. In normal usage it gives you about 6 hours of usage time and in the Walkman mode, the battery life is a good 12 hours. I’m impressed

Music Features

I like this concept of “Walkman? branding on the phone. Looks cool, no doubt. Someone at Sony has had a nice brainwave. Cash in on the legendary “W? logo and guffaw all the way to the bank.
Let’s talk about the music quality now. It’s not just any other phone, ya know, it’s a Walkman series phone and you can expect it to sound really good. And it does. The highs, the lows all sound very nice. It’s the best sounding music phone for sure. Period.
You can create Folders, play lists and do whatever you do on stand alone MP3 players.

The earphones too are worth a mention. They are “inner earphones? so to speak and fit well within the ear so that very little sound is lost to the surroundings. Wish I lost some calories like that. (I’m pretty fat for my height, if you don’t know, and you quite obviously don’t)

Camera

This is the best camera I have ever seen on a phone! It just rocks and I think is second to none.(OK, maybe the N90 but I haven’t got my hands on it yet) It’s got 2 mega pixies(or something to that effect 😉 ) that captures JPEG images up to 1,632 x 1,224 pixels or .3gp video at 176 x 144 pixels. The onboard Media Player utility also supports playback of MPEG-4 video files.

Here I compare a pic taken from the W800i and the LGM4410(didnt have a Nokia around, so)
SE W800i

LG M44410

The difference is so apparent that er… the less said the better I guess.

The owner says he doesn’t need a digital camera, now that he’s got a W800i. Humph.
And that cool AutoFocus feature which focuses the pic for you so that you don’t get a blurry shot(you can actually feel the lens traveling while the lens focuses!!!). Thank you very much.

Memory

The phone comes with an onboard memory of 34MB and an external memory of 512MB which you can bump it right up to GB. Pretty neat, given that the K750i came with lot less. This also bumps the price up to an extent. But then this is a music phone and the more the better.

Connectivity
So this thing has Bluetooth, IR, and GPRS (no EDGe!!!) which completely pisses me of. I fail to understand why SE doesn’t have any EDGE enabled phone in India. I mean after paying this fat wad of currency, you at least expect this connectivity option. Even the lower priced phones have got EDGe. Practically on our networks you get more than twice the speed than that of GPRS.
Why so much criticism for not having certain connectivity feature?? Cos it’s the only thing I can crib about in this phone. And the only serious flaw, if you can call it that.

Stop Press!!!!
SE has released the W810i which does have EDGe
More Info Here

Games and Software
Truckloads. I tell you. Truckloads. There is just so much you can do with this phone apart from making calls and that odd SMS: p.
It’s got a MIDI composer, a Video editor, a world clock. A Tetris style game, a video player Et al


Optimistic
+Great Camera
+Great Screen
+Good keypad
+Cool Interface
+The “W? Logo
+Great Bundled earphones

Pessimistic

– No EDGE
-Nothing else to crib about (note to self, put it under the microscope and find more flaws, stop writing corny jokes in parentheses)

Contents of standard package

>Handset
>Charger
>Manual
>Earphones
>Sandisk Memory Stick Duo
Price
Rs. 23995/-

Conclusion
This is as hip as phones can get. This phone didn’t get to the NDTV top 10 Gizmos of the year without reason. A perfect example of form marrying function.If you’ve got cash , then this is THE thing to buy.
Overall Rating
9/10(would have given it a 10 if it had EDGe)

My Cellphone!!

Posted: November 6, 2005 in Cellphones

Whoever designed the LG M4410 probably did so after watching the US Formula 1 Grand Prix. It was a big farce, but I am not trying to suggest this phone is. It doesn’t have an OS, but is nothing short of brilliant when it comes to the installed software. But it’s pretty much like a robber who left a load of evidence after a robbery. Want to know more? Read on then.

Looks and Build Quality.
These Koreans, I tell you, are pretty much copy cats. Look at Hyundai cars, the older Sonata for instance, looked as though a Mercedes and Jaguar were badly mixed by a bar-tender. The new one too looks like an Accord and Audi A8. This phone too , looks like a D500 from the sides(yes, they even copy from kith and kin. Sibling rivalry?!?!). But is pretty pleasing to look at from the front. With it’s so called “F1 inspired design? it does manage to look a bit like a spruced up go kart. Otherwise it looks and feels solid and chunky from the other sides. It tips the scales at a 110gms. Light enough for a clamshell phone of this size. Manages to turn heads quite easily with its aluminum front (no, no it’s just cheap Chinese plastic). Should be comfortable to use in large hands.
The left of the phone holds a coupled volume button, at the same time the right side is equipped with a camera button and an earphone connector. It is closed with a plastic shutter fixed to the body. The slot itself is miniUSB identical to those used in Samsung’s phones. So, the devices are headset compatible. This very side has a miniSD expansion slot. The latch has a hollow; however it’s hard to lock the shutter with a hand, since it’s sunk into the body. As a rule, that is easier to do with a paper-clip or something like that. Hot swapping of the memory card is supported, which is an undoubted advantage and characterizes the device as up-to-date. Thankfully so.

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The keypad next
It’s nice and wide. SMS junkies should be happy. Ah… the many pleasures of having a clamshell phone! Good tactile feel but it’s a bit flat and you can’t exactly type in without seeing. But nonetheless, it’s good. Many controls are accessible from the outside itself, like the camera, the music player etc. There is no navigational stick but the four directional keys are good enough. And then there is this large OK button for you to finalize your decision after much head scratching.

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The Display
“Awesome? is usually the first word when someone props open the display. Seriously, its 176*220 256k display is sharp and manages to reproduce the smoothest of shades with immaculate ease. It is pretty readable in bright sunlight too. There is also an external 65k OLED display. Exposes some functionality like the MP3 player, camera and the usual stuff external displays umm… well display. The menu is animated and bright too. Produces loads of sounds for different menu options. Good for poseurs. Thankfully, you can turn it off too. LG have also tried their best to ape Nokia as far as menu controls go. And that is a big plus. It’s easier than some Nokia phones to use. First timers won’t find it that difficult to get along.

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The Phonebook too, stores all of 250 names with all the teeny-weeny details like e-mail address, second phone number, a picture of them, which group they are to be placed in. Then there is also the SIM memory to store just the name and number.

Performance
Holy mother of all God! I get network reception in my dungeon of a Chemistry lab. Let me explain. Our college Chemistry lab is underground and my older Nokia never managed to get some network over there. Orange doesn’t have proper service over there, you see. But this phone is unbelievable. It shows 75% network strength! Amazing!
Voice Clarity too is exceptionally good.Every syllable can usually be heard quite clearly. And you dont have to scream into the phone to get yourself heard at the other end. Didnt expect this from LG.
Battery and Connectivity
The battery too is rock solid. On paper as well as real world tests. A 1000mAh Li-Ion battery is used as a standard for the phone. Works fine for me. It does so for an average of 2 and half days. That includes 30 minutes of EDGe(Class 10 GPRS, just for the record) usage. 30 minutes of camera usage and 2 hours of banging on with the Mp3 player. Bluetooth too doesn’t drain battery life. And there are no connectivity issues. It connects with any phone on the fly and data transfer is nice and fast.
Music Playback
Now comes the part with which the phone is being marketed. The MP3 player. Its crap. There, I said it straight of. Maybe it’s the quality of the headsets, but low and high bit rate media sound pretty similar on the phone. Plus you cannot do anything else except change the playlists, fiddle with the equalizer, change some visualizations (there are 2 of them). Yeah, that’s about it. You have to turn of the music player before you do anything else. Well, you can answer a call, but this is not what I expect from LG after the Nokia 6670 allows you to play music in the background while you carry on with your work.
camera
The camera is also no great shakes when it comes to image quality. But it’s got a load of presets to choose from. The phone camera is 1.3 MP and the following resolutions are supported – 1280×960, 640×480, 320×240, main screen, external screen, contact(for displaying in the phone book). Three compression types – Super Fine, Fine, Normal. Photo brightness is adjusted (from -2 to +2, a step of 0.5), white balance (auto, sunny, cloudy, indoors), a timer and a night mode are present. The effects to mention are Sepia and BW. You can choose the type of memory where the photos will be saved. The flash may work both automatically or you can control it manually.
Some pictures taken with the camera(yes i have changed the White balance and brightness settings from the phone itself)

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Memory
You have 8MB of onboard memory and a 64MB miniSD card with a SD card expansion slot. So, the memory can be bumped right up to 1GB.But its rather pointless. Now why do I have to say that? That, my friends is the main drawback of this phone. It treats them both very separately. For example an image has more settings to it when in the phone memory than in the external. Also a MP3 can be set as ringtone only if it’s on the handset memory. Also you cannot move multiple files at once. It’s one by one. So when I feel a particular teacher is getting boring, I know I have “card? maintenance to carry out. Yes Mr. LG M4410, you will stand out in the crowd, but like a sore thumb. (As far as this aspect goes)

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Games and Software
The phone supports Java (J2ME only, J2SE apps won’t run). And that should in a significant way fill up for the lack of an Operating System (miss u).The phone comes pre-installed with only one game. Mr.Crane. A cross breed of Tetris and a logic game. Good way to kill time. Lots of apps and games can be downloaded from the WowLG site.Must say, the content available exceeds expectations. At least in India, they have a tie-up with MTV for ringtones and wallpapers. Googling yields a fair amount of results too.
The phone has a HTML supporting browser which is a bit heavy on the processor. But it’s nice and fast once it has started. The History option is available too.

Pluses
+Sturdy Build Quality
+Brilliant color display
+Large Keypad
+Useful Exernal Controls
+miniSD support
+MP3 playback
+Seamless connectivity with Bluetooth
+Good bundled software

Minuses
-Average Camera
-Average Sound Quality
-20 second “Silent Movie” recording
-Integration issues with External Memory

Contents of standard package
>Handset
>Battery( 1000mAh Li-Ion)
>Users Guide
>LG Mobile Agent v1
>64MB miniSD card(with SD card slot)
>USB cable
>Stereo Handsfree Kit

Freebie available In India
>LG AVHB04 Bluetooth Headset

Price
Rs 13.5k to 15k(varies from state to state)

Conclusion
Good value for money. More than enough features for the average user. Some small niggles, but not very significant. Maybe LG has an update to this phone. I do not know. Could have been categorized as a smartphone, if it had an OS. Its a wrap. Satish signing out.

P.S. I am only 17 years old. This is my first ever review of anything. Please do not flame me if you dont like the review. Instead give suggestions. that will help me write my next review even better.