Archive for February, 2007

AT&T gets their bling with Gold V3xx

AT&T Motorola Gold V3xx

AT&T has just launched the Motorola RAZR V3xx in Gold. The Motorola RAZR V3xx features Triband GSM and Dualband UMTS/HSDPA and comes packed with 1.3 megapixel camera, microSD memory card slot, Cingular music ready, stereo Bluetooth and HSDPA for high-speed data via Cingular’s 3G network. You can pick up the Gold V3xx for only $99.99 after rebates with contract.

“It is finally here, the next generation RAZR! The MOTORAZR V3xx has a 1.3 MP camera, video playback and music capabilities. Listen to you favorite tunes on the MP3 music player and customize your own playlists. Stay hands free with stereo Bluetooth® wireless music profiles. Snap crisp photos on your 8x zoom camera or watch news, sports, and more with Cingular Video capabilities. With 3G abilities you can download music and videos at ultra fast UMTS speeds. The ultra sleek design, enhanced speech recognition, and multiple messaging options will keep you connected in style. The MOTORAZR V3xx is as hot as it is cool!”

 Source: Cingular

5 comments February 26th, 2007

Helio Drift Review

The image “http://www.howardchui.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10001/normal_inhand%7E2.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Here’s my Helio Drift review. It got delayed a while because I had mixed feelings about the Drift and was unsure about my conclusions. Make sure you check out my Drift picture gallery for pictures related to this review.

The Drift is Helio’s newest phone. It has similar features to the Hero and Kickflip plus it throws in stereo Bluetooth support so you can use it with Bluetooth headsets and headphones.

Physical Impressions:

While the drift isn’t a flimsy phone, it doesn’t have that ‘dense plastic feel’ that other Samsung phones have. Still, despite this and despite the fact that it’s a sliding phone, the Drift passes my squeeze test with flying colours. Some of this is due to the fact that the Drift’s battery cover is built into the battery.

Size-wise the Drift is a lot smaller than the Hero. Look at the gallery pics to see what I mean.

While the keys are a good size and easy to find the placement of, the back button is awful. Whenever you press down on a button there’s a very good chance that you’ll also get the back button. It’s truly maddening.

There are a bunch of buttons on the side but there are also a lot of slot covers which makes things a bit confusing. On the left you have a volume, play/pause, voice and a memory card slot cover. On the right you have a headset jack, charging port and camera button.

The display is nice, big and easy to look at.

The battery release button is on the bottom. I found it was far too easy to accidentally pop the battery off if you close it by holding the phone with your thumb on the bottom and your middle finger on the top.

Hands-free usage:

You get a speakerphone, 2.5mm headset connector (on the right) and support for Bluetooth headsets.

Miscellaneous:

There is 128MB of built-in memory which is a lot but you can easily get MicroSD cards that are way bigger then that. The MicroSD slot is located behind a door on the left side.

Menus:

The top level menu has been customized so that it resembles the menu on other Helio phones. It’s laid out in a 3 x 3 icon grid.

If you press the buttons really quickly when you’re navigating the menu, it can be little confusing. Here’s what I’m talking about (it’s a little hard to understand). If you’re at the standby screen, go to the menu and press right rapidly. You will first move right, then you will start scrolling around the outer menu choices in a clockwise pattern. The same thing goes if you press left. So sometimes left is right and vice versa. However, if you stop pressing for a second, then the menu will operate more predictably in that if you press left then you’ll move left and vice versa. It’s really strange – an answer to a question no one asked.

The display has a resolution of 240×320 so icons and text look great. When you’re entering numbers the text is very large.

I don’t normally mention this but I liked the sounds the Drift makes when you open/close it, press the buttons, etc. They’re interesting without sounding too silly.

The top and second level menus are easy enough to use but sometimes I found it kind of confusing to change settings. Take the alarm clock for example. There are all these choices but there’s no on screen choice to save (to save press the center button on the nav pad).

Phone Related Features:

When you’re dialing a number, the Drift will look for matches in your recent calls list and phonebook which is kind of neat. If you’ve ever used a Microsoft Smartphone (now named Windows Mobile) you can liken it to Smartdial.

The phonebook can store up to 1000 numbers. You can sync the phonebook with your PC using PCLink Pro. There’s no Outlook sync but you can import Outlook contacts into PCLink Pro. Phonebook entries can be organized into groups.

There’s also an over the air phonebook sync that I didn’t get a chance to try.

Connected Features:

There’s a USB cable in the box plus the Drift supports Bluetooth.

You can download both PC Sync software and file management software for free download on Helio’s site. PC Sync software lets you sync the Drift’s phonebook with the software. You can IMPORT your MS Outlook phonebook into the software which you can then sync with the Drift but you CAN’T sync the phone with Outlook directly.

When it comes to transferring stuff to the Drift, it clocked in at about 123KB/S (72.2MB in 590 seconds) which is really slow.

There appears to be Bluetooth support to send and receive files or connect your laptop to the internet but those features appear to have been disabled.

There’s no built-in email client but there is a link to Helio’s online email service.

You can download Helio’s H.O.T. app which turns your phone into somewhat of a RSS reader. It’s different from other RSS readers in that it takes over your standby screen and automatically updates the feeds as you’re using it. It works well – I found it pretty useful when I was taking the bus.

The browser is pretty standard fare. You can’t use it to browse HTML sites.

Multimedia Features:

If you want to use your PC to transfer music and videos to the Drift you’ll need to download Helio Media Mover. You can’t just take the MicroSD card, pop it in your memory card reader and copy mp3′s to it. Instead Media Mover has to first convert all your music to mp4′s and videos to 3g2 files which is kind of annoying since it can take a while. It’s like iTunes when copying files to your iPod in this respect.

It’s a compromise. I hated having to wait for my files to be re-encoded but I liked how Media Mover can handle both music and video plus it’s a pretty simple program to use. I also liked how it would resize your videos.

There is a side mounted play button which is useful if you’re doing something else and want to pause… unfortunately you can only really access the text messaging menu when you’re listening to music which is totally lame. Also, the side mounted buttons are locked when you close the drift so if you want to pause playback you have to press and hold pause for a second or two and then tell the Drift you want to unlock the keys.

Stereo Bluetooth support seems pretty standard. If you have a pair of A2DP headphones, you can start the musicplayer by pressing play. The A2DP buttons (play, pause, volume, skip forwards/backwards) work even when the Drift is closed.

I said it before but I’ll say it again. It totally sucks that you can’t listen to music and say use H.O.T. at the same time.

The camera has a resolution of 2.0 megapixels. There’s a flash and a self portrait mirror. Like most camera phones, pictures looked great when viewed on screen but they’re not so hot when you download them to your computer. There’s pretty good resolution but pictures are quite noisy. Colour balance varies but it’s generally okay.

The camera takes a few seconds to start up. I liked the camera user interface; it gives you a lot of information without seeming cluttered. It’s also responsive and there are numeric shortcuts for popular functions.

Pictures can be transferred to your PC using PCLink Pro. You can also save the pictures to your MicroSD which you can then pop into your computer.

Organizer Features:

Included is a calendar, to-do list, wake-up call, alarm, calculator, world time, unit converter, notepad, stopwatch, user memory and voice memo.

The calendar and to-do list sync with your computer using PCLink Pro but don’t sync with MS Outlook. I also don’t see the Drift on Apple’s iSync webpage (support for it will probably turn up much later based on Apple’s previous track record).

I’m not sure what the difference is between wake-up and the alarm clock.

It’s nice to see that there is a built-in unit converter.

Impressions:

RF performance is so-so. The Drift is programmed so that if you’re in an area where Sprint has a weak signal, it will constantly be trying to get on to Sprint which can be bad for service.

Sound quality is average. It doesn’t sound as clean as some other CDMA phones but it does sound more lively.

Conclusion:

I thought the Drift’s battery could be better. I’m basing that comment on my experiences with the Drift when I’m in the States (when I use the Drift in Canada it’s constantly look for it’s home network so of course battery life is going to be bad).

While the Drift has a nice spec sheet, I didn’t feel it worked all that well. Most of this is due to the fact that the music player sucks because you can’t multi-task (besides text messaging) when you’re using it.

The back button was a constant source of annoyance and was one of the reasons why my Drift review took longer than usual. I just couldn’t stand the device because I was constantly hitting back by accident.

I’m not crazy about the Drift. When I think about it, it’s not that bad a phone but it doesn’t really make me want to use it like some phones can.

Ratings (out of 5)
Build Quality 3.5
Battery Life 3
Phone Related Features 3.5
Ease of Use 3
RF Performance 3.5
Degree of Customizability 3
Overall (not an average) 3
*Please note these ratings are temporal and are really only valid for the date they were assigned. A phone which receives a rating of 5 a year ago will probably get a lower rating today.

Pros:

  • A2DP Bluetooth support
  • Large display
  • Lots of built-in memory

Cons:

  • Back button is inconveniently placed
  • No background music play

Discuss this review at HowardForums.com
See the gallery here
Written by Howard Chui 02.19.2007
This article may not be reproduced without the the author’s permission.

2 comments February 19th, 2007

Nokia introduces N77 DVB-H and 6110 GPS handsets

Nokia N77 and 6110 GPS

Nokia also announced two more models at 3GSM last week. The Nokia N77, a candybar handset powered by Symbian Series 60. This model is similar to the N73 although downgrades the camera to 2 megapixel but adds DVB-H mobile TV support.

“TV is the biggest media in the world and we are mobilizing it with the Nokia N77. The pocketable and affordable Nokia N77 further drives broadcast mobile TV based on DVB-H technology towards the mainstream market phase. The ability to watch live television on a mobile device has never been so easy,” said Jonas Geust, head of Nokia Nseries Players Category, Multimedia, Nokia. “The wide 2.4″ flat screen with up to 16 million colors and high quality stereo sound makes it the ideal personal mobile device for enjoying live TV and music on the move.”

The other handset announced is the Nokia 6110 which comes standard with GPS navigation and also features a 2 megapixel camera and Bluetooth.

“The Nokia 6110 Navigator features full personal navigation experience with integrated maps, routing and navigation available with the click of the phone’s one-touch Navigator key. With the Nokia 6110 Navigator, consumers can quickly and easily view their current location on the map, search for destinations, find specific routes, or locate services such as restaurants, hotels or shops that are nearby. Featuring full turn-by-turn 3D navigation, the Nokia 6110 Navigator suggests the best route to follow to reach a location by car or on foot. Clear instructions by voice guidance and turn arrows on a map ensure finding the fastest way to the destination.”

Source: Nokia

4 comments February 18th, 2007

Nokia pumps out new handsets and commuicator

New Noka E series

Somehow this post didn’t get posted but here you are:
At 3GSM, Nokia has announced several new E-series handsets including the all new Communicator. All the handsets announced are Quadband GSM with HSDPA 2100.

We’re going to start with upgrades. The Nokia E61i is the upgrade to the E61 and gets put in a slimmer body and gets packed with a two megapixel camera.

“Nokia E61i, designed specifically for extensive mobile email usage, provides advanced attachment handling with on-the-device document editing. The new full keyboard design with Navi and One Touch keys offers an unbeatable mobile user experience in the palm of a hand. Nokia E61i supports corporate mobile email solutions such as Nokia Intellisync Wireless Email, Good Mobile Messaging, Mail for Exchange, Seven Mobile Mail, and BlackBerry Connect and most popular consumer email solutions.  In response to customer demand, the device also features a high quality 2Mpix camera, a music player and a video player.”

One of the new handsets includes Nokia’s new E90 commnicator. A featured packed device sporting Symbian OS and includes QVGA display, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and a 3.2 megpaixel camera.

“The Nokia E90 Communicator sets the standard for an uncompromised “mobile office” experience. The latest technologies at the core of the device bring business necessities and personal amenities to the hands of people independent of time and place. Fast and inexpensive connections over WLAN and HSDPA-enhanced 3G accelerate the mobile use of data- and transmission-rich applications. The interface to business and leisure applications and the Internet, the stunning Nokia S60 browser, with 16 million colors, is capable of displaying the full width of a web page at once.”

The new Nokia E65 is a slim slider that comes packed with HSDPA, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and 2 megapixel camera.

“Nokia E65, the slim slider, contains the mobile business capabilities of a Nokia Eseries device in an exquisite package with top notch materials. Nokia E65 has been designed for easy access to the most frequently used applications from the One Touch keys on the front cover.  Users can make conference calls, access their contacts database, mute and unmute calls, and access an application of choice through ‘My Own’ key with just one push of a button. Active Standby, the capability to customize the phone display to show and provide quick access to user-defined applications, together with One Touch keys, simplifies connecting to business and personal applications and switching between tasks. Furthermore, Nokia E65 can be integrated with leading corporate telephony systems ¬- with Nokia Intellisync Call Connect for Cisco, Nokia Intellisync Call Connect for Alcatel and Avaya one-X Mobile Edition for Nokia solutions. The Nokia E65 device also supports the most used corporate and consumer email solutions.”

Source: Nokia

6 comments February 18th, 2007

Motorola adds new KRZR, SLVR and RIZR’s to the portfolio

Motorola L8 Z8 K3 W510

At 3GSM this week Motorola also announced several new upgrades to their KRZR, SLVR and RIZR lineups.The Motorola SLVR L9keeps the SLVR’s slim design however brings a more updated design to it. The SLVR L9 comes packed with Quadband GSM, EDGE, an upgraded 2 megapixel camera with flash, microSD memory card slot and a FM radio.

“MOTOSLVR L9 takes Motorola’s breath-taking MOTOSLVR design and packs it with outstanding music and imaging capabilities.” said Ron Garriques, president of Motorola Mobile Devices. “The handset has an eye-catching mirror-reflective finish with feature rich functionality to deliver an entertaining mobile experience that matches today’s digital lifestyle.”

The next is the Motorola RIZR Z8is the all newly designed RIZR thats powered by Symbian UIQ and comes packed with Quadband GSM, EDGE, HSDPA, 2 megapixel camera, stereo Bluetooth and microSD memory card slot.

“MOTORIZR Z8 is yet another example of how Motorola is redefining the mobile experience for consumers,” said Ron Garriques, president of Motorola Mobile Devices. “By introducing, for the first time ever, true high-definition mobile multimedia, and once more reinventing the form factor, we are delivering on our ‘no compromises’ approach to leading this industry by uniting cool design and cool experiences.”

Second last is the Motorola KRZR K3, the next addition to the KRZR series which just upgrades the KRZR K1 with HSDPA and adds a camera for video calls. Last we have the Motorola W510 which comes in a KRZR-like design and comes with Quadband GSM, EDGE, microSD memory card slot, 1.3 megapixel camera and stereo Bluetooth.

Source: Motorola

4 comments February 13th, 2007

HP takes another shot at smartphones w/ 510 Voice Messenger

HP iPAQ 510 Voice Messenger

 HP’s getting ready to take another shot at the smartphone market with the new iPAQ 510 Voice Messenger. The iPAQ 510 comes packed with Quadband GSM with EDGE, Wi-Fi  802.11 (b and g), Bluetooth, microSD memory card slot, 220 x 176 pixel display, 200MHz OMAP850 processor and is powered by Windows Mobile 6.

“The HP iPAQ 500 series Voice Messenger features voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) capabilities, “push” email and the latest Windows® Mobile 6 operating system. With up to six hours of continuous talk time on a fully charged battery, the HP iPAQ Voice Messenger also leads the competition in battery life. As the first in HP’s new smartphone lineup, the HP iPAQ 500 series helps highly mobile professionals stay connected wherever they are.”

The iPAQ 510 Voice Messenger has not been announced for release by any networks yet. Pricing hasn’t been released either as of yet.

Source: HP

4 comments February 12th, 2007

Motorola introduces MOTO Q GSM and Q q9

Moto Q and Q q9

 

Today in Barcelona at 3GSM, Motorola has just announced two new Q smartphones. Both of which are expected for release Q2 of 2007.The Motorola Q GSM which is basically just like the original Q only it packs Quadband GSM with EDGE and will run Windows Mobile 6. Other features include 1.3 megapixel camera, miniSD memory card slot, full QWERTY keyboard, thin design and sleek black design. 

The Motorola Q q9 is the latest in the SCPL handset lineup. The Q q9 comes in a more rounded form and larger QWERTY keyboard. The Q q9 is Quadband GSM with EDGE and will be featured in three different versions (possibly ones for T-Mobile and Cingular’s networks). It comes packed with a 2 megapixel camera, stereo Bluetooth, 256MB on board memory and is powered by Windows Mobile 6.

Source: Motorola

Add comment February 12th, 2007

Introducing Blackberry 8800 with GPS and more!

Blackberry 8800

 Ladies and Gentlemen introducing the latest in Blackberries the 8800 series. The new Blackberry 8800 finally became official today making it the upgrade to the 8700 series with some great new upgrades.

The Blackberry 8800 adapts the Pearls trackball however you get a full QWERTY keyboard like the 8700 and packs in Quadband GSM, EDGE, QVGA display, microSD memory card slot, media player, Bluetooth, stereo headphone jack and GPS. So far this model is only available without camera. So far two carriers have announced this model including the new AT&T in the states and Rogers Wireless in Canada. AT&T will have the 8800 available February 21st for only $299 with contract. Rogers Wireless is saying their 8800′s will be available in March (exclusively).

Source: Blackberry (RIM)

3 comments February 12th, 2007

First look at Nokia’s upcoming E90 Communicator

Nokia E90 Communicator

 
Looks like Nokia is getting ready for their new Communicator device. Engadget is showing the first pictures seen of what their calling the Nokia E90 Communicator, a phone with flip open QWERTY keyboard and large display. The first rumours are reporting the E90 features Quadband GSM with HSDPA, Wi-Fi and beautiful 16 million colours in both screen with internal display resolution of 800 x 352 and external display with 240 x 320 pixels.Looks for Nokia to maybe announce the E90 at 3GSM next week.

1 comment February 9th, 2007

All bets are on for the new Blackberry 8800

Blackberry 8800 live

 Looks like the long awaited Blackbery 8800 will be announced for CingularAT&T this month. Well acutally Febuary 20th to be exact. This comes directly from BlackBerryCool. BlackBerryCool is also reporting when the 8800 is launched it’ll sell for $299 with contract or $499 to buy with no contract.

“An email was just sent out from RIM’s head offices inviting folks to take part in an exclusive event put being held on February 20 hosted by Research In Motion’s President, Co-CEO and Founder Mike Lazaridis and Kent Mathy, President of Cingular’s Business Markets Group..”

To top it off Boy Genius was lucky enough to get his hands on one of these 8800′s. You can read the whole scoop on his site and check out more pictures.

2 comments February 8th, 2007

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