Archive for February, 2008

Garmin 350 GPS

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Recently my wife and I had to go to California (San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles) If you’ve never been to LA before it’s a big city that’s really spread out so the best way to get around is to rent a car. We brought a Garmin 350 GPS along to make getting around easier.

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Now while I’m not a GPS expert, you might find my impressions useful since I’m a regular end user like most people. My GPS experience is somewhat limited. I’ve used a few Bluetooth GPS’, Pocket PC’s with built-in GPS, my Nokia n95, some other GPS enabled phones, a TomTom One and the GPS built into my car.

Last time I was in LA, we brought along the TomTom One. It’s been a while since I’ve used the TomTom but here’s what stuck out: the battery life wasn’t so great and you need to know the zip codes when you’re looking for a place.

First Impressions:

Size wise the 350 is most similar to the TomTom One so I’ll probably be comparing the two the most. Technically the TomTom is not a direct competitor to the 350 since they are at two different price points (the Garmin costs a bit more). The most noticeable difference is that the Garmin will read out street names (the TomTom just tells you to turn left or right whereas the Garmin will say turn left at Howard St.). Another big difference is that the Garmin will last a lot longer on battery life than the TomTom.

The 350 came with a nice leatherette carrying case. While it’s nice to have the carrying case when you’re walking around you can’t use the 350 if you put it in there.

In the box you get: Garmin 350, car charger, AC adapter, mini USB cable and a leatherette carrying case.

I liked the windshield mount. the suction cup has a lever which you pull so that it fits more securely to your windshield. There’s a button you can press to quickly take the 350 off. While I didn’t think the TomTom’s mount was that bad (it’s pretty secure too though you have to work it in before it becomes easier to take off) the Garmin’s is much better.

Usage:

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As luck would have it I forgot to bring the Garmin’s mount and car charger which really made me use it’s extra features (street announcing and longer battery life).

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Now for some background. Whenever I get a new device I usually don’t bother reading the manual. I prefer to use it and figure it out as I go. The Garmin has a flip out antenna; turns out that if you don’t flip it out, the GPS portion won’t turn on meaning it won’t search for a GPS signal. This is what made the Garmin harder to use if you’re just walking around with it.

Another difference I noticed is that TomTom requires the zip code when you’re looking for an address or point of interest while the Garmin just needs the State and City. The Garmin makes a lot more sense since I’m not that familiar with US zip codes.

In order to work properly, a GPS needs to be able to see the sky. This isn’t a problem when you’re driving around since you’re in the middle of a road but a GPS can have a lot of trouble if you’re walking off to the side where there are lots of big buildings around. Also, if you’re walking around it can be hard to figure out what direction you’re walking in. I’d like to see how useful it would be in a big city like New York.

I’m not 100% sure of this but it appears when you create a route to a location you can only choose from one. On my car GPS, when you enter an address it will calculate different routes and let you choose from them. The reason I bring this up was because we wanted to go from our Hotel (by the LA Airport) to Laguna Beach via the Pacific Coast Highway and didn’t want to take the 405. You can specify whether you want to take the fastest route or the most direct one plus you can choose to avoid toll roads, etc.

Now I forgot to bring the Garmin’s windshield mount (apparently you can get a ticket in California if you stick it to the windshield) so I didn’t look at it that often. I just got my wife to hold it. I did find the Garmin’s screen a little on the small side when it came to entering text, maybe I should have considered a wide screen model.

I also forgot the car charger. Out of the box, the 350 is setup to 1) never turn the screen backlight off, 2) never to dim it. When you use it like this, the battery life is probably close to around 3 hrs. We happened to use it around 3.1 hrs that day so it ran out of juice a few miles before we got back to the hotel. The next day I learned my lesson and turned the backlight down and made it dim after 30 seconds. After this change, we were able to drive from LA to Ventura and back (about 3 hrs of driving) and on a separate occasion from LA to San Diego and back (about 4 hrs driving) and had plenty of battery life left afterwards. Before we left, we input the addresses of places we wanted to visit and saved them as what Garmin calls “favorites”. We did search for some restaurants from the Garmin’s POI database while we were on the road – it was okay. We did look for a Target store which turns out didn’t exist.

I found it took under a minute to get a fix when I was in LA. When we were in San Francisco, it really varies depending on where you are. We stayed near Union Square and I had to be at Union Square to get a fix. It just wouldn’t get a fix when I was walking on the sidewalk near tall buildings.

Besides guidance the 350 has some other features like mp3 player, photo viewer, audio book reader, unit converter, etc. I briefly tried the photo viewer; I took a memory card out of my phone and popped it into the 350. I couldn’t see my pictures. I’m guessing the pictures have to be in the memory cards’ root folder.

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At first I questioned why anyone would care that a GPS had a built in mp3 player. Indeed I didn’t try this function while I was in LA and only bothered with it after I decided to write this review. Eventually I realized the beauty of a built in mp3 player. If you rent a car with a audio in jack (many cars have this now) you can use the 350 to playback music stored on your SD card. When the 350 has to give you directions it will pause the music. Great idea. There is a on screen shortcut to the mp3 player while you’re viewing the map.

Bottom Line

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When I was in LA, I found the Garmin 350 to be very useful. Having it speak out the street names can be quite useful since you don’t have to watch the screen as much. San Francisco was another story. While I didn’t find it useless, it doesn’t work well when you’re walking around. It would have helped if I had brought my compass. I ended up using a tourist map more.

I guess a portable GPS is great if you’re going to rent a car. It’s only somewhat useful if you don’t.

For me I’ll probably hang onto it for trips but around town I prefer the GPS built into my car.

Howard Chui
02.27.2008

Add comment February 29th, 2008

Helio Mysto Review

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Here’s Helio’s newest phone, the Mysto. It’s similar to the Fin in that they’re both Samsung phones except the Mysto has a 2mp camera while the Fin has 3mp. The Mysto is a slider and has built-in voice recognition software. I thought the Fin was an okay phone, let’s see what I think about the Mysto.

Make sure you check out the gallery for some pictures.

Physical Impressions:

My first impressions were how nicely the Mysto fit in my hand. The sides are rounded so that it just melts in your hand.

My subsequent impressions aren’t as rosy. The Mysto has the awful touch sensitive ‘buttons’ on it’s front. They’re kinda cool at first but the fact that you just have to touch them (as opposed to press them) plus the fact that the Mysto is so rounded means there will be lots of accidental button presses.

Another problem I noticed is that the touch sensitive buttons do not work if you’re wearing gloves so watch out if you live somewhere cold.

The bottom left touch sensitive button is actually the talk button. The end button has been relocated to the right side of the phone. It’s unintuitive to use (end buttons are always on the front of the phone) and hard to press since the Mysto isn’t as easy to hold when you’re pressing it.

The keypad has a faux metal finish which looks pretty sweet but is a real pain to use. The problem is that it’s really easy to accidentally press more than one button at once. For example when I press the ’8′ button I also press the ‘*’ button – it’s horrible and very difficult to get used to. The screen has a resolution of 240×320 which is somewhat standard now but I think it’s worth pointing out that it’s a great resolution (given the screen size) for surfing the web as long as you have good eyesight. Now if only Helio would preload Opera with their phones…

Hands-free usage:

There is support for Bluetooth headsets, stereo Bluetooth headphones, Samsung connector headsets and a speaker phone. The speaker phone is activated by the touch sensitive soft button. Here’s the problem with it; let’s say you’re calling Helio to talk about your bill and you get put on hold. You activate the speaker phone so that you don’t have to hold the phone. Eventually you get through to someone and want to turn the speaker phone off. Problem is the softkeys have locked (to prevent accidental presses), so you have to turn the keypad lock off before you can turn the speaker phone off. It’s really a nuisance.

Miscellaneous:

There’s a microSD card slot underneath the battery cover. I popped a 4GB SDHC Micro SD card in the Mysto. It works fine.

Menus:

The Mysto’s menu resembles other Helio branded phones. If you’ve used the Drift or the Fin, the Mysto’s menu looks pretty much the same.

I thought the menu was pretty straight forward to use but the softkeys made it a little harder to use than it has to be.

When the Mysto is closed, the keys on the top part of the phone automatically lock. You can unlock them if you want.

You can adjust the volume of the ringer by using the side mounted volume buttons when the phone is idling (just like most other Samsung phones).

Phone Related Features:

The phonebook works okay. There’s a feature which searches your phonebook and recent calls list for matching numbers as you’re dialing.

You can sync the Mysto with your computer. You can download the software from Helio. It does not sync with Outlook (you can however import your Outlook address book into your Mysto).

One area where the Mysto differs from the Fin is that the Mysto has built-in voice recognition. You can use it to do stuff like dial numbers, call address book, access your menu, check the status of your phone, etc. There is also integration with a program named ‘Tellme Search’ (more on this later). The voice command app resembles Voice Signal’s software.

You launch the voice recognition by opening the Mysto and pressing and holding the bottom right softkey (the talk button). This can make the Mysto easier to use while you’re driving since the keypad is difficult to use without looking.

Connected Features:

The built-in browser is so-so for a phone. It’s no Netfront or Opera but it is able to render full HTML webpages and do a somewhat decent job of it. By default the browser sends all webpages through some Google or Yahoo thing where it cuts a page up so that a) it fits nicer, b) splits pages up so that a large web page fits on multiple pages. The problem with these is that I don’t feel the browser needs this sort of help. I suspect it’s setup like this for ppl who are still using Kickflips and Heros. It probably also saves Helio a bit of data. If you exit the browser it does not load the last page you visited when you go back. Luckily there’s a useful history feature.

I’m in Canada right now so my Mysto’s browser doesn’t work (no roaming up north) so the following is from memory. You can view pages without the Google/Yahoo reformatting by scrolling to the bottom of the page and choosing ‘view as html’, or something similar to that.

The Mysto has a nice messaging app which is the same one you find on the Fin. It’s actually a combined email/instant messaging app. You can send/receive: text messages, picture messages, Helio Mail. Yahoo mail/instant messenger, AOL mail/AIM, Windows Live IM (MSN), Windows Live mail (Hotmail), Gmail and your Earthlink email (one of Helio’s owners is Earthlink).

The messaging app can check your messages in the background so you don’t have to have it open all the time.

There’s a new app called Tellme Search. Tell it a business you’re looking for, it will figure out where you are using GPS, connect to the web and then tell you the closest matches. While it takes a few seconds to launch it’s kind of neat and can be useful.

Multimedia Features:

The camera is pretty average 2 megapixels with LED flash. Here are some of the camera’s features; different resolutions, exposure +/-, compression settings, white balance and b&w or colour. The camera software does have lots of features but the camera takes very average looking pictures. You can upload pictures you’ve taken to your Helio album. I thought that pics from the Fin look better.

The camcorder apps can take videos of up to 320×240 at 14 fps. Pretty standard stuff.

The Music player has a good feature set; you can view songs on the device by album, artist, genre, etc. There’s an equalizer so you can customize the sound plus there’s a sound visualization feature. You can create your own play lists. The big problem is that there’s no background play so you can’t listen to music while you’re surfing the web or anything like that.

One feature I noticed is that you can tell the player to stop playing after 30 mins, 1 hr, etc. This is nice if you’re listening to music while trying to sleep. The problem of course is that this feature is accessed outside of the music app so you can’t set it after you’ve started listening to music. You have to exit the music app to set it.

Organizer Features:

You get the following organizer features; calendar, to-do, wake-up call, alarm, calculator, world time, unit converter, notepad, stopwatch, voice.

I’ll be honest, I haven’t touched the Mysto’s manual. I have no idea what the difference is between the walk up call feature and the alarm.

I thought the alarm is slightly confusing to set because you have to use the left softkey if you want to toggle between AM and PM.

You can record voice memos from the voice menu.

Impressions:

Sound quality isn’t so great. While I liked the maximum earpiece volume, incoming sound quality was pretty bad. I’d describe incoming audio to be honky and harsh sounding. Like most CDMA phones, the Mysto blanks out hiss when no ones talking.

Oddly enough outgoing sound quality wasn’t bad. It sounds okay though there was a bit of hiss.

Battery life isn’t that great. While the Mysto can make it through a day of moderate usage you’ll want to charge it every night regardless how much you use it.

I didn’t get a chance to do a lot of RF performance testing but the Mysto seems average in this regard.

Conclusion:

The best thing about the Mysto is that it looks cool.

What I really dislike about the Mysto is that it’s hard to hold without accidentally pressing something. The keylock does help a little but it works both ways. If you do want to press a button then you’ll have to undo the key lock. I suppose that you can get used to it but when you hand the Mysto to someone else, they’ll have problems using it.

The end button is on the side of the phone. If you’re tlaking on the phone and grip it too hard you might accidentally hang up.

These issues I mentioned are a big deal but I suppose they’re not so big that you can’t get used to them.

Between the Fin and the Mysto I’d probably go with the Fin.

Ratings (out of 5)
Build Quality 4
Battery Life 2
Phone Related Features 4
Ease of Use 2
RF Performance 2.5
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:

  • GPS
  • Looks cool
  • Mp3 player can be told to shut off after a certain time
  • Helio messaging app is useful

Cons:

  • Keypad is difficult to use
  • Soft buttons are easy to accidentally press
  • Soft buttons don’t work if you’re wearing gloves
  • Incoming sound could be improved
  • Battery life is short
  • No background mp3 play

Discuss this review at HowardForums.com | See the gallery here
Written by Howard Chui 02.27.2008
This article may not be reproduced without the the author’s permission.

10 comments February 27th, 2008

Sony Ericsson launches new brand which includes their new Windows Mobile Phone

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No it’s not a new Travel website, Sony Ericsson describes XPERIA as their new premium sub brand.

The XPERIA X1 is the first device in ther new brand. It’s a sweet looking Pocket PC (I assume since it has a touch screen) phone with a 3″ 800×480 widescreen display, curved slide out QWERTY keyboard, XPERIA panels WiFi, BT, aGPS, 3.2 megapixels camera plus there will be a model with support for North American HSDPA. Despite the hefty feature set the X1 weighs approx 145g and is 110x53x16.7 (it’s relatively thin). There’s support for Micro SD plus a mini USB port (horray!)

From the pictures it appears that SE has done a lot of customization to the device.

North American availability is expected in Q2 2008.

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17 comments February 12th, 2008

My new remote control and the story behind it

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Okay, here’s the story; A while back I used to live in a small apartment downtown. Back then I had the Universal Remote Control MX700; a PC programmable IR (infrared) remote. It worked great and had a editor which was extremely powerful. It had a LCD screen with buttons next to it where you could create your own buttons along with hard buttons. The program you use to edit the remote let you redefine every button, there were punch through buttons (like you can make it so that the volume buttons always control receiver no matter whether you’re watching TV, playing video games, etc), macros, push and hold macros, etc. The only problem I had with this remote was that you had to aim it. It doesn’t sound like a big problem (and it isn’t) but some macros can take a few seconds to execute.

Anyways, eventually I moved somewhere where I sat far from my stereo components. The signals had trouble getting to my components because there were obstacles blocking them.

Along the way I tried a Harmony remote (the 659). While it was a nice piece of hardware I wasn’t a fan of the software. It’s awesome if you just want to get setup and running quickly but I found it extremely limiting compared to the MX700′s editor. The 659 also had the problem of being an IR remote (like the MX700). Now Harmony remotes have this feature called ‘smart state’. Smart state remembers the state of your components; what’s on, what input you’re using, etc. It sounds like a good idea but if not all signals reach the components successfully it’s a real pain. There’s a help button that will fix this but I wasn’t crazy about having to use it. I returned the Harmony after a few days.

By now RF (radio frequency) remotes were more common. I tried Universal Remote’s RF20 Powerpack. The Powerpack is a remote and a RF receiver. It’s relatively cheap (I paid around 100 bucks US) because you can’t hook it up to your computer. While I did keep it I disliked that I couldn’t connect it to my computer. The fact that it does have RF makes it very useful if you have stuff that would normally block an IR signal.

Anyways eventually I got fed up with the MX700 and RF20 and started looking for a new remote. I’ve been eyeing the Universal Remote Control MX3000 for sometime so I finally bit the bullet and bought one. Here it is:

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Unlike my previous remotes this one has a touch screen. It runs Windows CE (just like Pocket PC) and uses Active Sync (or Windows Mobile Device Center if you’re using Vista) to connect to your computer. You program it using MX3000 editor.

I did consider the Harmony 1000 very briefly but it appears the programming software is more or less as limiting as the 659′s I tried a while back. I also don’t like Smart State.

You can customize everything on this device, the look, what the buttons look like and how big they are, how many buttons are on each screen. Along with this you can create macros that have up to 255 steps, press and hold macros, there’s support for variables (the irony of this is that I could give the MX3000 Smart State like functionality with this), and a few other goodies.

To be honest when I first got it I was a little overwhelmed. Programming my Mx700 was easy because the buttons are all set in place so you basically just fill in the blanks to program it. The MX3000 is so much more open ended. The buttons can be made from any image file you want. I was a little intimidated by the program at first so I actually didn’t touch the MX3000 much for a few days (I was also at CES so I didn’t have that much time to mess around). Eventually, I did mess around with the MX3000 and really, the editor is quite easy to use.

Along with the MX3000 I picked up 2 MRF-260 RF base stations. The MRF-260 has an antenna and 4 ports for IR blasters. You plug one end of the IR blasters into the MRF-260, the other end has an IR flasher you stick to your stereo components. RF signals can go through walls so you no longer need line of site to send signals. You also get a tremendous increase in range. Apparently you can go up to 100 meters away (real world range is probably less). You can set a unique ID to each MRF-260 and then program the MX3000 to you can send a RF signal to a specific port on each MRF-260. It’s really cool.

Some devices are sensitive to how strong or weak a IR signal is. You can adjust the signal strength to ports 1 and 2 and ports 3 and 4.

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So, everything’s great now right? Wrong, turns out my Westinghouse TV has the worst remote. First off, there are no discrete input remote signals. Most remotes have an on/off button and an input button. However, there are usually additional signals that will turn the TV on ONLY, if you send this signal it won’t turn it off. There’s also discrete off plus the ability to jump to a specific video input. The work around to this is to jump to a input that does a discrete input (in this case the SVideo input) and then telling the MX3000 to press input x number of times.

So all is well now right? Wrong! The Westinghouse is very inconsistant when it comes to receiving signals. Sometimes When you press SVideo it won’t respond and sometimes when you press input 3 times it will only respond 2 times. I tried varying the length of time between button presses but it doesn’t seem to help. Next time I’m buying a TV with discrete remote signals and or an IR blaster in port and or a RS232 port (you’ll need to purchase the MSC400 accessory from Universal remote to use RS232).

Anyways with the exception of the TV the remote works well. I wasn’t sure if I would like a touch screen remote but I got used to it quickly.

1 comment February 10th, 2008

Nokia n95-3 review

Here’s my review of the Nokia’s n95-3. The ’3′ means it’s the North American version of the n95. The original n95 will work fine in NA but the HSDPA won’t operate on the frequencies here.

It’s got almost every feature you can think of: 5 megapixel camera with autofocus, GPS, WiFi, HSDPA, etc, etc.

Make sure you check out the gallery for some pictures.

Physical Impressions:

The n95 fits nicely in your hand. If you’re used to carrying a really thin phone around you might find the n95 a little chubby for your pocket.

Since the n95 has plenty of space on it, most of the keys are nicely sized. If you have really big fingers you may find the soft keys a bit slim. The keypad is alright, I can’t complain too much about it.

The screen has a resolution of 240×320 and looks great. I did notice that the actual LCD display is closer to the screen cover than most phones. If you accidentally touch it you can see patterns on it.

Hands-free usage:

There is support for Bluetooth headsets, stereo Bluetooth headphones, 3.5mm stereo headphones and a speakerphone. The 3.5mm headphone jack is a nice feature if you listen to a lot of music.

Miscellaneous:

There’s a microSD card slot on the right side. It works fine with my 8gb Sandisk Micro SDHC card.

There’s a mini USB slot on the bottom. The mini USB slot is only for connecting to your computer which kind of sucks since most of the competition allows you to charge and sync from the connector.

Menus:

The n95 runs Nokia’s s60 user interface. It’s pretty standard. There’s a menu button which takes you to the menu. If you press and hold it, it will bring up a list of running programs. There’s an edit button (the one with the pencil) which you can use to copy and paste text. The ‘c’ button is like a backspace button on a keyboard plus you can use it to stop programs when you bring up the list of running programs.

There’s another menu button (the one to the right of the nav pad) which brings up a different looking menu. This menu has nice animations and looks fancier than the normal one but it takes longer to draw. It’s one of those things that looks nice in the store but you don’t use often once you bring it home.

What’s special about the n95 is that while it can slide open like a normal slider (screen on top, keyboard on the bottom) it can also slide open the other way where the screen’s on the bottom with multimedia keys on top.

The multimedia buttons work okay with the music player. They work even when you’re in a different application. I like how they allow for background usage but the novelty of sliding the phone the other way wears thin quickly. I would prefer if they were moved to the side and if they needed to be pressed and held to operate.

When you’re using the phone, the left softkey brings up a context sensitive menu while the right one is usually a back button.

Phone Related Features:

As far as phone features goes, the n95 is similar to other S60 powered phones. The n95 has a front facing camera so you can use it for video calling.

The phonebook works well. It’s easy to navigate plus it’s easy to add stuff to it. You can sync it with your computer using Nokia PC Suite (which is a massive 100MB+ download).

Connected Features:

S60′s best feature is probably it’s browser. It has the same engine as that of the Apple iPhone’s browser though they work differently. Of the two, I prefer the iPhone’s browser; it’s faster and easier to use though the n95′s is easier to use with one hand and has more features.

You can get connected using the built in WiFi or HSDPA. Unlike many phones (and like the iPhone) the n95 has the processing power to really take advantage of the faster connections.

The email client works well. It’s fast and supports IMAP and POP3.

There’s a built-in GPS. I’m not an expert on GPS but the n95-3 is pretty fast when it comes to getting a fix.

The built-in mapping program downloads map information as you go which is nice since presumably the map data will be more up to date. You can also download maps to the n95 using your computer with Nokia’s Map Loader program.

You can search for addresses, show location on map, search for nearby points of interest, pick a point and route from there, pick a point and route to, navigate to, send a location and save it.

You can search points of interest from many categories.

There’s a 2D top down view or a 3D view. The views are good if you want to look around and get a general view of where you are. They aren’t so great if you’re using it for guidance while you’re driving.

Now I tried using the n95 as a replacement for the GPS in my car, TomTom One and Garmin 350. Compared to the TomTom and Garmin, the n95 wasn’t that great. You have to pay extra if you want voice guidance (you can demo it for a few days) and the n95′s views aren’t great for when you’re driving because the street names are too small. I also found a few places that were in Garmin that weren’t in the n95 (no doubt this will change eventually since the n95 downloads it’s mapping data). Also, using the n95 for navigation isn’t very intuitive compared to the touch screen on the TomTom and Garmin.

There are city guides you can download and pay for (I didn’t cause I’m a cheap bastard).

While I wasn’t crazy about the included mapping program you can always download a third party solution.

Multimedia Features:

Like most of music players you can view by artist, albums, genres, composer plus you can create your own playlists. You can control the player by sliding the phone open the other way and pressing the buttons. They work in the background even if you’re in another program (such as browsing the web or checking email). They won’t take the focus away from your current program.

There’s a graphical equalizer. I have a 8GB micro SD card full of music. The reason I mention this is because USB transfers to and from the n95 are pretty slow. If you’re going to transfer a ton of music to the n95 I suggest you pop the microSD card out and use an external reader.

You can listen to music using A2DP wireless Bluetooth headphones (there’s AVRCP support too so you can skip songs, play/pause) or regular 3.5mm headphones like the kind you’d plug into an iPod. The build-in speakers are very loud and sound pretty good for a phone.

There is a 5 megapixel camera with auto focus and a LED flash on the back of the n95. It takes really good pictures. It’s so good you might consider not having a separate digital camera if you’re not a demanding user. The LED flash works much better than most other LED flashes.

If you’re used to a regular camera phone you might find it odd that the n95 takes about a second to focus before it actually snaps a picture.

There’s a shutter release button on the right side so you can use the n95 sideways like a regular camera.

My only complaints about the camera is that it’s on the slow side and that there’s no camera lens cover.

There’s a FM radio. You need to use wired headphones if you want to use this feature since they’ll act as an antenna. I didn’t test the radio.

If you get your n95-3 from a Nokia Store in North America, you can get Sling Player Mobile for S60 for free (it’s normally 30 bucks). I have a Slingbox and found that it works really well using WiFi or HSDPA.

Organizer Features:

The to do list is part of the calendar (as opposed to it being a stand alone program).

You can view MS Word, Excel or Power Point files with Quick Office. You’ll need to pay if you want to be able to create and edit them.

Adobe PDF let’s you view PDF files. It works okay but most PDF’s are designed to be printed or viewed on a bigger display.

The list of other organizer programs include: recorder, calculator, convert, alarm clock and file manager.

Impressions:

Sound quality was okay. I found the n95 to be slightly harsh sounding plus there’s noticeable hiss. On the plus side, the maximum ear piece volume is quite good.

RF performance is very good.

The n95 isn’t super skinny so it’s easy to hold if you’re going to talk on the phone for a long period of time.

Despite all the features packed into the n95-3, you can get a very respectable 2 or 3 days of battery life with light usage.

Conclusion:

I like the n95. Unless you like touch screens or want a full QWERTY keyboard, you don’t really feel like you’re giving up anything. Feature wise Nokia has taken an ‘everything including the kitchen sink’ approach to the n95-3′s feature set. You get everything: GPS, North American HSDPA, WiFi, memory card slot, loud stereo speakers, 3.5mm headphone jack, etc.

There isn’t much to complain about. I couldn’t really find any serious problems with the n95. I didn’t like the fact that the n95 has a terrific camera but no lens cover plus I wasn’t crazy about the mapping program. Both these aren’t deal breakers. I guess some may find the n95 a tad complicated too, there are a lot of features in there.

In the end, the worst thing about the n95-3 I guess is the price. It’s not a cheap phone. Then again it’s not aimed at the ‘free on a 3 yr contract’ crowd.

Ratings (out of 5)
Build Quality 4.5
Battery Life 4.5
Phone Related Features 4
Ease of Use 3.5
RF Performance 4
Degree of Customizability 4
Overall (not an average) 4.5
*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:

  • GPS
  • WiFi
  • North American HSDPA
  • Camera takes good pictures
  • 3.5mm headphonejack

Cons:

  • Slow USB transfers
  • Mapping program not useful for navigation
  • Camera has no lens cover
  • Complicated

Discuss this review at HowardForums.com | See the gallery here
Written by Howard Chui 02.09.2007
This article may not be reproduced without the the author’s permission.

15 comments February 9th, 2008

Sony Ericsson k850i

The arrival of the Sony Ericsson k850i on Rogers Wireless has been confirmed! Canada’s first 5.0 MP camera phone has been launched by Rogers and will be hitting store shelves by weeks end. Rogers’ memory card promotion extends to this phone which will give you an 8 GB card for free on a 3 year term. Locked into a 3 year term with a Vision add-on will get you the k850i for $199, without a Vision add-on $299. The phone on a 2 or 1 year term will set you back $350 and $400 respectively.

source: HowardForums

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1 comment February 6th, 2008

Voce Premium Wireless

Voce Wireless, a MVNO of AT&T, has apparently shut down. Customers of the premium provider have reported zero service and being doubled billed for service.

A now unemployed Voce employee posted the following information on Voce Class Action.

First things first, to port out of the “Voce Hybrid” network, you should provide the following information:Carrier name: Voce Wholesale
Bill address: 27599 Riverview Center Blvd. Bonita Springs, FL 34134
Account number: 90210000
PIN (if requested): Not applicable

(We heard from the carrier that the ports were delayed yesterday due to volume, but numbers are being released.)

Regarding the double bills, it is best to contact your credit card company immediately and request a charge back, as it is rumored that the new owners charged cards for service to be provided in February.

Finally, a quick update on what has transpired: Voce was purchased in early January by SunCal Midwest, LLC, represented by Anthony Roselli, Brian Richards and Tom Malanca. The intent of the purchase was for SunCal Midwest to maintain and grow the core Voce business, using its connections with enterprise customers. The new owners have thus far failed to meet their end of the deal, including paying employees and vendors. The prior management of Voce resigned or was shut out by the new owners after the sale. We direct all questions to the current CEO/President of Voce, Brian Richards. He can be reached at brian@voce.com

We are deeply disappointed and sorry for your inconveniences.

Head over to Voce Class Action for further information.

live_strong

Add comment February 2nd, 2008

Nokia 6555 in Sand

AT&T has released a new color of the Nokia 6555.

The clamshell phone features a 1.3 MP camera, supports 3G network, music player with expandable memory and Bluetooth.

Pick up Nokia 6555 for $49.99 on a two year term after rebates.

Source: phoneArena

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Add comment February 1st, 2008


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