Helio Mysto Review

February 27th, 2008

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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.

Entry Filed under: Phones

10 Comments Add your own

    Rocky  |  February 29th, 2008 at 1:39 pm

    I love Helio!

    kasey  |  February 29th, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    I love the new helio mysto. I just recently purchased mine from finawireless.com and its great!! I have no problems with hearing people on the phone and vice verses. I find the mysto to be a perfect fit its even slim enough to fit in my jeans pocket. The mysto has a cool unique look to it and is also super eazy to use. I’ll say everyone needs one in their life.

    Helion  |  February 29th, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    That’s Mysto, not Mystio, Howie!

    Howard  |  March 1st, 2008 at 7:13 am

    Oh man I can’t believe I speeled it wrong. I’ve fixed it.

    Jon Weitzel  |  March 10th, 2008 at 8:37 pm

    i’ve been looking around for a good deal on the Mysto. The best price I”ve found so far is at . They have it for only $90 and they have free shipping. If you have seen a better deal, please let me know. Go Helio!

    skilledhustler  |  March 20th, 2008 at 9:31 pm

    I’m like..wow?what a mistake to produce and promote a cellphone that has..nothing that would attract any gadjet minded consumer?the ocean is expensive and bulky! The fin is…not bad in looks!..helio could do better?

    Anonymous  |  July 1st, 2008 at 10:55 pm

    i need a code to unlock it to use it on another carrier… anyone know it?

    Simon  |  September 30th, 2008 at 6:32 pm

    so i hate my helio, i was a faithful helio user for a while when using my drift then it crapped out on me so i got the mysto and its so laggy and freezes so much that im always restarting it and its not just mine. I know of other ppl with this phone that suffer the same rediculous problems. im considering getting the ocean2 but everyone i know with a helio has had some form of hardware problems so i may just leave helio

    Semi  |  October 1st, 2008 at 2:47 am

    You can get the Helio Mysto now with a free JawBone BT headset at their online promotion site at http://www.HelioPromo.com .

    The Helio Mysto is Helio’s version of the Samsung U600, one of the most popular phones in Europe.

    Helio features great straightforward plans such as their new unlimited plan for just $80 per month.

    mike  |  October 16th, 2008 at 4:42 am

    I had a helio ocean for a good year. its a great phone to have in tell it brake on you.i called helio to see if i can get it fixed.they said no cuz my warrenty has exspired 2 weeks ago. i still one more year on the contract with them. the only way they will fix my phone is if i singed a anouther 2 year contract with them.i think that is some bullshit because there contract last longer then cell phone do. i am telling every to NOT BUY A HELIO PHONE TRUST ME ON THIS.

    p.s. thats my story

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