Archive for April, 2008

By April 21, 2008 Read More →

HTC P6500 unboxed

A rether unusual device from HTC this one. The P6500 is a larger device that looks rather like a hand-held barcode scanner that you would see in your local supermarket. And that’s exactly the kind of application HTC have in mind for this device, even going so far as to say:

From logistics to warehousing and transportation, this full-featured PDA fits perfectly into any industry. With the open Windows architecture, it is simple to develop custom industry-specific applications that extend the use of the device far beyond making calls and sending e-mails.

The large 3.5-inch anti-glare screen enables images, media and data to be viewed with complete clarity. Combined with the auto-focus 3 megapixel camera which captures clear, sharp images, the HTC P6500 is perfect for 2D barcode and business card reader applications*. Critical data is kept secure down to storage card level with enhanced security features such as fingerprint ID sensors.

Once again, we’ll be reviewing the device over the coming weeks and are looking at it with more ‘industrial’ applications in mind. Here is the unbox to give you a better idea of what I am talking about:

HTC P6500 unboxed

HTC P6500 Specification:

  • 400Mhz 32bit Samsung SC32442
  • 1280Mb ROM, 128Mb RAM
  • Windows Mobile 6 Professional
  • 3.5″ QVGA (240 x 320) TFT display
  • GSM850, GSM900, GSM1800, GSM1900, UMTS850
  • Built in NMEA 0183 GPS
  • Biometric fingerprint reader
  • Bluetooth 2.0
  • WiFi: 802.11b, 802.11g
  • 1.9MP Camera
  • 1600 mAh battery
  • 2x Full sized SD Card slot
  • Posted by: Matt

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    Posted in: Videos/Unboxings
    By April 20, 2008 Read More →

    Asus P750 unboxed

    The Asus P750 has made the news a lot lately mainly because of its VGA screen which was initially set up as QVGA screen. Now with a ROM update you can use the P750 in its full 480×640 glory.

    The P750 seems to be a popular device, each time we’ve mentioned it here on Tracy & Matt we’ve had a great response in terms of emails and comments. In fact one of our reviewers, Steve, has been asking me every day ‘When can I review the Asus P750?’. Well the answer is NOW! Steve is working on the review at the moment and we’ll have that here for you soon. For now though enjoy our unbox video:

    Asus P750 unboxed

    Asus P750 specification

  • Windows Mobile 6 Professional
  • Processor: Marvell PXA270M 520MHz
  • Memory:ROM 256MB, RAM – 64MB
  • 2.6″ 65K colour TFT VGA screen
  • HSDPA 3.6Mbps, UMTS 2100, EDGE/GPRS/GSM 900/1800/1900; Class 10
  • Micro-SD, support SDHC
  • WLAN 802.11b g
  • Bluetooth 2.0 EDR
  • SiRF Star III with internal antenna
  • Built-in numeric phone keyboard, 20 keys
  • 3.1MP Camera & Mobile light (LED)
  • 1300 mAh Lithium-Ion Battery
  • 113 x 58 x 17.4 mm
  • 130g (with battery)
  • Posted by: Matt

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    Posted in: Videos/Unboxings
    By April 19, 2008 Read More →

    HTC X7510 (Advantage) unboxed

    Almost a year ago to the day I unboxed the first version of the HTC Advantage the X7500. It was, in fact, one of the first unbox videos that I recorded.

    Now, almost a year and 80+ unbox videos later, we’ve got our hands on the latest HTC Advantage, the X7510. The overall look of the Advantage hasn’t changed much but it’s ‘under the bonnet’ that you’ll see the biggest difference. There’s now a 16GB Hard Drive included and Windows Mobile 6.1 professional for starters.

    The other big change is to the keyboard. Earlier versions of the Advantage had proper tactile keys but this new model has been replaced with a flat membrane style keyboard which would look more at home on a ZX81! It does make touch typing something of an issue.

    However, Owen is putting together our full review so we’ll see what he makes of it in day-to-day use. The review will be here soon (Won’t it Owen!?) but for now take a look at the unbox video:

    HTC X7510 (Advantage) unboxed

    Please ignore the fact that I call it the X7501 in the video. It is of course the X7510!

    HTC Advantage (X7510) Specification:

  • Size – 133.5 x 98 x 16 mm (additional 4.75mm for keyboard)
  • Weight – 290g + 85g for keyboard
  • Networks – WCDMA/HSDPA: 850/1900/2100 MHz GSM/GPRS/EDGE: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
  • Operating system – Windows Mobile 6.1 professional
  • Display – 5-inch VGA with touch screen
  • Camera – 3.1 megapixel with auto focus, VGA for video calling
  • Internal memory – 256 MB + 16 GB flash; 128 MB RAM
  • Memory card – miniSD™
  • WLAN – 802.11b/g
  • Bluetooth® 2.0
  • GPS
  • Interface – HTC ExtUSB™ (mini-USB and audio jack in one; USB 2.0 High-Speed); HTC 16 pin port (USB 1.1 host, TV/VGA out); 3.5mm audio jack with microphone
  • Battery – 2100 mAh
  • Talk time – WCDMA: up to 300 minutes GSM: up to 360 minutes
  • Standby time – WCDMA: up to 300 hours GSM: up to 300 hours
  • Special feature – Detachable QWERTY Keyboard with Haptic feedback; document printing; G sensor
  • Chipset – Marvell PXA270 624 MHz; Qualcomm® MSM6275
  • Posted by: Matt

    Don’t miss our coverage of the HTC Diamond launch event tomorrow. Coverage starts HERE.

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    Posted in: Videos/Unboxings
    By April 18, 2008 Read More →

    Palm Centro unboxed

    It’s been a long timse since I’ve seen a Palm powered product and in fact we’ve never written a review on one. However, I saw the Palm Centro on Clove Technology’s wewbsite a few weeks ago and thought it was an attractive looking device with a built in QWERTY keyboard for well under £200 – I decided it was worth a look!

    So here is our unbox video for you to have a look at while we go ahead and prepare the review:

    Palm Centro unboxed

    Palm Centro specification

  • Display: 320×320 pixel Transflective colour touchscreen
  • Radio: GSM/GPRS/EDGE class 10 radio, quad band world phone (850/900/1800/1900MHz)
  • Platform: Palm OS by ACCESS 5.4.9
  • Bluetooth: Version: 1.2
  • Memory: 64MB available user storage
  • Camera: 1.3 megapixels with 2x digital zoom and video capture
  • Battery: Removable 1150mAh, li-ion Up to 4 hours talk, or up to 300 hours standby
  • Expansion: microSD card (up to 4GB supported)
  • Connector: Multi-connector
  • Dimensions: 107.2 mm (L) x 53.5 mm (W) x 18.6 mm (D)124 grams
  • Posted by: Matt

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    Posted in: Videos/Unboxings
    By April 17, 2008 Read More →

    Living with the HTC Shift (Part 4)

    Part 4 – Travelling with the HTC Shift!

    I’m putting the HTC Shift through it’s paces, we’re off to Milan for a few days and unfortunately in this world of flexible working I have to attend a web and audio conference whilst we are away. The thought of lugging my notebook away on hols and all the Italian goodies I’d have to leave behind was a bit annoying (you just can’t guarantee that public machines have the right plugins)…… HTC to the rescue.

    Fabulous idea the whole kit an kaboodle including a mini Brother printer fits easily in my hand luggage. There is one word of warning though, due to it’s diminutive size the security staff took some convincing that the shift was actually a notebook, had to do the whole turn it on and show it working thing for the resident security geek. When I did it elicited the usual grunts of approval.

    Seems portability is gained at the price of smooth passage through the airport. Anyone else out there had similar experiences with the shift or any other gadgets?

    Go back to Part 1 or Part 2

    Posted by: Alasdair

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    Posted in: Reviews
    By April 17, 2008 Read More →

    Astraware and Idigicon release Platypus

    Atraware and Idigicon have just released a new shoot-em-up called Platypus, and in so doing prove that a shoot-em-up can be cute!

    From the press release:

    Astraware and Idigicon are excited to announce the release of Platypus – the squishiest shoot-em-up ever – for Palm OS and Windows Mobile smartphones and PDAs.

    Based on the cult classic for PC and Mac, Platypus is a fast, frantic and fun side-scrolling arcade shooter with a difference – the entire game is made from clay! The vast continent-spanning city of Collosatropolis has finally reached the limits of its expansion, and tall buildings cover every available space. The Collosotropolan leaders have decided the simplest solution is to invade the neighbouring country of Mungola. They don’t anticipate much of a struggle – Mungolans are simple, earthy types without much love for industry. In fact, Mungola’s entire defence force consists of a single squadron of fighter planes – the venerable F-27 ‘Platypus’.

    Your mission is to pilot your trusty Platypus and save peaceful Mungola! Fly across the squashy fields and trees, avoid the snowy mountains and protect your planet. Shoot down the enemy ships and marvel as they disappear in a splat! Collect fruit bonuses and a range of power-ups to aid you in your quest!

    Platypus is a fantastic, fun arcade game featuring 4 massive worlds each with several challenging levels. It’s the perfect casual game for arcade gamers and the perfect arcade game for casual gamers!

    Platypus is optimised for play with 5-way or stylus and is available for Palm OS(R) and Windows Mobile(R) smartphones and PDAs, priced $19.95, from the Astraware website: Versions for Symbian(R) S60(R) and UIQ(R) will be released in Q2 of 2008.

    Posted by: Matt

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    Posted in: Apps & Games
    By April 17, 2008 Read More →

    Samsung i780 now SIM-Free

    A few weeks ago we reviewed the Orange version of the Samsung i780. Our reviewer, Steve, quite liked the device but as Orange were the first to bring the device to market it left those on other networks wanting.

    However, yesterday Clove Technology received what they believe is the first UK stock of SIM-Free and Unlocked Samsung i780’s. You can pick up the device for £320 + VAT.


    The Stylish Samsung i780 will be an ideal tool for your mobile messaging and communication requirements. Equipped with a 2.6″ touch screen Bluetooth, Wifi and a HSDPA there are few limits with the Samsung i780.

    Ergonomic design and a QWERTY keyboard make text and data entry simple.

    Added functionality comes from a 2 megapixel camera and a VGA camera for video calling. Utilise the MicroSD card slot for additional storage of media and files, especially for files such as images and movies that you may wish to enjoy.


  • Windows Mobile 6
  • QWERTY Keypad
  • 2 Megapixel Camera
  • Bluetooth & WiFi
  • GPS
  • VGA Camera for video calls
  • Posted by: Matt

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    Posted in: News
    By April 16, 2008 Read More →

    Canon EOS-5D review

    Canon are synonymous with high end professional cameras and the slightly Modified Canon EOS 5D is no exception. Yes, this beast has been around for a couple of years now but with a few cosmetic tweaks Canon have once again extended the life a little bit more.

    Now, this camera is not your modern flashy electronics, multiple scenery mode, point and click camera – It is a serious high end professional camera built like a tank to take plent of scrapes and knocks I know it may not meet the needs of many of our readers. However, take a look at the paps on the streets and a vast majority of them will have this very camera in their hand.

    Canon EOS-5D

    Canon EOS-5D


    When we examined the Panasonic I commented that many purists may not like all the scenery options and shooting assists – Well, The Canon EOS 5D is as far away from this as you could possibly get. It’s a body only purchase as well (Although many suppliers are doing “Kit” deals with a number of lense choices) so don’t forget the lenses!

    I hooked the 5D up to a pretty standard Sigma 500mm EF lens for the review.

    What’s in the Box?

    Very little! The camera body comes complete with battery, lens covers, leads and battery charger. The supplied software allows easy transfer of images via USB if required (To be honest I always use a CF Card reader as I feel this is faster).

    Canon EOS 5D specification:

  • 12.8 MP full frame CMOS sensor
  • 3 fps 60 JPEG image burst
  • 9-point AF with 6 Assist AF points
  • 2.5″ LCD
  • Picture Style image processing
  • Records RAW/JPEG images
  • Digital Photo Professional software
  • Compact magnesium alloy body
  • Connectivity options
  • General

    Built like a Tank with a Magnesium alloy body, you instantly feel this is a serious piece of kit with an extremely good build level and judging by the review unit can take a few knocks along the way. Never seen a camera so bashed!

    Oh, and for Canon EOS users the controls are pretty much the same too…

    One of the big additions the 5D provides is a full-frame sensor. Most consumer focused D-SLR’s are 2/3rds frame and use a much smaller sensor.

    The biggest advantage of a full frame sensor are much higher picture quality, this is backed up in low light situations as well – However, you do loose the magnifying effect found on smaller sensor cameras.

    Taking the classical EOS look and feel, with a much more solid body than say the 350D, the EOS 5D is one beast of a camera to hold and feel but I’m really interested in is how it works.

    Looking at the now de facto Canon EOS controls top left shows the mode dial button.

  • Auto Mode – Fully automatic mode – The camera sets aperture and shutter speed depending on the conditions
  • Program Mode – Fully automatic, however you can change shutter speed and aperture using the main dials – Useful to change depth of field.
  • Shutter Priority Mode – Allows you to change the shutter speed from 30 Seconds to 1/8000th second
  • Aperture Priority Mode – Allows manual changes to the aperture settings
  • Full Manual Mode – All settings can be changed manually with no assistance from the camera.
  • Bulb Mode – Allows you to keep the shutter open for as long as you need.
  • Custom Mode – This allows quick access to custom settings you may have on your camera
  • Canon EOS-5D mode dial

    Canon EOS-5D mode dial

    The top right hand side of the camera houses the main camera setting display

    Canon EOS-5D LCD Panel

    Canon EOS-5D LCD Panel

    This shows many of the camera settings such as shutter speed and aperture this can also be used when changing many settings. A handy back light can be switched on for those darker nights!

    Other settings such as ISO, White balance and focus modes are changed with the collection of buttons encircling this LCD screen.

  • Backlight – Enables the orange glow on the LCD display
  • ISO – Changes the ISO settings, standard settings range from 100 through to 1600. These can be extended by enabling ISO expansion but the image quality does suffer a little.
  • Metering – This allows changes to the camera metering for exposure compensation
  • The camera has a few AF modes, from the standard One Shot mode to the AI Focus modes that keeps the camera focusing at all times. Useful for moving objects.

    Of course, the shutter release is just to the front of these buttons.

    In the centre of the camera is a pretty standard hotshoe. The camera uses E-TTL II Flash Metering. It’s important to note this camera does not have any integral flash (Or an AF assist lamp for focusing) but it will use any of these features on a compatible flash unit.

    The left hand side of the camera has a small lift up flap allow access to the connections of the camera.

    Canon EOS-5D connectors

    Canon EOS-5D connectors

    Connections are provided for external flash synchronisation, Remote Shutter release, Video out and a USB 2.0 connector for linking with your PC.

    The back of the camera looks almost like a 20D (or most other EOS cameras for that matter…)

    Canon EOS-5D back

    Canon EOS-5D back

    The immediate benefit however is the 2.5” LCD screen, somewhat larger than previous models. This screen is crystal clear and provides excellent reviewing of images and access to menu items.

    The camera does not have Live View though, I didn’t think I’d miss this but for close up work I certainly did. I have to say the view finder was excellent though – The Full Screen CCD allows far more light, and with a larger mirror in the camera the view is really good.

    To the left of the LCD screen are the common control buttons,

  • Menu – Takes you into the 5D’s simple to use menu system
  • Info – This displays your current settings or displays information on the current viewed picture.
  • Jump – Allows you to “Jump” through displayed menus
  • Play – Switches the camera to image playback mode
  • Just below the screen is the delete images button.

    Above the power switch (incidentally the 5D is ready within a second after switching on) is the main jog wheel. This is used to move through menu items and controlling some of the camera settings.

    On the right hand side of the camera is the CF Card slot. (Type II)

    Canon EOS-5D card slot

    Canon EOS-5D memory card slot

    Highlights and Lowlights

    Using the camera on a day to day basis has shown a number of highlights and low lights:


  • Extremely fast switch on, making the camera available for that unexpected shot within a second
  • Exceptional Image Quality – The full size CCD gives superb results and with a very good viewfinder those shots are there for the taking
  • Very good battery life with around 800 shots per charge
  • Large 2.5” Display gives clear results even in bright sunlight
  • Extremely well built – You almost feel you want to drop it just to see how it gets on…
  • Approximately 3 shots per second giving very fast response times
  • Lowlights

  • Noisy Shutter Action from the larger than normal mirror. Doesn’t cause issues but could imagine in some circumstances noise may distract.
  • No built in flash will have users reaching for possibly expensive flash guns. The canon can use other makes of flash guns but generally at fixed shutter speeds.
  • No AF assist lamp reduces focusing capability in low light situations
  • Canon EOS-5D battery compartment

    Canon EOS-5D battery compartment


    I think I mentioned before, I do own one of the original Canon 10D’s so, again I have tried to remain unbiased during this revue. Bolting on some of my existing lenses was a great benefit and the EOS 5D made full use of all the standard AF features. I did miss the extra magnification that you loose with the full screen CCD so I guess I’d need to get a better lens if I was going to use this more.

    It did make my wide angle lens behave exactly as it should though – 16mm was a true 16mm lens for once.

    The camera is very well built, and in normal Canon style shows signs of being a stong resilient camera capable of taking many a knock. The image quality is quite breathtaking and using the RAW mode allowed minute changes to be made to colour balance directly on my PC.

    I have to admit, I didn’t miss any of the scene selectors or automated imagery wizards that are now started to be found on some of the newer D-SLR’s. Give me the automatic mode for day to day shooting and happy with the ability to change my aperture and shutter settings for changing depth of field and such other trickery.

    The fast switch on and warm up time of the camera means its almost ready the moment you take it out of the bag which gives very fast access to all features and taking shots. A must for those moments you least expect (or, to be honest ever see…)Can’t remember the last time I was walking through London and bumped into Madonna.)

    I tried using some really high ISO settings on a few shots and was very surprised at the low levels of noise on the image, again, I think this is down to the full screen CCD reducing distortion etc.

    I didn’t really do too much testing with a flash gun but the brief shots I took showed a reasonable response but I wasn’t using a canon flash, just a clone cheapo unit. I’d really advise going for a proper flash unit from Canon as they just seem to match the camera a lot closer.

    The lack of an AF assist light does cause issues though, there are times you want a sharp picture taken in low light without the flash and I had to use manual focus to get the images correct.


    The Canon 5D is an excellent camera with superb quality shots and ease of use. The full screen CCD puts this camera in between high end consumer based D-SLR’s and full blown professional D-SLR’s such as the EOS 1D. You will however find many of the features and a reasonably close picture quality from some of the lower prices cameras in the EOS range such as the 400D or the upcoming 450D – The 450D for example has the same 12MP resolution and throws live view into the bundle for quite a lot less money.

    You do however get what you pay for and the EOS 5d is no exception. The full screen CCD and build quality wins for me but, I’m not a professional so I may just be tempted to move down the range slight to say the 450D and spend the extra money on that special lens.

    Review by: John

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    Posted in: Reviews
    By April 15, 2008 Read More →

    HTC Shift hits Orange Website

    Well I said it was coming but today the HTC Shift has appeared on the Orange website under their devices ‘Coming Soon’ section.

    No word from Orange on the price of the device nor on the tariff that you’ll be expected to sign up to but the HTC Shift is avalaible SIM-free from our friends at Devicewire for £874.

    We currently have an HTC Shift that we are putting through its paces and you may want to read Alasdair’s ‘Living with the Shift‘ reports.

    More news as we get it…

    Posted by: Matt

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    Posted in: News
    By April 14, 2008 Read More →

    Living with the HTC Shift (Part 3)

    The HTC shift a week in:

    I’ve been using the shift in anger for a week now and I am staying happy with the device overall, there are a few reservations which take the shine of the device but I have to say I don’t think if I had parted with my hard earned cash that I’d be suffering any of the technology disenchantment which is always a risk after a significant purchase.

    I’ve got used to the keyboard, I’m not up to my usual speed with a full size keyboard but It’s perfectly functional for extended use even on longer documents, no more accidental screen swipes and if I wasn’t going back and forth between a full size and shift keyboard I’m sure my speed would improve.

    HTC Shift keyboard

    HTC Shift keyboard

    In any case with the on board USB port and D-SUB out you’ve got the ability to connect to an LCD and full size USB keyboard when clattering away in Vista. The only hiccough is that this stays connected whilst using the Windows Mobile chipset so if you forget and tap away on the attached keyboard you can get some interesting additions to documents.

    In Windows mobile the Wi-Fi components of the main chipset are not available which means you are left with cellular only for your connectivity, not so bad however there are still areas I regularly visit (like my mother’s house) that HSDPA or 3g just isn’t available and GPRS is patchy at best here the ability to use the built in Wi-Fi would be perfect but is denied.

    The Wi-Fi and 3G interaction in Vista is also interesting, the only way I have been able to make the device connect via 3G under Vista is to disable the Wi-Fi connection manually, until you do this the cellular modem doesn’t even appear in the network connections list and the device won’t connect via cellular until this process if completed.

    The touch screen I moaned about early last week has actually turned out to be a real benefit as I can easily navigate around the screen without resorting to the mouse pad and buttons on the Shift itself, so much so that I find myself prodding LCDs when using none touch enabled screens at Home.

    The key I have been using a lot is the screen resolution changer, this give you the ability to flick back and forth between 1024 x 600 and 800 x 400 screen resolutions. Again a little anomaly is that when switching resolutions the keyboard input is suspended rather than buffered.

    Battery life has been OK windows mobile is great for this, the shift managed to go all over the weekend with windows mobile usage, however without Paul’s liberate Windows mobile would be so crippled as to be useless and I’m sure I would have to resort to Vista far more frequently as it is I can get by in Word, excel and internet explorer without too much difficulty now they have been restored.

    The biggest problem I have is the interaction between the windows mobile and Vista, to say the shift ‘does’ both Vista and Windows Mobile is a bit misleading, it’s really more like two distinct devices within the same packaging certainly in default settings.

    With liberate this is improved a little in that at least you can see the windows mobile device from Vista ( I know we are cheating by having pocket Office installed but to be honest this is really the Shift’s USP and HTC have somewhat compromised their main differentiator out of the box)

    Overall I’m happy the Shift is very man portable, reasonably good looking, although in windows mobile mode it does look all the world like some shocking great PDA, and sufficient for most of my daily needs. I’m travelling a lot more this week so I am hoping that the shift will really come into its own, watch this space.

    Go back to Part 1or Part 2

    Posted by: Alasdair

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    Posted in: Reviews