Archive for June, 2008

By June 11, 2008 Read More →

Gigabyte GSmart MW700 and MS800 review

Not knowing an awful lot about GSmart and knowing even less about the two models presented for review, I was intrigued to get my hands on them and see what they are all about.

Will the impressive looking specifications live up to expectations? After a couple of weeks use, here is my opinion of the devices.

As the devices are so similar, almost identical in fact, I’ve have decided to review them together, highlighting the differences in the specification section.

GSmart MS800 & MW700

GSmart MS800 & MW700

Introduction

Gigabyte launched this range in the UK in earnest, with a launch date of 30/5/08. As indicated on their website:

“30th May 2008, GSmart announced its availability in UK today, the models available are GSmart GPS PDA series: MW700 & MS800, both installed GSmart developed user interface – Smart Touch, via its local partner Styte, UK is able to experience GSmart’s favourable slim and stylish GPS phone with brand new UI!”

Seeing the market demand for GPS capable devices, GSmart is launching its GPS PDA phone series to UK – GSmart MW700 and GSmart MS800. Targeting at the business users, GSmart MW700 and MS800 are built in slim and sophisticated design, although sharing similar features, the two devices are differentiated by its specification: GSmart MW700 is an edge supporting PDA phone; and MS800 is 3.5G PDA phone with VGA front camera, these are to fulfil the demand of different consumer needs and price range.

What’s in the funky box?

  • Windows mobile device, which ever model
  • User manual, quick start guide and start up CD
  • MiniUSB car charger
  • USB to MiniUSB connector
  • Mains wall charger complete with interchangeable travel adaptors
  • Stereo Headset with 2.5mm connection
  • Spare stylus
  • Specifications:

    Gigabyte GSmart MS800 Specification: Gigabyte GSmart MW700 Specification:

    • Windows Mobile 6 professional
    • 520 MHz Intel x-scale CPU
    • 256MB ROM / 64MB RAM
    • 2.8" QVGA display 320×240 pixels
    • GSM850, GSM900, GSM1800, GSM1900, UMTS2100
    • CSD, GPRS, EDGE, UMTS, HSDPA
    • microSD, microSDHC, TransFlash, SDIO
    • 802.11b,802.11g
    • SiRF Star III GPS
    • Bluetooth 2.0
    • CMOS sensor, 2.0MP camera with Auto Focus
    • 59 x 116 x 14.95 millimetres
    • Battery – 1300 mAh
    • 130 grams (battery included)

    • Windows Mobile 6 professional
    • 520 MHz Intel x-scale CPU
    • 256MB ROM / 64MB RAM
    • 2.8" QVGA display 320×240 pixels
    • GSM850, GSM900, GSM1800, GSM1900
    • CSD, GPRS, EDGE
    • microSD, microSDHC, TransFlash, SDIO
    • 802.11b,802.11g
    • SiRF Star III GPS
    • Bluetooth 2.0
    • CMOS sensor, 2.0MP camera with Auto Focus
    • 59 x 116 x 14.95 millimetres
    • Battery – 1300 mAh
    • 130 grams (battery included)

    General

    On the top of the device is the on/off button

    GSmart MS800 top

    GSmart MS800 top

    The right handside is fairly bare with only the dedicated 2.5mm Headphone jack which, for once, is separat from the USB and allows use while charging syncing etc. via the independent miniUSB connection. This side also holds the non-telescopic stylus

    GSmart MS800 right side

    GSmart MS800 right side

    On the bottom of the unit is only the miniUSB connector/charger

    GSmart MS800 bottom

    GSmart MS800 bottom

    Pretty much everything else is on the left hand side of the phone, these include the soft reset hole at the top, followed by the camera button then an up/down and enter wheel, and finally below this there is the uncovered microSD card slot.

    GSmart MS800 left side

    GSmart MS800 left side

    Showing on the back of the unit is the 2 mega pixel auto focus camera and a loud speaker grille.

    GSmart MS800 back

    GSmart MS800 back

    Finally the front of the unit is the aforementioned 2.8” touchscreen, the difference here is that the MS800 has the front facing 0.3 mega pixel VGA camera and the MW700 doesn’t. Below the screen is the obligatory left and right soft keys, dial and hang up keys and a Windows start key on the left side with a dedicated GPS key which is an OK button by default because there is no preloaded GPS software installed. Then in the centre up/down/left/right navigation key, which looks like some kind of scroll wheel or dial but sadly it isn’t it is solely as described.

    GSmart MS800 front

    GSmart MS800 front

    Highlights

  • New User Interface
  • Speed of applications and specification
  • Lowlights

  • Unresponsive screen
  • Centre wheel
  • Overall Phone layout
  • Quality
  • Review

    I mainly have been using the MS800 because of the 3G, and rather strangely this device appears to have a better looking screen, when put side by side with the MW700, the MS800 is definitely whiter and brighter, the MW700 has a yellow tinge which deterred me slightly from me wanting to use it. Probably not noticeable if they weren’t together.

    The biggest plus points for me are the specification as indicated, this unit is certainly top of the line in the way of processor, 2.8” screen, built in GPS etc. It is however let down slightly by the 64mb RAM already mentioned in Matt’s MW700 unboxing, which is surprising in a unit such as this but also seen regularly with a certain other manufacturers. Not an issue in its self as I noticed no real problems or memory shortages during normal use but I suspect that the device may struggle a little more if using applications such as TomTom and the fairly memory-hungry Opera browser.

    Also letting it down a little is the 2 mega pixel camera, although it has auto focus, maybe a trick has been missed here to let the PDA’s standout a little, by the addition of better hardware, a 3 mega pixel unit might be nice.

    The centre wheel was a disappointment as it is solely a navigation key and I found that with the OK key and side wheel, I used it only once or twice. Bit of a waste of space really for me.

    I was very pleased with the new User Interface and will cover more about this in the software review section.

    Further downsides of this unit, the touchscreen can be, at times, very unresponsive. It feels like glass or hard plastic to the touch, and I found that all too often it took quite a lot of dabbing and poking to get a reaction, this proved very annoying and unacceptable.

    Next I found that the overall quality of the build could be better on both units, when inserting the miniUSB connector or replacing the stylus in the holder, you do notice a grating and misalignment of the casing, it feels as though they are not straight and need a little extra force to achieve the desired connection. This maybe could simply be the fact that the units are new and will become easier with time and use, but the standard was not the greatest.

    Lastly on the downsides is the overall phone layout that I can’t see makes any sense, as most things are geared up on the left hand side of the unit. Silly things like when using the camera you have to hold it upside-down compared to any traditional unit or device that I have tested, the reset button being on the left side means that when pressing you can’t see the screen and therefore what is going on. Matt happens to be left handed and it was no easier for him to use either, I don’t understand the thinking behind this apart from maybe the internal logistical layout. I do wonder if the designer is left handed? Strange.

    Software

    The main issue to talk about here is the easy to use UI, varying adaptations are appearing on different models nowadays and this is Gigabyte’s version.

    In addition to the traditional Windows start screen is the Home Button seen in the screen shot, this allows entry to the UI, seen in the next shots

    GSmart MS800 home screen

    GSmart MS800 home screen

    The clock is easily changed by simply swiping left or right on the touchscreen, the icons on the bottom are also scrollable left and right and customable via access to the settings screen, seen below. The new uncluttered ‘Home’ screen indicates missed calls, messages etc. The screen lock function seen top left, was handy as well.

    GSmart MS800 clock

    GSmart MS800 clock

    Not having extensively used this software I was unable to figure out if the icons where customisable to Third Party applications as well. It would be interesting to find out if someone could lets us know. During my use I stuck with the regular applications.

    GSmart MS800 shortcut manager

    GSmart MS800 shortcut manager

    Additional software found on the device out of the ordinary, is a CPU profile allowing the user to switch between power saving, standard and performance modes. These had the effect of slowing down the units processor speed as follows, power saving runs at 208 MHz, standard is Auto, and performance is 520 MHz These settings obviously effect the overall battery life and standby times. There is a noticeable difference, but standard appeared adequate for me and the battery life was better than a lot of devices with the 1300 mAh battery.

    As well this there is GPS tracking allowing you to map your journey, via GPS, with a compatible software, such as Google maps. Pocket remote allows you to see and capture the screen on your PC, actually used for the shots above. Quickmark allows barcode recognition for those who require this.

    Camera operation apart, from being upside-down in my opinion, was ok. Auto focus is not the best and seems to take a long time to focus and then not make that much difference.

    GSmart MS800 sample photo (resized)

    GSmart MS800 sample photo (resized)

    Voice call operation was fine and clear, connection to Bluetooth and use was no problem and also clear, I did find that almost on every call when answering there was quite a long lag and I was repeating “hello” 2 or 3 times every time, before there was a response at the other end.

    Conclusion

    There is great potential from these phones, as a reasonably high end device, they are very capable, apart from the problems or niggles mentioned above, they are well spec’d on paper, and if competitively priced would be well worth a look, the size is good, as is the speed etc, etc. I would have preferred to see a better quality product and bearing in mind the cost of around £320 mark for the MW700 and £350 for the MS800, I really can’t see the point in both of these devices personally; set at these prices I can’t see why there is a choice and would buy the MS800 every time. They are placed slap bang in the middle of a price war with the likes of the Samsung, HP, Asus and among others, and now not a mile away from the Diamond. Will it make a good showing? Not for me I’m afraid.

    Now then Matt about this HTC Touch Pro/Raphael?…

    Review by: Steve

    [Post tag(s): , , , , , ]

    Posted in: Reviews
    By June 11, 2008 Read More →

    Motorola offer full-length mobile films in the UK

    image Motorola has become the first mobile phone maker in the UK to offer full-length movies on its handsets.

    However, the deal with Paramount Digital Entertainment will win few friends among mobile data providers.

    Consumers will download titles to their PCs from Motorola’s site and then side-load them to their phones.

    Motorola claims that high phone charges incurred in downloading or streaming movies over the air has prevented the market for mobile movies from blossoming. Side-loading overcomes that hurdle, the firm believes.

    Posted in: Phones
    By June 10, 2008 Read More →

    HP iPAQ 900 release date at last

    image HP today announced the first shipment date of the HP iPAQ 900 Series Business Messenger, a 3G smartphone designed for maximum mobile productivity to a global audience at the HP Connecting Your World conference.

    The HP iPAQ 900 Series Business Messenger shines with a stylish, glossy, piano-black design and features an integrated QWERTY keyboard, Microsoft Windows® Mobile 6.1 Professional operating system and the latest wireless technologies, to simplify the complexities of business and personal life.

    Posted in: Phones
    By June 10, 2008 Read More →

    Palm Centro, our first review

    image The guys at Palm have been kind enough to loan me a Palm Centro to take a look at, so I jumped at the chance to have a play around with it. As I haven’t used a Palm OS converged device before this is a whole new experience, so I am going to look at Palm as a fresh user which should be interesting.

    When the device arrived I opened the box and my first impression of the phone was its size, it is very very small, much smaller than I had imagined, but it is quite thick.(107x53x18mm)

    Posted in: Phones
    By June 10, 2008 Read More →

    O2 UK announce iPhone 3G pricing

    image O2 today announced that the innovative iPhone 3G will be available in the UK on July 11 for free on selected O2 consumer and business tariffs and that it will also be available for Pay & Go customers. Existing iPhone customers will be able to upgrade to the new iPhone 3G, taking advantage of the same great offers as new customers.

    Posted in: Phones
    By June 10, 2008 Read More →

    Apple officially announces iPhone 3G

    Yesterday at WWDC, Steve Jobs confirmed the long-rumored iPhone 2 or rather the iPhone 3G as Apple are calling it. It hits stores in the US and over 70 other countries on July 11th. The prince in the US has been confirmed at $199 for the 8GB version, and $299 for the 16GB one (in black and white).

    The new features mentioned are the 3G connectivity (obviously) and built in GPS. There’s also support for Exchange email in version 2.0 of the firmware as well as ‘Dramatically Improved Audio’, solid metal buttons and, thankfully, a flush headphone jack.

    iPhone 3G

    iPhone 3G

    The offical press release:

    Apple Introduces the New iPhone 3G

    Twice as Fast at Half the Price

    SAN FRANCISCO, June 9 — Apple(R) today introduced the new iPhone(TM) 3G, combining all the revolutionary features of iPhone with 3G networking that is twice as fast* as the first generation iPhone, built-in GPS for expanded location based mobile services, and iPhone 2.0 software which includes support for Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync and runs the hundreds of third party applications already built with the recently released iPhone SDK. In the US the new iPhone 3G is priced at a stunning $199 for the 8GB model, and just $299 for the 16GB model.** iPhone 3G will be available in more than 70 countries later this year, beginning with customer availability in 22 countries — Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK and the US — on July 11.

    “Just one year after launching the iPhone, we’re launching the new iPhone 3G that is twice as fast at half the price,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “iPhone 3G supports Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync right out of the box, runs the incredible third party apps created with the iPhone SDK, and will be available in more than 70 countries around the world this year.”

    iPhone 3G gives users ever faster access to the Internet and email over their cellular network with quad-band GSM and tri-band HSDPA for voice and data connectivity around the world. iPhone 3G supports Wi-Fi, 3G and EDGE networks and automatically switches between them to ensure the fastest possible download speeds. The new iPhone 3G also makes it easier to multi-task with simultaneous voice and data communications, so with iPhone 3G you can browse the web, get map directions, or check your email while you are on a call.

    iPhone 3G includes the new iPhone 2.0 software with both the iPhone SDK and key enterprise features such as support for Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync to provide over-the-air push email, contact and calendar syncing as well as remote wipe and Cisco IPsec VPN for encrypted access to corporate networks. The iPhone SDK allows developers to create amazing applications that leverage the iPhone’s groundbreaking Multi-Touch(TM) user interface, animation technology, accelerometer and GPS technology on the world’s most advanced mobile platform.

    iPhone 3G includes the new App Store, providing iPhone users with native applications in a variety of categories including games, business, news, sports, health, reference and travel. The App Store on iPhone works over cellular networks and Wi-Fi, which means it is accessible from just about anywhere, so you can purchase and download applications wirelessly and start using them instantly. Some applications are even free and the App Store notifies you when application updates are available. The App Store will be available in 62 countries at launch.

    Additional features available with the iPhone 2.0 software include the ability to do real-time mapping and track your progress with GPS technology, mass move and delete multiple email messages, search for contacts, access a new scientific calculator, turn on parental control restrictions for specified content, save images directly from a web page or email them to your iPhone and easily transfer them back to your photo library on your Mac(R) or PC. iPhone 3G delivers an amazing 10 hours of talk time on 2G networks and 5 hours using 3G, with up to 5 to 6 hours of web browsing, up to 7 hours for video playback and up to 24 hours for audio playback.

    iPhone 3G takes advantage of MobileMe(TM), a new Internet service that pushes email, contacts, and calendars from an online “cloud” to native applications on iPhone, iPod(R) touch, Macs and PCs. With MobileMe email, messages are pushed instantly to iPhone, removing the need to manually check email and wait for downloads, and push keeps contacts and calendars continuously up-to-date so changes made on one device are automatically updated on other devices. With iPhone, you can even snap a photo and post it directly to a MobileMe Gallery to share with friends and family.

    iPhone 3G will be available in the US on July 11 for a suggested retail price of $199 (US) for the 8GB model and $299 (US) for the 16GB model in both Apple and AT&T’s retail stores and requires a new two year contract with AT&T for qualifying customers. iPhone 2.0 software will be available on July 11 as a free software update via iTunes(R) 7.7 or later for all iPhone customers. For further information about iPhone 3G pricing and availability in the US and internationally, visit http://www.apple.com/iphone.

    * Based on 3G and EDGE testing. Actual speeds vary by site conditions.

    ** Based on iPhone 3G (8GB) and first generation iPhone (8GB) purchases. Requires new two year AT&T rate plan, sold separately.

    Apple ignited the personal computer revolution in the 1970s with the Apple II and reinvented the personal computer in the 1980s with the Macintosh.

    Today, Apple continues to lead the industry in innovation with its award-winning computers, OS X operating system and iLife and professional applications. Apple is also spearheading the digital media revolution with its iPod portable music and video players and iTunes online store, and has entered the mobile phone market with its revolutionary iPhone.

    Posted by: Matt

    [Post tag(s): , , , , ]

    Posted in: News
    By June 9, 2008 Read More →

    iPhone 3G UK Sales Strategy

    image I can see a definite change in the way the iPhone 3G will come to market in the UK. The 3G iPhone seems to be only available from O2 or The Carphone Warehouse according to Apples UK Online Store, there is no mention that you can buy it from Apple, compare this with how it is shown in the US Apple Store and you can see the difference.

    Posted in: Phones
    By June 9, 2008 Read More →

    iPhone 3G Technical Specifications

    image Apple have just released the full specifications of the new 3G iPhone, and its looking very nice, add the App Store and extended battery life and you cannot fail to be impressed with the new release aprt from the July 11th release date, full specifications after the break.

    Posted in: Phones
    By June 9, 2008 Read More →

    iPhone 3G Overview

    image Introducing iPhone 3G. With fast 3G wireless technology, Maps with GPS, support for enterprise features like Microsoft Exchange, and the new App Store, iPhone 3G puts even more amazing features in your hands. And just like the original iPhone, it combines three products in one — a revolutionary phone, a widescreen iPod, and a breakthrough Internet device with rich HTML email and full web browsing. iPhone3G. It redefines what a mobile phone can do. Again.

    Posted in: Phones
    By June 9, 2008 Read More →

    3G iPhone announced with GPS

     

    image As expected the 3G iPhone was announced today at WWDC by Steve Jobs, it will be available in 22 countries from July 11th and will have the following features.

    3G but no further details as of yet.

    AGPS in built and can be used in combination with cell tower triangulation and Wi-Fi to help locate an iPhone. Finally real-time positioning in Google Maps.

    Posted in: Phones