By June 11, 2008

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

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    Posted in: Reviews

    About the Author:

    More than 20 years in the IT industry. Blogging with a passion and thirst for new technology since 2005.
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