Author Archive: Emma Samuel

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By July 16, 2009 Read More →

Sanyo Xacti WH1 Review

I really enjoyed reviewing the Sanyo Xacti HD2000 so of course I was excited when Matt sent me the Xacti WH1. It’s a quite affordable camera and its main feature or selling point is that it is waterproof (up to 3m) with an IPX8 (full water submersion) certificate. Let’s see how it measures up.

WH1_angledThe Sanyo Xacti VPC-WH1


What’s in the box?

  • Sanyo Xacti VPC-WH1
  • Battery
  • Hand strap
  • Mains charger (UK 3 pin and European 2 pin connections)
  • USB cable (proprietary connection to the camera)
  • Composite audio and av cable (connects to the proprietary socket on the camera)
  • Manuals
  • CD with Xacti software, instruction manual and ArcSoft Panorama Maker 4


Check out Matt’s unboxing video for more information.


Sanyo Xacti VPC-WH1 specification:

  • Effective Pixel Count
    Photo : Approx. 1.10 megapixels // Video :Approx. 0.97 megapixels (in HD), Approx. 1.10 megapixels (in SD)
  • Sensor
    C-MOS sensor, 1/6 inch, approx. 1.10 megapixels
  • Recording media
    SD Memory Card (Up to 32GB SDHC Memory Card) Internal memory approx. 43MB
  • Recording file formats
    JPEG (DCF 1, DPOF2, Exif Ver2.2 3standard)
  • Resolution (Pixels) – Still
    2M: 1600 × 1200 (Pictrise) 1.1M: 1184× 888 0.9M (16:9): 1280 × 720 (16:9) 0.3M: 640 × 480
  • Resolution – Continuous Shots
    2M: 1600 × 1200 1.1M: 1184 × 888
  • Resolution – Movie Clips
    HD-SHQ: 1280 × 720 (30fps 9Mbps) TV-HR: 640 × 480 (60fps 6Mbps) TV-SHQ: 640 × 480 (30fps 3Mbps)
  • Lens
    Focus distance:f=2.5 – 75.0 mm F=1.8(W) – 4.3(T) Auto Focus 7 groups, 10 elements(2 aspheric elements, 3 aspheric surfaces)
  • Photo range
    Standard: 50cm – ?(wide), 1.0m – ?(tele)Super macro: 1cm – 100cm (wide)
  • Shutter speed
    Photo:f=43 – 1290mm x30 Video: f=43 – 1290mm x301/2 – 1/1000 sec.(Flash: 1/30 – 1/1500 sec., Lamp mode : Max. 2 sec.)
  • Digital zoom
    1/30 – 1/10000 sec. (High-sensitivity mode and Lamp mode: Max.1/15sec.)
  • Focus
    Auto (Photo:9-point AF/Spot AF, Video:Continuous area AF) Manual 22 step
  • Sensitivity
    Auto(ISO 50~200)Manual ISO 50/100/200/400/800/1600/3200, Switching System)
  • Exposure correction
    ±1.8EV (in 0.3EV steps)
  • Digital Image Stabilizer
    Multi-calculation electric image stabilizer
  • Other functions
    Red-eye correction in Photos/Contrast correction in photos/Wind noise reduction
  • Self timer
    2 sec./10 sec.
  • White balance
    Auto : Full auto TTL / Manual : Sunny, Cloudy, Fluorescent, Incandescent, One-push
  • LCD monitor
    2.5 inch Low-temperature polysilicon TFT colour wide screen LCD Approx. 150,000 pixels (7-level brightness, 285-degree rotation)
  • Interface
    AV output (Video:HDMI/Composite Video, NTSC/PAL; Audio:Stereo) USB2.0 (high-speed mode)
  • Dimensions/Volume
    58.7(W)×62.8(H)×112.4(D)mm (maximum dimensions, excluding protruding parts), Approx. 327cc



Front – The lens can be seen here which is contained within a waterproof cover. The flash can be seen here below the lens as well as the microphone holes on both sides (as it’s a stereo microphone)

WH1_front Sanyo Xacti VPC-WH1 – front view


Side – From the left you can see the latched cover which houses the AC adaptor socket for charging the camera. Next to this is the loud speaker and then there is a start/stop recording button. You can also see the zoom rocker button on the top of the camera here.

WH1_side Sanyo Xacti VPC-WH1 – side view


Screen – The screen is a 2.5 inch low-temperature polysilicon TFT colour wide screen LCD Approx. 150,000 pixels (7-level brightness, 285-degree rotation)

WH1_screenSanyo Xacti VPC-WH1 – screen view


Bottom – The enclosure for the battery can be seen here on the bottom of the camera. As expected, the cover has a rubber seal around it to keep the enclosure waterproof.

WH1_bottom Sanyo Xacti VPC-WH1 – bottom view


Connections – The SD card compartment, USB and HDMI connections are sealed under a cover. The latch at the top shows when the cover is closed properly as there is a red strip that shows if it is not sealed properly.

WH1_connectors Sanyo Xacti VPC-WH1 – connections view


Controls – At the back of the camera are all the controls. The still photo capture button is on the left, then the video start/stop recording button, the record/play mode button is in the middle, and you can also see the menu and set/select button. There is also the up/down/left/right button surrounding the set/ok button.

WH1_controls Sanyo Xacti VPC-WH1 – controls view




  • Solid/sturdy build
  • Affordable price
  • Compact size
  • Controls easy to use
  • Good battery life
  • Stereo microphone
  • Face chaser



  • Video quality underwater is poor
  • Not full HD
  • Only 2MP quality stills
  • No video light





The Sanyo Xacti range seem to have been a hit and the reviews that you read reflect this. The WH1 is another member of the Xacti range so it does seem a little strange that it’s not got the typical pistol grip. There is a reason for this, and this is that the WH1 has been designed for sports (of the wet variety!). The hand strap which attached to the camera keeps the WH1 quite securely on your hand whereas the pistol grip design relied on, well. your grip!

As you can see from the pictures, the model have been given to review is a very bright and shocking yellow colour! Mind you, after thinking about it, it’s a sports camera which can be used under water. then it seems quite fitting. Ok, it’s still bright! But there are also two other colour options – Silver or blue and black.

WH1_backThe Sanyo Xacti VPC-WH1


The built of the Xacti WH1 is robust and nicely compact. Seems quite a durable piece of kit that would withstand a few bumps.

The controls on the WH1 are even more straight forward than previous Xacti cameras. The buttons are big and spaced out enough so there is much less chance of pressing the wrong button. This is idea when in an active situation as you don’t have to concentrate too much on the controls. There is also the start/stop recording button on the side of the camera which I guess is for ease is you are holding the camera in a different position.

The video quality settings offered are HD-SHQ: 1280 × 720 (30fps 9Mbps) TV-HR: 640 × 480 (60fps 6Mbps) TV-SHQ: 640 × 480 (30fps 3Mbps). Unfortunately it doesn’t offer full HD of 1080p but the 720p generally gives a decent quality of footage. In good lighting the video quality is very good, and with the 30x optical zoom you can get some great footage. In low lighting the quality struggles. the camera could really do with video light.

As mentioned, the WH1 is waterproof. So of course I had to try out the camera under water. and that’s what paddling pools are for. aren’t they? I tried taking footage when it was nice and sunny and then when it was overcast. When it was bright and sunny the footage was quite impressive and clear, but the overcast footage (which I thought would be more realistic if you were using it for something like snorkelling in the sea as the light is generally dimmer) was pretty disappointing. The quality seemed to be lost in lower light.

The inbuilt microphone is a stereo one. This picks up sound clearly but not underwater. But of course, you can expect sounds underwater to sound quite muffled.

As with previous Xacti cameras you are able to take still pictures whilst recording video by just pressing the still capture button. This is definitely a function that still impresses me.

This leads me onto the still image quality. Quiet disappointingly the Xacti WH1 only offers a 2MP resolution which is even lower than the average camera on a phone. You can still get good clear pictures with it (but again, not in low lighting although there is a flash) but don’t expect to get any large prints from it. On the plus side, the WH1 is quite affordable and the lower MP camera may be the reason for this.

One feature that stands out is the great battery life. From a full charge the camera lasts over 3 hours



Although I was somewhat disappointed with the still shot quality I think that Sanyo have made a durable and reliable video camera that you would feel confident taking up the ski slopes, going snorkelling, or even just being able to take great holiday footage by the pool without worrying that it’s going to get wet and break. The fact that it takes an SD card means that there are no moving parts on the data storage side of things, so a lot of movement won’t damage your precious footage.

It’s compact size and simple controls layout makes it extremely easy to use. I have no complaints about the LCD display. It’s clear and bright and the size of it is fine.

I guess you would just have to take into consideration what scenarios you would want to use your video camera in as this is definitely one of the the most affordable waterproof cameras on the market but there are many higher quality and affordable normal video cameras out there.



Reviewed by: Emma

Posted in: Reviews
By July 9, 2009 Read More →

A New Operating System – By Google!

Google currently has an Operating System (OS) for mobile phones called Android. Now Google is developing an (OS) for PCs. It will be known as the Google Chrome OS.


Google Chrome OS will be aimed initially at small, low-cost netbooks, but will eventually be used on PCs as well.

Google said netbooks with Chrome OS could be on sale by the middle of 2010.

"Speed, simplicity and security are the key aspects of Google Chrome OS," the firm said in its official blog.

The operating system, which will run on an open source licence, was a "natural extension" of its Chrome browser, the firm said.

The news comes just months before Microsoft launches the latest version of its operating system, called Windows 7.


So, it looks as though Microsoft may have another competitor in their OS market.


Posted by: Emma

Posted in: Apps & Games
By July 8, 2009 Read More →

Palm Pre exclusive deal with O2

It appeared in the news today that the mobile operator O2 have just signed an exclusive deal to sell the Palm Pre here in the UK, Ireland and also Germany.



“O2 said the phone would be available in the UK in time for the winter holidays. No details have been given of how much it will cost when it goes on sale.

The Palm Pre smartphone is seen as a rival to Apple’s iPhone because of its web-centred operating system and innovative interface.”


At the launch of the Palm Pre in the US the cost of the phone was approx £129 (this was after a rebate and being tied into a two year contract). Rumour has it that it’s going to be be more expensive over here.

The release date is still to be confirmed


Posted by: Emma

Posted in: News
By July 2, 2009 Read More →

Acer X960 Review

Acer got on the smartphone bandwagon earlier this year and have released their ‘Tempo Smartphone’ range. I’ve been given the Acer X960 to review. It looks quite good, but I’ve heard quite a few mixed views and opinions about it. So, I’ll get on with the review to make up my own mind about it.

X960_angled_right The Acer X960


What’s in the box?

  • Acer X960 handset
  • Battery
  • Stylus
  • USB cable (mini USB connection on the handset)
  • Screen protector
  • Quick guide manual
  • CDs (User manual, Windows Mobile ‘Getting Started’ software, Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 trial)
  • Mains charger (mini USB connection to the handset)
  • Stereo headphones/handsfree (mini USB connection)


More information can be found in Matt’s unboxing video.


Acer X960 specification:

  • Operating System – Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional
  • Processor – Samsung S3C 6400 mobile processor 533 MHz
  • Memory – ROM: 256MB/RAM: 128MB
  • Display – 2.8" 480×640 pixel TFT Touchscreen
  • Operating Frequency – GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz
  • HSDPA / UMTS 850 / 1900 / 2100 MHz
  • microSD
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g
  • Bluetooth v2.0 with A2DP
  • MiniUSB
  • Built-in GPS receiver (SiRFstar III)
  • 3.15 MP, 2048×1536 pixels, flash, video; secondary VGA videocall camera
  • 1530mAh Lithium-ion Battery
  • Dimensions – 106.4 x 59 x 13.7 mm
  • Weight – 131.5g



Front – There is the VGA front-facing camera for video calls, the speaker for phone calls, 2.8 inch TFT touch screen, call and end buttons, dedicated GPS button, D-pad with select key in the centre and a home/back button.

x960_front Acer X960 – front view


Right – Here you have the stylus, dedicated camera button, microSD compartment and the power button.

x960_right Acer X960 – right side view


Left – Eyelet for a lanyard or wrist strap, up/down rocker button for volume (and zoom for the camera), reset button, and select/ok button (user defined).

x960_left Acer X960 – left side view


Bottom – The mini USB connection and the microphone hole are all that in on the bottom of the phone.

x960_bottom Acer X960 – bottom view


Back – On the back you can see the 3.2MP camera, flash, self portrait mirror and speakers (for audio playback and speakerphone). The back cover houses the battery and sim card.

x960_back Acer X960 – back view



  • Sturdy build
  • Haptic feedback
  • Decent pictures with camera
  • LED Flash for low light pictures
  • Built-in speakers are of a good quality



  • Bulky build
  • Quite a heavy handset
  • Touchscreen very slow to respond
  • Acer user interface over Windows Mobile OS



I was thought I would be quite impressed with the Acer X960. Although you can see straight away that it’s quite a chunky phone to carry around, its bulk gives the impression that it is going to be packed with high quality and high spec features. It’s definitely on the weighty side but it does feel sturdy and robust. The handset has a black body and chrome edging which looks ok. Matt mentioned the E-Ten look still sneaking in here (Acer purchased E-Ten last year) which you can definitely notice. Moving away from the E-Ten design to a fresh new one might have given this phone a bit more appeal.


x960_angled_leftThe Acer X960


The screen is 2.8 inches which is a generous size and the quality of the display is pretty good. I did however find that the display was quite hard to see when out in sunlight. I guess this is quite a common annoyance of many phones but I found the X960 particularly bad for this as the screen is quite reflective. There is no accelerometer (which would change the orientation of the display as the phone was rotated) which is a shame as it would have made the most of the 2.8" inch screen.

If you watched Matt’s unboxing video you will have seen that the phone takes quite a time to start up for the first time. Unfortunately it actually takes quite a long time every time you start up the phone. Obviously not as long as the first time as it is initialising and installing apps but don’t expect to be able to make a quick phone call or text if the phone has been switched off! Ok fair enough. you just don’t switch it off unless you really need to.

One of the main features that you will see with this handset is Acer’s user interface which has been placed over the Windows Mobile operating system. I’ve read other reviews on this and it seems that there are varying opinions about it. It has three desktops (or ‘home’ screens) which you just slide across the screen to get to each one. It is designed as an office desk with items on it which represent shortcuts to applications such as the calendar, email, etc. 

Some people like it, and some don’t. It’s a simple to use interface and quite a good idea, but I think it looks very dated and there is no option to customise what is on display so I’m not that keen on it. Of course, being a Windows Mobile device you can expect all the usual features too, which can be accessed through the Start menu.

Whilst checking out the features through the menus it became apparent that there was one huge thing letting this phone down. The touch screen. It can be very slow to respond and even sometimes doesn’t respond at all so I found myself having to select options more than once. This became quite frustrating so I found myself checking other people’s views again (just in case it happened to be just the review model I had). It seems that I’m not the only one who experience this issue.  A definite improvement required here as this really lets the phone down. To add to this, the stylus is too small and flimsy so I felt less inclined to use it. This unfortunately lead to ‘fat thumb/finger syndrome’ where wrong options are accidentally selected as the icons and buttons are very small.

This leads me on to text input. A nightmare without the stylus!! The soft QWERTY keyboard is near to impossible to use without the stylus, and when you do use it, inputting any text takes twice as long because you will find yourself taking the time to make sure you press the right letter. and then wait for it to respond to your selection. There are other input methods like handwriting recognition but again, not that user friendly.


There is a good range of connectivity – HSDPA, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.0 and SiRFstar III GPS. Quite impressive for high speed web browsing but the unresponsive screen and fiddly zoom in and out on the browser really puts you off.

The X960 comes with a 3.2MP camera and LED flash which you can take stills and video with. The interface used for the camera isn’t that impressive and there is a bit of a shutter lag. A 3.2 MP camera is quite common amongst smartphones and you can normally take a decent picture with them (mainly in good lighting). For some reason taking decent still pictures with this 3.2 MP camera on the X960 is really difficult and the pictures seem slightly blurred. This is a shame as the quality of the pre-loaded pictures are brilliant and really show off the display quality.

I was glad to see that there was an LED flash as the last few phones that I’ve reviewed didn’t have one which meant that low lighting picture were pretty much out of the question. But, I found another issue here that taking photos with the flash gave off coloured (greenish yellow tinge) photos. Video quality doesn’t seem much better. The size of video is pretty small, and if you move quickly or are shooting a faster moving object the quality goes right out the window.

Windows Media Player is used for music and video playback. The inbuilt speaker on the back is actually pretty good for a phone loudspeaker. So, you can playback music using the loud speaker, or use the stereo headphones that come with the phone. The X960 would benefit from a 3.5mm jack so that there was the option to use your own headphones but the packaged ones aren’t that bad.

Video can be played back in landscape mode when Windows Media Player is set to full screen. As mentioned before, there is no accelerometer to do this automatically.

Phone call quality is good (of course network coverage would affect this) and the quality of the loud speaker means that when using the speaker phone mode the sound is loud and clear.



I was really disappointed with Acer’s X960. I expected Acer to enter the world of Smartphones with a handset that would have everyone wanting more. OK, I guess I did want more – but more from the phone!

As with all gadgets there are always features that people like and don’t like, which is just personal opinion. An example here would be the user interface Acer have place on the phone. Not my cup of tea, but others like it. But i think there is one thing that has completely let the X960 down which I can’t imagine any one would like, and that is the very slow responding touch screen. It’s frustrating to say the least and completely takes the enjoyment of using the phone.

Acer need to hit the Smartphone market with a fresh idea and steer away from the E-Ten design as it’s already starting to look old. There is definitely potential to we’ll have to wait and see what will appear next!



Reviewed by: Emma

Posted in: Reviews
By June 23, 2009 Read More →

LG Cookie (LG KP500) Review

Matt mentioned that LG seem to be coming up with some popular touchscreen handsets. Well it seems that LG have created a much more affordable touchscreen handset with the LG Cookie KP500. The Cookie comes in a range of colours and has a fair amount of features.

A lower price raises questions though. The main one being, “Has quality been compromised?”.

Hopefully through this review any questions you may have will be answered and we’ll see if the LG Cookie is worth considering.

cookie_angled_right The LG Cookie (LG KP500)


What’s in the box?

  • LG Cookie KP500 handset
  • Battery
  • USB cable
  • Mains charger
  • User guide
  • CD rom
  • Screen protector

More information can be found in Matt’s LG Cookie unboxing video


LG Cookie specification:

  • Dimensions: 106.5 x 55.4 x 11.9 mm
  • Weight: 89g
  • Network: GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
  • Display: Colour TFT 3" touchscreen, 240 x 400 pixels
  • Accelerometer sensor for auto-rotate
  • Memory:  48MB internal
  • MicroSD slot (up to 8GB)
  • Camera: 3 megapixel
  • Multimedia: MPEG4/3gp video player
  • MP3/WMA/AAC player
  • FM Radio with RDS
  • Stereo Bluetooth 2.1
  • USB 2.0
  • MicroSD card slot up to16gb
  • Document Viewer (MS Office, Doc, PDF)



Front – Colour TFT 3" touchscreen, call, menu and end button (the end button is also the power button). The speaker at the top is of course for calls but also doubles up as the loudspeaker (for speakerphone, music, etc.)

cookie_front LG Cookie (LG KP500) – front view

Right – To the left of the picture you can see the stylus which slides in along the bottom of the phone. next is the dedicated camera button, then the screen lock/unlock button, and lastly the microSD card compartment.

cookie_right LG Cookie (LG KP500) – right view

Left – The LG proprietary connection is located here. This is used for charging the phone and is also where the earphones/handsfree is plugged in. The other thing that can be seen here is the up/down rocker button for the volume (and zoom for the camera)

cookie_left LG Cookie (LG KP500) – left view

Bottom – With this view of the bottom of the handset you can see the stylus in more detail. Matt mentioned on the unboxing video how it is different from most handsets as it fits in across the width of the phone.  The only other thing on the bottom of the phone is the microphone hole.

cookie_bottom LG Cookie (LG KP500) – bottom view

Back – The back of the phone is quite plain. You can see the 3MP camera here but unfortunately there is no flash.

cookie_back LG Cookie (LG KP500) – back view

Battery compartment – With the back cover off you can see the battery compartment and see where the sim card is situated.

cookie_battery LG Cookie (LG KP500) – battery view


  • Slim design
  • Large 3″ screen
  • Quite lightweight
  • Handwriting recognition



  • Slower texting with the touch screen keypad
  • No flash
  • No Autofocus
  • No 3G
  • No WIFI



The LG Cookie KP500 is a nice size and weight, and its slim design makes the phone look and feel more expensive than it actually is. The screen is quite impressive and the display is sharp, clear and bright. If you’re not used to LG’s operating system, navigating through the menus can take a bit of getting used to. The LP500 offers two ‘home screens’, one where you can place widgets such as a sticky notes, or mini music player, and the other where you can place shortcuts to your most used contacts. You just need to slide your finger or the stylus across the screen to get to each ‘home screen’.

cookie_angled_leftLG Cookie (LG KP500)


The touchscreen itself great to use. It responds well and has haptic feedback through vibration and beeps (which you can switch off if needed). There is a built-in accelerometer which rotates the display according to which way up the phone is held. Unfortunately I sometimes found the accelerometer a bit slow to catch up after I had rotated the phone.

I’ve read quite a few consumer reviews of this handset and it seems that quite a few people find texting a absolute nightmare. I wouldn’t completely agree with them but I can definitely see their point. When the phone is held up in portrait mode it offers a T9 phone keypad but you can also choose from other input modes such as multitap and handwriting recognition. I found the handwriting recognition very impressive.Of course, to use this you need to use the stylus which is not everybody’s cup of tea. The T9 keypad is ok but it takes longer to text than using a phone with buttons. If you try to type too fast you end up typing a load of rubbish!

When the phone is in landscape mode you are presented with a full QWERTY keypad but the letters are tiny and the stylus is a must! ‘Big thumb syndrome’ kicks in when you try and use your fingers!

The sound quality during calls is good and making calls is simple. As mentioned earlier, the second home screen features shortcuts to your most used contacts (you can customise this). When a contact is selected small shortcut icons appear giving you options of calling, texting, etc., which is quite a handy feature really.

You may notice that there is no front-facing camera (so no video calls). This is due to the fact that the Cookie does not support 3G. It is a quad-band GSM handset with GPRS and EDGE only. 

Whilst on the subject on connectivity, as well as no 3G the Cookie does not have WIFI. So browsing the web can be a bit tedious with the slower speed.

The sound quality through the loudspeaker during music playback is average for a mobile phone. I would assume that this handset would normally come with stereo earphones/handsfree but this review model didn’t seem to have any with it. So, unfortunately I can’t comment on earphone sound quality.

Something to point out to the music lovers out there – The Cookie also only has a proprietary plug for headphones and not a standard 3.5mm socket so no opportunity of using your own earphones.

The music player it easy to use, and with the widget you can place on the home screen it is easily accessible without having to scroll though menus. There is also an inbuilt FM radio which may appeal to some of you. Again, I unfortunately couldn’t test it out as no headphones came with this review model. As you may know that with many phones the packages headphones act as the FM antenna as well so without them the radio is obsolete.

The picture viewer and video player show off the great quality of the display that the LG Cookie has. Just a shame that the slow to catch up accelerometer let the handset down here as waiting for the orientation of a picture to change after rotating the handset got a bit frustrating. But just keep in mind that this is just my personal experience and I may just have been unlucky with the handset provided.

The 3MP camera is a bit disappointing. Photos taken in good light seem to give a pretty good quality picture. The same goes for video capture – the light needs to be good. But with the absence of a light or flash. well you probably get the picture (no pun intended!). With such a nice 3″ screen it seems a shame that the view finder for picture taking doesn’t make the most of it. Instead is is cropped into a smaller section. The other annoying thing that I noticed was an unfortunate lag time between pressing the shutter/camera button and the picture actually being taken. Took a few shots of the floor before getting the hang of the lag time as I moved the camera away too soon! So, definitely no scope to catch anything in motion because more than likely by the time the picture actually takes you’ll just get a picture of where that moving subject was 2-3 seconds ago!

There are a fair amount of things you can do with a picture after taking it such as applying different effects like blurring, cartoon and mosaic, and also adding text, stamps, and frames. It’s just a shame that you won’t get that many good pictures to play about with!

The internal memory is only 48MB which is really not much at all. The memory is expandable though through the use of a MicroSD card. The official specifications show that the handset will support a memory card up to 8GB, but if you have had a look and listen to Matt’s unboxing video you will know that it does actually support up to 16GB.



The LG Cookie (LG KP500) has been a strange handset to review. Reading through my review again I seem to have been really negative about most aspects of this phone! I feel that cutting the price here has compromised the quality of the features. But just to confuse matters, I actually liked the LG Cookie for some reason. I’ll try and sum this up some how!

If you are a gadget lover, need 3G, WIFI, or want a good camera phone then you may want to take a rain check on the Cookie.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for an affordable touchscreen phone to use mainly for calls and aren’t bothered about gadgets and fancy features, then this may be the phone for you. Making/receiving calls is easy and the sound quality is clear and loud enough. The Cookie looks and feels great. It has a clear and bright display and a pretty good touch screen.



Reviewed by: Emma

Posted in: Reviews
By May 23, 2009 Read More →

SanDisk Sansa Express Review

Sound quality, ease of use, capacity and size are all attributes that you would consider when buying an MP3 player. It seems from previous posts from my fellow reviewers that SanDisk’s Sansa range have been a hit and match up to these attributes.

Sansa_front The SanDisk Sansa Express

Through this review we will see if Sandisk have done it again and brought out yet another impressive MP3 player with the Sansa Express – or have they dropped their standards?


What’s in the Box:

  • SanDisk Sansa Express MP3 player
  • Headphones (3.5mm plug)
  • Quickstart guide
  • CD (with PDF guide and other software)
  • Sansa stickers
  • Music downloads leaflet
  • Important info leaflet
  • USB extension cable
  • Lanyard

For more info check out Matt’s unboxing video 


SanDisk Sansa Express specification:

  • 1GB internal memory (2GB model available)
  • Dimensions (W x D x H) 1 in x 0.7 in x 3.1 in
  • microSD slot to expand your capacity and provide portability of music
  • Direct USB connector-No cable needed 
  • New sleek, compact design      
  • With this MP3 player you can enjoy music & FM radio
  • Built-in Mic for Voice Recording
  • Four-line, bright OLED screen
  • Digital FM tuner, with FM recording
  • Simple to use controls for fast device interface navigation
  • Supports MP3, WMA, protected WMA, WAV, and Audible files
  • 15-hour, rechargeable lithium polymer battery life



Front – The four line OLEB display can bee seen in this picture. There is also the playback controls which act as a navigation D-pad when in the menus

sansa-express-main SanDisk Sansa Express – front view


Bottom – the volume buttons are located here.

Sansa_side_a SanDisk Sansa Express – bottom view


Top – The power button and hold/lock switch can be seen here.

Sansa_side_bSanDisk Sansa Express – top view


Left – The USB connection is located on this side and it covered by the cap shown here. The lanyard attaches to the cap.

Sansa_connector SanDisk Sansa Express – left view


Right – The microphone, 3.5mm headphone socket, space for MicroSD card (up to 8GB)

Sansa_end_viewSanDisk Sansa Express – right view



  • Looks stylish
  • Lightweight
  • Long battery life
  • FM recorder
  • Inbuilt USB – no USB cable required


  • Unable to delete files/track via the player itself



SanDisk’s Sansa Express is a very affordable MP3 player. Now, normally you can following the saying, “You get what you pay for”, but not in this case. The Sansa Express looks like it would be more expensive – a great looking gadget!

The OLED display is completely flush to front of the MP3 player which really adds to the look and the minimalist buttons make it quite stylish.

Matt mentioned on the unboxing video that the lanyard is made of wire (like earphone wire) and with the way it is packaged its all creased up. It’s actually not a problem though as although the player is very lightweight it is still heavy enough that the lanyard straightens out no problem. The earphones on the other hand. the wire on these don’t straighten out as easily. But I wasn’t bothered as I didn’t really use them that much. I’ll explain why later.

This model is only 1GB but it’s actually enough space to fit up to 250 songs (based on 4mb files). You can also expand the memory by using a MicroSD card. It will take up to an 8GB card which will give you loads of space.

The functions on the Sansa Express are pretty basic and you can’t expect fancy graphics such as album art as the OLED screen is only dual colour and has 4 lines for text. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The details on the display are clear and tell you what you need to know.

Transferring music from a pc to the Sansa Express is extremely easy and the menu on the player is simple to navigate through.

It offers an FM radio which you can actually record. I found this a really good idea and quite handy. You can also preset up to 20 stations. There is also an inbuilt microphone which you can use for voice recording. I played about with the FM recorder and voice recorder which worked nicely. The only thing is that you can only delete the files by connecting it to a pc.

You can create an on-the-go playlist so you can sort out the songs you really want to hear. You can create the playlist on the player itself or plug it into a pc and sort the files that way.

The Sansa Express offers a variety of EQ settings (normal, pop, rock, jazz, classical, and custom). The sound quality of the earphones sounded ok to me at first, but then I tried my own ones. This made me realise that the Sansa earphones’ quality actually wasn’t that great. It wasn’t terrible and I could live with them, but using higher quality earphones shows the high sound quality that the Sansa Express offers.

The battery life on this player is brilliant! This is probably due to the fact that the Sansa Express doesn’t offer a very fancy graphics heavy display to I guess it’s a nice compromise.



This is a great MP3 player, and the price of it makes it that bit better. It’s stylish, lightweight, easy to use and you can have up to a total of 9GB of space (8GB MicroSD card + 1GB internal memory).

You may want to use your own set of earphones as the bundled ones don’t really do the player justice.

In general, the Sansa Express is another hit for SanDisk.



Reviewed by: Emma

Posted in: Reviews
By May 20, 2009 Read More →

Sony Ericsson W715 Review

Sony Ericsson’s Walkman range of phones have been very popular, and with new models coming out fast it’s getting hard to keep up with them! The W715 is aimed at the younger generation but is ideal for anyone who wants a good music phone.

The W715 is exclusive to Vodafone and is a great looking phone. Let’s see if it lives up to our the Walkman range expectations.

W715_angled_right The Sony Ericsson W715 Walkman Phone – Exclusive to Vodafone


What’s in the box:

  • Sony Ericsson W715 Handset
  • Battery (BST-33)
  • Mains charger
  • Manuals (including a Vodafone Find And Go leaflet)
  • Software CD (PC suite + Media Manager)
  • Stereo headphones/handsfree (with Sony Ericsson connection)
  • USB cable (to Sony Ericsson connection)
  • 4GB Micro SD card


Sony Ericsson W715 specification:

    • Size: 95 x 47.5 x 14.3mm
    • Weight: 98 grams
    • Colours: Garnet Black and Luxury Silver
    • Screen: 262,144 colour TFT
    • Resolution: 240 x 320 pixels
    • Size: 2.4 inches
    • Phone memory: up to 120MB
    • Talk time GSM/GPRS: up to 10 hrs
    • Standby time GSM/GPRS: up to 400 hrs
    • Talk time UMTS: up to 4 hours
    • Standby time UMTS: up to 350 hours
    • Video talk time: up to 3 hours
    • Music listening time: up to 20 hours
    • GSM/GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900
    • UMTS/HSPA 900/2100
    • 3.2 Megapixel camera
    • Up to 3.2x digital zoom



    Front – 2.4 inch screen, left and right soft keys, call and end buttons, shortcut/tasks button, clear button and navigation D-pad with the select button in the middle. You can also see Vodafone’s logo at the bottom.

    W715_front Sony Ericsson W715 – front view


    Front (slide open) – The keypad is a simple phone keypad.

    W715_open Sony Ericsson W715 – slide open


    Top – Just one feature on the top which the the ‘Walkman’ button which takes you straight to the music player.

    W715_top Sony Ericsson W715 – top view


    Bottom – The gray plastic part you can see on the bottom is the slide lock for the back cover of the phone.

    W715_bottom Sony Ericsson W715 – bottom view


    Right – Here you find the dedicated camera button and the up/down rocker button for the volume (and zoom for the camera)

    W715_right Sony Ericsson W715 – right side


    Left – All that is on the left side is the Sony Ericsson proprietary connector port.

    W715_left Sony Ericsson W715 – left side


    Back – You can see where the speaker is located here by the gold grill. You can also the 3.2 MP camera and camera light. Under the back cover is where the sim card, battery and MicroSD are situated.

    W715_backSony Ericsson W715 – back view




    • 2.4 inch screen – great quality
    • Stylish design
    • Compact feel
    • WIFI
    • Good stereo earphones


    • Camera quality
    • Camera light instead of flash



    The Sony Ericsson W715 looks great! It’s stylish, relatively slim design and colour immediately makes this Phone appealing. The W715 was made exclusively for Vodafone and is available in this silver colour and is also available in black. It has a robust and expensive feel to it and although a lot slimmer, it reminds me a bit of Nokia’s N95.

    The screen is a generous size and the graphics on the screen are clear and sharp. It has a built-in accelerometer which means that the display rotates with the movement of the phone between portrait and landscape modes. This can be switched off if needed. (I mention this as there is a labyrinth-type maze game which is controlled by the movement of the phone and can be near to impossible to play if the screen auto rotates every time you move it!)

    I mentioned that the keypad is just an plain phone keypad. Very simple. But, this isn’t a bad thing. I think that it is another stylish touch. It means that there isn’t anything to fussy about the phone, and the colour of the keypad compliments the rest of the phone. The buttons are a good size and nicely spaced which means that texting is easy with minimal “big thumb syndrome”!!

    W715_keypadSony Ericsson W715 – keypad


    Obviously the call quality depends on network coverage but from testing it out the sound quality is clear and as expected.

    The camera is an average 3.2MP which should be enough to take a decent picture – but, as with quite a few of Sony Ericsson’s phones, you can only used the zoom when in VGA mode. The other thing is that there is only a camera light rather than a flash. The light is not nearly as bright as a flash would be. These things combined somewhat reduces the photo taking capabilities of the phone. But the W715 is a Walkman phone – if you wanted a camera phone from Sony Ericsson you would have gone for one of the Cybershot range!

    The phone has many applications and you can see through browsing through these just how much the phone is aimed at the younger generation. One app in particular made me laugh and cringe at the same time! This was call ‘Rock Bobblehead’. This is a strange Elvis lookalike cartoon character which bobs along to the movement of the phone. It’s funny for a few seconds, but then you think that Sony Ericsson could have had a more useful app instead of this one! I can only describe this as a bizarre version of a nodding dog! Moving on though, there are quite a few useful apps and you are also presented with the latest version of the Walkman music player.

    Connectivity includes Bluetooth, USB, GPS and a WIFI connection. The WIFI is easy to set up and the Bluetooth obviously supports stereo playback.

    Web browsing is easy enough (the accelerometer comes in handy here for landscape viewing) and fast enough when connected via WIFI. Again, the great screen quality can be seen here even though the screen isn’t as big as those on a touch screen phone.

    As the phone has been built exclusively for Vodafone there is an application called “Find and Go” which is a Sat Nav bit of software. You have to purchase a licence to use this though. But, even without “Find and Go” you can use the GPS capability and the inbuilt Google maps.

    There are a few inbuilt themes, some are animated making the phone a bit more fun, and again takes advantage of the screen quality.

    The stereo headphones that come with the phone are of brilliant quality. This seems to be a common theme with the Walkman range and I really like them. The only thing that I know a few people would prefer though would be a standard 3.5mm headphone jack instead of Sony Ericsson’s proprietary port.

    Also included is the shake control for skipping tracks, and with SensMe you can create playlists depending on mood and the phone will play the specifics tracks depending on mood. (This all works with the movement of the phone).



    I have always liked Sony Ericsson phones and this one is no different. I love the look and feel of the W715, and again, the sound quality through the stereo headphones is superb. The applications are aimed a bit too much at the younger generation I feel but it doesn’t put me off the phone!

    W715_angled_leftI think Vodafone are onto a winner with the W715, and with the WIFI, GPS and “Find and Go” application they have opened the doors for many other users who may not have been interested in the Walkman phones before.



    Reviewed by: Emma

    Posted in: Reviews
    By May 12, 2009 Read More →

    HTC Touch 3G Revisited

    Daniel reviewed the HTC Touch 3G back in February and had a lot of positive things to say about the phone. In fact, HTC phones seem to have a pretty good reputation and are becoming more and more popular these days.

    3g_mainThe HTC Touch 3G – Exclusive to Orange


    This review is being approached from a different angle as I’ve actually never used an HTC phone before or a Windows mobile OS. So, I’m going to give you my impressions and opinions of the Touch 3G from a first time user perspective.

    Orange have kindly provided us with the handset that I am reviewing. The Touch 3G is exclusive to Orange and they offer this on both their Personal and Business plans.

    For detailed specifications of the phone you can check out Matt’s unboxing video or Daniel’s review.



    • Compact and minimalist design
    • Easy to use
    • WIFI
    • TouchFLO interface


    • Portrait screen – no Landscape setting except for when viewing pictures
    • Fixed focus camera
    • No camera light/flash




    I was really taken with the look of the Touch 3G. It has a minimalist design with only the call/hang up buttons and a D pad. The generously sized 2.8″ LCD screen doesn’t take away from the compact feel to the phone. The screen is completely flush with the rest of the phone which adds to the high quality look of the phone. It’s quite light for being such a high spec gadget yet still feels robust enough that it would stand up to constant use.

    You can see from the photos on Daniel’s review the locations of the buttons and USB socket on the sides of the phone. Again, the minimalist design is followed here.

    The Touch 3G is available in four different colours which you can see here.

    HTC Touch 3G Colours 

    OK – I think you get the point that I really like the look of the phone! Moving on, I was nicely surprised at the quality of the display with its QVGA resolution (320×240 pixels). Very clear and sharp.

    As it was my first time really using a Windows Mobile device I was confused at what to do next! But it took all of about 5 seconds to figure out the ‘Start’ button (.obviously! Because it’s a Windows OS). All of the features of the phone can be accessed through this but there is also a quick menu bar along the bottom (or on the left side of the screen depending on which ‘homescreen’ you choose) of the screen which is very useful for all the applications or features used frequently. You can see this on the picture below. You can also add/remove the applications of the quick menu bar to suit your needs.

    HTC Touch 3G display HTC Touch 3G screen view


    Looking into the basics of the Touch 3G – making a call is simple and the sound quality is good. But the reason I really wanted to mention making calls on the phone are the on screen options provided. Once you have chosen the number to call and start calling you are then presented with the options to mute, place on hold, speaker phone, take a note, enter your contacts list and also add a call (for conference calls). I’m not saying that this is only available on the Touch 3G but remember – this is the first HTC phone I have tried!

    Not all of the call features I have mentioned will be useful for people using the phone for personal use (e.g. add a call or hold) but will be great for business users. As I mentioned before, Orange are offering the phone on both personal and business plans. You will find the same call options on many phones but they aren’t always as easy to access without fiddling through menus.


    HTC’s TouchFLO technology is great to use. Scrolling though menus has been made easy because of this and there’s no real need to use the stylus.

    WIFI is available on the Touch 3G which is one of the upgrades from previous versions of the Touch. From going through the Start menu, settings and then the connections it is very easy to set up any WIFI connections. There is also 3G support of course (did the name give that away?!). For web browsing the default browser provided is Opera version 9.5 and there is also Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 7.

    Unfortunately there’s nothing to really write home about on the web browsing side of things. It’s not bad though. It’s fast enough, but some improvements could be made to make the experience better. Such as, the option to view in landscape mode. As far as I’m aware, only pictures and video can be viewed in landscape mode.


    I find messaging on the phone great to use. The whole Windows Mobile layout of previous messages shown as ‘Conversations’ was a bit strange to me at first but I easily got used to it. I’m not keen on touch screen QWERTY keyboards but there is the option to use one. I would recommend using the stylus for this though as it’s pretty small. Especially as you can only use it in portrait mode. But don’t let this put you off! There are also other input methods to choose from such as a compact QWERTY, letter recogniser and a few others. But of course, for those like me who are used to the Symbian OS, the phone style input is also available. It’s also large enough on the screen to be able to text away without the use of the stylus.

    Email support for POP3/IMAP and Microsoft’s Direct Push for Exchange server email is provided on the phone and is easy to set-up and use. There is also GPS built in on the phone which can be used in conjunction with the preinstalled Orange Maps. Mind you, after seeing that the GPS has correctly located where you are on map and you’ve had a look at a few places you know, the novelty wears off quite quickly! But, you can make the GPS more useful to you by purchasing satellite navigation software which Orange offers.


    I was somewhat disappointed with the camera on the Touch 3G. It has an 3.2mp camera which is average and on many phones you can take a decent picture with this.

    3g_back HTC Touch 3G – camera view

    For some reason HTC have decided to place a fixed focus camera on the handset. There is also no light or flash. And to make matters worse there doesn’t seem to be a night mode! So to sum the camera up – yes, you can take decent photo with it but just as long as you are in good lighting.

    It seems the Touch 3G wasn’t designed with picture taking a main highlight but the sheer amount of applications and features makes up for this I guess.


    If I went though all of the applications on the phone I would be here forever, so I leave you with one more. The music player.

    The phone comes with Windows Media Player which most people will be familiar with. Easy to use and looks pretty good. There is also a standard ‘Audio Manager’ to listen to music an sort your music out with. The earphones provided with the phone are pretty standard but do the trick and also have the added benefit of volume control on them.

    Daniel mentioned that the backlight stays on when playing music. This is very true, for the playing back music from the Audio Manager. Some may not like this as it will drain the battery a bit faster, but another way to look at it is that you don’t have to find the unlock button on the top every time you want to change a track. However, to save a bit of battery power you can use Windows Media Player where the backlight will dim.



    The HTC Touch 3G is a great looking phone which is absolutely packed with features. As I mentioned, I haven’t really used any HTC or Windows Mobile OS phones before and I found it to be pretty easy to get used to after only a short time using the phone. 

    Yes, I was a bit disappointed with the camera, but to be honest I found that all of the features and applications provided would still make the phone a worthy purchase. Just a point to remember if a camera phone is what you are looking for.

    One main improvement that the Touch 3G could do with is being able to use applications in landscape mode but I would still consider this phone the next time I upgrade my own.



    Reviewed by: Emma

    Posted in: Reviews
    By May 11, 2009 Read More →

    Sony Ericsson C510 Review

    It seems that not a day goes by when Sony Ericsson are not announcing a new device to add to there already amazingly large, ever expanding Walkman or Cybershot range. But then you have to say with these iconic brands like this from Sony at their disposal, why not. The C510, one of the latest additions to the Sony Ericsson Cybershot range I feel looks the part, but with just a 3.2 megapixel camera can the device really compete with other mobiles and of course the much loved compact digital?

    C510_angled_right The Sony Ericsson C510


    What’s in the box?

    • Sony Ericsson C510 handset
    • Battery
    • Mains charger
    • Stereo headset/handsfree
    • USB cable
    • Manual


    Sony Ericsson C510 specification:

    • Dimensions: 107 x 47 x 12.5 mm
    • Weight: 92g
    • Display: 240 x 320 pixel, 256K colour TFT,  2.2 inches
    • Camera: 3.2 mega-pixels, Autofocus
    • Smile ShutterT
    • Face detection
    • Network: – GSM: 900/1800/1900 (Tri-band)
    • UMTS (3G), EDGE
    • Music: Media player
    • Album art
    • BluetoothT stereo (A2DP)
    • Music tones (MP3/AAC)
    • Messaging: SMS, MMS, E-mail & Instant Messaging
    • Memory: Phone Book: 1000 entries, up to 2500 numbers
    • 100MB (internal)
    • Memory Stick Micro M2 (external)
    • USB support
    • Geo tagging of photos (cell-id)
    • Google MapsT
    • FM radio with RDS
    • YouTube client



    The C510 is a classic candy bar style device, and compared to other Cybershot camera phones, it looks and feels very small, and it can often be the case in technological products that this can be best.

    C510_frontSony Ericsson C510 – front view

    A clear a large display is the centre of attention on the front of the device below this are four way navigational buttons with a select key in the centre, the soft keys for shortcuts, cancel and of course the call control keys surround this and a full numerical pad with individual keys below this.

    C510_keypad Sony Ericsson C510 – keypad view

    The left of the device sees that familiar Sony Ericsson style connector which I have always felt is a little to large for devices in the walkman range however its presence is some what reassuring in the Cybershot range. Along from this is the all important M2 Card Slot with cover for storing all your photos and multimedia.

    C510_left Sony Ericsson C510 – left view

    The right of the C510 is home to the two way zoom control which also takes care of volume and checking your devices status (battery life etc.) The shutter button is located at the opposite end to this and as you can see that clean, attractive blue stripe continues around the entire phone.

    C510_right Sony Ericsson C510 – right view

    The back of a Cybershot is more often than not would be described as the business end of the phone, a separate sliding camera cover can reveal the 3.2 megapixel camera and a dual LED flash for lower light situations, that is about it for the back of the C510 other than the usual Sony Ericsson branding.

    C510_back Sony Ericsson C510 – back view


    • Small compact design
    • Dual LED flash


    • 3.2 Megapixel Camera
    • 100MB Internal Memory

    The biggest compliment I can give when giving a review is to state that I would quite happily spend my own money on the product in question. Acknowledging a phone as a great piece of kit is one, thing but whether or not you would buy it is a different ball game all together. As with most consumer products you have certain models or brands that you just love and others which you well…. just don’t. Well with me mobile phones are no different. Some phones can have a fantastic spec, great quality, price, etc. but if you don’t get on with them you just don’t. I am happy to say that the C510 is not one of these and is one of the few phones I have really enjoyed using.

    The C510 does not posses stunning or ground breaking looks, a standard candy bar device but managing to stay clean and ‘swish’ looking with the single strip of colour encasing the C510. The phone is what I would describe as practical in its appearance and it would have been easy enough for Sony Ericsson to go over the top and turn this phone into something more at home in the Tate Modern (Art Gallery) as appose to your jeans pocket. But, they managed to restrain themselves and the result is a great looking device which is surprisingly pleasant to use.

    C510_angled_left Sony Ericsson C510

    The device feels light in the hand however has a clear somewhat sturdy feeling centre. If that sounds strange – basically it means you can feel the weight of the screen on this comparatively lightweight device, which may sound a very strange thing to say but it is just something on this device that did stand out. Not only is the screen heavy but it is rather large for a candy bar style device. This does leave less room for the keypad, and although they are all individual keys and are reasonably sized they do still feel a little close together, and for anyone with thumbs of a regular size may find themselves having to retype words due to what I like to call clumsy thumb syndrome which is something phones obviously want to avoid.

    As you would expect it would make most sense to dedicate the most attention to the phone’s advertised purpose which, in this case is as a Cybershot digital camera, so how does the C510 compare to other Sony Ericsson Cybershot devices? Well, I am afraid on paper not well at all. In the past few months we have seen phones of 5, 8 and even 10 megapixel make their way through the doors of mobile phone manufacturers across the world, so when you see the C510 with just a 3.2 megapixel it seems that Sony Ericsson have been a little harsh in limiting the C510’s potential. It is a little like casting Tom Cruise as a sheep in the school nativity.
    That said, the C510 does actually pack a fair punch when it comes to photography – that is if you don’t mind sacrificing picture quality. The reason I say this is a 3 megapixel picture is certainly substantial and clearly superior to other cameras of a similar spec mobiles but if you wish to use the somewhat limited zoom it will cost you a fair amount of picture quality as zoom is only available when the phones camera resolution is set to VGA. This is a big disappointment and one which if you are buying the C510 purely for its photography capabilities you will find it hard to overlook. The phone does however come with a Dual LED flash but with this sort of quality on the table it loses an extreme amount of purpose this again goes back to what I said a moment about it being a little cruel of Sony Ericsson to dangle carrots in front of the users face while still holding it back by with straining its features in what you could call quite key areas.

    The camera comes with the usual amount of features such as burst and a number of adjustable elements such as exposure. Other features which are not so standard but certainly a welcome addition include facial recognition, and something which I have always found useful and that is Geo-Tagging. Storing your photos and videos is done via M2 card of which the phone supports up to 16GB.
    Camera aside, although not a dedicated walkman device the C510 is still more than capable of catering for your music and multimedia needs and it features playback of the expected formats. The phone also features album art which provides your musical collection with that creative touch. Transferring music music from Pc to phone is simple as always with the included cables and software and playback sounds great through headphones however is a little questionable through the phones speakers.

    The C510 is a little short of solid dedicated features, but then again it is a phone aimed more at the amateur photography, music loving youngster rather the jet setting suited businessmen. Navigating through the extremely familiar bordering on boring Sony Ericsson menu is made a little better on the C510 as the screen is absolutely one of the best I have seen. Spec wise it looks nothing special but when you see the display for yourself it looks bright and crystal clear. This combined with the inbuilt accelerometer make things such as viewing photos or using YouTube through the YouTube client that much better when compared to previous Sony Ericssons and other mobile phones of a similar spec. The usual fun applications such as photo and music DJ and track ID are present and the usual selection of games to while away the hours on those bus and train journeys. The device also features an FM radio.

    Connectivity-wise the ‘standard’ features such as Bluetooth and USB connectivity are included on the C510 and something which came as a little bit of a surprise to me is the addition of Google maps support and, as I mentioned earlier, the YouTube client which is handy for quick and easy access to your favourite videos. I had a few little problems with lag while quickly navigating through the menus but nothing that didn’t sort itself out within a few seconds and therefore was nothing that really affected day to day use.

    The phone’s sound quality is great when in a call or using speakerphone and I am pleased to conclude that I found no problems with muffling or change in volume etc. during a call. Battery life is quoted at 400 hours stand-by and a massive 10 hours talk time which is fantastic but I am sure you are aware this is likely to be reduced significantly if using the phone for heavy photography. I was personally extremely impressed with the battery life of the C510 and only had to charge the phone once in the entire time I used it.

    The Sony Ericsson is a combination of both massive potential and mild disappointment. The lack of real power in the camera department is – if I’m honest – a let down considering this is advertised as a Cybershot device. However, it does make up for it in the multimedia department with crystal clear video playback and shortcuts to all your favourite social network sites. The Sony Ericsson C510 is the perfect phone for the budding amateur photographer with a real passion for music, which in today’s world is an awful lot of people. So, with my honest regards Sony Ericsson the best of luck with this one.



    Reviewed by: Nick

    Posted in: Reviews
    By April 23, 2009 Read More →

    Panasonic Lumix FX500 Review

    Several of Panasonic’s Lumix range of cameras have been reviewed here on and over all seem to have a pretty good reputation. I’ve been given the Panasonic Lumix FX500 to test out.

    FX500_angled Panasonic Lumix FX500

    It looks and feels great. So we’ll see if it lives up to our expectations.


    What’s in the box?

    • Lumix FX500 Camera
    • Battery
    • CDROM
    • Manuals
    • Battery charger
    • Mains cable
    • AV cable
    • Stylus
    • Wrist strap (although there doesn’t appear to be one with this review camera)

    You can check out Matt’s Unboxing video for more information

    Panasonic Lumix FX500 specifications:

    There’s so much about this camera so I’m not going to list everything here. Matt has already listed most of it along with his unboxing video or you can also have a look at Panasonic’s website.




    The Panasonic Lumix FX500 has a 25mm Wide-Angle, 5x Optical Zoom, Bright F2.8 LEICA DC VARIO-ELMARIT Lens. The sensor is 1/2.33″ and 10.1 million effective pixels (10.7 million total pixels). You can see in the picture below the built in flash, the lens and at the top right is the AF (auto focus) assist lamp.

    FX500 Panasonic Lumix FX500 – front view



    Working from the left of the picture – There’s the speaker (the four holes), the single hole is the microphone, then the on/off switch, and then you can see the shutter button which is housed in the middle of the zoom lever which you slide left and right.

    FX500_topPanasonic Lumix FX500 – top view



    On the bottom of the camera is where the battery and the SD card are housed. There is also the standard tripod attachment hole (can be seen in the front view of the camera)

    FX500_bottom Panasonic Lumix FX500 – bottom view


    The connections

    AV Output (NTSC/PAL), USB2.0 High speed and HD AV Output (Component). The wrist strap loop can also be seen here.

    FX500_connectors Panasonic Lumix FX500 – connectors view



    • The large 3″ display screen is also touch screen.
    • The switch at the top left is to switch between record and playback mode.
    • Mode button – lets you choose which recording or playback mode you want to use
    • Display button – changes the on screen display
    • The Menu/set button takes you to the menu to be able to change the general settings of the camera and also acts as the ‘select’ or ‘ok’ button. This button also doubles up as a joystick to navigate through the menu.
    • When in record mode the joystick also works as shortcut keys to the self timer, exposure compensation setting, flash settings and auto focus
    FX500_back Panasonic Lumix FX500 – back/screen view



    • Large 3″ screen
    • Touch screen
    • 25mm Wide-angle lens
    • 5x Optical zoom
    • Excellent picture quality
    • Functions and features


    • Sometimes a lag when taking action shots
    • Can be difficult to change shutter speed and aperture in manual mode
    • No zoom function when recording video



    The Panasonic Lumix FX500 definitely has a quality look to it. The model I am reviewing is a silver brushed metal version. Panasonic also offer this FX500 model in a black brushed metal version.

    Its robust build and impressive large 3″ touch screen immediately gives the impression of a high quality camera. But enough about its looks, lets investigate deeper into its functions and of course performance.

    The 25mm wide angle lens is quite impressive for a point-and-shoot camera, and the 5x zoom gives it a range of 25mm to 125mm.

    I played about with the camera over a few days taking loads of pictures using different modes that the camera offers. However, after a while I found that the mode I liked best was in fact the Intelligent Auto mode. where the camera does all the work! Now, before you go and start calling me lazy, I normally use a DSLR camera so normally like mucking around with shutter speeds, apertures and lighting – So, makes a nice change!

    The Intelligent Auto mode does as the name suggests and automatically changes the mode, exposure (shutter speed), aperture, etc. It seems to be quite accurate. The only thing I found myself changing was forcing the flash off (as I don’t like built in flashes)

    The touch screen offers an Auto Focus (AF) tracking function whereby you touch the screen on the subject you want the camera to focus specifically on. So if the subject moves after the AF has been set the tracking will follow the subject so that it is still in focus. This is a great feature, which comes in very handy when trying to capture active pets or children!

    Now, you can change modes by clicking on the Mode button and then selecting what you want by pressing on your choice on the touch screen. The scene mode gives you 17 different scenes to choose from. I found some of them a bit bizarre at first. For example, there seems to be one for ‘Baby 1’ and one for ‘Baby 2’, then there is one for ‘Pet’. I thought, “why would taking a picture of one baby be different for another? Have Panasonic gone a bit bonkers?!”

    But. It all came clear later. When you enter into the playback mode you can play slideshows or just flick through the photos. and filter the ones you want to view. Hence, Baby 1, Baby 2 and the pet!

    There is the option to change to shutter priority, aperture priority and full manual mode so experimenting with this camera is possible. My only issue here is that when on any of these modes the way to change the the setting of the shutter speed or aperture is to use a slide bar on the touch screen, and it’s quite hard to slide to the setting you want accurately. This is where the stylus (the strange piece of plastic that Matt found in the box!) comes in handy. This is supposed to attach to the wrist strap so it’s there when you need it.

    When using the ‘Sports’ mode (action shots) I noticed a lag ever so often between pressing the shutter release to the shot actually being taken. I seem to have a few shots of my dog’s tail now!! Never mind! Maybe I just had to get used to the camera a bit more.

    You can change the brightness of the LCD display which is useful as LCD screens can be hard to see in bright conditions. You can also set it so that you see the screen clearly when holding it up above your head. “Why?” you ask. Well, idea for gigs/concerts. Especially when someone taller stands in front of you. That always happens to me!


    You can record video on the Lumix FX500. Just change the mode to the Motion Picture setting and away you go! You can record in widescreen (16:9) or standard (4:3) and you can change the metering, quality and frame rate. It does record for HD play back and you are also able to extract individual frames as photos. It’s not too bad I have to admit, but, there is one thing. you can’t use the zoom when recording video.


    I think I’ve gone on enough about modes and settings so I’ll move onto the picture quality. I’m impressed! And, wait for it. even in low light!! (sorry, I had a rant in a previous review about low light picture quality).

    You do get some visible noise in the higher ISO ranges (the higher the ISO the more light the sensor will take in) but that’s to be expected and isn’t bad enough to put me off the camera.

    You can get some great images with the camera so here’s an example of some macro shots I’ve take with it. I had the Intelligent Auto mode set on these and it switched to macro mode just as I needed!

    Macro shots Macro photos taken with the Panasonic Lumix FX500

    The other example I have for you is using the backlight feature. The button for this is on the touch screen at the bottom. Pretty handy as you can change to this quickly. It’s for when the light source (e.g. the sun) of the picture is behind the subject.

    Backlight example Left: Backlight off                             Right: Backlight on



    I definitely like the Lumix FX500. I wouldn’t change to it from my DSLR but it’s a great point-and-shoot compact camera and the image quality impressed me.

    I would have liked a larger optical zoom but 5x is the norm for compact cameras. (Panasonic do have a super zoom range of point-and-shoot cameras as well)

    The large 3″ screen is great for reviewing images on and the touchscreen functions make this camera that much more ahead of the game than some others on the market right now. Mind you, as with all touch screen gadgets you end up with finger marks all over the screen!

    So, over all, the Panasonic Lumix FX500 is a definite hit!


    Reviewed by: Emma

    Posted in: Reviews